Jump to content

GPS/Cellular based Tracking Device


ScubaRx
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderators

There have been multiple threads on the FGRV forum concerning trailer security. Everyone has their own opinion and method and I agree that, depending on your personal beliefs, they could include simple diligence, locks, fences, chains, whips, guard dogs, guns, cameras, claymore mines, trunk monkeys and a moat. Those folks that are un-inclined to subscribe to any of the aforementioned tactics seem to just rely on good insurance. I employ some of these methods myself but if my trailer suddenly sprouts legs and walks off, I want to be able to find it and perhaps use some of the other methods on those folks that helped it along. I started investigating electronic counter measure devices to do just that. I looked at the SPOT Satellite Messenger. I didn’t find the initial cost of about $150.00 too bad. It uses your GPS location and sends it and preselected message to communication satellites which route your location and message to the appropriate network to get you help. It is obviously designed for and intended to be used by a person while traveling in remote regions and it does have good coverage. The best service plan will cost about $200.00 per year. For those folks that may only travel a few weeks of the year, that might be beyond what they are comfortable spending. I continued to look. There are several out there but none seemed to do what I wanted or cost more than I wanted to pay.

 

I finally found what I thought would do everything I wanted at a reasonable price and I installed it in the Outlaw Oliver. I have it set up so that:

 

When the trailer is unattended and sitting still (either here at home or anywhere else) and moves over 300 feet, it will send a text message to my iphone that includes a hyperlink to a Google Map page with an icon on it indicating where the trailer is. It will continue to send these until I tell it to stop.

 

If the door is opened it will set off a local alarm and send a text message stating that the door has been breached and includes the same hyperlink.

 

I can call it with my iphone and it will send the hyperlink.

 

If the main power source is removed (trailer batteries) it will send the hyperlink. There are internal lithium batteries that power it if the external power fails and it will alert you if these become low.

 

I can text it and tell it to switch between tracking and monitoring. In Monitor mode I can listen in on anything going on inside the trailer via a hidden microphone.

 

I can authorize up to five phones that can access it. Family can always tell where we are.

 

If we push the “panic” button it will send out a help message to all phones.

 

All programing is done via text messages and in addition you can arm/disarm it with an included key fob remote.

 

There are dozens of other functions that it will perform. You can set up multiple virtual GEO fences that will alert if the trailer is moved into or out of. You can have it text you if it is going over a MPH that you have pre-set as maximum. It has an internal SD slot that will log all this data. The list goes on and on.

 

This piece of equipment is (I’m sure) made in China, as its manual is printed in Chinglish and thus has somewhat of a steep learning curve but it cost me less than $50.00 including the SIM card with 200 prepaid text messages. There are no monthly fees. When you’ve used your allotted text messages, you just reload it with another $10 worth. It operates in conjunction with the GPS and Cell phone systems. And it works just like it said it would.

 

I tried to upload photos of the aluminum mast and mount that I made for my remote control GoLight and the two antennas for the tracker, but I could not get it to work. I will work on that another day. I believe both of these items might be being offered as options on the Oliver Elite II.

  • Thanks 1

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Thanks for the informative post. You left out one crucial fact .... The name of the unit you bought! Can you post a link?

 

FYI the SPOT is a very nifty device, but the website interface where you store your profile and and emergency info and text messages is very clunky and not at all user friendly. The device itself is simple and can run 12 hrs per day in Tracking Mode up to two weeks on a set of lithium batteries. It has no external power connection, and you cannot use cheap AA batteries, so it would get costly for long term trailer security. Also, all the features are manually operated, you cannot set up any sort of automatic transmissions.

 

Because it has no external antenna connection, it must be placed with the SPOT logo facing the sky. Ideally at a window location facing south, but in a fiberglass enclosure just about anywhere would work, just not directly under a piece of dense equipment like the A/C unit. It is also unreliable under dense tree cover or in steep terrain, it requires a decent view of the heavens. If you use it for hiking and want the tracking to work, it should be carried high up on a backpack facing the sky. Here is an article I wrote when this was brand new technology....

 

http://www.spokanister.net/ktm_SPOT.html

 

I've used a Gen 1 SPOT for many years and recommend the optional emergency rescue (SAR) insurance, which could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the event you actually have an emergency in the boonies. Even if you don't use it for trailer security, I recommend a SPOT for anyone who travels away from _reliable_ cell coverage.

 

John Davies

Spokane WA USA

  • Like 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

John,

 

I've had my Gen1 Spot Locator for about 7 years and it has been helpful for family and friends to know where I camped. To overcome the shortcomings you mentioned, I now also have the Spot Trace, which connects to a hidden 12v connection in a cabinet and has backup batteries in case of 12v outage. Small, easily hidden, family can even track me as I head down the road during the day. It does not, however, have the 911 feature. Because of that, I've kept the Gen 1 Locator as cheap insurance.

 

Steve,

 

What is the name of the gizmo you are now using? It sounds interesting.

  • Like 1

Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

last Fall I took a 4000 + mile trip on Route 66 as my "Break-in" maiden voyage in my 18.5 Elite. I knew I would be taking several side trips and some were very remote. VERY !

Before leaving, I went to Fastenall and purchased a bag of the locknuts that holds the Oliver trailer hitch to the trailer frame. Each time I needed to leave my trailer and explore in my truck, I removed the trailer hitch/coupler and put it in the back of my truck. On more than one occasion, I had some gawkers staring at my trailer wondering how I towed it. I never told them. I kept my coupler safely locked in my truck. It is long, but fit in my truck

Each time I hitched up, I would use a new nut since they are one time only use.

Low tech, inexpensive, and discourages the not too resourceful thieves.

:lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...
  • Moderators

Reviving an old topic..... There have some recent posts on both FGRV forum and Airforums of travel trailers being stolen.  Yesterday it was an Airstream stolen from a storage area, a week or two ago there was a fiberglass (Scamp, I think) stolen from a repair facility.  So, I’ve started thinking again about GPS trackers.  There seem to be a number to choose from.  I know some Oliver owners have been using the Spot Trace and am wondering if you all are still happy with it?  It gets mixed reviews online mainly due to the billing and subscription price increases each year.  Does anyone use a different brand?  Any recommendations?  Mike 

  • Thanks 1

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMSMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SPOT annual (prepaid) subscription services are overpriced. In some cases grossly so. And very punitive; if you have to cancel - they keep it all...  That is the primary reason why I bought an inReach for $350 and dropped my $50 (on sale, rebate) SPOT Satellite Tracker. Their web interface, at the time I cancelled, was clunky and awkward to use. Garmin’s is not great, but it is better. I would never recommend any SPOT. I don’t know if any theft devices offer a monthly subscription. My inReach monthly plan can be “paused” by going online. At the end of that month it stops until I restart it. No penalties or limitations. I don’t need it for camping five months per year, but I do travel in the winter, so I keep it active all year long, for that purpose.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
  • Like 2

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I’ve been reading reviews and this one seems (Oyster2) to perform well.  It offers a monthly subscription.  My only hesitation is that it uses batteries that need to be replaced.  I’d like to be able to have a constant power source.  It’s US made, Lonestar Tracking is located in Houston.

https://www.amazon.com/OysterLTE-Cat-M1-Tracker-Year-Battery/dp/B07X8B5627/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=LoneStar+Tracking&qid=1603033541&sr=8-6

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMSMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you really want to rely on a cell based design? There are lots of places out West where it will be completely dis-functional. A satellite based locator will work anywhere that it has a reasonably clear view of the sky. It may not work if your stolen trailer is stashed in a steel roofed barn, but normal buildings and moderate tree cover is not a problem. If a satellite is not in view, it keeps trying until one comes along. Normally it takes a couple of minutes, very rarely as long as ten minutes. My inReach works flawlessly through the roof of the Ollie.

I guess the Oyster 2 would be great in an urban area, but not in the boonies (OTH the odds of theft there are greatly reduced).

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
20 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

Do you really want to rely on a cell based design?

We have a cell based GPS as a backup, just because it was/is essentially free for us. We already had an LTE modem for the trailer, and Victron provides free geolocation via their VRM portal. All we needed extra was a $30 USB GPS dongle. We also have a Spot hidden away between the hulls, only because at the time it was the cheapest solution - not anymore. Which reminds me, I need to go grab it to update the firmware  

We have an InReach, but that stays with us in the truck or on hikes. 

Edited by Overland
  • Like 2

❄️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
17 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

I guess the Oyster 2 would be great in an urban area, but not in the boonies (OTH the odds of theft there are greatly reduced).

 

Which inReach model do you have?  The majority of our camping is in locations with cell service.  The times we’ve been without, we didn’t venture far from our campsite.  I can see where satellite based communications has better coverage, something to consider.

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMSMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

Which inReach model do you have?  The majority of our camping is in locations with cell service.  The times we’ve been without, we didn’t venture far from our campsite.  I can see where satellite based communications has better coverage, something to consider.

Mine is an inReach SE+ (no maps). I have so many other nav options I did not feel the need for them in this device. If I were a back country hiker I would have got the map version... 

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/camping-and-hiking/personal-locator-beacon/garmin-inreach-explorer-plus

John Davies

Spokane WA

A96392B2-AAE6-4FD4-AF55-68B6455687B0.jpeg

Edited by John E Davies
  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

If you have (quite) a bit of time on your hands, some lengthy but informative (somewhat repetitive) info on the various Garmin inreach units. Some good photos and insights into operation, features, and benefits.

https://hikingguy.com/hiking-gear/in-depth-garmin-inreach-mini-review/

Costco had the inteach mini bundle on the shelf last month.

Sherry

  • Thanks 2
  • Like 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I am in the market for an InReach, and just returned to this thread to see which model, etc., so thanks all. I am pickup up the Ollie 1 soon (!!) finally, and want something to track both the Ollie (if stolen) and me (if lost in the woods, not that I would actually go way out in the woods, but hey, better safe than sorry). 🙂

  • Like 1

2021 Elite 1 -- Hull #731

Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

 

 

states.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I was just looking (again) at theft recovery gps devices a few days ago.

The problem is battery power. 

I do think the inreach is a great idea for hikers. Next time our daughter goes on a hiking trip in Colorado,  I  really want her to carry one.

 

  • Like 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Our Spot Trace has a battery backup (4 rechargeable AAA I think), but primarily it’s powered by a hardwired cable to the trailer.  I think it will go for several days without power if thieves were clever enough to disconnect the batteries. 

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

❄️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I remember tracking a friend on Spot when we parted ways in the Yukon several years ago. Being able to follow our friend to "civilization " gave me tremendous comfort, as he was traveling solo, and not feeling well.

My concern about battery power is for those concerned about trailer " in- storage" tracking solutions,  as many people disconnect from the main batteries in the trailer. We don't,  but we live in a mild climate, and solar recharges, even in shade .

And, off season, at home, it would be ridiculously hard for someone to open the gates,  first move the boat trailer out of the way, then move the Ollie, and steal our trailer out of the sideyard without our hearing it, or the alarm system notifying us. Or our neighbor seeing/hearing it, if we weren't home.

Several days' battery is probably enough to know your trailer has moved, and where it's going, for recovery. That's good to know. But, in storage, how long do you think AAAs would last?

  • Like 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

I remember tracking a friend on Spot when we parted ways in the Yukon several years ago

Interesting...

I did the Yukon River Quest three times (450 mile canoe race) and the race officials tracked each of us with Spot devices each year.  I have used InReach more recently and think it is a better device and service.  

There might be better devices that are designed for tracking stolen cars/RVs than the Spot or InReach which both offer rescue services.

Mike

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know nothing about these gadgets (in case that isn’t obvious) but I’d like to find something good and hide it well in the Ollie. So IF a bad guy ever tries to make off with it I might at least be able to give the police something to start with. If that makes sense.

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

2021 Elite 1 -- Hull #731

Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

 

 

states.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
3 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

That's good to know. But, in storage, how long do you think AAAs would last?

Not long enough, probably. They say it will last as long as 18 months, but that’s apparently very highly dependent on the signal strength. I’ve read three days of life in worst conditions while moving.

More importantly for storage, however, is that the Spot will simply turn itself off if it can’t find a satellite for too long a period. So, if you’ve stored your trailer somewhere without solar, then you probably won’t have GPS either. 

  • Thanks 1

❄️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
On 6/16/2015 at 9:50 PM, ScubaRx said:

There have been multiple threads on the FGRV forum concerning trailer security. Everyone has their own opinion and method and I agree that, depending on your personal beliefs, they could include simple diligence, locks, fences, chains, whips, guard dogs, guns, cameras, claymore mines, trunk monkeys and a moat. Those folks that are un-inclined to subscribe to any of the aforementioned tactics seem to just rely on good insurance. I employ some of these methods myself but if my trailer suddenly sprouts legs and walks off, I want to be able to find it and perhaps use some of the other methods on those folks that helped it along. I started investigating electronic counter measure devices to do just that. I looked at the SPOT Satellite Messenger. I didn’t find the initial cost of about $150.00 too bad. It uses your GPS location and sends it and preselected message to communication satellites which route your location and message to the appropriate network to get you help. It is obviously designed for and intended to be used by a person while traveling in remote regions and it does have good coverage. The best service plan will cost about $200.00 per year. For those folks that may only travel a few weeks of the year, that might be beyond what they are comfortable spending. I continued to look. There are several out there but none seemed to do what I wanted or cost more than I wanted to pay.

 

I finally found what I thought would do everything I wanted at a reasonable price and I installed it in the Outlaw Oliver. I have it set up so that:

 

When the trailer is unattended and sitting still (either here at home or anywhere else) and moves over 300 feet, it will send a text message to my iphone that includes a hyperlink to a Google Map page with an icon on it indicating where the trailer is. It will continue to send these until I tell it to stop.

 

If the door is opened it will set off a local alarm and send a text message stating that the door has been breached and includes the same hyperlink.

 

I can call it with my iphone and it will send the hyperlink.

 

If the main power source is removed (trailer batteries) it will send the hyperlink. There are internal lithium batteries that power it if the external power fails and it will alert you if these become low.

 

I can text it and tell it to switch between tracking and monitoring. In Monitor mode I can listen in on anything going on inside the trailer via a hidden microphone.

 

I can authorize up to five phones that can access it. Family can always tell where we are.

 

If we push the “panic” button it will send out a help message to all phones.

 

All programing is done via text messages and in addition you can arm/disarm it with an included key fob remote.

 

There are dozens of other functions that it will perform. You can set up multiple virtual GEO fences that will alert if the trailer is moved into or out of. You can have it text you if it is going over a MPH that you have pre-set as maximum. It has an internal SD slot that will log all this data. The list goes on and on.

 

This piece of equipment is (I’m sure) made in China, as its manual is printed in Chinglish and thus has somewhat of a steep learning curve but it cost me less than $50.00 including the SIM card with 200 prepaid text messages. There are no monthly fees. When you’ve used your allotted text messages, you just reload it with another $10 worth. It operates in conjunction with the GPS and Cell phone systems. And it works just like it said it would.

 

I tried to upload photos of the aluminum mast and mount that I made for my remote control GoLight and the two antennas for the tracker, but I could not get it to work. I will work on that another day. I believe both of these items might be being offered as options on the Oliver Elite II.

Thanks,  that's reassuring.   I was sure someone had already thought if this.   I appreciate your thorough answer and even including other scenarios,  like when the battery area has been breached or a door opened. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have an iPhone, you could put an Airtag between the walls with a hidden fish line to recover it for battery replacement. 
 

If you have a composting toilet you could even put it in the black tank. 
 

Even if the thief had an iPhone and knew enough to know one was in the trailer, he’d be so frustrated trying to find it, he might dump the trailer. 

  • Thanks 2
  • Like 2

2020 Legacy Elite II Hull 625 - 2013 Lexus LX 570

San Antonio/Boerne - Texas Hill Country

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...