Package Tracker – Introduction

We had questions at work concerning international shipments. Our good name rests on our ability to satisfy customer needs. It is immaterial that we, the supplier, do not cause the damage. Our customer, any customer expects goods to arrive in useable condition. However, it is virtually impossible to evaluate the environmental and mechanical stress that a product may be subjected to as it travels around the world.

Until I found this:


The Package Tracker held much promise. (See it here: ) This is a fantastic device. It records the temperature, humidity, pressure, and three-axis acceleration for the environment that it is subjected to. The data is logged onto a flash card in CSV format for easy retrieval. The package tracker also acts like a USB flash drive. 


I even liked the idea that this is sold as a kit, rather than a finished product. I see instances where we would mount the board separate from the batteries to preserve accuracy in shock and vibration measurements.


The folks at Sparkfun shipped the product quickly. I had it up and running in no time. However, when I read the log files into MS Excel, I found that this product is not a turn-key solution. For starters, the Package Tracker does not record time/date without the GPS option. Who knew? Also, starting with the accelerometers, the sensor data was not intelligible. With a little work, I did figure out most of the conversion and scaling factors. While the conversion factors are simple, finding them required some work. That will be in the next post.



~ by ratdad on January 2, 2009.

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