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Author Topic:   Boat mobile tracking
SJUAE posted 08-12-2010 03:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for SJUAE   Send Email to SJUAE  
Since Jeff has unfortunately had his boat stolen it got me rethinking on using my old mobile as a tracking device

Given that many recent smart phones have the facility to be tracked it seems to me not unreasonable to take a phone with a cheap post paid account and permanently wire and conceal it on board

I know that there are many proprietary systems available but the ability to recycle an old phone rather than sell or exchange it, or even buy an old model seems a reasonably cheap way to go about it

Apart from the cost of the mobile and a post paid account most phones require a service account for this facility but I would estimate initial set up for phone etc to be under 200USD and 30-60 a year to maintain

Of course there would be a drain on you battery(s) but I would think a mobile would take a fair amount of time to drain your main battery and the phone would continue to function 2-5 days even if the thief removed the boat battery


Hoosier posted 08-12-2010 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Interesting idea. If you turned off the ringer you could call the boat and, once the active connection was made, the "call" could be traced to a pretty small area.
SJUAE posted 08-12-2010 11:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

Nokia, windows mobiles, Iphones and others actually have GPS and triangulation capabilities. They can be setup to be tracked via google maps. The application is really intended to find your misplaced phone.

But as you suggest you could use any phone and get an account with a company that will triangulate and find your phone and boat.


bluewaterpirate posted 08-13-2010 12:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
I've installed two of these in the last 3 months. It's a solid system that's easy to install and use. Requires a month subscription of $25.00 pdesc=Cobra_C_pod_Cellular_GPS_Tracking_System&aID=601F13&merchID=4006


SJUAE posted 08-13-2010 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

Very nice but quite expensive I was suggesting trying to do it with an old or secondhand phone

This is how the find iPhone application looks ?action=view¤t=Picture-4.jpg

With an Iphone although the application is free you do need a MobileMe account which costs 69USD a year but that includes email and other feature. Other smart phones offer much cheaper alternatives.


bluewaterpirate posted 08-13-2010 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
That's actually pretty cheap in regards to some of the other services that are out there. You've invested a substancial amount of money buying your Whaler and maintaining it $500 is but a small amount in the big picture. My two cents.


Landlocked posted 08-27-2010 10:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
Totally unrelated to tracking but here is another use for an old phone...

My company recently purchases a rather expensive wireless web-cam online. We also had to purchase a 2 year committement to a data plan with a cell provider. The camera was to be used to monitor a field experiment "real time". Things went pretty well for a few months but the unit finally died. All attempts to contact the manufacturer were unsucessful.

In a last ditch effort to try and salvage it, we disassembled the water proof housing. Inside we found an old nokia cell phone with it's camera pointing out the plexiglass window of the enclosure. The phone was wired to a large 4-volt battery which was connected to an external charging port.

While I must admit - it was a rather ingenious solution; I question the manufacturers decision not to at least disguise the cell phone as something else given what they charged us for it. We also had a good laugh at ourselves when we discovered we could have done the exact same thing using a free online video feed service and one of the 100 or so used cell phones we have lying around around for much less than the grand we invested in this one.


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