Instructables

how does a gps tracker work?

Hi, Recently ive come to really enjoy and appreciate my first car i ought a while ago, and like everything good in my life, its going to disappear pretty soon, or be destroyed and/or rendered unuseable. Asuming its the former, i want to be able to track it down when its stolen, i know for a fact one way or another it will be, everything good in my life always is, or is broken or compromised in some way.

I am aware of HOW a gps tracker works, thats simple signal timing and triangulation ect, dont really care.

What i want to know is, namely with this particular tracker, is how will the tracking service work?
The  seller couldnt do anything more than email me a copy of the item description so im not finding out from them.

Once i buy such a gps tracker, how exactly will i be able to track it? will i have to pay for some expensive tracking service? or is it free, in which case i would do something like check its coordinates on some website.

I really dont know. does anyone have any idea how the tracking service operates? free or otherwise.

Thanks

verence1 year ago
As you didn't specify the kind of tracker you have (my crystal ball is not working), I only can give an unspecific answer.

Any GPS Tracker has a GPS receiver to triangulate its own position from the satellite signals.

The most simple trackers do just store time and position information at some time/distance intervals. So, you can later read that data out and see where the tracker has been when.

Of course - that doesn't help you, if your car with the tracker got stolen. To get in contact with the tracker remotely, the tracker need some kind of wireless communication - radio. Most trackers use the cell phone network. These trackers will need a SIM card and for the card, you need a contract with a cell phone network provider - prepaid or otherwise.

Some trackers get activated by receiving a text message (SMS) and answer with their current location. Some don't use text messages but a data connection with a web server of the manufacturer. You can then use any web browser to log into this server and control your tracker. This service may cost extra money. Depending on the type of connection, you should select the cell phone contract (i.e. text flat rate vs. data flat rate)

If the seller couldn't give you information, take the item name and find the manufacturer and check their website. If you can't get the information, don't buy the device and go for a well known brand instead.
jpoopdog (author)  verence1 year ago
Do you know of any GPS trackers which are free to operate?
Long story short, ask the ebay seller for the item datasheet before you buy it.
jpoopdog (author)  Jayefuu1 year ago
already did, they know abssolutely nothing about the product. like i said before, the only response they gave me was a direct quote from their own listing.
verence1 year ago
From the linked web site:
"- Support SMS and GPRS platform tracking"
"- GAM bands:900/1800 MHz or 850/1900MHz"
"- GPRS:Class12,TCP/IP"
The GAM is most probably a typo, should be GSM.
So you will need a cell phone SIM card (probably micro) to make it work.

A free one? You mean without cell phone contract? No, don't think, there is one, as you need a data channel between you and the tracker that works everywhere. The cell phone network is as cheap as it can get. If you can get a plan where you only pay for used SMS' and not a fixed amount every month, you should be fine.
Jayefuu1 year ago
You didn't include a link to the one you're buying.

A more useful title might also be "How do I use this GPS tracker?". Your question has 50% irrelevant information and could be summarised with the right title.
jpoopdog (author)  Jayefuu1 year ago
sorry, here http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NEW-H-1-GSM-GPRS-GPS-Vehicle-Tracker-Global-smallest-GPS-Tracking-Device-/400429633407?pt=AU_Utensils&var=&hash=item5d3b774f7f

Im considering model 2#

though on ebay 99% of all gps trackers are essentially all the same. at least all those i had seen anyway.