Dog locator

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by icydash, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. icydash

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    81
    0
    Hey all.

    For fun, I have decided to make a tracking device for my dog. I don't need exact latitude and longitude coordinates or anything, plus GPS is expensive (I'd like to make the whole project for under $100). I was thinking of putting a xbee on my dog and, on my end (also with an xbee), measuring the signal strength to determine roughly how far away he is. The problem is that signal strength is unreliable; it works well for line-of-sight applications, but if my dog is behind thick trees or a house or something, the signal strength will be weaker, and it'll read out that he's farther away (even though he's not).

    Anyone have any good ideas? Kind of stumped.

    Or maybe I can add a video camera or microphone to the electronics on my dog so I can at least see where he is or hear him when he gets lost?
     
  2. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,145
    3,055
  3. DickCappels

    Moderator

    Aug 21, 2008
    2,658
    632
    People who track wild animals put beacons on them and then locate them using direction finding equipment. The antenna can be as simple as a loop of wire.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direction_finding

    The beacon transmitter is a little more of a challenge; it has to be operated at a frequency and in a way that is permitted by your government.

    Of course you will have to be concerned about keeping your dog's beacon's battery charged. Plenty of little issues to be explored; sounds like a very interesting project.
     
  4. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,145
    3,055
    Now that I think about it, you could just have your dog wear a cellphone. I knew someone that did that successfully, and they also enabled the phone to auto-answer. In addition to gps location tracking, they could ring the dog to listen to its breathing (fast, if prey is in sight) and surrounding sounds. He even caught his buddies speaking smack about him in the woods!
     
  5. icydash

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    81
    0
    Thanks for your ideas. haha, I wish I could just tie a cellphone to his collar!

    The trick is to make the most usable device for the cheapest amount possible. Maybe some combination of using a loop to find direction and signal strength for a rough measure of distance?

    Someone in another thread about cats mentioned maybe putting a video camera on the collar and having it send a snapshot once a minute or something to your computer, then you could see the dog's location. That would be cool, but I have 0 idea where to start with something like that in a circuit.
     
  6. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    5,435
    1,305
    Dogs should be kept on a chain, or in a dog-proof fenced enclosure, by law. Otherwise the dog pound will take them away as feral dogs to be put to sleep, or maybe you will be lucky and pay $250 to get the dog back alive.

    If you want to locate your dog look on the end of the chain in your yard. ;)
     
  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,145
    3,055
    And why can't you? It has all the features you mention - gps, cameras, etc. - and could be very inexpensive as an addition to a family plan.
     
  8. icydash

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    81
    0
    While it would be ideal to keep the dog on a leash at all times, the idea actually came about when my friends dog managed to get out through a window and run away. It took them like 2 days to find him.

    I'm looking for something not quite as bulky and that doesn't require a cell phone plan. And possibly something comercially feasible. Plus i want to make it, otherwise what fun is that? =)
     
  9. slapshot136

    New Member

    Oct 31, 2012
    16
    0
    I just came across this - perhaps something similar?
     
  10. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,145
    3,055
    This product is on sale near me for $79. I believe it uses GPS and cellular communication but doesn't appear to require an ongoing monthly plan. Not bad, IMHO.
     
  11. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    4,887
    1,015
    The really hard part is getting them to dial your number correctly. Their paws just mash down on a bunch of keys and who know who they call. ;)
     
  12. slapshot136

    New Member

    Oct 31, 2012
    16
    0
    Service $0.95 per month (per tracker) with your Tagg Pet Family Plan (up to 9 pets)*

    not bad, but not free either
     
  13. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,145
    3,055
    Paws? Butt-dialing is the big problem!
     
Loading...