SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker

Could this be the one tracker to rule them all? Incorporating the Artemis Module, Iridium 9603N Short Burst Data modem, u-blox ZOE-M8Q GNSS receiver, and a TE MS8607 PHT sensor, this compact tracker allows you to do an incredible number of things that used to be very difficult.

With a clear view of the sky, the SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker (AGT) allows you to send and receive short data messages. Leveraging the Iridium satellite network, it works anywhere in the world, including the polar regions, far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Maybe you want to transmit pressure, temperature or humidity readings from the top of a mountain? Or use it to send data from a traveling balloon sat? Or use it to control your remote equipment out in the field. Or receive alerts if your equipment is moved out of or into a geofenced area? Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available?

At the heart of our product is the Arduino-compatible Artemis Module. With 1M flash and 384k RAM you'll have plenty of room for your code. The AGT naturally includes a Qwiic connector so you can easily attach external I2C sensors. This SparkFun "Reds" version of the AGT breaks out the I2C and SPI pins along with five digital I/O and five GPIO pins for even more peripheral possibilities.

The ZOE-M8Q allows the AGT to determine its location quickly and accurately with minimal current draw. We’ve connected the ZOE’s geofence pin to the Artemis so it can generate alerts automatically if the tracker is moved into or out of up to four geofenced areas. To save weight, the ZOE and Iridium modem share a single antenna and the AGT includes a switching circuit for selecting which device uses an attached antenna. The AGT includes a protective circuit to ensure only one device uses the antenna at a time.

The on-board MS8607 pressure, humidity and temperature sensor works down to -40C and 10mbar making it ideally suited for use in challenging environments, including airborne applications.

The AGT has many power options including: USB-C, a rechargeable LiPo battery or external battery pack. We’ve included a LiPo charger as standard. You can also add extra supercapacitors and then configure the AGT’s current draw via split pads, so it can operate directly from a very small solar panel without needing batteries!

You can fully configure the AGT via its USB-C interface or remotely via an Iridium message. Want to change your geofence location or temperature alarm limit remotely? No problem! We have written a configuration tool which lets you do exactly that. If that wasn’t enough, we also have a set of Python software tools which you can use to plot the path and location of up to eight trackers on a satellite map.

The Iridium modem requires a monthly rental service to exchange information with the Iridium satellite network. You only pay for the months you wish to use the modem. No annual contract is required. Line rental costs £12GBP (about $17USD) per month and includes access to the RockBLOCK management system for managing your devices. The billing system is built-in and allows you to pay for only what you use. Airtime for Iridium modems must be purchased from Ground Control (also known as Rock Seven) via the admin portal once the units are registered.

You cannot use the modem with another Iridium airtime provider by default. If you would like to use it with another provider, you will need to pay an unlock fee of $60USD per modem.

  • Artemis Processor

    • 1M Flash / 384k RAM
    • 48MHz / 96MHz turbo available
    • 68A/MHz (operates less than 5mW at full operation)
    • Integrated BLE radio and antenna
    • FCC/IC/CE Certified (ID Number 2ASW8-ART3MIS)
  • Iridium 9603N Satellite Transceiver

    • Truly global operation, using the Iridium satellite network
    • Powered through two 1F supercapacitors
      • Charged by a LTC3225 supercapacitor charger
      • ADM4210 in-rush current limit circuit
  • ZOE-M8Q GNSS Receiver

    • 72-Channel GNSS receiver
    • 2.5m Horizontal Accuracy
    • Time-To-First-Fix:
      • Cold: 26s
      • Hot: 1s
    • Max Altitude: 50,000m
    • Max G: ≤ 4
    • Max Velocity: 500m/s
    • Velocity Accuracy: 0.05m/s
    • Heading Accuracy: 0.3 degrees
  • MS8607 Pressure, Humidity and Temperature Sensor

    • Operating Ranges:
      • 10 - 2000mbar
      • 0 - 100% Rh
      • -40 - 85°C
    • Accuracy (@25°C)
      • ±2mbar
      • ±3%Rh
      • ±1°C
  • Power Options:

    • USB-C
    • LiPo Battery
    • Solar Panel or Battery Pack (max 6V)
  • SMA antenna connector for both 9603N and ZOE-M8Q (with integrated protection circuit)
  • MCP73831 LiPo Charge Management for single-cell LiPo batteries
  • Qwiic Connector
  • PTH connections for I2C, SPI, Reset, 5 digital I/o and 5 GPIO pins
  • Weight:
    • 30.5g as shipped with modem but no antenna
    • 42.6g with Iridium Certified Passive Antenna

SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker Product Help and Resources

Artemis Global Tracker Hookup Guide

December 9, 2021

The SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker combines the Artemis processor with an Iridium 9603N satellite transceiver, ZOE-M8Q GNSS transceiver, and MS8607 PHT sensor. With a clear view of the sky, this board allows you to send and receive short data messages from anywhere in the world including remote locations far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Follow this guide to get started with the Artemis Global Tracker.

Core Skill: DIY

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Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

4 Programming

Skill Level: Experienced - You will require a firm understanding of programming, the programming toolchain, and may have to make decisions on programming software or language. You may need to decipher a proprietary or specialized communication protocol. A logic analyzer might be necessary.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Customer Reviews

4 out of 5

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3 of 3 found this helpful:

Works as advertised, but more expensive to operate than I was led to expect.

Really cool device which is well documented and easy to use. Example software worked flawlessly.

The only complaint I have is that while it mentions the $17 monthly "line rental" fee, you ALSO have to pay for "message credits" up front (another $17 for 100 credits). It costs one message credit for up to 50 bytes sent or received.

It also costs 1 credit simply to check if you have an incoming message waiting (even if none is there). There IS a free 'Ring' signal broadcast when a new incoming message is available, but this is easy to miss if you are periodically getting GPS data too (since the GPS and the Iridium modem can't be enabled at the same time and it takes many seconds to switch from one mode to the other) so this feature is pretty worthless.

I was wishing for a power switch between battery and the AGT, but then I discovered that you can cut a jumper and then add a switch between the VIN and EN pins. This works well.

One other tip is that the example for sleeping goes into DEEP sleep, and uses a timer to wake back up. Reading the code, I discovered a NORMAL sleep mode that let me wake the device back up with a button press, which was much better for my application.

Good, but not default GPS mode!

I learned the hard way that these ship with mode set to 0 in the sample code. If you are doing high-altitude (>12km) ballooning, you'll want to change this. For example, I added the following line in Example16_GlobalTracker.ino around line 696: myGPS.setDynamicModel(DYN_MODEL_AIRBORNE1g);