Monday, November 25, 2013

GPS Bluetooth - DIY

Have you ever thought of tracking your bicycle route? or wondered how many kilometers you took in jogging ? or you are lost and want to know where you ? you can make your own GPS Bluetooth circuit that is real simple.
People mostly are thrown away by the concept GPS Bluetooth and never thought that they can make their
own. Nowadays, Bluetooth transceiver chips and GPS receivers are widely available in the market. You dont need to design it from scratch (unless you got time and curiosity) you simply can do the following :

  • Search for "GPS modules" aside then search for "Bluetooth transciever (or transmitter or a receiver depends on your application) on Farnel, Mouser, Sparkfun..etc
  • Make a table to list each module you found
  • Read about the parameters you found
  • Decide based upon your application, budget and time which module fits best

    Here is an example 

  • Once you power the GPS receiver . It will spit out NMEA data (data that contains data, time, longitude, altitude, sattalites in view..etc) ... you can connect the Bluetooth chip directly to the output of the GPS. This data will be fed into your Bluetooth module and send it wirelessly to the device you paired it with. You can pair it with your phone and download an application that converts this raw GPS data to a readable data. "Bluetooth GPS" designed by GG MOBLAB can be used for Android users. A perfect application that will show u on the map, and how many meters accurate is the data. It can also show you the raw NMEA data, altitude, sats on view, longitude/latitude, speed , data, time and course over ground.

    Make sure you have your GPS receiver in a visible sky  so it can pick the sattalites signal without distruction. GPS receiver will work bad indoor if not at all.

    If you have the urge to configure you Bluetooth module you will need a terminal emulator program. For instance, TeraTerm for computers and BlueTerm for Android mobiles. It will allow you to write your command and send it wirelessly to your Bluetooth module.

    The module will have a catalog that will containt the commands list. You might need to configure your module in cases of wanting it to communicate with just one phone (or a list of certain devices), or go to sleep to save power, or change the Bluetooth module name..etc.
    If you need to save and see the route you took later on, you will need an SD card and a microcontroller. It wont be necessary to spend money then on a bluetooth module. you simply have to program the microcontroller to take the raw gps data (NMEA) and save it in an SD card. Then, display it on any of the free available map applications online (i.e GPS Visualizer).


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