If you’re ready to put a tracker in your vehicle but maybe you do not have the $20K+ to fork out initially, or do not want to add a new bill for yourself to pay each month; then you have come to the right place. This post will show you how to install the device yourself professionally.
The device we will use is the TK103A/B GSM/GPS Tracker. Accessories included in the box:
- GPS Antennae
- GPRS/GSM Antennae
- 12V/40A Automotive Relay
- Remote Controller
- Cable Harness
Other materials/tools used:
- 5-20Ft 18AWG 2 core cable
- Electrical Tape
- Cable ties
- Socket Wrench
- Wire stripper
- DC Voltage Circuit Tester
- Digital Multimeter
- GSM SIM Card
Step 1: Buy a SIM card
Buying a SIM card (uncut) for this device is the first step because after the device is installed in the car, it’s not so easily accessible. Also, if using Digicel its important to set up the SIM with the MyDigicel App; and if using Flow install the My Flow Self Care App. This is to enable you to monitor the SIM balance as well as top up when necessary.
Step 2: Choose a hidden location for the device
Location is everything. If a criminal can find your tracker in your car easily and remove it, all the features of this device will all be for naught. Most automotive electronics are installed within the dashboard area of the vehicle. However criminals also know this because it is common practice and will be the first place they will look. Ideally you want to find a place that is hard to access, unconventional, and is near a 12V supply you can tap off and ground (metal chassis).
Cars typically have two 12v supplies:
- Permanently ON
- Accessory only (ACC) – ON with Ignition switch
If you want your device powered when the vehicle is off you can tap from a permanent 12V supply (recommended).
However if you are concerned about the current draw on the car’s battery (especially if the car is inactive for long periods), you could either install a switch in series or connect power to ACC 12V (Turns off when ignition key out).
The current draw is relatively low, from my measurements, the current draw is roughly 60mA. If you use your car everyday this shouldn’t be a big concern since the alternator will recharge the car battery.
You could also run a circuit from the car’s fuse box, but the last thing you want is to have a long wire between your device and car’s fuse box revealing the tracker’s location.
Step 3: Installation and Setup
The above shows the wiring diagram for the device. For simplicity I will only be using the device for tracking and remote engine shutoff (immobilizer). So the only cables I’m interested in are the red (12V), black (ground), and yellow (to relay). This post will focus primarily on set up of the location monitoring. The other features I will not use because I don’t need them and it will force me to install at the dashboard.
For first time setup, insert the SIM card, using something fine to insert into the SIM card popup switch.
Connect the positive (red) and negative (black) to your vehicle’s 12v and ground respectively and wait 1 minute before turning on the backup battery switch.
Note the indicator light colours
GSM/GPS LED Indicator
- Red LED indicator ON: No GSM network signals.
- Red LED indicator flashes fast (one time each second): GSM Network
signal is normally, and tracker works under GSM mode.
- Red LED indicator flashes slowly (one time each three second): Tracker
works under GPRS mode.
- Green LED indicator on: GPS signal is normal.
- Green LED indicator off: No GPS signals.
Note that if the GPS and GSM antennas ideally require line-of-sight with the sky to operate. It can still function concealed beneath thin materials (metal or plastic).
If your device is stuck on red after several minutes it may mean that the antennas are not getting a clear signal and may have to be relocated.
Step 4: Configuring device settings
To utilize the features of the tracker, commands are sent to it via SMS. The manual lists all the available commands but I’ll highlight some important ones.
Using your main cellphone, send SMS “begin+password” to the unit, it will reply “begin ok” and initialize all the settings to default factory settings.（default password: 123456）
For example: send SMS “begin123456”, it will reply “begin ok”. (No
quotation marks“” when sending all the SMS)
To Change Password:
Send SMS “ password+old password+space+new password” to the unit to change the password.
For example: send SMS “password123456 888888” to the unit. If succesful, “password ok” will reply to your cell phone from the device tracker.
Send SMS “admin+password+space+cell phone number”
to set up an authorized number, the other authorized numbers should be set
by the first authorized number, if the number is successfully authorized, the
unit will reply“ admin OK” by SMS.
To get location:
Dial the tracker device from the authorized number, it will hang up
your calling and respond to a real-time latitude and longitude information
Now you can rest easy knowing you have a means to monitor the whereabouts of your vehicle anywhere.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where we install the immobilizer system and make it wireless.