GPS Boat Speedometer

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Introduction: GPS Boat Speedometer

About: Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for loss of life, limb or property. The author is not responsible for your actions. The author is not responsible for anything. In fact, the author is completely i...

When looking at the GPS sentence structure is said "Speed over ground, Knots" and I immediately thought Boat....

This could easily be adapted to any other use even that power wheels jeep!

Step 1: Schematic and Code

All you really need is a 1K resistor on the PWM out pin connected to an analog meter movement. Or better yet a 5K pot. I don't like pots because they drift from vibration but it would make it easier to calibrate the meter.

I usually like to adjust the resistor so a value of 240 gives full scale deflection. This way you can "pin" the needle....

I added a relay for an over speed alarm and a serial port to echo the raw GPS data to other devices.

Step 2: The Shield

The shield is pretty straight forward. Almost verbatim from the data sheet for the Max232 chip.

I used a KSP-13 Darlington since I have dozens left over from other projects. You could probably get away with a 2N2222 but the Linkit One has a 1mA output limit so I like the extra gain.

Step 3: The Meter

This can be a hard choice. I prefer older or obscure analog meters.

I chose this great edge view meter I got at a surplus house.

Its only 200uA for full scale so no amplifier needed from the Linkit One's PWM output.

Step 4: Power Supply

I used a commercial USB car charger adapter module. This is overkill but you can tap off it for other devices.

If you get one of these shorty USB cables you can connect the Linkit One without any soldering. Just make sure you get the right one or you'll have leftovers too.

Step 5: Housing

For an enclosure I used an old Wall Wart box. This also came form a surplus house. It was never used but got pretty discolored after years in the drawer.

All the power components fit in the bottom. A spacer keeps the Linkit from touching anything. Its a tight fit so no mounting bolts just a little foam rubber will do it.

First time around I tried using a coax power jack. BIG MISTAKE. They fall out easily on bumps as found out in my car. Its worse on choppy waters. Use aviation connectors and you'll be much happier. The 4 pin is for power in and meter out. The 7 pin handles serial data and alarm contacts.

Step 6: Alarm

Audible alarms probably wouldn't do me much good. You can use red 12V pilot lights like these. I went for the BIG Jeweled indicators to match my meter's age.

Step 7: Waiting for Next Season

It's done and waiting for the spring. I may make a smaller version for my golf cart. Too bad I don't have a snowmobile to try it on.

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    6 Comments

    Thank You

    Thats a good simple approach and I will keep it for future use

    1 reply

    I'm working on one for my go kart now. I got a cheapie serial out co-pilot gps at a yard sale for $2. Add a bare 328P chip and I may be able to keep it under $10....

    sorry but it's not very clear... what is the purpose and the list of material? The code?

    1 reply

    The bill of materials can be as simple as you'd like. The linkit one
    kit comes with everything you need, the linkit one, battery, and gps
    antenna. Just add an analog meter and current limiting resistor. the fancy case plugs and power supply aren't strictly necessary for it to work.


    The linkit one board has an on-board GPS. A GPS provides positional data
    people expect like altitude, latitude and longitude but it also
    provides speed of travel.

    I only use that part of the data sentence to
    control an old fashioned analog meter to make a speedometer thats self
    contained. I use a PWM signal to control the meter deflection and map
    the speed reported by the to the necessary pwm value.