Car Tracker – Update

This is a follow-up to an earlier post where I made a car tracker from a Raspberry Pi, GPS and a small TFT display. Since then I have:

  • Replaced the GPS receiver with one using an external antenna
  • Replaced the display with one that’s easy to install in my chase car
  • Installed the system in my car
  • GPS Receiver

    The previous receiver found it difficult to get a GPS lock, because it was so close to the Raspberry Pi and of course did not have a clear view of the sky from the confines of a car. The new receiver has an SMA socket for connection of an external mag-mount type GPS receiver. This will work well inside a car, and in the case of cars with heat-feflective windscreens could be placed near the back of the car or even on the roof.

    The GPS module plugs straight into the GPIO header on the Pi, so installation is very simple.

    HS_GPS

    The device is made and sold by HAB Supplies

    Monitor

    There are many inexpensive monitors for sale now that are intended for use as car reversing displays. They run directly from the car 12V supply, and have 2 video inputs either of which can connect to the composite output on the Raspberry Pi. I bought one with a small stand to place in my chase car like so:

    tft

    Installation

    I placed the Pi itself on top of the dash, using strong Velcro mounting tape. As this aimed the camera downwards I had to bend that up to being vertical, using a small heat gun to soften the plastic. Finally I connected the Pi to the display, and both to the car 12V supply (Pi via a USB power converter).

    pi

    So, now I have a small, low power car tracker that connects to the internet automatically via my MiFi device installed in the car. Switches on the side of the Pi control whether it uploads the car position, and whether it streams video from the camera. It all runs independently of my Windows-based car PC, and should hopefully run with fewer problems (and certainly using a lot less power!).

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    One Response to Car Tracker – Update

    1. Pat Crizack says:

      Actually, if I could modify this, this would be the answer to installing a Pi to my custom e-bike.

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