If you own a vehicle, or some expensive equipment, or whatever; you may have used a tracking device to help recover your good(s). A well-known market product of GPS trackers is the "TK102B" tracker which will allow you to place a mobile SIM card inside so whenever you call the tracker, it'll text you back its immediate GPS (or GPRS) location.
I purchased this for about £7 ($8.69 USD as of 19th February 2017) and it arrived about 5 days later in the post; at first, I was happy with this as I had seen this YouTube video before I purchased the tracker and it was very promising! It had texted back the location, it was fast, it had multiple modes, and it was frighteningly accurate! *although this post is nothing to do with the video, just the product.
I purchased a SIM card and put some money on it (the tracker has to send SMS messages and it can't do it for free!) so I could get my location when it was switched on.
Luckily, being the sensible person that I aspire to be; I tested it at home first, I saw that the network the SIM card was registered too had very good signal indoors as well as outdoors, so I called the tracker to see how accurate it was. I didn't get any response after 2 minutes, so I thought I would try again. I finally managed to get a response after the 2nd attempt; bare in mind at this point, I had followed the instructions and initialised the device correctly as I read the instructions and checked them about 4 times over.
|TK102B Tracking Device. Courtesy of: Ganymede81 License: CC BY-SA 4.0|
When I got a location send to me as co-ordinates, it didn't return my accurate location, nor did it return a vague location. The location I received was Latitude zero, and longitude zero (that point off Africa where the Prime Meridian and the Equator meet). I thought this must have been a fault so I called again, but there wasn't any response from the tracker.
You can text the tracker to check the status of the device and it returns those texts to me just fine and in about 30 seconds, it said the GPS was working, GPRS wasn't but GSM was, and it had a 50% battery life. It took me another 7 or 8 SMS messages for the tracker to give me its location (again).
I turn the tracker off immediately after playing with it, and I thought I'd try again the next day; after 3 text messages, it gave me the same location (latitude zero & longitude zero). I was not happy. I accidentally dropped it after trying to change SIM cards and I couldn't even switch the tracker on because the battery fitting had become loose, so now whenever the tracker moved, the battery would become loose and turn itself off!
|TK102 Tracking Device Inside Hardware. Courtesy of: Ganymede81 License: CC BY-SA 4.0|
I had one last try at this and so I put some card to help support the battery, it worked fine after some movement and I thought I would check the state of the tracker again. It replied "GPS not working, GPRS not working, GSM working and the battery had fell to 39%" only after texting it 15-20 times in the course of 15 minutes.
I had became very cross and this product didn't work as promised, it was cheaply and poorly made (probably not surprising as it was made in China). I would never buy this product again, I just feel for people who have this product as this may break during an event of emergency. I wouldn't care if I got this product for free as I still would not use it. So as I write this blog post, if you're thinking of using this tracker for your vehicle, sandboarding equipment, camera equipment, or anything that you might find a use for this; I would definitely recommend you not buy this product.