Cars / Vehicles

Cars / Vehicles

Car theft

Car theft statistics show that car theft is going down every year, probably because cars are now much harder to steal, and many now have GPS locating devices.  However, crooks are getting ever smarter and more resourceful.  Everyone hopes that their car will stay where it was parked.  If taken, knowing its location will obviously help with its retrieval. The time to install a locating or alerting device into a vehicle is before it's taken!



Our devices are capable of alerting car owners in four ways:

  1. Motion sensitivity: By pressing the "set motion detect" button on the Track Panel, or "Arm Device" on the Track Panel-Mobile from a mobile phone, the device becomes sensitive to motion (acceleration).  It will send an alert if it moves until the setting is reversed by pressing the "disarm device" button on either panel. This is really easy to forget to do, with the possible consequence of irritating false alarms.  See How To on using Motion Alert.
  2. Zone alert: By setting a geo-fence or virtual perimeter about where the car is in the Track Panel (not possible in the Track Panel-Mobile), naming it and pressing Save (See How To ...set Zones (geo-fences) , the device will alert if it enters or leaves, or either, this zone when it next sends a position report. This interval is controlled by the user using the Track Panel's and the Track Panel-Mobile's Commands menus.  Up to 5 zones can be set.   These zone(s) can be timer controlled to come on and off at particular times (such as during night hours) for a car in a driveway.
  3. Power/Charging sensing: Car-thieves generally look for, and possibly scan for, tracking devices.  If they find one, they will probably disconnect it from its power or charging source.  There is an alert option for when a device is either a) switched off (using its on/off button), or b) removed from charge.  This latter option, located in the user's Admin section, of "Tell me when my device is on/off charge" will cause an alert if the device is taken off charge in any way (even if being destroyed).  Consequently, if this option if checked, the device needs to be connected to an "always on" electrical connection, i.e. one that is not switched off by the ignition or any other switch.  Opting for the "Tell me when my device is switched on/off" does not guarantee an alert if the device is smashed (only if it is powered off).
  4. Battery Save mode:  By putting the concealed device on to Battery save mode, also known as stealth mode, it powers down (and hence is undetectable with a scanner) between these position reports.  Consequently, at the expense of there being a time lag (hours) between when the car is taken and the next scheduled wake up time, there should eventually be position reports giving location, and possibly a zone alarm if one is perimeter-violated.  See How To on ...use Battery Save mode.

Choosing the right alert option needs considerable thought.  Sending Arm/Disarm Device and turning Zones on and off are free - i.e. they do not use SMS or position credits.

Power options:  

The options to power a tracker in a car are:

  1. using its internal battery alone, and re-charging it manually as required.  (It will automatically tell you when its battery drops to less than 20% of full charge);
  2. connecting to a USB battery pack, possibly one that is topped up by solar energy, to augment the internal battery capacity
  3. taking power from an external voltage source, such as the cigarette lighter, using a 12V to 5V (USB) plug-in adaptor; or
  4. connecting to the car's electrical system either through the splicing into a cable, the fusebox or the ignition switch itself using a hard-wire kit;

The choice of how the device is powered and its location depends on how well the connection and its associated wires need to be concealed, and difficult for thieves to find.  Our Accessories range has a range of battery packs and enclosures for devices if wired inside, and located in, an engine compartment to preserve the device in this hostile environment.  The cigarette lighter socket is an obvious but easily discovered power source.  Connections directly across battery terminals are also relatively discoverable.  All automotive electrical connections should be made by persons with approriate competences to assure safety and avoid undesirable consequences, such as short-circuits.  Remember that our devices can still alert when disconnected from their power source.  Discovery of the tracker may lead to its loss, but hopefully the retrieval of the vehicle!

GPS antenna:

The Prime1 device has an integral antenna which needs to be able to receive the GPS radio signals to make first and subsequent satelite fixes when switched on. The first fix takes much more time and power than subsequent ones.  To save time, the first fix should be done near a window if inside.  The Prime2 has an internal antenna and a port for an external antenna, which can be mounted in a higher signal strength location than that of the tracker.  External antennae are available in our Accessories section.

Young Drivers:

Putting one of our geo-locating and alerting GPS device into the car driven by a young or inexperienced driver, especially if it's a powerful vehicle, is a prudent safety measure.  The tracker could be self-powered of plugged into the cigarette lighter power outlet.  This would allow parents to see the vehicle's location and speed in real-time when it's moving.  This should theoretically lead to better, more responsible driving and thereby improved safety. It is strongly recommended that the driver(s) be made aware of its presence and purpose, and ideally agree to it.  It could also provide useful information if there's an accident.  The position reporting interval should be set to a low value(under 60 secs) for the data to be useful.