Hardware for GPS Tracker


I’m new on the LoRaWan forum and would like to realise a ebike tracker.
In the first step, I just want to create a simple LoraWAN tracker.
At the end, I would like to :

  • When I go ride, the tracker can detect my phone with a BLE beacon. If the phone is no more detected and the bike move, then it should send me an alarm through LoRaWan on my phone.
  • If the bike move or is not at Home position, reporting the position of the bike every 10 minutes.
  • Have an application on my phone to read tracker position. Is it possible?

Can you advice me on :

  • Do I need to buy a LoRaWAN gateway ? I suppose that if a gateway is in my zone, the LoRAWAN device will be detected by any gateway.
  • I’m in Belgium and I need to create an account on a LoRaWan server. This part is not clear for me. If I chose one platform working in Belgium, then will it also work in France on other Network. In other words, are all Network interconnected?
  • I also see that the TTN V3 is now the new version. Should I also be care when I choose the hardware or is it only at the software level ?

With which hardware I can start ? I’m a bit lost with all those possibilities.

Without GPS :

With GPS :


I would like also to select a commercial tracker : Do you have experience with one of this list ?

Once the hardware is selected, where is the best place to start the development?

Thank a lot for advices.

For developing your own product, this is definitely very very useful and usually a life-saver. Having access to the console of a gateway is almost mandatory while developing.

Yup, all gateways that are wired to the TTN eu1 server exchange information, so you will be able to use French, Dutch and whatever gateways you come across. But contributing with your own gateway is part of being a community - you use others’, they can use yours :slight_smile:

This is 99% a matter of software, and most LW software out there has support for V3; this is likely the least of your concerns.

Generally, my personal advice would be to buy a board that has integrated GPS. Those boards usually take care of power, connections and connectors which helps for developing. With regards to which one, I don’t have that much experience - it mostly comes down to the size of the tracker vs. how easy it is to work with…


I’ll follow your recommendation and buy a node with GPS and a gateway.
For the node, I have selected the following devices. Depending of dimension and spec, I’ll chose one of the list :


For the gateway, I need to search a it unless you have recommendation.

Best Regards

Very outdated, please don’t.

Have four of these on my desk as I’m developing my own tracker / mapper with these. Documentation very poor, hardware quite nice.

Don’t let the “Meshtastic” part get to you - the T-Beam in general is a pretty solid device. The Neo-6M is a bit old but still usable; there are more expensive versions with more modern GNSS receivers. Doesn’t really matter for getting it working though.

They very much try to hide the GNSS part of this; the nRF platform could be nice but a bit of a hassle. No experience, don’t take my word for it.

Looks cool, should be well usable.

For the gateway, use Forum Search - discussed very often with lots of recommendations flying around.

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DO NOT - the ASR has many issues that make it tricky for LW

Apart from having to reset the GPS because the Meshtastic firmware turns it off! Otherwise all good.

The Wio is a bit big for a tracker and the Arduino is a bit of an unknown entity - neither have come up on the forum so support will be variable.

The Heltec Wireless Tracker is the best because it is @stevencellist’s bee-atch, he has his performing on command. Just don’t install any Heltec libraries unless you are a sadomasochist and want to post issues that anyone sensible will ignore.

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It seems the Heltec wireless-tracker is a good choose to start and the size is also very good for a eBike tracker. I’ll order one. Thank !
You tell me I don’t have to install Heltec libraries and documentation are poor.
Where can I start with this device ?
@descartes : what do you mean with “bee-atch” ?
About the “T-Beam Meshtastic”.
I though it can be also used for LoRaWAN. Is this device only for https://meshtastic.org/ ? I suppose it’s a question of FW and can work on both system ? Or is it specific HW for each Network ?
Which Lilygo device is best with better GNSS?
Once I have played with Heltec, I’ll check the Cicerone board (Size good)


@stevencellist will be along shortly to point the way - we use RadioLib for LW, the rest he knows about.

Steven has the board full under his control, it is his bi-tch.

They promote it to the Meshtastic community and ship it with the firmware pre-loaded. But it is generic hardware that can be used for LoRaWAN - I’ve two on my desk doing that right now - you just write your Arduino program and download it to the board like any other board. If it turns out that the Meshtastic firmware has turned off the GPS, then we can give you the commands to turn it back on.

Lilygo tend to mix & match which GPS module they put on from the u-Blox range but any of them will narrow down where your bike is - if you can get on with a Neo-8M on it, that’s better but it’s not super critical. They don’t do anything with a “better” GNSS module, mostly because “better” is hard to define with so many options that need things like an internet connection or for inertial assist etc.

Mostly a question for the Heltec forum, but here’s a quick start:

  • get the display going with Adafruit’s library for the ST7735 (and ST7789).
    to get it actually display something, the Vext_Ctrl pin (GPIO3) and Backlight pin (GPIO21) should be set to HIGH.
  • get the GNSS receiver going with TinyGPS++ library.
    to get it actually receiving something, the Vext_Ctrl pin (GPIO3) should be set to HIGH
  • get LoRaWAN going with RadioLib as mentioned by @descartes

Most importantly, you will find great use in printing the schematic diagram on an A4 or A3 paper and keeping it on your desk. It took me like 3~5 hours of staring at that thing to start to understand it, but eventually found out that all of the necessary bits are on there.

For all the other parts: it is just an ESP32-S3 with WiFi, BLE and all sorts of pins, but all of that can be found using mister Google. Or the Heltec Forum search button - there are quite some useful bits to be found there.

I would concur.

The 8M GPSs are ‘better’ in the sense that they are lower power consumption, but otherwise in relation to fix times and accuracy there is not a lot of difference.

As a general point, bigger GPS antennas will reduce fix times and thus in turn reduce power consumption.


Thank a lot for your recommendations. I have ordered an Heltec Tracker for the first step with LoRaWAN…

I’m learning now Network providers and gateway

1) About Provider :
I have understood that TTN and Helium have good coverage.

I live in Belgium and currently only the north of Belgium is well covered.

Is it possible for a tracker device to register for two different Network (Helium and TTN) ?
The goal is increase the coverage for a tracker which can move around Europe (stolen bike).

About Gateway
Gateway choose
List gateway

Best Regards


Ah, the video from Herr Spiess!

The most important things to select from that list are:
a) connectivity (WiFi/ethernet/4G)
b) external antenna is very much a plus
c) basic station is generally a plus
d) price of course :wink:

Nope, it’s not. And, as you are likely to use RadioLib, that doesn’t support Helium either. Plus this forum is TTN only, not Helium for which you should look at Helium communities / forum if any of that is still active.

So it’s probably best to get on your bike and cycle around Belgium promoting LoRaWAN and TTN so that people start installing more gateways to improve coverage :grin:

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Forum search should provide you with the answer why it can’t be done. So the answer is no.

For gateway, I have seen :
Elecrow LR1302 : GPS + FAN + RTC + Standard SMA + Header + Price : +/- 40 $
Seeed WM1302 : GPS, Price : 25 + 20 + 5 = 50 $
RAK5146 : +/- 105 $
RAK7246 : +/- 115 $

But after searching for documentation and support, I decided to not going for a Rpi (dispite I have some Rpi v2 in stock).

So, I retain two devices :

Sensecap m2 : +/- 2W, Price : +/- 99 $ available on SeeedStudio

RAK7268V2 : SX1302 + CUPS + Basic Station + Full server inside ? : +/- 140 $ available on AliExpress

I think I’ll compare about support, documentation, specifications…
Maybe I’ll go for RAK device.

As you are hoping to track outside, you should consider antenna connection & placement.

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I’ll first make my first step with the original antenna.
But yes, a better antenna will be good for an installation in my attic.
Do you have a recommendation for a better antenna?

The goal with the tracker is to follow the bike when I go riding far from my house.
I suppose it is possible to ask the tracker to send the position each 10 minutes to the TTN Network when it moves or each 30 minutes when it stays at the same place?
I suppose it is possible programming the tracker…

For the gateway, are both RAK7268 and SenseCAPM2 comparable in term of features/documentation/support ?

Best Regards

And so it begins.

Tracking stolen bike using LoRaWAN in a well covered area, OK, not great, but OK.

Any form of live tracking, just no. It won’t be 10 minutes, it will be in breach of the Fair Use Policy before you’ve even taken it on its first run out.

If it hasn’t moved, why send at all?

As for antenna, how about one outside? As for the docs, you need to read them and see if they make sense to you - not that you particularly understand the details, but that you can follow along. The bottom line is that RAK ship a lot of gateways, for Seeed it’s just another product.


I can imagine the following.

  1. Enable the tracking through my phone before going out with the bike.
  2. If The tracker is near my phone (BLE beacon on my phone) then it is not necessary to send the position.
  3. If the bike start to move and the beacon is not detected, then it should start to send GPS information.

Is it something reasonable and what can be the periodic send ?

I suppose that there are commercial device like Invoxia

If this is not possible then I need to find another way.

What you’ve put in three bullet points is fine. But your previous post indicated you were thinking of transmitting tracking whilst on your bike which is problematic for a whole host of reasons and pointless if it can store it on device for download via home WiFi &/or via BLE on your phone. Or even not bother at all as your phone could track your ride and save the device battery for if the bike is stolen.

Please read the Learn section to fill in the blanks on such core information - which includes the Fair Use Policy and legal limits on how often you can transmit.

The presence of a commercial device does not side step either, so not a solution to what you want to do.

And perhaps you should re-read my message - stolen bike tracking OK, live tracking not OK. There are so many forum posts on tracking that you may want to try using the search facilities.

Just get the basics going and learn about the background to what you are doing as you progress, rather than trying to come up with the ultimate spec which then crosses over the line of legality. And as a security device, the simpler you make it, the more likely it is to work when you need it.

Hi Nick,
Thank for the recommendation.

I read : Duty-Cycle
I also follow this video and understand better restrictions with TTN.
LoRa/LoRaWAN tutorial 3: Rules and Regulations (youtube.com)

As I just need to transmit a GPS information :

  1. Every 30 minutes when I go ride (I need to activate it on a specific day) : this is to know that a TTN Network is availble in the region I ride. Otherwhise, how can I know it? And how can I know the Tracker is working ?
  2. When the bike is in the status stolen, every 10-15 minutes. I need to have an update ASAP to find the bike quickly.

So, I suppose LoRaWan will be possible for a tracker system and respect the limitation.
I’ll also read other post on tracker here on this forum.
Best Regards

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If your nearest Gateway is a long distance, and the tracker then goes to SF12, the FUP would allow you about 24 transmissions a day.

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