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Thread: GPS Tracker

  1. #1
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    GPS Tracker

    I 'lost' one of my DR-Z250's to thieves late last year.

    And unfortunately it was not insured.

    So I have decided to fit a gps tracker to the other.

    It's cheap insurance and if this one gets flogged I'll know where to find it.

    The purpose of this thread is to detail my experience and perhaps provide a guide to others...
    =mjc=
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  2. #2
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    GPS Tracker - selection criteria

    There are a great number of trackers available, some much better than others.

    This is what I looked for.

    Firstly I wanted something reliable. The very cheap txt only units trackers rely on 2G cellphone technology - which means you can only use vodafone to communicate with them. They also have a reputation of being not very good.

    Secondly I looked for one that had an external power connection. Connecting directly to the bike's battery should give a long protection period and is easier than having to recharge every week or every month.

    Thirdly I wanted one with its own internal battery, so that it will still work even when the bike battery is pulled.

    It also needed a simple and reliable way to mount to the bike - sticky pads or magnets are all very well, but a physical connection be it cable-ties or screws appealed much more

    Finally I wanted something with simple txt communication and no on-going subscription fees.

    There are many other features you can get - start-up detection, geofencing, shock sensor etc - these may be nice to have, but really did not influence my decision.
    =mjc=
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  3. #3
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    GPS Tracker - unboxing

    Eventually I decided on one of these units.

    https://www.trademe.co.nz/electronic...2496760792.htm

    The seller was quick and responsive and the package arrived within a couple of days.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Inside were the tracker, power cable, shut down relay connector, double sided adhesive pad and quick start guide

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The unit is about the size of a match box, but only half as thick. Note the loops for cable ties.

    The quick start guide is very skimpy and printed in a tiny font. I had to use a magnifying glass to read it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    =mjc=
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  4. #4
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    GPS Tracker - startup

    First job was to charge the internal battery. I did this using the usb port, but I could have plugged in the main power cable.

    Apparently it will handle anywhere for 9 to 75 volts input - so it might not be so good for anyone on a 6 volt bike (like a Morini, or an old Honda for example)

    Next I needed a sim card. It takes a standard size sim (not micro or nano). After some discussion I went for the most basic vodafone prepay (ten cents per txt) and threw a twenty dollar top up at it.

    As a security measure, the unit is set to respond only to an authorised incoming phone number. Setting that was easy, although I did have to check what format it wanted for the incoming number - turns out to the full +6421xxxxxxx deal. Once set, it responds with an acknowledge txt.

    And that's it.

    I can now send a simple txt - just the word 'where' - and get a response that includes the latitude and longitude.

    There is an app for smartphone users that can configure and query the unit via a mobile data connection. But I'm a luddite and dont have a smartphone, so the simple txt messages work for me.

    I'll be installing the unit on the bike this weekend - more to come...
    =mjc=
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  5. #5
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    Cool. Erm so in 4 years time will the Vodafone card still be active without top up or regular use?

    So playing devils advocate, if Sniffy Jimmie rips off on your bike, you text 'where' and assuming coverage it responds back. 3 mates with baseball bats.

    If Terry Chopshop fires it in his van at 3am, gets it home and looks it over,, finds it, smashes it, you notice it gone at 7am, text and get no response, there's no tracking history as it hasn't been communicating.

    Just want to understand limitations.

    Hiding in plain sight. So any wires to battery are a giveaway. Why not stick it to the cdi, tap wires from plug nearby for power, and make up a label.

    Powerboost Revbox or some bollox, to make it look less like a GPS tracker, more like some aftermarket accessory.
    I've been told. Dreaming`s free.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by F5 Dave View Post
    Cool. Erm so in 4 years time will the Vodafone card still be active without top up or regular use?
    Yes the Vodafone balance will expire in 12 months if I dont top it up.

    I've signed the sim card up to the vodafone website so I can easily check the balance, top up, and get an email when it gets low. There is an issue with them sending 'your balance is about to expire' messages to the unit thinking it is a phone, and it makes doing a top up easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by F5 Dave View Post
    So playing devils advocate, if Sniffy Jimmie rips off on your bike, you text 'where' and assuming coverage it responds back. 3 mates with baseball bats.
    That is most certainly the plan - helps to have a couple of mates with genuine black belts.

    Quote Originally Posted by F5 Dave View Post
    If Terry Chopshop fires it in his van at 3am, gets it home and looks it over,, finds it, smashes it, you notice it gone at 7am, text and get no response, there's no tracking history as it hasn't been communicating.
    Can be set to track if you want - but it will hidden (under the tank I'm thinking) and unlikely to be noticed. The back up battery should provide about 3 days coverage if the main power is pulled. Plus you can get it to send a position on power failure.

    The unit looks pretty rugged, don't know how much it would actually take to kill it. Cutting the wires is not enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by F5 Dave View Post
    Why not stick it to the cdi, tap wires from plug nearby for power, and make up a label.

    Powerboost Revbox or some bollox, to make it look less like a GPS tracker, more like some aftermarket accessory.
    Its just a wee black box, but that's a really good idea - think I might just do that.
    =mjc=
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  7. #7
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    Good thread. Yep I did similar with the 900SS but ran into perennial issues with the credit expiring and then Vodagone cancelling the account. Excuse the luddite question but how did you sign up to the website? I've got the app on my smartphone and I hate the bastard thing with a passion -doesn't work, doesn't update, won't let me log in, etc etc - the worst bit is the millenials on the shop floor just not getting it when I can't drive the bloody thing. Give us tech which we can use please... tech for the people!

    Lots about the 21st century is awesome but jeezus I hate smartphone culture.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OddDuck View Post
    I did similar with the 900SS
    If this works as well as I hope, I'll be adding one to the MHR very soon

    Quote Originally Posted by OddDuck View Post
    Excuse the luddite question but how did you sign up to the website?
    Geez Mate, wouldn't have picked you for a Luddite, what with all your fine engineering skills.

    But...

    go to https://www.vodafone.co.nz/#sign-in

    there is a 'register' button

    once you have given them your email address etc you can 'add service'

    pick mobile

    give them the phone number

    they send a confirmation txt to the phone.

    input the code and you're done

    (note I did have to put the new sim into a phone for this to work)


    Quote Originally Posted by OddDuck View Post
    on my smartphone
    That's your problem right there

    Go get your self a simple brick
    =mjc=
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  9. #9
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    Hmmmm for the price of admission it looks quite appealing. Of course anything can be defeated and tooled up crims are all over trackers these days but for the price it's pretty much a no-brainer.
    http://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/signaturepics/sigpic31_1.gif

  10. #10
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    Also worth checking if insurance will give you a discount, might not be much but could cover the prepay card.

    Print off a Suzuki sticker and chuck it on the side, make it look OEM

    Thanks for the report

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Sichoe View Post
    Also worth checking if insurance will give you a discount
    Unfortunately not - I'm so skint that I can only afford 3rd party cover - hence the need for the tracker
    =mjc=
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  12. #12
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    Fair enough!

    Check with Kiwibike, there was literally $50 annual difference between first and third on a new bike last I checked.

  13. #13
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    GPS Tracker - a correction

    I've been playing around testing the tracker, and was wondering why I was not getting low battery alerts.

    In my third post I said

    Quote Originally Posted by jim.cox View Post
    As a security measure, the unit is set to respond only to an authorised incoming phone number. Setting that was easy, although I did have to check what format it wanted for the incoming number - turns out to the full +6421xxxxxxx deal. Once set, it responds with an acknowledge txt.
    This is incorrect.

    Security is provided by a password that needs to be include in some command messages.

    The 'admin' number is the number to which alarm messages get sent. In fact it appears you can have up to five numbers.

    But these numbers need to be specified in the same format you would use to dial the phone - ie 021xxxxxxx.

    Putting the +64 in there causes the unit to set the number as blank, despite the ok confirmation message.
    =mjc=
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  14. #14
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    My son designed and built a tracker as a year 13 project. Arduino based with GPS, cell communication, camera,etc. Key off armed it. Any movement or change in attitude set it off. Every minute afterwards it took a photo and sent a text with GPS coordinates and the photo. double click the coordinates in the text and you got google maps with a little arrow pointing to where the bike/scooter was. Never got it commercialised but it was pretty cool.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedpro View Post
    My son designed and built a tracker as a year 13 project. Arduino based with GPS, cell communication, camera,etc. Key off armed it. Any movement or change in attitude set it off. Every minute afterwards it took a photo and sent a text with GPS coordinates and the photo. double click the coordinates in the text and you got google maps with a little arrow pointing to where the bike/scooter was. Never got it commercialised but it was pretty cool.
    Now that’s cooler than the projects we did in 7th form. Something like that I would buy, especially for the photo evidence it would provide.
    http://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/signaturepics/sigpic31_1.gif

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