Building a GPS tracker with Atmel’s SAM D20 MCU

A GPS tracking unit uses the Global Positioning System to determine and record the precise location of a vehicle, device or individual. Key design requirements for a GPS tracker include a small form factor, low power consumption and flexible connectivity options.

Atmel’s recently launched SAM D20 ARM Cortex-M0+ based MCU can be used to power such a device, taking all of the above-mentioned design requirements into account.

“The SAM D20 MCU – embedded with serial communication modules (SERCOM) and low power consumption – provides the flexibility, connectivity and low power required for GPS tracker applications,” Atmel engineering manager Bob Martin told Bits & Pieces.

“How low is low in terms of power consumption? Well, we are talking about <150µA/MHz in active (CoreMark) and <2µA with RTC and full RAM retention. Meanwhile, the peripheral event system and intelligent peripherals with Atmel SleepWalking technology further reduce CPU activity and power consumption.”

Martin also noted that the SAM D20 MCU offers design engineers 6 highly flexible serial communication modules (SERCOM), each configurable to operate as USART, I2C and SPI – thereby facilitating easy and flexible connection to external sensors, memories, PCs and wireless modules.

As expected, Atmel supports a wide range of dev tools and software, including Atmel Studio 6 (free IDE with GCC compiler), Atmel Software Framework (free SW libraries of production ready source code), Atmel Gallery (open to extensions) and the SAM D20 Xplained Pro Kit which is packaged with programmer and debugger, as well as connectors for expansion wings.

8 thoughts on “Building a GPS tracker with Atmel’s SAM D20 MCU

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  6. develamit

    I want to build a GPS tracker device using atmel sam d20 MCU. Where can I find instruction on what arduino board I need to buy to house this MCU and what compatible GPS module I need to buy? Can someone let me know on how I can get all the compatible components?

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  7. Pingback: SAM D20 hits EDN’s Hot 100 list | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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