A closer look at the CTT SensorStation

The CTT SensorStation has many built in features. We will take a closer look at all that is possible, taking SensorGnome to a whole new level.

Accessory Ports

These three accessory ports allow the user to plug in a variety of sensors. It connects to the I2C bus of the Raspberry Pi. Currently, we have a tamper (motion detector) and an altimeter grade barometric pressure sensor, with more in development. This will allow you to use SensorStation not just for wildlife telemetry, but for environmental monitoring as well.

Outdoor Readable eInk Display (Optional)

The SensorStation features the same 40 pin header as other Raspberry Pi boards, allowing for the use of some Raspberry Pi accessories. This eInk display is the perfect addition to your SensorStation. And unlike other display technologies, it takes zero power and is completely readable outdoors in bright light. eInk displays are utilized in many ebook readers, and only uses power when the display updates.

We will use the eInk display to show important information, such as system health information, GSM signal strength, number of tags detected, as well as other real time statuses. 

By making the display an optional item, you can further reduce costs.

Integrated GPS and Antenna

The UBlox CAM-M8Q is a multi-GNSS GPS receiver. It features an internal chip antenna and requires no external antenna. A 1Hz PPS line is connected directly to the Raspberry Pi, providing time pulse information for accurate timing.

Additionally, a port is available for alternate GPS receivers.

Navigation Buttons

The navigation buttons allow you to navigate the menu system within the SensorStation. It can also be used without a screen to trigger the download process and copy the contents of the SensorStation to a USB Thumb Drive, while keeping the Raspberry Pi flash memory separate. 

Single Power Supply

The SensorStation has a single power supply that can connect to either an AC adapter, deep cycle battery or charge controller. The highly efficient buck regulator reduces power consumption and heat, conserving battery power. A built in self resetting fuse also protects the SensorStation from damage. Two battery and solar panel monitoring ports are also available, allowing for the user to transmit battery and solar panel information to the cloud for viewing online.

Analog to Digital Converter to Monitor Voltages, Sensors

The SensorStation features a multi-channel analog to digital converter. It serves two purposes:

1) to monitor battery and solar panel voltages (up to 30V)

2) Allow the connection of various analog sensor accessories to your SensorStation

Integrated Real Time Clock with Battery Backup

A specialized version of the DS3231 is utilized on the SensorStation for operation in extreme temperature environments. The DS3231SN is rated from -40C to +85C, allowing for more accurate time. Traditional DS3231 RTCs are only rated for 0C to +70C, making them lose timing accuracy in cold weather. A battery backup is also supported while the SensorStation is powered off.

Widely Spaced USB Ports for FunCube and RTL-SDR 

 The FunCube and RTL-SDRs can be pretty big. SensorStation was designed for this. Each USB is widely spaced for each dongle to be plugged in with ease. All USB ports are provided with ample power, allowing just about any type of accessory to be used.

Additional USB Ports

3 additional USB ports can be utilized for anything you want, including:

  • More FunCubes or RTL-SDRs
  • USB flash drives
  • WiFi and Ethernet USB adapters
  • Additional LifeTag channels using the Motus Adapter
  • Audio recording for bird calls

Built In World Band GSM Cellular

Every SensorStation comes with built in cellular with an integrated SIM on Chip. A non-removable, soldered SIM chip prevents data theft and can be activated at any time.

Cellular Tracking Technologies is also your provider. For only a few dollars a month, anywhere in the world, a SensorStation can be activated for basic health and monitoring in the cloud. We also have extremely low cost data plans for users who wish to send all SensorGnome data automatically to the Motus system. This allows users to reduce labor costs in retrieving memory cards, monitor stations to make sure batteries are charged and solar panels are functioning, and be alerted during peak migration events. 

5 Built in Radio Channels for LifeTags

Easily make your SensorGnome dual mode with the SensorStation's 5 built in radio channels. Each radio channel is controlled by an Arduino powered Atmega 32u4, connected to a HopeRF radio module. Each Arduino is connected via USB to the Raspberry Pi.

Not only does this offload all radio processing from the Raspberry Pi, but each radio port can be programmed for different functionality. Different radio module options will be available soon, allowing for frequencies from VHF to 2.4GHz, and modulations such as LoRa, FSK, OOK, and more. Technologies such as ULR and LoRaWAN will also be supported.

The Raspberry Pi can also program each radio uniquely, allowing for a mix of LifeTag channels, CTT Node receivers, and any device in the future, such as weather and other environmental monitors nearby.