Cats are adorable creatures but with a knack for wandering and getting lost every now and then, so much that a common desire among owners is usually to have a reliable way to track them. While a host of adaptable tracking solutions exist, German Engineer, Gerhard Peter felt this is worth a bespoke solution and recently shared the progress he has made with the device, which he’s calling the KatzenTracker; German for Cat Tracker.
While this started off as a personal DIY project for Peter, it has grown into a global product with a huge following and a growing pre-order list as a testament. Fitted into a coin-sized, circular, 30mm. multilayer PCB, the Kazen tracker is based on the EMB-LR1276S 868 / 915 MHz wireless module which features the ultra-low-power, LoRa enabled, 32-bit Cortex SAM R34 microcontroller and comes pre-configured for communication over LoRaWAN, allowing users to easily connect to individual gateways or networks like TTN.
With the EMB-LR1276S taking as little space as possible, the Katzen tracker fits the remarkably small-sized ORG1410 GPS from Origin GPS on the device to acquire location data. To get information on the cat’s movement/activity, the Kazentracker also features the 2mm² miniature low-power, BMA400 tri-axial accelerometer from Bosch.
In addition to the miniature sensors, the device comes with a reset switch, an ultra-low-power 3.3V regulator, and an installed 100 mAH (150 mAH nominal) LiPo battery with a protection circuit and charging controlled by the TI BQ21040 charge controller. For notification purposes, the device features a piezo speaker, Broadcom RGB LEDs, and an electronic ink (e – ink) display, all of which provide feedback to the pet owner via alarms and indication/display of information such as the power status among others.
Key Features and Specifications of the Katzen tracker
- SoC: Embit LR11276S SoC with integrated LoRa®/LoRaWAN® being compliant with the latest LoRaWAN® specs, along with an integrated crypto unit to protect communication
- MCU: SAM-R34
- Power Supply:
- 5V charging voltage via USB-3
- Installed 150mAH nominal LiPo Battery
- GPS: ORG1410 GPS module
- Accelerometer: Bosh BMA400 tri-axial accelerometer
- Wireless: LoRa antenna module, external LoRa antenna
- Misc: Reset switch, piezo speaker
As of the time of this writing, the Cat tracker is not yet available for sale, but Peter has provided a pre-order page for those interested in the device, and manufacturing and delivery are expected to start soon.