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Cheap GPS Tracking Device Project

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by jaguarfanster, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Given the recent amount of work done to my bike, registration costs, and the spate of motorcycle thefts, I've been meaning to upgrade my security. Being a younger rider insurance is rather expensive so I've been seeking alternate avenues of protecting my assets. Thus I stumbled upon GPS tracking.

    At point of writing there exist multiple GPS tracking solutions. However most of these are highly priced, and obscure. Hence I've become interested in experimenting and journalising a method for motorcycle GPS coverage.

    So far I've purchased custom items to create my own system. Nothing is assembled or received as yet. In coming weeks, the build process will be detailed and results noted.

    To briefly summarise, my system will consist of a tracking device, and an alarm. The tracking device was recently purchased. Obviously it features GPS tracking, however it comes equipped with GSM/GPRS functionality. This allows the device to broadcast the last known GPS coordinates via text message (SIM card required). This is beneficial given that most GPS receivers are inoperable under a roof. Thus should a motorcycle be stolen, and subsequently garaged, the last location will be SMSed; the point directly in front of the thief's garage.

    The device is battery powered similar to mobile phones. This is potentially problematic given battery life, however I plan on wiring it permanently into my motorcycle's power supply. A transformer is probably required. I'll seek this one out after the tracker arrives.

    GPS tracking is generally considered accurate to a radius of approximately 5 metres. Considering the population density in built up areas of Australia, this level of accuracy may be insufficient. A particular GPS location received from the tracker could incorporate several suspects/garages/stores. This is where the alarm is essential.

    To keep costs minimal I have chosen to rely on my motorcycle's oem horn for the alarm. A wireless activated switch shall incorporated into the horn's circuit. The switch will allow remote controlled activation of the horn. Upon arrival at the GPS coordinates following a theft the remote will sound the motorcycle's horn. At this point the EXACT location of the motorcycle should be clear. This should be enough evidence for the issue of a search warrant issue and possibly the recovery of the motorcycle. Perhaps if you can get a nice enough police officer to accompany you to the scene, you may get the motorcycle back there and then.

    Hopefully the plan will work out, and I'll be left with a properly functioning security system. All this at $55, thus far.

    Pictures will posted soon. If I have time, I'll get a friend to "steal" my bike, and see if I can recover it. All on video of course.
  2. Will be following this with interest!

    GPS tracking is probably the only realistic way of recovering stolen motorcycles.
  3. Also will be following this thread with intrest. You may have a massive seller if you can get this to work...
  4. Good work, although you might consider using a seperate horn and concealing it, since pulling the wires off the OEM one could be done fairly quickly.
  5. good point, but the basic tenets of the design brief seem very sound; despite my bike a '95 model I'll be watching this project with interest as well (y)
  6. Defiantly will be following this! I hate people who steal bikes tbh and it makes me sick but I suppose that's one of the downfalls to owning a bike :(

    Are you going to release the brand of the GPS tracker? I would love to do what you're doing as the other brands are so expensive :(
  7. I probably worded this inappropriately. The "alarm" is not intended to be a theft deterrent. It'll just serve as a location identifier. I.e. Only when remote activated will the alarm sound. Given this, the thief has no incentive to disable the alarm, as he/she will not perceive it as a threat. That being said, I'll probably source an auxiliary alarm anyway.

    Everything will be released when I'm confident in the abilities of the tracker.

    Thanks all for the interest,

    Stay Tuned.
  8. Sounds like a good project, looking forward to hearing how it works out.
  9. ok sorry :)

  10. I've done this to my bike (and cars). Under $50 on eBay, plus TPG's $1/mo SIM with 50Mb data and all of them tracking to a home server.

    Works a treat as long as the thief stays within the Optus coverage zone ;) Haven't had to test it yet but had many false alarms....
  11. Ahh finally someone else who has used the tracker. When you say false alarm, do you mean your unit is constantly sending SMS updates? This as opposed to location details on request, or when you send the message?
  12. Hey no need to be sorry brewski! Thing is, with most of these Chinese products, they make large claims without following through. Just don't want people buying an inferior product based on zero testing on my part.
  13. Hi,

    How Ironic,

    Very interesting post. Indeed you are on the right track re several aspects of yr design wish list. There are however a few glitches you will come across in due course. Reliance on the bikes battery supply to power a GPS signal transmitter is only feasible pre ignition system tampering by the theif.

    I may be able to help you in the future but I am very busy & heavily wk commited at present. Fact is you have devised a few idea's that where aspects of a product I designed & built to a functioning prototype 7 yrs ago .

    I got to yr stage with this idea after loosing my Duke to a parrisite & was fed up. I did have a little advantage of being an electronics technician in the pro audio amplification service buis at the time. Around $1500 worth of development & a couple of hundred hrs later I designed & tested a half decent functional set up.

    After all the effort & expense I then went to the trouble of getting an RTM
    re the design & posted it via a few scientific journals online in my trade. I still have the original unit & have for yrs been getting around to the idea of a small production batch run.

    Since then however I sold my Au's made & owned small batch pro audio manufacturing business due to the mass infiltration of Chinese tooth pic import gear on the market. Bewildered & in need of the income stability I reluctantly returned to my old 1st trade as a bike mechanic.

    I suppose the moral is: don't go blowing too much cash on designing this gadget. I am just one of several people who have already officially done it.

    Needless to say if I bothered marketing it the plagurers from you know where would mass produce an inferior quality almost identically designed copy overnight.

    I may get round to posting more re such neat gadgets whenever I get my next rare couple of hrs off wk & sleep,

    Cheers netriderchchic.
  14. I have a hacked-together system from a HTC G1, an arduino and some relays. Works as a GPS tracker, immobiliser, remote start etc. Battery in the phone lasts about three days because of power saving profiles on it. Was thinking about putting in some kind of second battery setup for it, but obviously space is fantastically limited. Some way of getting the camera external would be awesome too. It's all padded inside a tupperware and silicon'ed where I had to drill holes for cables.

    Overall, worked out to be quite cheap because I already had the phone. 365 day plan for the SIM, so I don't need to worry about the credit expiring anytime.
  15. Yeah, I got that. My thinking is that the alarm being remotely activated any time at all after the bike being taken would be at least a headache for a thief. The longer it goes, the better chance of them either ditching the bike or people nearby noticing, which could be handy for pinpointing where it might be once in the vicinity of the last known location. Hardly foolproof, but adds another string to the bow for the sake of a few dollars and the time it takes to fit it. If nothing else, should the bike still not be discovered it could at least make their day more difficult.

    That would be interesting to hear more about. Having an interest in music and audio (both HiFi and Pro) and electronics/design, as do a few others here, any stories would be most welcome.
  16. I was planning on wiring a separate circuit for the GPS transmitter. A circuit independent of the ignition system. Positive directly from the battery, negative taken from the frame. A transformer in circuit somewhere to alter voltage together with resistors and a fuse. Although this would mean the device would be on 24/7.

    Your offer is much appreciated netriderchanicchick. Thank you. Also I hope you don't sue me haha. That being said given you should file suit against suppliers. Even if you don't have a patent, you have the dated studies, pictures etc.

    However yes, I am using the Chinese product. As for quality, currently I'm not too sure, but given motorcycle vibrations, I will have to make a dampening rig for the device.

    Anyway I was not planning on siphoning too much money into this project. Don't have the funds in Uni, a shame.

    Would be awesome. Thanks again!
  17. The sims you get in prepaid internet dongles only do data, stick one in a mobile phone and it will either not recognise it or wont let you make calls or sms. Alternatively amaysim are about the only telco that if you buy a 10 dollar recharge, you can put the whole 10 dollars on a 1 gb data pack, which will keep working if you have no call credit left. (Telstra would expect you to pay at least $30 on a recharge, then another $20 on an internet data pack) - Amaysim have also confirmed they will support optus 4g.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Just looked at that ad too. Its a 2g device, which means you need to dig up an old 2g compatible sim card from somewhere thats never been de-activated, and then hope that whoever has pinched your car/bike doesnt leave a 3g coverage area.