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Here is an inexpensive way to track your RV (or pretty much anything else) with no monthly fees.


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I was going to have my bus painted in Senora Mexico and thought it would be a great idea to have a gps tracker (or three) in it.   I did a lot of research and settled on a couple that would work in Mexico.  One was an expensive asset tracker that VHB taped down on the roof with a small solar panel that kept it charged up.  It was $200 and $15 a month.  That unit works as good as I expected.   Second device was adding a $30 antenna to my existing CerboGX device.  That worked good also, and was more "real time" than the Asset Tracker (AT location updates every 10 minutes if moving, 3 hours when stopped)  One caveat to the Cerbo GPS antenna solution is you need full time Internet connection.  The Cerbo has no subscription, except you need cell service on a hotspot or something.  

Lastly, and most importantly for this post, I read about Apple Air Tags.   A single one costs $29 on Amazon.  On a whim I bought one, set it up on my iPhone and taped it under a cup holder in my bus.  Surprisingly that little device's location updated quite often while it was down in Mexico for 6 weeks getting painted.   After bringing the bus home I bought a 4 pack of the air tags for $100 on amazon and now have one in each car, my backpack and on my bicycle. 

You must have an Apple device for them to be useful, and a phone would be the most useful if the item you tracked was taken. 

The Air Tag is about the size of a US Quarter and approx 3 quarters thick.  The battery is user replaceable with regular CR2032 if needed.  The phone app, Apples "Find My" also keeps track of your other Apple devices like iPad etc.   It shows the battery state of charge for each device on that screen.  My first Air Tag still shows a full charge after 11 weeks of use.

I am still glad I have that Asset Tracker on the roof and will continue to pay the monthly till we no longer need it.  But those Air Tag's are fairly amazing bits of technology for keeping track of "things".  -Bill 

Painting Blog Post

 

Edited by bigbillsd
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, agesilaus said:

Apparently there is an Android app for that Apple tracker. We thought about getting one for our dog but they only work when there are iPhones near.

Yeah, there is but its not useful for tracking.  Lifewire has a good article about it. It appears to be a bluetooth app to find a local tracker, one within its bluetooth range.  So if your RV is stolen, you are out of luck unless you have an Apple device.  -Bill

 

After thinking about it for a minute, it would be an app the thieves would use to find the tracker you hid in your RV after he has stolen it. 

Edited by bigbillsd
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4 hours ago, agesilaus said:

 Limits the airtag usefulness to urban environments IMO

Not necessarily.  If the thieves have an iPhone, it will report the location of the device.  Going down the highway, if the thieves pass a vehicle or get passed by a vehicle with an iPhone in it, the location will be reported.  May not be the ultimate answer, but still has some potential usefulness for little money.

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I have one on my dog's collar and it works great.    The first time I used it the snap that secures it in the holder opened up and it fell off in my front yard.  There was about 3 feet of snow, and she was all over the yard, I thought I was never going to find it, but the phone brought me right over it, I slowly started digging down in the snow and found it, 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/15/2022 at 3:23 PM, Chalkie said:

Something that has not been touched upon with in this thread regarding this technology is that there is a dark side to it. 

Apple to Update AirTags to Help Ward Off Stalking, Car Theft

The "Dark Side" has been showing up on TV lately - for various nefarious uses as noted in the link.  Recently on one of the news "Tech" segments......attached to some unspecting female's luggage, also (somehow) on one  gals purse - to follow her home from a pub...☹️

Hope Apple has put the spotlight on the dark side.  However, (IMO) users should check out how well legit users are protected.

 

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On 5/8/2022 at 3:38 PM, Pappy Yokum said:

The "Dark Side" has been showing up on TV lately - for various nefarious uses as noted in the link.  Recently on one of the news "Tech" segments......attached to some unspecting female's luggage, also (somehow) on one  gals purse - to follow her home from a pub...☹️

Hope Apple has put the spotlight on the dark side.  However, (IMO) users should check out how well legit users are protected.

 

Yes, like most things, they can be used for bad or good, just depends on the person using them.  If my car gets taken, I will be glad if I can go get it back right away. 

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