Cost effective, as in Almost Free Vehicle Tracker - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Cost effective, as in Almost Free Vehicle Tracker

If you have an old Apple or Android phone laying around your house with the Find My iPhone feature, you can have a vehicle tracker for no monthly charge at all. The only thing that will cost is to buy the sim card to change over to FreedomPop. The card is $1.99. When you install the card you get 500MB of data per month. 200 minutes of free calls too, but you will not use this phone to make or receive calls. Except maybe in an emergency. If you go over the 500MB of data they can hit you for overage fees but the only data you'll ever use is when you go to locate the phone/car using the Find My iPhone feature, and that uses hardly any data at all, and the only time you should ever use the data is when you need to locate the phone/car. So the service is free. I hard wired my old phone to stay constantly charged and hidden where no thief would think to find it. One warning though, when you go to FreedomPop.com to purchase the SIM card and the free plan, they will give you an upgraded plan with more minutes and data to try out as a trial for 1 month. You need to manually downgrade your plan to the free plan or they will bill your account $24.99 each month. So God forbid my car is ever not where I left it, all I have to do is log on to Find My iPhone and I'll track it down.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:01 PM
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That is a pretty neat idea. What did you do as far as wiring the phone permanently into your car?

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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I just used a regular USB charging cable and then bought the USB adaptor that would normally plug in to the Cigar lighter. I bought one of the accessory plugs (like the lighter plug and wired it to a constant 12V.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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You cannot over charge an iPhone. Once the battery reaches 80% it goes into a trickle charge. I do have a little concern that the battery could over heat and possibly burn. Could someone else on the forum comment to that concern?

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:52 PM
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I won't say it never happens with an apple iPhone, but I bet the chances are more remote than the old car wiring shorting and catching on fire. That may not make you feel more comfortable.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjallen3 View Post
I just used a regular USB charging cable and then bought the USB adaptor that would normally plug in to the Cigar lighter. I bought one of the accessory plugs (like the lighter plug and wired it to a constant 12V.
Wouldn't this (slowly) drain your car battery? Sometimes I randomly go a few weeks without driving my car.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
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Wouldn't this (slowly) drain your car battery? Sometimes I randomly go a few weeks without driving my car.
Answer: smart trickle charger


Z

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:48 AM
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Answer: smart trickle charger


Z
Ah. NVM then, I'm not trying to open and close the hood every time I drove the car.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 01:31 AM
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Wire in a "plug in" connection that you just plug in when the car is in the garage, leave the connection at the battery terminal in place. I have my battery in the trunk and there is a sweet little factory hole in the trunk shelf that drops my little plug in (with cover) into a perfect spot. I am sure finding a similar plug or a small grommet out of the headlight bucket (or share it) would accomplish much of the same thing.

I like that idea, might try and update my old 4S and find a way to wire it in and hide it.

Thanks
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THE EVIL TW1N View Post
Wouldn't this (slowly) drain your car battery? Sometimes I randomly go a few weeks without driving my car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by THE EVIL TW1N View Post
Ah. NVM then, I'm not trying to open and close the hood every time I drove the car.

one just needs a trickle charger when one is not using the car for weeks or longer. Even without the cel phone gizmo, it's prudent practice to use a trickle charger during times of long inactivity to prolong battery life.

just my 2 cents.


Z
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zray View Post
one just needs a trickle charger when one is not using the car for weeks or longer. Even without the cel phone gizmo, it's prudent practice to use a trickle charger during times of long inactivity to prolong battery life.

just my 2 cents.


Z
I don't plan my inactivity. I drive my car as often as possible, most times about once to twice a week. But sometimes it rains on the days I plan on driving or it's too hot, sometimes I take one of my other cars. If I had to open my hood every time I drove the car, it would discourage me even more from driving the car even more.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 05:22 AM
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Fej's suggestion seems easy enough, but no matter. If you get discouraged easily, then that too might be too much trouble



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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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It's simple, I drive my car as much as possible in the spring, summer and fall. In winter, or if I go away for more than a week I'll use my smart trickle charger to keep the battery charged. If you don't want to connect the leads to your battery so you can just jump in and drive that's your prerogative. The purpose of my post was to tell everyone about a very inexpensive way to keep a vehicle tracker in the car. I've read several posts about people buying GPS trackers and then paying monthly services. The cheapest service I've seen is $10 per month. My method is Free. Nada, after you've supplied the phone and purchased the SIM card. Once the phone is fully charged it is draining very little from the car's battery while in maintenance. My clock drains more power than a phone that is not in operation. If that's a problem for you then only plug in the phone when you park the car somewhere that makes you nervous. The same as activating your kill switch, locking your hood, or arming an alarm.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 08:12 AM
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iPhones are pretty efficient battery wise if you aren't using them so I suspect battery drain would be negligible for at least a month.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 08:26 AM
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I just installed new alarm system in Cherylene, it has gps, shock sensor, kill switch, etc.
Apart from sending a message on the status of your car and location to your iPhone, it will also let you know when the batt drops below 11V.
Pretty neat.
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