GPS synchonised Flashing Light Project

I am a new starter to mini micros, but have a few decades experience in electronics. I am looking to make and code a low cost, low current, GPS synchonised micro to flash two different coloured LED lights. It needs to operate at night and low light only, providing two LEDs flashing alternatively i.e. 1 second of blue light and 1 second of yellow light, with 0.5 seconds of darkness in between. I want to ensure that multiple locations in a localised area with the flashing circuit, have synchonisation, possibly with timing compensation for positional differences, so all sites flash in perfect unison. Love to hear from experienced users on best micro, GPS and I/O to use, plus any similar projects etc


Hi Brian,

I’m sure that @Liam would back me up on this one being a huge fan of ESP32. Using an ESP32 with an appropriate GPS module for synching your drift of the clock so that you maintain accurate timing would likely be useful if this is going to be left running for an extreme period of time.

That being said, I’m solution engineering, before diving into suitable options, we need to determine the functional and technical requirements to ensure that we create a valid solution for the problem that can be verified as solving the problem once implemented.

So if I understand the problem we need to solve the following:

  • Functional Requirements

    • Low cost
    • Low Current (Does this need to run off a battery? Do we need to determine what kind of battery to use? What capacity is the cell and how long does the system have to last? Does this include during the day when the lights aren’t flashing?)
    • Synchonised
    • Flashing
    • Bright / Yellow and Blue
    • Timing compensation for positional differences? (So do the flashes still go off simultaneously when observed? Or does one go off a set period of time before the other based on some function of how far apart they are against the phase of your Blue-Yellow-Off cycle?)
  • Technical Requirements

    • Low cost (what’s an estimation for the budget? This will affect what type of GPS board and microcontroller would be the best option for you)
    • Low Current (How many mAh can we draw at max?)
    • Synchronised (Within what margin in ms, us, ns, etc?)
    • Have you already got the lights? Do you have or need a relay in order to drive them? If not, how bright do the lights need to be approximately?

Once we’ve determined all of the details about the project, then we can work towards determining a solution that would best solve the problem for the lowest suitable cost effectively.

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