Pecan Pico 4 – Serial Number 1 Built & Working

A new Pecan is born! I’ve received the PCBs within a week from Seeedstudio but I had to wait for a delayed delivery from digikey. I’m not really happy with the delivery times from digikey but I guess I need to blame USPS for this. I need to order from them though, because they are the only reasonable supplier for BMP180 and the GPS chip antenna. Anyways, I built up my first Pecan 4 and it worked out of the box. I was surprised that the code written for BMP085 immediately worked for BMP180 without any code changes. I still have to write some code for the RGB sensor, the EEPROM, the RTC and the beeper, but everything that worked at Pecan 3 is also working on the new PCB.

Edit: The Arduino Code and the Eagle/gerber files are on GitHub: https://github.com/tkrahn/pecanpico4

PecanPico3

Yesterday I built the first complete PecanPico3 Tracker with a Si4464 transceiver chip. This is Serial #2. Serial #1 was only partially populated because I was hesitating to put an expensive GPS chip on the PCB without knowing if it works.I’ve had problems with PecanPico2 to couple the oscillator signal into the Si4464 and it turned out that I needed to attach the signal to the XOUT pin instead of the XIN pin. More experimenting showed that a 22 pF coupling capacitor is optimal for a stable operation of the Si4464. The theoretical value of 4 pF was too small and the PLL didn’t always lock to the correct frequency. However, this version of PecanPico3 seems to work fine just out of the box

PecanPico3

Here are some example packets that can be seen on aprs.fi:

2013-05-13 20:17:17 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:T#224,072,000,000,000,019,00000000
2013-05-13 20:17:30 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:/011506h2943.53N/09530.47WO000/000/A=-00179  3.8V 28C 101987Pa http://tkrahn.net
2013-05-13 20:19:45 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:T#225,072,000,000,000,019,00000000
2013-05-13 20:19:58 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:/011732h2943.53N/09530.48WO000/000/A=-00179  3.8V 28C 101987Pa http://tkrahn.net
2013-05-13 20:22:13 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:T#226,071,001,000,000,019,00000000
2013-05-13 20:22:26 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:/012001h2943.53N/09530.47WO000/000/A=-00181  3.8V 28C 101993Pa http://tkrahn.net
2013-05-13 20:24:41 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:T#227,071,000,000,000,019,00000000
2013-05-13 20:24:54 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:/012232h2943.54N/09530.46WO046/016/A=-00181  3.8V 28C 101993Pa http://tkrahn.net
2013-05-13 20:27:09 CDT: KT5TK-2>APECAN,WIDE2-1,qAR,KT5TK-6:T#228,073,001,000,000,019,00000000

The tracker is up on air for nearly 6 hours on a 400 mAh NiCd battery and still going. This made my decision easy for next Saturday where we’ll launch a 300 g balloon from our Fishfest QTH (Lake Livingston TX).  Pecan3 will fly!

Schematic: PecanPico3

Arduino Code: https://github.com/tkrahn/PecanPico

Here is my parts list: http://www.mouser.com/ProjectManager/ProjectDetail.aspx?AccessID=33053ee4fd

The uBlox MAX6Q GPS is available from HAB Supplies