Recently Chris Nickerson (@indi303) tweeted a really inexpensive GPS tracking unit from Tiger Direct. The unit was regularly ~$120USD on sale for ~ $15. I immediately ordered 3 of them, but had them shipped elsewhere so it took a while for me to get them. I should also mention that I tried to look them up today, and the product is unavailable on both the US and CAN TigerDirect websites, so I assume it was a clearance sale. Anyways, I took one of the units apart to see what kind of deal I ended up getting. Click through to see the details.
To take the unit apart there is 1 screw under the circular sticker on the back. Once the screw is removed simply (gently) pry the unit apart. Here are some pictures I took of the internals:
In the first image you can see the GPS receiver. It’s a Ublox LEA-5S. I did some searching on-line and the only place I found a price listed for them had them listed at $99USD. I’m sure it’s much cheaper in bulk, or to order direct from Asia vs. NA Distributors, but still pretty good.
Next we have the microcontroller. It’s a PIC-18F. Per-unit price is somewhere in the area of $5. In addition to this, the units came with a mini-USB cable, car lighter adaptor w/ USB A type connector (making it useful for charging cell phones as well as this unit), 2GB uSD card, and the battery is a Sanyo Li 3.7V 1150mAh battery. I would have never paid $120USD for this thing, but at $15 it’s an absolute steal!