negev

OpenTracker offering 10% discount to forum members

13 posts in this topic

negev   
Hello everyone,
Some of you may have seen the other thread about the OpenTracker system which I use in my car. I'm very happy to announce that Geolink (the creators of it) are offering a 10% discount to forum members (see below for the code).
OpenTracker is an Arduino-based tracking system and the code for it is completely open-source and available on github, and developers are welcome to contribute to it. I have added a bunch of features myself and hope to add more when I have a bit more free time.
Geolink offer a premium subscription (free for the first year), but you can also log the data to your own server if you wish.
I've been using it for quite a while now, I log the car's position, speed, heading, battery level, ignition state and some other data to my server every 60 seconds when the engine is off and as fast as the cpu can go when it's running, which works out to about every 16 seconds. Other features include:
- Text the car and it will respond with a google maps link (can either be http or an ios link that will open the google maps app with a pin for where the car is)
- Near-realtime alerts for events like ignition state changes, movement etc [1]
- Alert if the key is turned between certain hours (eg overnight)
- Alert if the car is moved with the engine off [1]
- Some settings can be changed via sms, eg how often the car polls, stop/start polling etc
- Alerts from the server-side daemon can be pushed to iOS devices via Prowl
I think it's a fantastic and much more capable alternative to the commercial trackers and the developer community has only really just started so the potential for growth is awesome. I was using the CobraTrak Plus before I got this and got into trouble with them after writing code to poll it every 60 seconds and causing them a network bill of about £18,000. They then told me I could only poll it once an hour, which is a bit rubbish. With opentracker you can poll it as fast as you want, and even though I'm polling it every 60 seconds, a £5/month giffgaff sim card has enough data to last the month [2]. The power usage is also very minimal and even leaving the car for a week polling every 60 seconds it never struggles to start.
As well as the discount offer, I'm happy to personally help forum members with installation and getting the software up and running and with setting it up on vm servers etc [3].
One of the most useful features I've implemented is in the server-side ruby daemon, which sends near real-time alerts when the car is moved or the key is turned. It can detect engine off, position 2 (eg ignition on but voltage below 12V) and engine running. This lets you monitor what garages are doing with your car, when they're moving it, whether they've got it sat with the engine off but the key in position 2 (probably listening to the radio :D) etc. And because the alerts are all sent server-side they can be activated and deactivated remotely. As you may have seen in that other thread, it let me see that a garage was blagging me - telling me they'd been test driving my car when I had raw evidence that it hadn't moved all day!
There is so much useful stuff you can do with this and if you can code the possibilities are endless. For example, I have scripts which scan my tracker logs for the past month and automatically work out my mileage expenses so I don't have to keep writing down the mileage.
Anyway this is the link to order it:
And the forum discount code is: e46zone
This will give 10% off either the board alone or the complete kit. I recommend buying the complete kit as it includes a metal case for the tracker, the connection cable and an antenna. The best place for the antenna is in the parcel shelf so it points up through the rear window but the cable is really long so you can hide it anywhere you like.
Enjoy, and if you have any questions please reply to this thread so my answers can also help others.
Mark
And now the numbered caveats:
[1] Due to the nature of GPS, movement detection isn't always accurate - if the GPS signal is obstructed, for example in a multi-storey car park, the coordinates may appear to wander significantly. I've seen this happen up to around 30 metres. However, when it has a clear view of the sky it's generally pretty accurate. Geolink are working on an accelerometer add-on module which should make movement detection much more accurate.
[2] Although giffgaff works great for me in the UK, obviously any sim you use will be subject to signal coverage and roaming charges if you go abroad. Giffgaff didn't work at all for me when I went to France, I haven't had time to figure out why yet. People use opentracker all over the world though so there will be a way to get it work, it may just have been that roaming wasn't enabled on my account.
[3] I will help out where I can, but please bear in mind I'm quite busy at work and am having my first kid in the next couple of months so my time may be quite limited. It's not hard to install and get it running though, they come pre-flashed with software that mostly just works out of the box. It's only if you want to use your own server that you may need to mess about a bit, but I can help with that remotely anyway.

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That is an awesome deal for the features and functions available... might get this for my 12R ninja...

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daveo132   

I'm pretty intersted in this myself.

I was quite interested in the info in your last thread.

EDIT:

One question though.

How is the data sent? Is it via text or by 3G?

I'm just looking to see if I can add another Sim onto my O2 contract.

Edited by daveo132

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Ok, I'm being blind here I'm sure, but this also needs an arduino to piggy back into?

What wiring is needed? Just a connection to earth, ignition and perm live?

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negev   

Ok, I'm being blind here I'm sure, but this also needs an arduino to piggy back into?

What wiring is needed? Just a connection to earth, ignition and perm live?

No, it's all in one. It's a specially designed Arduino microcontroller board with GSM and GPS modules, expansion interface and even support for canbus.

To wire it in it just needs 12V live, ground and the purple/white ignition wire so it knows when the ignition is on. If you want to minimise power use you can program it to only track when the ignition is on but in my testing it's not necessary if you start it once a week.

Although it has hardware support for the canbus, I haven't got around to actually figuring out how to wire that in and I'm not aware of anyone else who has yet. It'd require figuring out the connections and some programming to send/receive messages. One day I'll get around to looking at it..

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Perfect, cheers. I guess i skin read, sorry!

E30 slightly predates canbus, so not a concern there! I can see mine standing for several weeks at a time, so I might have to look for a solar trickle charger (but i don't trust those for use at an isolated location...)

Maybe the (presumably) lower parasitic draw of an e30 is enough to prolong battery life without the need for an alarm, remote locking etc...

Something for next month I think, once I've finished the rest of the wiring.

Thanks for rasing this and sorting the discount too!

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negev   

Data is sent via 2G (it doesn't support 3G so you need a carrier that still operates a 2G network. Three doesn't work). It wouldn't be hard to have it sending it via sms, little bit of code changes, but most carriers don't allow automated sms.

Power draw figures tested with a cheap multimeter from maplin:

Startup - hovers between 0.07A - 0.09A

Searching for a GPS fix / reading data from the GPS device: 0.08A

General processing (parsing sms etc) - 0.08A

Anything involving the GSM device - 0.10 - 0.11A

Sleeping - 0.08A

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Great info!

I think I've got a 72ah battery, so it should be good for 190 days or so, assuming no other drain. I'll need to check the e30s draw, but it sounds like it should last just fine :)

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negev   

Great info!

I think I've got a 72ah battery, so it should be good for 190 days or so, assuming no other drain. I'll need to check the e30s draw, but it sounds like it should last just fine :)

Yeah should be fine, in any case the tracker monitors its own input voltage so you could have a simple script server-side to alert you if the voltage falls below a certain level.

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Could it be shut down remotely too/at a predefined voltage?

If not, the alert is an excuse for a hoon!

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negev   

Could it be shut down remotely too/at a predefined voltage?

If not, the alert is an excuse for a hoon!

That's not currently a feature but it'd be very easy to implement. All the code is opensource on github, it's fairly easy to tweak it :)

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negev   

Actually thinking about it, you can set the polling interval with an sms command so you could just do that and set it to a really high number so it'd only poll every 100 days or something. That'd be very similar to remotely disabling it.

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Cool, I might to have a look. Been a while since I did anything above scripting though!

Although looking at the power draw, sleeping and doing seen pretty close in power anyway.

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