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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 14:56 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Vehicle Tracking Reply with quote

Something I've been working on for a while and I could do with some opinions from the BCF members if you would be so gracious Smile

"Traditional" tracking services general involve purchase of a tracker, possibly professional install and a hefty annual fee. If you're riding round on a brand new Ninja H2R these costs might be trivial but for your typical commuter bike you might find it a little difficult to justify.

No worries, turn to a little DIY! You can grab a basic Chinese-made tracker for £20, right? Some downsides...

Supply your own SIM

While you could just buy a pay as you go SIM you're probably looking at ~£5 per month and O2, GiffGaff, Tesco, etc. are expecting you to have the SIM in a phone the upshot being managing the credit might be a pain and £60 per year on a mobile connection means you're a good way towards a traditional tracking costs.

Okay, so do these traditional tracking services have this problem? Nope, they negotiate for more specific services e.g. limited data requirement, no voice calls needed, international roaming and this brings the costs down dramatically. As a consumer you can get single SIMs with the limited functionality needed by a tracker but it becomes a bit of a murky area interpreting what you might need from business oriented suppliers. There's also a big overlap with the whole "Internet of Things" market which can be both help and hinderance.

Is it worth the effort? If you can get the right mobile solution it could bring the annual cost down to £10~£20.

Configuration

In a word: fiddly. The cheap trackers need carefully formatted SMS to be sent for things like setting up security and the mobile APN. Replies are often in Mandarin Shocked

Software

Out-of-the-box vehicle tracking information is sent to a ropey website in China, 'nuff said Sad Thankfully you can send it elsewhere and there just so happens to be an Open Source project to do this in traccar.org. You therefore have the option to either run your own server or bung them some money each month. What you get is an easy to use map which updates itself with vehicle telemetry.

Questions

So... is a cheap tracking solution of interest to anyone? I'm pretty sure I've asked before but got zero reaction Sad If it is of interest you can either do all the above that I've outlined above (the tech bois with have a grand adventure with it) or would anyone be interested in a more turnkey solution?

"Aiiiiii! He's selling something! Burn the heretic!!!"

No, I was thinking more along the lines of a step-by-step guide - what to buy, where to get it, how to fit it, configuration, etc. - but that's a fair bit of work and I haven't got all the pieces in place yet, so to speak.
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xX-Alex-Xx
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Joined: 12 Sep 2019
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PostPosted: 15:33 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been semi-tempted to add something to the car and bike but never seen much point as I'm in a low risk area and my insurance would actually go up if I added it to either vehicle.

If I did though, I'd probably just use an Airtag.... Hide it in one of these and you're sorted.

https://i.ebayimg.com/thumbs/images/g/K14AAOSw-Ktgmop~/s-l225.webp
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 16:16 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

AirTag isn't a GPS tracker. If there aren't any Apple devices nearby it doesn't have anyone to talk to, it also doesn't offer any sort of telemetry. And Apple?! Barely any better than relying on the Chinese Wink
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xX-Alex-Xx
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PostPosted: 18:31 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah it’ll never replace a live tracking system but for finding out where your stolen bike is (a bit more stealthily) it’s pretty solid. Chances are your twocer will be using an iPhone too (because they’re cvnts).
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Keithy
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Joined: 22 Sep 2020
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PostPosted: 21:39 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m in for a cheap tracking solution! Thumbs Up

MCN article Sep 29 ‘Beat the bastid bike thieves’ - a bloke called Kieran Donnelly-Shard of Mad Slick Motorcycles say they can supply an alarm for £30 or a tracker for £50, £65 for both. Although I notice they are looking at £6/month for the SIM.

Our work account has a ‘data pool’, so we pay a fixed amount for 1TB of data and it is split over however many SIMs we have in circulation. I know mobile providers have family accounts, I wonder how cheap we can get a data only SIM when it’s using bugger all data.
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Kawasaki Jimbo
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PostPosted: 22:14 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a palm-sized black box ‘BuFan Mini GPS’ from Amazon for £40 plus the cost of a SIMcard. Location via the “ropey Chinese website” (no subscription) can be slightly off but it has geo-fencing, sends SMS messages and the battery lasts up to two weeks.
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 22:34 - 08 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kawasaki Jimbo wrote:
I bought a palm-sized black box ‘BuFan Mini GPS’ from Amazon for £40 plus the cost of a SIMcard. Location via the “ropey Chinese website” (no subscription) can be slightly off but it has geo-fencing, sends SMS messages and the battery lasts up to two weeks.


Yes, that's the sort of thing. Traccar can replace the Chinese website and if you're super paranoid you can host it yourself on an old PC.
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yen_powell
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PostPosted: 11:31 - 09 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is vehicle tracking.
https://images.versys1000.com/vehicle-tracking.jpg
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recman
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PostPosted: 19:17 - 09 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galaxy Smart Tag.
I received a couple of these last week for my birthday.
They work rather well.
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 21:11 - 09 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

recman wrote:
Galaxy Smart Tag.
I received a couple of these last week for my birthday.
They work rather well.


No different to the AirTag. It's not a self-contained system you rely on a shadow-network provided by the manufacturer's other clients. GPS trackers can be almost entirely self reliant, if one so chooses.

<addendum> In case ppl are unaware, some explaination.

AirTag etc. are what's classed as Bluetooth trackers. They will announce themselves to nearby compatible devices (mobile phones) which might in turn tell the manufacturer who'll then tell you. If there are no nearby devices (or if said devices have Bluetooth switched off) no one will hear their bleating. These trackers have no clue where they are only where they are in relation to these other devices.

GPS trackers listen to the various navigation satellites to know where they are with certainty and then announce their co-ordinates directly over a mobile network to a nominated server.

While the two approaches might approach the same end result in an urban area with a saturation of mobile devices they're fundamentally apples vs. oranges.
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 21:25 - 09 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

yen_powell wrote:


Looks like a picture to me. How many vehicles are there? How fast are they going? Are their ignition systems active? Can you remotely deactivate them if they are?
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GettinBetter
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PostPosted: 20:55 - 18 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting.

Assuming bikes are either:
1. Stolen, hidden for a period of time, then stripped and sold for spares.
2. Stolen and shipped abroad for resale under fraudulant docs.

So If you DID have a DIY tracker on your bike:
A. Would you go looking for it? What if you were met with an agressive gang?
B. Ask the police to go to the location? How long before they got off their backsides and followed up your call.
C. Would it help lower your insurance? If you collected sucessful locate & find results maybe reputable bodies may come on board.

I was just asking myself what would I do if I had one on my bike, as at the moment I have no obligation to confront bike thieves, but just let the insurance deal with it. But what if you knew it was a couple of miles down the road, would you deal with it?

Just thinking out aloud.
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 20:06 - 19 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

I quite often hear of bikes dumped/moved only a few streets away. If the thieves are just scrotes they'll probably try (and fail) to hotwire it. But I wouldn't go alone, that's for sure!

Personally I'd like to know exactly where it was and carefully plan my next move. The police are of zero help and I could do without my insurance being hiked up. I suppose a high-end commercial tracker might get them to issue a crime reference number a tad quicker but that's about it.

Anyhoo, progress update on SIMs. My usual UK supplier has a new plan with 20MB of data and 20 text messages but the price is £4 per month. At that price the like of GiffGaff don't look too bad Sad I'm instead looking at a German supplier focused on the IoT market which should cost around £10~£20 per year.
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Ste
Not Work Safe



Joined: 01 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: 20:24 - 19 Oct 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bike Trac is the only one I'd consider if I wanted a tracker.

Bike Trac successes on BCF:
https://www.bikechatforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=322278
https://www.bikechatforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=325394

They seem to make it easy enough for the police to recover stolen vehicles and it seems that they actively pester the police to get vehicles recovered.
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