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Whilst not strictly Land Rover related I thought this may be of interest you some of you on here.

As part of my job I get to play with new toys and am constantly surprised by products on the market, we had a session the other week where we were presented with some new low cost tracking solutions.

Whilst the applications and products we are assessing are not yet for public consumption I needed to check as always what was already out there so I had a look around to see what was available in the market place.

Anyway I came across this tracker: for £12.20 including postage, it didn't have the advantage of a battery back up but I thought I would have a play.

So I placed my order and waited a couple of weeks, a few days ago it arrived, I am impressed with the size of the unit and the construction soldering is of a good quality.

It came with some fairly comprehensive instructions which allow you to set the unit up the and get it to SMS your phone should the voltage spike the device moves (GPS) or the vibration sensor is set off.

I am not saying that this unit should be your only security device but is a nice back up unit, it can be treated as a 'seeder unit' in addition to your normal devices. and given it's size can be hidden in places you wouldn't normally think possible, stick a PAYG SIM into the unit and you are done. The input voltage is anything from 9v so you may even consider adding some form of battery back up.

Anyway thought it may interest some of you, the seller is nothing to do with me, just a satisfied customer.

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Jason.

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There are a few settings you can use, either log into the web application and it displays the location on their web page via the GPS element, but you can also send it an SMS and it will reply with an SMS with a link to Google maps so you can see where the truck was at that point via the GPS/GSM location side. You can also dial the unit and listen to it on open channel so hear if the people in your truck were talking, that is assuming it was in your truck.

Jason.

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These are worth a look too, although a tad more spendy, it does come with two batteries, recharger etc... and seems to work reasonably well for the price.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300786924641

For daily use you are better off with something like Skytag though (or as well). If you set the stockade option and the shock option and you use the thing on a daily driver/commuter you can go through a LOT of text messages very quickly, a minimum of 10 a day each way is normal and at 12p a text on a PAYG sim that soon mounts up. You can get a "200 free texts" offers that will just about last a month but you'll soon eat through those and before you know it you're spending £10 a month. The Skytag option then starts to look more favourable.

Ongoing costs aside the actual units and functionality are very good and small enough to hide away somewhere. I carry one with me when I'm out on my own on my Mountain bike now. That way if I do anything really stupid and don't get back when I'm expected someone can come and find me.

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As I said I don't think it is a replacement for an off the shelf solution however it is a good seeder device as an extra tracker, it was more the size that was interesting leading to improving the possibilities to hide the unit.

There are plenty of PAYG unlimited SMS bundles now on the market that only cost £5 per month, even cheaper if you work for a mobile provider.

Jason.

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Jason - Could we use this for vehicle tracking on our trip? Our would you need to blip an sms for it to track via a webpage?

Looked at a Spot. They are doing a 12 month free tracking before the end of 2012 so you only buy the unit (£100).

Unless its cheap, I don't think I will bother.

G

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I'm going to get one of them, any idea how long a small 9 volt battery would last?

TBH I have no idea of the drain, it would depend on usage and the preference you have set to get locations.

Jason - Could we use this for vehicle tracking on our trip? Our would you need to blip an sms for it to track via a webpage?

Looked at a Spot. They are doing a 12 month free tracking before the end of 2012 so you only buy the unit (£100).

Unless its cheap, I don't think I will bother.

G

To be honest G I have not tried it without a SIM I have a second unit I could fire up and test it tomorrow and let you know, as you know SIM's are not really an issue for me so I just stuck one in!!

Jason.

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There are plenty of PAYG unlimited SMS bundles now on the market that only cost £5 per month, even cheaper if you work for a mobile provider.

Could you point me at some examples, been trying to find a cheaper deal for a while without any joy.

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I work for Vodafone so in the interest of fairness I will post a link to one from and O2 MVNO, although these types of bundles are PAYG you can set them up to auto renew and take that amount every month.

But as I say other networks provide very similar packages.

Jason.

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I'm going to get one of them, any idea how long a small 9 volt battery would last?

Probably not long enough to be useful - google suggests a standard 9v battery is around 500mAh, a typical mobile battery is around 2000mAh, and goes flat pretty quickly when you have the GPS fired up - these trackers are pretty similar to mobiles with no screen, so I would imagine you'd only get a couple of hours out of it...

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Whilst not talking about this one Jon, you would be surprised we are currently looking at some devices with a two year life!! They wake up every day and send their GPS location and then shut down....

Others will last a week on an hourly wake up.

Jason.

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2 years is very, very impressive!

Actually - you may get more life from a 9v battery with that unit - the ad suggests 20mA on standby, although it doesn't define quite what standby is (could be powered up with no network connection)..

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As I say I have been busy for the last couple of weeks so haven't been able to fully test I will stick it on the meter tomorrow and see what the current drain is, also I will try and see if the GPS works without a SIM or if it needs one.

Jason.

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Without a data connection from the SIM, how are you going to get the location out of it?

Good point, not even thought that far ahead I just stuck a test SIM in my first one and fired it up, haven't investigated it any further than that it worked well and tracked the car so I thought I would share it... I have Christmas to destroy the spare one now!!

Jason.

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I got one similar to Si R... Works really well and simple in terms of getting location in text response.

It can be linked to systems for tracking but it may be just as simple to text it each time you want a location fix and post the location in a blog.

I also recall Fridge Freezer sorted tracking for their Russian jaunts...

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