Introduction: CarDuino (A Hyperduino and FONA 808 GPS Tracking System)

About: I'm a 19 year old computer science student who works for Roger Wagner and HyperDuino Studios. I create many different projects that are both innovative and fun! If you have any questions feel free to contact m…

This is a tutorial on how to make a GPS tracking system that gives you accurate feedback on location by simply sending a text. I would rate this project a 6 out of 10 (10 being the hardest) as it does require a lot of self set up things such as soldering and activating a SIM card. Yet don't let that scare you away. So without further ado lets get right into it!

Step 1: Overview

Have you ever lost your car in a parking lot? Do you have a fear of your car ever being stolen? Maybe you just like to know where your car is at all times. If so, this is a device and a project just for you. The CarDuino is a combination of three components, the Arduino Uno (Far left), a Hyperduino (Middle, Any version should work just fine, I am using the older one.), and a FONA 808 GPS + SMS. (Far right, You can you different FONAs but it must include the GPS and SMS features. The code may need to be changed if you're using the a different version.) This device is used by sending a text to the registered phone number linked with the SIM card inside the FONA 808, it will then reply back within 30 seconds with the exact GPS location of your car (Or where the device is located) in Google Maps form. The total cost of the project was about $110, but don't let that scare you away from the awesome things you can do with this device. So let's get started.

Step 2: Assembly

For starters stress it enough how important it is that you solder every pin on correctly. If you manage to mess up the solder job that I did and not look back on it for a while you will be left with 8 hours of stress and a head ache. The error that you will get when loading up the code will consist of the actual device not connecting. It will display





over and over again until it fails to connect. So make sure everything is soldered on correctly. You're also going to need to purchase a SIM card and activate it. I suggest using TING (, its cheap and gets you 100 texts for $3 a month. Even if you go over it will charge you $5 for 1000 texts. Your next step would be to connect the SMS antenna (Green One) and the GPS antenna (The Small Box). Lastly you're going to wanna connect the battery just to make sure it powers on. You should see a green light turn on right under "PWR" and a rapidly blue flashing light under "NET". If it looks orange, double check and make sure you're not charging the batter. You can do this by moving the switch right below the batter port from "CHRG" to "RUN". Lastly you can stack all three devices, Arduino Uno on the bottom, Hyperduino in the middle, and the FONA 808 on top.

Step 3: Programing Your Device

CLICK HERE to access all the code required to do this project. Note you will need to do two things, first is making sure you have the FONA library installed you can find that here ( ). It will be the green box that says "Download the Arduino_FONA Library. Second before you upload you need to scroll to the bottom and add your phone number so that it can actually send you a text message response. When you upload check the serial monitor so you can double. When it successfully uploads give it a shot and text the number that is linked with the inserted SIM card. It should respond back with a message like such! (Picture on the right. The black box is covering the google maps location portion that shows my address.)

Step 4: Troubleshooting Your Device

Q1: When I upload the code it comes up with an error that doesn't let it upload? What do I do>

A1: Double check and make sure that you have replaced the "PUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER HERE" with your number. Also make sure that you actually have the FONA library installed in Arduino C. If you're still having the same issue recopy the code and paste it over erasing everything that you already have.

Q2: When I look in the serial monitor all it shows is the AT<-- back and forth and doesn't upload.

A2: This is most likely because the soldering isn't secured enough, you need to make sure that all the pins are soldered in correctly. If you are 100% sure it is all done correctly you may have a faulty FONA, you can double check this if you download the test code provided on the Adafruit website.

Q3: The program uploads and the FONA is connected but it won't receive a text or send one?

A3: Make sure when you are in the serial monitor after the FONA connects it says "SMS Ready" this signifies that the SIM card is being read and is available for use. You can also check this by looking at the blue flashing light on the device, it will go from a fast rapid blink to a blink with a 3 second delay.

Q4: The SIM card is good and it says "SMS Ready" and it even receives a text, but it won't send a message back. What is going on?

A4: One of the biggest challenges while working with this is the dodgy GPS. In the short period of time that it has to get the location, if there is some interference or you are in a confined room with a lot of noise (noise being signal interference) it could block out the GPS from working. I suggest taking it outside and then trying it as well, this always works for me as it has a direct connection to the satellites it uses.

If there are any questions not answered here feel free to as away! Also if you have made any changes to code or maybe you have some cool modifications that make the device even better I would love to see it! Enjoy!

-Joseph Heydorn