Have you ever wondered how those little devices keep track of where your vehicle is? Let’s take a closer look at the inner workings of a Vehicle Tracking System (VTS). It’s like a smart buddy for your ride, helping with things like finding your car, keeping it safe, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
A couple of years ago, I developed a vehicle tracking device for one of my clients, and you can even find this device on Amazon. Special thanks to Pallav Aggarawal for providing additional insights and making this teardown even more informative. It’s fascinating to see how these little devices play a big role in keeping our vehicles safe and sound.
Teardown: The Power Play
This device operates on a 5-32V DC input, showcasing its versatility. A DC-DC converter IC (SMD Marking T30FT, package SOT23-6) efficiently transforms the input voltage to around 4V, powering the MC60 Quectel 2G Modem. Additionally, the 4V DC is further converted to 3.3V to fuel the GNSS GPS receiver section. The presence of large package ceramic capacitors ensures a stable power supply, especially during modem transmission.
Teardown: Behind the Signals
Examining the PCB, we encounter the Patch antenna for GPS and a helical antenna, cleverly concealed with a heat shrink tube, dedicated to the GPRS Modem. The Quectel MC60 Modem’s open architecture allows seamless integration of user code with existing GPRS and GPS stacks, simplifying design and reducing costs.
Teardown: Smarter Sensing
A two-pin tilt sensor/switch enhances the device, primarily employed to detect vehicle movement. Additionally, it is utilized to conserve power when the vehicle is stationary, prompting the device to enter sleep mode.
Teardown: Advanced Features Unveiled
Many VTS systems feature an onboard relay to control power to the engine in case of theft detection or remote owner intervention. Some even boast advanced features like onboard batteries and battery chargers. In the event of someone tampering with the battery connection, the built-in battery kicks in, sending the last location to the server and alerting the vehicle owner. Additional IOs cater to various needs, allowing connections for devices such as fuel sensors and panic buttons.
If you want to learn more about this as an embedded system engineer, subscribe to my blogs as we’ll continue discussing it in future posts. If you’re considering developing this device for your business, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your journey into the fascinating realm of embedded systems awaits!