I want to build a GPS tracking system for my beehives. Nowadays there is (unfortunately) a problem with theft and the following are my requirements:
- Allow GPS coordinates of various beehive locations (up to 10 – 20 ) locations and each location can have 3 to 4 individual beehives to be read and or periodically send. Would need to use the internet.
- Generate alarm immediately when coordinates change unexpectedly.
- Data / info to be forwarded to mobile device (android).
- Distances vary from 1 -2 km up to 60km from home base.
Not yet thinking of video monitoring, but that is possible for the future. This will also help me remembering where my beehives are located…
Now I am looking for what would be the best approach hardware wise (and also any particular software requirements) to achieve this. I found on the internet that there are GPS Tracker modules for ESP32’s, but they seem all focused on vehicle tracking. In addition any advise regarding using cloud services is also appreciated.
I can build (reasonably well hidden) the ESP32 unit inside a beehive, but would be concerned about any external antennas, for the same reason avoiding Solar panels. Would probably end up using 9V battery as power source.
Any suggestions on how to best approach this (without costing the earth) are welcome.
Thanks for your help.
If you need internet in your ESP32 without a router nearby, you need an ESP32 that supports a SIM card to connect to the internet using a data plan.
There are several options for that. We’ve experimented with the ESP32 SIM800L and it worked well when we tried to connect to the internet using a data plan.
However, if I’m not mistaken, it doesn’t have GPS. You can add a separate GPS module like the NEO6M.I’ve tried it with the ESP32 and it works well. However, for it to work properly, it needs to be able to pick up signal from satellites. I’m not sure if it will be able to do that if you place it inside the beehives. You need to experiment and see what you get.
I’ve found the SIM808 that includes GSM, GPRS and GPS all in one board. But it is a bit expensive.
To send notifications, you can send your data to thingspeak for example, if you want to monitor them over time. You can also use Telegram to send notifications to your smartphone when something unexpected happens.
I hope this helps.
The SIM800 products are 2G only and won’t work in the USA (Don’t know where in the world you are but I would check that you have 2G available before ordering one).
There is a 4G + GPS shield for Arduino Uno style boards (Don’t really need an ESP32 as WiFi is not gonna work without a nearby router) from Botletics.
You will still need an antenna but you could probably hide it pretty well with some paint.
The biggest problem with these boards is the amount of power they use. A 9V battery just won’t cut it. You’ll need a 3.7V Lipo at the very least. I would be inclined to use an accelerometer sensor (Or a cheap mercury switch to detect a tilt. No power needed.) to detect movement that wakes up the Arduino with an interrupt. Then the arduino can take GPS reading and send via LTE to a server. It can keep doing this until battery depletes.
Hmmmm. Maybe an ESP32 could be used. With 3-4 beehives in close proximity you could have a master Arduino with LTE shield and use ESP-NOW protocol (Don’t need a router) to communicate with it from slave ESP32’s. That would be the cheapest way. Trouble is, if they only stole one or two beehives with slaves then you won’t know where they got to.
Thanks for your responses. I am living in Australia and the 2G network has been shut down, so that does not work. I like the idea of using a master Arduino with slaves. In general my beehives are set up within close proximity of each other. Will also have a closer look at the SIM808 or equivalent to check if they have 3G or 4G. The microcontrollers (SP32’s or Arduino) are most of the time in deep sleep and need only to be interrupted by an unexpected event. I will also try the NEO6m with GPS.