How to build a DIY homemade GPS tracker with a Raspberry pi for less than $50

You want to build a DIY GPS tracker at home?

With that GPS tracker, you'll be able to track something from your computer or smartphone remotely. This is the concept behing the 3 letters IOT. So be be ready to roll up your sleeves, we got job to do. :-)

This tutorial will enumerate the steps to build a DIY GPS tracker with a Raspberry pi for less than $50.

To start, your need the following parts:

  • A Raspberry pi zero

  • A Lithium polymere battery 6600 mAh

  • A sim card

  • A battery charger

  • A SD card with Raspbian OS (Linux derivated Operating system) installed on it for the Raspberry pi board

  • A passive GSM antenna

  • A GPS antenna

  • A GPS - GSM module (Adafruit Fona 808)

  • A micro USB to USB cable

  • Prototyping wires female to female

All this on your desk you can start wiring the GPS-GSM module pins to the Raspberry pi zero via a serial connection (RX and TX) and the power as showed below.

Raspberry pi zero <--> GPS-GSM module ''Fona''

  • 3.3V <--> Vio

  • GND <--> GND

  • TX <--> RX

  • RX <--> TX

Then connect the Battery, the Fona and the Raspberry pi withe the USB cable, the GSM antenna and set up the serial connection between the raspberry pi and the Fona.

To be able to transmit the informations when outside, an internet connection is needed (with the Fona and a Sim card) by configuring a Point-to-point protocol (PPP).

After being able to stream all the data from the GPS via the Cellular network (GSM GPRS), we'll display it on an application with our smartphone or computer.

Then if you want to have a more transportable project, you can create a case by design it or make one DIY with a cardboard as the following picture.

If You want to create your own GPS, you can follow the next link to have all the details on the project: Create a DIY GPS with a raspberry pi

That's a very interesting project with electronics, raspberry pi, programming, Linux and more. You can improve if you want and why not put the GPS on your cat, dog to follow them or companie's cars.

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See you soon for another article. Take care. ;-)

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