iToronto's Raspberry Pi Pico-Powered GPS Data Logger Makes Use of an Upcycled Pill Bottle Housing

Designed to fit in a pill bottle with a 3D-printed lid keeping everything in place, this GPS logger keeps track of its creator's hikes.

Gareth Halfacree
a month agoSensors

Pseudonymous maker "iToronto" has shown off a build that repurposes an old pill bottle to create a compact, battery-powered GPS logger — driven by a Raspberry Pi Pico board.

"Raspberry Pi Pico, BN-180 GPS module, microSD to SD adapter, SSD1306 128x64 OLED screen, custom 3D-printed lid to the pill bottle," iToronto writes of the compact build. "Logs a track point every 7m [23 feet]. [The] buttons on top don't do anything right now. My intent is to have them as menu navigation, selection buttons."

Designed to log the data locally to a microSD card during a hike, then have the data removed manually for archival and potential future mapping, the low-cost pocketable GPS logger makes use of the small size of the Raspberry Pi Pico — the first, but far from only, development board to be driven by Raspberry Pi's in-house RP2040 microcontroller.

"I considered using an [Espressif] ESP32 or 8266 to make it easier to offload the data," iToronto notes, referring to two popular microcontroller boards with integrated wireless connectivity including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. "The dev boards I have for those are too large for the pill bottle I wanted to use."

iToronto also has a few tips for anyone looking to build something similar: "Get a GPS module, connect it to a serial to USB adapter, and look at the data flowing into a terminal program on your PC," they write. "Then build your program around extracting the data pieces you need."

More details on the build are available in iToronto's Reddit thread.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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