IoT M2M blog

The home of free hints and tips about wireless IoT / M2M

Ultra light GSM / GPS tracker

GSM / GPS modules on FR4 with copper foil offers proper ground plane

This concept shows an ultra light GSM/GPS tracker to track tiny animals like birds or prairie dogs. It also can be used to track expensive oil on canvas. The concept is following  the idea of cost reduction by using of free of charge components, services and software.

GSM GPS tracker birds

Ultra light GSM GPS tracker

The ultra light GSM / GPS tracker is using the freebies or freeware as below

  • A-GPS server
  • Digital maps
  • Web based mapping server
  • Evaluation kit micro controller

The ultra light GSM/GPS tracker could use the following freebies or freeware

  • Embedded GSM antenna as PCB track
  • Schematic diagram of eSIM parallel to plastic SIM card

Description of the ultra light GSM / GPS tracker

The selected GSM module is the world smallest and offers a low power power consumption. The chosen GPS module is the tiniest with embedded, switched DC/DC converter. The GPS module is supported by free of charge A-GPS server.  A-GPS will help to reduce the TTFF (Time To First Fix). The eSIM is soldered direct on the PCB without need for a SIM card holder. The micro controller Renesas (RL78 family) charges 1.3 mA by 1 MHz operating frequency only. The GSM antenna is a very special, that is well working on small ground plane. The GSM antenna can be optimised and customised on low costs. The ground plane was increased by soldering cheap copper foil to the PCB. The enclosure will be an inexpensive and light shrink tube.

The visualization of the pin point on the screen will be done  by selecting one of the several free of charge  software options.

GSM / GPS modules, antennas and further parts

  • GSM module, small size, low power consumption
  • GPS module, high sensitivity, low power consumption
  • GPS antenna (sketch shows a chip antenna, loop or other type tbd)
  • GSM antenna (sketch shows a lambda/4 monopole, other type tbd)
  • SIM card as eSIM (other tbd)
  • Micro controller Renesas (evaluation kits free of charge until 30th. of June 2011) or any other new ultra low power MCU
  • Shrink tube, copper foil
  • Battery (sketch shows LiPo Battery, other tbd)
  • Further options (tbd)

Further free of charge tools used to create this concept

  • OpenOffice Writer: To write this text (Linux or Windows)
  • MyPaint: To paint the sketch on tablet PC (Linux or Windows)
  • Picnik: To optimise the sketch (Online tool and independent on OS)
  • WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Thunderbird and Firebird to stay in contact with M2M developers

Everybody who is interested in further details and information on the concept or an other wireless M2M concept is welcome to send me an e-mail  to harald.naumann (at) .


Add a Comment
  1. Hallo

    I’m very interested in such project!!!
    Actually what is the status of the design shown here?
    Is there any real prototyping being done? Are you and/or others actively working on some parts of such project?
    I’m looking for basically exactly this low-power, low-weight,low-cost,low-everything … except for battery life 😉
    … well and maybe some rugged but light housing (maybe a plastic bag would just do).
    As for the server side another option would be myLieu (by Heise Online).

    I have some little skills in electronics (like soldering stuff together) and could hack together some software.


  2. Andreas, I make a lot of public each month. I got your email.

    > I’m looking for basically exactly this low-power, low-weight,low-cost,low-everything … except for battery life
    A bird tracker sends data twice a month.

    > I have some little skills in electronics (like soldering stuff together) ..
    I can show you an easy starting point but this is inverse to low-power, low-weight,low-cost,low-everything but with low price fot eval kit.

  3. hrmm…tracking ultra runners might need a few more position updates during a run (even though there are races lasting more than a month, e.g. TE-FR).
    Meanwhile I’m not sure if I really have enough time for this but how does the eval kit look like?

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