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.
Iridium 9603N Satellite Transceiver
ZOE-M8Q GNSS Receiver
MS8607 Pressure, Humidity and Temperature Sensor
Artemis Global Tracker Documentation
Artemis Module Documentation
Iridium 9603N Transceiver Documentation
u-blox M8Q Documentation
MS8607 PHT Sensor Documentation
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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.
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);