GPS Logger with a NSLU2

GPS Logger with a NSLU2


This is my short exerpt of how i tried to install Debian on a NSLU2. It is recomended to first read the original Links. NO Guaratee that it works with your Box !!! If you really know what you're doing, then proceed here and take it as a vague guideline.

In the meantime I found the NaviGPS Loggers, which are about 90,- .. 120,- Euros each. They are (for what I need) a complete Logging solution. So for now I abandoned this Project. I even sold my two NSLU2 to one of the OpenBSD Kernel Developers.

More Info


The OpenStreetMap(OSM) project is based on GPS-Tracklogs which are converted to Vectordata. For these GPS-Tracks to gather I needed a unit which:
  • is reasonably priced ( worst 200 Euro )
    • nslu2 70,- Euro
    • usb flash memory 50
    • power adaptor for a car 2.50 Euro ..25,- Euro
    • USB GPS receiver 50 Euro
  • can log more than 8 hours of gps-Tracks in an adequade resolution
  • Doesn't need too much installation if the prototype once is complete
  • Is expandable
  • Based on Debian
  • comparably low power consuption: 600mA-900mA @ 5V ==> 3W-4.5W
  • If I can box it i expect it only to have 2 external connectors:
    • USB-GPS
    • 12V Power

Hardware needed

  • nslu2: 70,- Euro
  • usb flash memory >= 1GB: 50,- Euro
  • 5V power adaptor for a car: 2.50 Euro ..25,- Euro
  • USB GPS receiver: 50,- Euro


Good Luck and beware from creating a dead Slug out of your NSLU2


  • Plug everything into your Box(GPS,USB-Stick,Power).
  • Give power to your Box.
  • And press the ON Button.
  • Then wait about 3 Minutes.
The runlevels will be signaled with a number of beeps: Runlevel 1 with 1 beep, ...
Every received GPS Package will do a beep. And every GPS Packet with a lat/lon will be signaled by a high beep. Pressing the OFF Button (same as ON ;-) will turn off the slug. After the lights went off you can take your USB Stick and have your NMEA Log in var/log/nmea.log

Connection to the box can be achived with

Known Problems

  • the gpsd does not start everytime


  • The Box does not start booting as soon as 5V is supplied. You have to press ON to start it.
  • When starting your Car-Engin>e the Box probably will stop.
  • When switching off your 12V Power you need 3 Minutes to boot up your box again.
  • When turning off power(1V) the Box cannot write it's Data gracefully.


  • USB-VGA-Adapter:
    You currently can plugin a USB-VGA-Adapter (such as DELOCK 61434 USB 2.0 zu SVGA Adapter 99.90 Euro) and connect your Box to a buildtin VGA Display.
    The VGA Adapter already has the driver installed. I also can display one picture. Starting the X-Server fails because it tries to open a /dev/tty and cannot find it.
  • Attaching a camera to take snapshots even recognize streetsigns automatically
  • Use a wavelan card to connect to a server for automatic uploads of your Track-Data
  • Use a Bluetooth Stick
  • Use a USB Soundcard to play MP3 Music


More Pictures