tracking device for your bus, anyone seen this?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Joyceethebluedevon, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. saw this in camper & bus mag,

    it is £250 for the basic tracker, plus £6.99 pm. 100% recovery rate!!

    But if you quote ' VWcab' theres a 50% discount on the initial cost, making it £125. We may even save that in a few years from insurance premiums. :)
  2. Moons

    Moons Guest

    I've seen this system advertised a few places and would like to hopefully educate on its limitations.

    There are a few claims on this website that are misleading and factually incorrect.

    Tracking devices in cars and how the police respond to stolen vehicles is pretty well documented here -

    To give you a brief summary on how a system works:

    On approved system, the vehicle location is tracked all the time, or, once the ignition is off it is in effect ringfenced by that location (also called Geofencing) - if it is moved without the system being deactivated, then the operations centre gets an alert - they then contact you (or one or two other approved by you people) to verify that the vehicle is in motion without your consent. They then contact the Police and on approved systems (more of which below) they will track immediately.

    On the face of it, this system looks to do the same thing - except for one fundamental difference (which is very well hidden in the text) - in FAQ, "What if my car is stolen and parked underground or hidden in a container" it states - We are able to track vehicles from the moment the owner reports the theft, normally no more than a few hours since it occurred, often less.

    It sounds innocuous enough - except for YOU monitor the vehicle, not them. I am unsure if you get an alert from the device if the vehicle moves and it’s up to you to check it if it has - they only respond when you tell them for sure the vehicle has moved - that to me is NOT a monitored system and in that behaviour, is no less functional than one of the trackers you can buy on eBay.

    Also, a response time of ‘normally no more than a few hours’ gives any decent thief more than enough time to find the unit and compromise it (more of this later – installation is hugely important).

    I’m also concerned by this line:

    Our Monitoring system is the only system to provide direct Police access to live, real time location data. This unique feature speeds up the recovery process and enables the Police to monitor the vehicle from a distance, reducing the chance of a high speed chase and damage to your vehicle.

    This is factually incorrect – how do other systems work if they do not give the police live data – in fact Tracker systems are installed into the police cars themselves (the four aerials on the roof of police cars means it has a tracker detector) which is far faster than these guys call centre reading out co-ordinates.

    Another worry is this seem to be unregistered (anywhere I can find) as any form of Thatcham approved for product or installation - Police guidelines are clear on their speed of response – again, read this -

    Police do not like responding to falls alarms, in the FAQ, this company states:

    Our systems are typically very simple to install and in fact, 90% of our customers install the systems themselves. Simply hook up a ground and power wire, mount the unit in a suitable location and the system is ready to go, once we have verified its signal strength and reception to ensure everything is operating correctly.

    This would make me doubt strongly that this system would be given any form of priority over one of the ones off of eBay. Having gone on several training courses and being an approved Tracker and Thatcham Cat 5 installer myself, installation in a manner that does not cause false alarms and gives a challenge to a thief to find and disable is where you get value for money. Security around where the installation is located, is also why we were security vetted and our systems were locked down.

    I don’t think this system is rubbish – its ok value for money if you read between the lines on what you are paying for (again, this sounds plausible - Skytag also uses specialist M2M sims operating on a private APN to ensure our devices work in the most challenging of situations. 'Normal' sims, either on contract or PAYG (in fact its the network they access rather than the sim itself) are far more limited and should not be used in critical M2M applications – this is bluster, they are talking about what can be bought from any phone shop and are called Data SIMs – the same as you fit to a laptop 3G card and are not hugely more effective than any Voice SIM with Internet Access on it).

    It would worry me that it’s not monitored (what’s the monitoring fee do if they only act when you ask them – you may as well phone the Police yourself) and without approval the Police will not give it precedent over you as a private person to my knowledge.

    The insurance cover will not change one iota without approved installers and approved product – and I doubt they would pay out when you say you installed it yourself (unless you are qualified). Remember, insurance walk away at the slightest excuse.

    I don’t see where it is better than an eBay one – unless of course I’ve missed the approval status and misread most of the website.

    I used to own my own aftermarket fitting company – I do not anymore and have no allegiances other than with tracking devices you get what you pay for.
  3. That is just fantastic advice, Moons. I've been trying to find someone able to give that sort of advice for months! I've got to fit a tracker (as well as an immobilser) next week. And I'm running out of time, as I just don't know what to get! If you'd just spent about 20 grand on buying a bus and doing it up, can you tell me exactly what system you'd use please. I'll then buy it. That'll bring my own frustrating search over several months to an end. And while you're at it, if you could tell me the best / best value-for-money immobiliser to go for too that would help. And one more thing: I was thinking about forgetting an alarm. I was worried it'd keep going off in the wind or something and just thought a good tracker and immobiliser would be more than enough (my insurance company have only insisted on an immobiliser). Basically, I'd want someone (a professional outfit) to come to where my bus is stored in Birmingham in 1 to 2 weeks time and fit the tracker and immobilser for me. I've already given you a karma for your fab post. Answer these questions and I'll send you one each day for the rest of the week. Plus I'll give you a big hug when I meet you in person someday. That's how frustrated I've become over trying to find the right security. It seems you know all the answers.
  4. Moons

    Moons Guest

    Buddy, I'll PM you as I don't want to slate or endorse products here - its people making a living at the end of the day.
  5. Great reply from MOONS. Time and effort taken to create an informative, honest, and informed criticism . Cheers :) K+
  6. Moons

    Moons Guest

    Me again! Just replying to some PM questions with a little more info - I've spoken to someone who knows about the system

    Trackers can be separated quite simply by:
    Typically systems use GPS, using satellites to track position, and phone network SMS to send and receive information so you know where the vehicle is - and RF, using radio waves to triangulate position from communication masts and to communicate (or systems that use both)).

    Both systems have merit - although to my knowledge, only brand Tracker use radio - all others are SMS.

    The benefit of SMS is often you can look yourself at it using various apps and internet maps – Tracker do have some fleet management systems that can do this but they are hugely expensive and designed to manage fleets of vehicles not single vehicles when they are stolen.

    Yes SMS use GPS satellites – the slight issue with this is that all of these have an error built in to stop the pinpoint accuracy they offer the military who set them up – hence why many systems can only quote to meters, not a meter – not an issue other than in built up areas. Another slight issue for SMS is if it’s rural and the tracker can’t send a text, you won’t get a message – so choose a SIM whose supplier has good network coverage.

    Accredited systems need accredited installers. It’s pretty simple to fit one – conversely its as simple to compromise one (i.e. just connect the power line to the one on the fuse box, and an earth means that most thieves know to follow the cable to the mysterious black box with the antenna connectors and wack a screwdriver through the box).

    Having fixed many a botch job – I would say you pay your money and make your choice – accredited installers work to a particular standard (e.g. waxoyl any drilled holes; solder, shrinkwrap, tape and cable tie connections etc.) and guarantee their work – they are also inspected and correctly insured. Non accredited ones will scotchlock onto light circuits for power etc etc.


    As explained – the Police do not prioritise non accredited kit and installers (they set up TQA and Thatcham Cat 5) for that very reason. I’m not saying they won’t respond – but these two schemes were set up in a joint venture and represent most of the good news stories about tracking.)

    The installers, kit manufacturers and monitoring systems are vetted and it costs a lot of money to gain accreditation.

    As I’ve said above – a contact centre monitors the vehicle and will contact you if they see it move unexpectedly. If you confirm its not consensual movement they then fastrack to the Police who will respond – these are the interventions you read about measured in minutes.

    Non monitored systems will text you if the vehicle has moved and it’s up to you to verify. Once you verify, you then contact the ‘call centre’ who I would guess feed info to the police – unsure how that part works but as far as I can work out they are given no more precedent that you would be if you phoned the police yourself.

    And therein lays the issue.

    A monitoring fee can be around £130 per year – or £350 odd for the lifetime of the vehicle. If you plan to keep it then one is cheaper fairly quickly, though ensure you have a system that is transferable.

    I’m not going to lecture anyone on what they should do to protect their investment/loved family member/hated thing of obsession, but all systems are different and the cheaper ones simply do not offer the cover or the possible insurance deals the accredited systems do.

    If you want a cheaper system, then maybe some form of SMS system linked to CCTV at home could work – this technology is moving rapidly – as are cameras in the vehicle – your only challenge is power for a vehicle not in use.
  7. I've always thought there should be a sub-section in Mechanical & Technical called Security. Moon's posts should stay there permanently. I know if I were a Newbie coming here in a few months time trying to get some advice on the matter of Trackers and alike I'd be well chuffed to have found it so easily. Just a thought.

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