GPS tracking chips

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redleder

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Are there any low cost GPS chips that can be installed in the rocket body to aid in recovery? I lost one this weekend in a very large area but it went so high that that it drifted a long way away when the chute released up so high. I didn't want to use a chute release on this one because I would rather loose the rocket rather than the release in this area. The rocket was only 20 bucks or so plus motor but it got me thinking. That a cheap chip would have helped me find it after a 10-15 minute hike to get it and not be able to visually see it.

Thx.


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Handeman

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By chip I assume you mean a radio transmitter that sends the transmitter's GPS coordinates(location) to a receiver. The actual GPS chips are cheap, it's the parts and development of the radio transmitter that will cost.

So unfortunately, no I don't know of any usable system that is cheap.
 

dhkaiser

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The Chute Release would be cheaper than any GPS locator that I am aware of.
 

Worsaer

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By chip I assume you mean a radio transmitter that sends the transmitter's GPS coordinates(location) to a receiver. The actual GPS chips are cheap, it's the parts and development of the radio transmitter that will cost.

So unfortunately, no I don't know of any usable system that is cheap.
Define 'cheap'. An EggFinder kit is relatively inexpensive compared with others.
 

redleder

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Was thinking like 20-30$. But I see your point.


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scsager

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Are there any low cost GPS chips that can be installed in the rocket body to aid in recovery? I lost one this weekend in a very large area but it went so high that that it drifted a long way away when the chute released up so high. I didn't want to use a chute release on this one because I would rather loose the rocket rather than the release in this area. The rocket was only 20 bucks or so plus motor but it got me thinking. That a cheap chip would have helped me find it after a 10-15 minute hike to get it and not be able to visually see it.

Thx.


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Seems like there should be something like this - what with all the awesome technology we have now-a-days. Stick a "GPS tracker chip" in your rocket and launch it. Then when you want to find it... just whip-out your smart phone, open the "Rocket Locator App" and beep-beep-beep there is your rocket displayed on a map so you can walk right to it... no fuss, no muss.

Isn't that how it should work?

Well - yes we DO have that technology. However, it's bigger and heavier than a "chip". Due to the size and weight it adds to the rocket, it's not really very useful for anything less than an "F" motor. The cost starts at about $90 for the most basic "Eggfinder" Kit, and goes up from there. The top-of-the-line "Multi-tronics" unit runs about $2500.

In the photo below, my "Eggfinder" mounts in the nosecone of a 2.6" diameter rocket. It displays its location on my phone - as you can see... The rocket is located in my house. :)

2017-03-13 18.29.12.jpg
 

Handeman

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Was thinking like 20-30$. But I see your point.
Stick around. Cheap is relative. When I started and flew MPR, a $12 G motor was expensive, now they are cheap since I fly J & K motors a lot. If you have a $1000+ stuck into a rocket and motor case, $200 for a tracking system is cheap.
 

Nytrunner

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Best deal.ive heard is the telemetrum.

350 for the rocket unit,
100 for the Bluetooth unit.
60 for a commercial handheld antenna.
X$ for the smartphone you probably have.
Finding your rocket........Priceless

If others want to break down the cost of other systems, please do! I'll file it away for when I start to fly high.
 

RocketDestroyer

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The TeleGPS is only $200. Add the TeleBT for $150 and build your own antenna and use your existing cell phone. Or use the USB receiver for $100 and your PC. Maybe not the cheapest but works very well.

Terry
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Missileworks RTX is around 250. Would have to add a USB or Bluetooth dongle I think. And hooks to the RRC3 for streaming it's data as well.
 

ksaves2

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The Giant Leap Rocketry Trackimo for one who absolutely is technology averse. Needs decent cell phone service at the venue it's used though. I'm a GPS/Ham person and all of the Altus or Beeline GPS devices require a Ham license (except the Beeline 900Mhz. I do both 900Mhz and the ham stuff and the 70cm band propagates better. That said, for sport flying the 900Mhz ISM, NMEA trackers are perfectly fine. They weren't economically available in the "olden" days hence I tested for a General Ham license. This recent thread shows what can be done with the unlicensed trackers. http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?137555-Eggfinder-Map-tracks.

Robert DeHate did a "teeny-tiny" GPS tracker himself but it wasn't commercially made available many years ago. Problem with "small" is cost and limited power output. Kurt
 

redleder

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Thanks for all the great information. I can see that I still have much to learn, which is always fun. I was hoping for something along the lines of the Tile concept, but that is bluetooth and needs to be within a 100 ft. Not very useful when your rocket is 3000+ ft away. I will look into the Egg Finder for some of next rockets that are larger in scale and have a couple hundred dollars worth of electronics in them.
 

Nytrunner

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Missileworks RTX is around 250. Would have to add a USB or Bluetooth dongle I think. And hooks to the RRC3 for streaming it's data as well.

So what's the system layout there?
-RTX connected to RRC3 altimeter in rocket.
-Bluetooth dongle synced to laptop or smartphone.
??
 

Crazyrocket

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You do not need the RRC3 for the RTx. It will stream the RRC3 data if it is tethered to the RTx. The standard system has the RTx in the rocket and a base unit which will display the GPS data from the RTx. You can then put the GPS data into a smartphone or GPS handheld unit to go to your rocket. You can also upgrade to a navigation system which puts a GPS unit on the base unit. You then use your based unit to "navigate" to the rocket. Checkout the Missileworks website for all of the details. I have the navigation system and it is pretty slick!
 

ksaves2

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As a ham radio operator I was thinking about nabbing a AP510 APRS tracker. About $120. https://www.sainsonic.com/ap510-apr...th-thermometer-tf-card-support-aprsdroid.html
It's only 100 grams without the case.

The next Byonic Micro-Trak at $200. Here is a comparison of several. https://www.tracksoar.com/tracksoar-comparison/

Michael
I'm waiting for someone to report on flying a Tracksoar in a rocket. A couple folks said they bought them. I am not willing to risk $200.00 on a device designed to fly in a sedate gas balloon. My concern is whether or not that tiny GPS receiver antenna is going to perform in a high dynamic and perhaps spinning rocket flight. An optimal 2 meter Rf antenna can be a bit long and anything shorter is a compromise. A balloon at 100k' can tolerate a less than desirable antenna setup. It's an APRS setup so Ham radio it is.

The Sainsonic is a transceiver so buy two and one can be a receive station for a bluetooth link to an Android or WinBlows tablet tracking program. Of course APRS rigs (D72/74, VX8GR,FT1DR) can track and the AP510 is tunable so the national 144.390 APRS frequency doesn't have to be used. One doesn't have to P/O the APRS police for high rate tracking that
could tie up the digipeaters if the PATH statements are incorrectly set on 144.390.

Problem with the AP510 is the learning curve setting it up is high but there is a helpful Yahoo group and an online video to get the software to work. It's not for the faint of heart.

I saw a fellow report here he was flying with one over a year ago and loved it. Would lend itself to a larger rocket due to size, I'd say 3 or 4 inch diameter with a long nosecone. 1.1 watt output would really help with the range and decoding.

Higher power Rf trackers can dork deployment electronics so be forewarned. NAR article in Sport Rocketry reported with converted 2 watt Garmin Dog trackers on the MURS band
(~150Mhz) locked up a few deployment alitmeters. They can shutdown, recycle, deploy charges at inopportune moments so it's best to mock up with contained bare ematches
and turn everything on and let the rocket sit for an hour. If nothing untoward happens you're likely good to fly.

Several years back at MWP a 2watt dog tracker shutdown two Adept 22 altimeters in a 16 foot tall project that went in ballistic sight unseen. I was there and had helped mix and pack the
the O motor 3 weeks before. Later, builder created another rocket of the same design and tried to use two new Adept 22's but separated them something like 3 feet from the tracker.
I had a cow when told it wasn't being tested before flight. I strongly suggested an all up ground test. Guess what? With the ground test (Thank God!) same darned thing happened! Both altimeters shutdown and locked in a couple of minutes. Flier got different electronics but next time had a motor casing failure. Rocket went up the rail when the aft end of the casing blew out and several of the 6 inch flaming motor grains fell out as it went up the rail and flopped off the end. The fire consumed the rocket AND the launch trailer! Was the fourth firing of the casing with a solid graphite nozzle and the repeated heat stress on the aft end of the casing turned the aluminum brittle. A shame as the case was a work of art. Retrospectively we didn't realize
at the time an all phenolic or phenolic nozzle holder with a graphite throat might have been more appropriate.

One other thing with the AP510. Might want to wrap some tape around the top mounted push button momentary On/Off switch after turning the device on
to fly in a rocket. The switch is lightweight and probably won't be affected by G forces all them much. In order for a switch push to turn it on or off, it has
to be held down for several seconds in order for the action to be carried out. That helps prevent an inadvertent shutting off of the device. A few wraps of tape
around the switch should help secure it well enough. I'd fly one of mine if I had a big enough rocket. Kurt
 

OverTheTop

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Best deal.ive heard is the telemetrum.

350 for the rocket unit,
100 for the Bluetooth unit.
60 for a commercial handheld antenna.
X$ for the smartphone you probably have.
Finding your rocket........Priceless
Yep. 21500', Mach 1.8, completely out of sight. 4.5km later I drove up to it. Priceless.

Same rocket is lost in a field because somebody pushed the launch button before the GSE was booted. That's $1100 sitting in a paddock for 18 months so far. :( :(
 

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skydog

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There are cheap GPS units available on eBay that send text messages over the cellular network. I used one successfully in my high-altitude rocket. They sell for around 20-30 dollars. Like this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TK102B-GPS...495672?hash=item1c5da9d5b8:g:S3cAAOSwrVddTTSx
They need a sim card installed; those are cheap too:
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=gsm gps sim
It's basically a GPS married to a cell phone. You text or call it's number and it texts you back with position and speed.
Another option is a cheap smartphone ($50) with a tracker app that will ride in the rocket and send real-time position and track data to your phone on the ground:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.greenalp.realtimetracker2
 

ksaves2

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There are cheap GPS units available on eBay that send text messages over the cellular network. I used one successfully in my high-altitude rocket. They sell for around 20-30 dollars. Like this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TK102B-GPS...495672?hash=item1c5da9d5b8:g:S3cAAOSwrVddTTSx
They need a sim card installed; those are cheap too:
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=gsm gps sim
It's basically a GPS married to a cell phone. You text or call it's number and it texts you back with position and speed.
Another option is a cheap smartphone ($50) with a tracker app that will ride in the rocket and send real-time position and track data to your phone on the ground:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.greenalp.realtimetracker2
Cold thread Skydog. A lot of folks know about the cell phone trackers but as I recall once down or if close to the ground, one must call the device and hope the GPS antenna is oriented properly to get a fix. Then there is a field of error around the final lay depending on the chipset and it would be best to have a noisemaker on the harness so one’s ears can do the final homing in. Then there is the monthly fee one must pay to maintain the system. 2G trackers are going to be obsolete if not already because I’m told that system is going away.

Something that gives a continuous data stream can be most helpful to develop a drift trend which can be pivotal with a difficult albeit long range recovery. Granted most sport fliers won’t need that but if one gets a main at an outrageous apogee, could mean the difference between a looooooong successful recovery versus a total loss. O.K. I went to the eBay link and it says to insert a 2G SIM card. I’ll mention again that I’ve read where 2G is being phased out in the US so the device will be useless after a certain time. I was pi##ed when they turned off the analog cellphone system. All my bag and Motorola flip phones were useless. They were effing bullet proof and built to military specs.
Kurt
 

OverTheTop

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2G went away here a few years back.

Most launch sites have problems with GSM coverage. There is a 35km hard limit from the tower which is built into the system also, regardless of signal strength.
 

ksaves2

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Soooooo, Save up and get a dedicated rocket tracker? Kurt
 

Philip Tiberius D.

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The Chute Release would be cheaper than any GPS locator that I am aware of.
It $129 and you can still lose one. I know because my chute didn’t deploy (nose cone issue maybe) and lost rocket $100 + JL AltimeterThree $100 + JL chute release $129... A tracker would have been helpful and saved me $$$.
 

Philip Tiberius D.

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Soooooo, Save up and get a dedicated rocket tracker? Kurt
Ahhhhh.... but which one? Go get a Ham License ($ and time) then cough up $$$ for a tracker? Use a dog collar tracker? Pick up the one on Apogee for $400, or an Eggtracker?
 

Wayco

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Hands down the Eggfinder is the best deal. We also fly the Featherweight GPS, hard to say which one is better, but they both work good.
My eggfinders have flown to 29,000 ft. and landed 4 miles away, walked right up to the rocket.
 

Philip Tiberius D.

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Hands down the Eggfinder is the best deal. We also fly the Featherweight GPS, hard to say which one is better, but they both work good.
My eggfinders have flown to 29,000 ft. and landed 4 miles away, walked right up to the rocket.
That's quite an endorsement... I just sent an email to the guys (gals) at Eggfinder detailing my predicament - honestly for the price it's worth doing. I like the one on Apogee but just hate shelling out $400 (but then I just lost over $400) but I know Tim makes great stuff. However, Christmas is just around the corner...
 
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Handeman

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I fly on the east coast so the altitudes are not that high, but the woods, brush, corn fields, soy bean, and hills can make finding your rocket very hard to impossible.

I've been using the Missleworks T3 system for a couple seasons now and it's been great. The latest update to Rocket Locator app allows Google Maps Satellite views if you have cell service in the area. You can also pre-download the map images for your launch area if you don't have cell service at the site.

At $155 for the whole set up it's a bargain in my book. You just need a blue tooth device to get the data from the receiver.
 

Philip Tiberius D.

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I fly on the east coast so the altitudes are not that high, but the woods, brush, corn fields, soy bean, and hills can make finding your rocket very hard to impossible.

I've been using the Missleworks T3 system for a couple seasons now and it's been great. The latest update to Rocket Locator app allows Google Maps Satellite views if you have cell service in the area. You can also pre-download the map images for your launch area if you don't have cell service at the site.

At $155 for the whole set up it's a bargain in my book. You just need a blue tooth device to get the data from the receiver.
I’m torn between going up there this morning looking for a while and coming back (6 hrs round trip travel), May just chalk it to the Rocket gods - hope someone finds it and calls and look up the Missleworks T3. Thanks
 
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