Help needed: sensor with gps for boat

(Chrisvr) #1

Hi there, I want to secure mu boat in Amsterdam so I can track his location - and be alerted when it is moving.

I have seen this 'node' RASPBERRY PI LORA/GPS HAT - 868MHZ, but its an extension for a Raspberry - and that one has no battery, is using much power.

So I would like to get some help from more experienced TTN users to get my project starting..

Thnaks in advance.

(Seigers) #2

Maybe you have to look at a sodaq one. It have an gps, movingsensor and Lora. I have tried this and is's working perfectly. It's Based on an arduino.


or a fencing one with movement.
works also when there is NO gateway in sight :wink:

(Verkehrsrot) #4

you may take a closer look here:

(Sandgroper) #5

A Pi is too power hungry for this application.

(Chrisvr) #6

Thank you all guys for the options.

I will have a look - @BoRRoZ your suggestions are based ons GSM or am I wrong?

(Chrisvr) #7

Sodaq dells components to build a node yourself, correct? So you have used it already..which parts do I need exactly?


yes you're right

  • gsm = more suitable for tracking
  • works everywhere, not only close to a (working at that moment) lorawan gateway
  • way more cheaper

lorawan is not a very good platform for realtime location tracking, however technically its feasable, at high costs compared to a simple gsm tracker.

(Chrisvr) #9

I agree, but as I onow LoraWan is upcoming in Amsterdam, I wanted to look at this technology.

About Sodaq, can you tell me whoch parts I need for boat tracking?

And is there a out of the box platform/service to use to check where the boat is, and alerting system?

(Kiwiclan) #10

You could just settle for alerting you when someone is trying to steal your boat for starters. For that lorawan is quite suitable, maybe ideal. This thread may be a good starter for that one:

I'm curious as to what sensor you would use? Clearly you could use a PIR sensor on the inside of your boat, however it would be much more desirable to know before they've broken in. Boats would pose a particularly difficult problem here. A pir sensor would see way past the boat. Boats rock so you can't use that. You could use pressure sensors but installation is not trivial. That approach may provide the best working solution though if you could achieve it realistically. I've considered using upwards pointing microwave movement detectors for that purposes, mounted under the deck, however my experiments with microwave movement detectors have not yield good results.

Let me know if you find a good sensor approach. If you have that solved, I can help on the other side of it. The alerting and a node for example :slight_smile:


(Chrisvr) #11

Hi there, maybe this is what I am looking for.. water proof, and on LoraWan.. and it can handle a 3G/GSM sim card.

Solution needed, it is more for the motor, that they can steal. But maybe I want to place a second unit at the boat it self as well.

An alert is needed when it is moving while not in the boat.. and I want to check it's location (where I place it) when I am somewhere else - by just requesting it's location and position it on a map .


You can see many variants (LORA, GSM, satellite) here

(Kiwiclan) #13

Or this one


If you want to put some effort in yourself and you are experienced with Arduino, then I would start with a Sodaq One. That comes with a GPS onboard, active antenna. And it comes with a fully fledged open source GPS tracker application that you can start with.
I would not use the motion (acceleration) sensor to trigger the platform as suggested here, but the magnetic compass instead (which is also onboard in the Sodaq One). A boat is moving all the time, and the motion when it is docked does not differ much from when it is on the move. On the Sodaq forum there are code examples on how to trigger the platform out of sleep mode using the compass.
Then you also need a backend to warn you that your boat is on the move. We have done some test with similar trackers on bikes, and we have built our own mobile app for that purpose. It's not that hard to do and plot your boat on a map with course and speed info.

If you are not handy with Arduino, I would suggest going for a ready-to-use GSM-based tracker to prevent frustration and disappointment :slight_smile:

(Kiwiclan) #15

Would you put the compass on the motor? If they steal a motor I'm not sure how that would affect a compass placed on a boat.

Clearly you could also install a wire loop to the motor that gets broken when the motor is stolen, how that suffers from the same flaw as traditional burglar alarms. Like closing the stable door when the horse has bolted. If you have a high chance that a burglar will board the boat to steal something the most reliable sensor would be a pressure mat. You won't get false alerts from a pressure mat and it is still proactive. False alerts are likely to be your biggest bug bear.



While boats do rock you can still use a tilt sensor because if a driver sits in the back of the boat then the angle of the boat is significantly different. The same you could do with your outboard engine. If you park the boat with the engine tilted upwards you can set a trigger when someone tilts the engine into the water.

(Kiwiclan) #17

That's quite a nice approach. Especially if just protecting the engine is the main concern.


then I leave the engine and just tow the boat :wink:


Sooner or later we will ping you, you cannot not use the boat or engine forever :smiling_imp:

(Sandgroper) #20

If the boat is at anchor (not tied to a jetty) in an area subject to the ebb and flow of tides, then the boat will rotate through 180 degrees following the tide. Similarly, but less dramatically, the direction of the boat is impacted by wind.

If a boat moves in the direction that the boat was already facing when it was at idle then the compass will not help until the boat changes direction significantly enough to be above the hysterisis level defined to avoid false events (ignoring the tidal wind direction change problem).

I would look for a GPS with a fast sync capability, turn it on every five minutes, take a measurement and use the measurement to determine is a trigger event has occurred.