EYE on NPI – Particle Tracker One #EyeOnNPI #Adafruit #DigiKey @Particle @DigiKey @Adafruit

This weeks EYE ON NPI (video) is on track to being our favorite yet – it’s the Particle Tracker One from our BFF particle.io! The Tracker One is, as the name suggests, an all-in-one asset tracker that contains an LTE cellular module (Quectel EG91-EX), WiFi module (ESP32) and BLE main processor (nRF52840) all with support for Particle’s famed IoT coding/deployment cloud.

Technical Specifications

  • Includes the asset tracker SoM mounted on carrier board and installed in an IP67-rated enclosure
  • Cellular: highly reliable LTE CAT M1 (NA) (Quectel BG96), LTE CAT 1 with 3G, 2G fallback (EMEAA) (Quectel EG91-EX)
  • IP67-rated M8 connector includes CAN Bus, UART, GPIO, and power for simple expansion
  • GNSS provided by u-blox NEO-M8U with onboard dead-reckoning for up to 1.8 m CEP50 GPS accuracy
  • Wi-Fi® location via onboard ESP32 with SSID scanning for third-party Wi-Fi location services
  • Powerful and efficient MCU: Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 SoC Arm® Cortex®-M4F 32-bit processor at 64 MHz with 1 MB Flash, 256 KB RAM, and Bluetooth®
  • Flexible power supply accepts 4.5 V to 30 V power supply (105 V may be used if connecting power direct to the carrier board without using the M8 connector). Also accepts 5 V supply via USB-C. Switched LiPo battery connector, charge LED, backup battery for GPS and RTC
  • PMIC and fuel gauge: integrated power management, LiPo charger, and battery connector
  • High-precision thermistor: with accuracy to 1%

  • USB-C®: for flashing, debugging, and power with higher charging rates than micro-USB
  • RGB LED: for use as both a user-configurable device as well as Particle status information
  • Backup battery: for RTC and GNSS
  • Open asset tracker library: complete, ready-to-use asset-tracking application enables rapid implementation and time to market
  • Extensible: modular implementation with user hooks means that it is easy to add your sensors to the application and report that data along with location data
  • Configurable: publish is configurable by Particle console
  • Location service: the Particle console offers snapshot and historical location viewing. This includes location, battery, IMU, and temperature data. Locations can be filtered by group or devices characteristics
  • Data storage: location data is stored in the Particle cloud for analysis, reporting, and retention
  • Publish configuration: publish rates and triggers can be configured from the Particle console by product or device
  • Configuration on wakeup: the asset tracker can go to sleep and be configured from settings created in the console on wakeup
  • Sleep configuration: deep sleep can be enabled or disabled. Sleep on low battery
  • Configurable crash detection: wake on IMU, crash, and threshold publishing may be configured
  • Secure database storage: all data is stored encrypted to ensure GDPR compliance

Particle has come a long way from their initial Spark Core board and then the next-gen Particle Photon! But the same idea has been the same – an IoT device that uses a powerful back-end IDE to compile and deploy code over WiFi, Cellular or Bluetooth. A common usage for IoT devices, especially cellular is ‘asset tracking‘ – A.K.A. “where the heck is that thing I own and what is up with it?” The “thing” in question may be a pallet of goods, a truck or bus, a soda machine, etc. Sometimes that thing is moving around, and you want to verify where it is (like a bus), sometimes you know where it is but you want to get status information (say, are we out of Dr Pepper in this soda machine and we need to refill it).

You can get everyday cellular asset trackers pretty easily – cell modems with a GPS attached and they’ll respond with lat/long when queried by SMS, or they could send an email or post to a website. That’s not a hard problem to solve (although it is somewhat hard to make it reliable). What is more challenging is when you have additional data you want to add, like say temperature and humidity inside the truck, or if you want to connect the tracker to a CAN network. There’s this steep ‘cliff’ of knowledge between something off-the-shelf and something with just a little bit more smarts.

What’s smart about Particle’s solutions is they already have a well-established and secure code deployment system, which is so hard to do. Especially useful when you have a coder managing a device off-site and needs to tweak the code – getting debug data and being able to compile and upload remotely is really cool!

The Tracker One is an open source ‘reference’ design, you can download the EagleCAD files from GitHub and adjust them as necessary if you want to add or remove components. The main component that does the ‘brain work’ of the board is the Particle T402MEA SOM, which is available separately from Digi-Key and either hand-solder or place-and-reflow in a custom design.

The Tracker One is nice in that you get the antennas, battery and durable enclosure. For external sensor or machinery interfacing, there’s an IP67 port on the side of the Tracker One with CAN, UART and some GPIO.

Once you get the Tracker, set it up over on the Particle website. You will need to activate the SIM card and attach a credit card for billing. The standard rate is about $7/month for 25 MB of data which is good enough for low-data IoT transfer (temperature, location, motion detection, etc). It does take a few hours to get the SIM activated, like any other cellular device, so give yourself a day to enable it.

We like the durability, the ease of setup and the hack-ability of this cellular board. It’s simple to open up if you need access to the debug port. If you don’t need a lot of GPIO, then you may be able to use it as-is just using the port to send/receive data and keep the battery topped up! The price is really great, both for the Tracker itself and the monthly service – it would be difficult to make something like this DIY style at a lower price.

You can get both the Tracker One ATT / USA version and the Tracker One Vodaphone / EMEA version. Both are in stock at Digi-Key right now, order tonight and you will be tracking by tomorrow.

See more at Digi-Key at https://www.digikey.com/short/z03jm4.

Manufacturer’s video:

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.