Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Inexpensive GPS tracking alternatives

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JKDSensei, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Hey guys (and ladies).

    Has anyone purchased a TK109B GPS tracker?

    I've been looking around for an inexpensive solution to tracking my Phantom and I think I've found a good one.
    I just ordered a TK109B mini GPS tracker and after looking at all the reviews and information I could find, it "appears" to be a very inexpensive solution.

    It's very compact, self contained and is only about 2 inches by 2 inches by 1 inch thick.

    From the reviews I have read it is very accurate and reliable and that's all I'm looking for. I just wanted to be able to get the GPS coordinates of my Phantom in case of a flyaway and this seems to offer that.

    At only $39.95 I figured I wouldn't have much to lose. I also looked indepth a Trackimo but at $130+ I decided that I didn't need that right now partially because I am also considering purchasing a MarcoPolo unit as well.
    I also do not like the fact that the Trackimo is dependent on a website in China in order to work. So if that site in China goes down or is down, you are SOL?? (At least that's what I understood the directions for the Trackimo to imply...could be wrong).

    The TK109B works just like a cellphone. You call it's phone number and it responds by texting you it's current coordinates. Perfect.

    The standby time is in excess of 4 days...more than enough time to find the Phantom. It's also weather resistant and that's a big plus.

    It does (of course) require a sim card and activation. I'm going with H2O and see how that works. It's $10 every three months which I find is not bad as long as it's reliable service.

    Anyway, I'll definitely post back later after it arrives and test it out a bit and especially on the Phantom install.

    [​IMG]

    Features:
    1.Frequency(850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
    2.Easy to installation
    3.unit size:77*37*23 Weight:0.35 kg
    4.Portable and fashionable design
    5.internal GPS and GSM antenna
    6.Tack by Demand 7.Tack by Time Interval automatically,SOS Assistance,two way calling
    8.with 240 standy hours
    9.Reply sms with google position link to cell phone
    10.Geo-fence,Over speed alarm
    11.Sleeping power-save mode,Reboot the device,Waterproof

    Main functions:
    1.Initialization
    2.Change the password
    3.Authorization
    4.Single Locating
    5.Auto Track
    6.Monitor
    7.Geo-fence
    8.Movement alert
    9.Overspeed alert
    10.SOS button
    11.authorized numbers
    12.Shock alert
    13.GPRS setting

    Package Content:
    1x XGPS Tracker 109B
    1x USB cable
    1x User Manual
    1x Screw Driver

    TK102 TK 102 TK103 TK104 TK106
     
    #1 JKDSensei, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  2. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    I should be able to just switch my sim from my 102 to this one shouldn't I ?
     
  3. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Yes you should. As long as the Sim is not locked or restricted it should work as far as I know.
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  4. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Thank you for the like :)

    I should have mine next week and will be sure to post back a very matter of fact review. If it doesn't work perfectly, I will definitely say so.
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  5. Taylor Magyar

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been looking at this as an option as well. Where are you planning on mounting it?
     
  6. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    I was just looking at it and is a little big but do like it .
    Battery is internal and have had my 102's eject from it on impact .
     
    JKDSensei likes this.
  7. Goldni

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    40
    Had my P3A for two weeks now (22 flights just around my neighborhood and school playground down the street.)

    It's been flawless except I got brave and went a mile out to my friends house. On the way back (about half way) I lost signal for no reason. RTH worked!!

    Just enjoy! And as someone else on these forums wisely said,

    "It may pass, but each time I fly is this crazy mixture of elation, awe and dread."

    So true!
     
    Mike Mauk and JKDSensei like this.
  8. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    The $1,000,000 question is.....did it still work even though it got ejected?
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  9. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    Well let me put it this way
    girl crying 1.jpg nope :D
    This 109 though as far as I see has the battery internal .
     
    JKDSensei likes this.
  10. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Well, Mounting on top is out of the question because the GPS is located in the middle top just beneath the shell cover.

    So, underneath is the next obvious place. I will figure it out best after it arrives and will post photos of where I end up mounting it. I DO plan to surround it with 1/2 dense foam rubber to protect it from impact. The foam should not interfere with the GPS signal either.

    If you don't buy one in the next 2 weeks or so and still want more info, I promise to do a detailed review of the device and the mounting on the Phantom.
     
    Mike Mauk and dirkclod like this.
  11. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Ouch. Bummersville. Like I just posted above, I plan to wrap mine in 1/2 foam rubber to protect it from impact. And, yes, the battery is INTERNAL which should also help.
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  12. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    Great ! I have the 102 here MIA 1.jpg and does ok but is just a little smaller than the 109 . Have moved it all around and really liked it velcroed under the battery but when I added the RPG that changed that .
     
    BlackOpsTeamster and JKDSensei like this.
  13. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Good GAWD man! Where's the TURBO charger hidden cause I just KNOW you gotta have one to lift all THAT :p

    Kidding aside, I know who to go to now when I have add on questions :)
     
    dirkclod and BlackOpsTeamster like this.
  14. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    The TK109B arrived today.

    It was actually a bit SMALLER than I had expected which was good and should have almost no significant bearing on the Phantom at about 45 grams.
    [​IMG]

    It works....finally. But I wasn't one of those that got it working in 5 minutes.
    I ended up going with H2O wireless (H2OWirelessNow.com)

    They have a plan that's about $10 for 90 days. Each text message takes 5 cents out of that balance. So, you basically get 200 texts in the 3 months. But every time the phone number for the GPS is dialed, you're deducted another 5 cents per minute so you have to keep it in check.

    Basically, to get your TK109B working, you must have a unlocked cell phone that you can place the sim card into before using it in the GPS. Mainly, this is because many cellular companies won't allow your phone to work until after you have set up your voice mail. And the only way to do that is through a phone. If you already have one you're set. I didn't so I ran over to Best Buy and purchased this Unlocked Phone for $19.95.

    [​IMG]

    With phone in hand, I inserted the SIM card into the phone and immediately the phone worked as expected. So to test the SMS text messaging of the SIM card, I sent a test text message to my primary cell phone from the Aria II and it was sent and received normally so now I knew the H2O account and the SIM card was working normally.

    Before you remove the SIM from the Phone, it's a good idea to go ahead and set up your account at the web site of whatever carrier you chose so that you can log into their web site and check your usage and how much you have left (if you get a pay as you go plan like I did). If you don't do this and go ahead and install the SIM in the GPS, you'll probably have to remove it later to do this.

    With the TK109 fully charged, the SIM tested and installed in the GPS, I got down to the business of getting it working. It can be challenging. The instructions suck. But they're not impossible to make out.

    When you issue commands to the GPS, it is in the form of text messages. If it's working, the GPS will respond to your text messages with a text message telling you that the command succeeded or some parameter changed. If you don't get them, something's not right.

    I had a bit of trouble getting mine to work at first. It seems that finally what got it working was issuing the "Begin123456" command (without the quotes)....which I had done earlier but it didn't work until a couple hours later. Not sure why. Maybe a delay in the new SIM being set up?

    When I say "issue a command" what I mean is I sent a text message to the GPS's phone number (which you got when you activate your SIM card with a carrier).

    It seems that the SMS Track command may also have been needed. That command is "G123456#"

    Finally, I issued the following command (via text once again)......"monitor123456" and suddenly finally the texts started coming from the GPS (YAY !!!!).

    So now all I have to do is CALL the SIM's phone number and it responds with a nice message which is actually a link that I can open in a URL to Google Maps and it shows me exactly where the GPS is located in either a satellite view or map view. Really, REALLY nice!!

    One thing....the advertised product did not quite look like what I received. I think the advertisement for this product was photochopped to make it look more attractive with the red and green buttons. The one I received had no such green and red button...they were all orangish.

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow I'll play around with the setting and get more accustomed to the various tweaks.

    So far I'm lovin it.

    Here's a good tutorial; on using it (It's for TK102 but they work the same)
    http://www.nikingstore.com/blog/tk-102-gps-tracker-tutorial/
     
    #14 JKDSensei, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  15. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    Sounds almost like setting up the 102 And like the way it looks better than mine as the battery is contained and won't come out like mine did one crash . Was waiting on ya to get yours in to see it and think I will give that one a shot ! I should be able to put my sim in this one .Thanks for reposting with it ! :)
    Ahaaaa keep that down will ya.jpg Turbo's behind gimbal ;) Really not as heavy as it looks :D
     
  16. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA

    Right. There is no way for the battery to come out unless the whole thing is destroyed (or you unscrew the covers and take it out.

    I really like it but I still have a few days of testing to make sure the one I got is reliable. I had a few issues last night where it never replied to my request for location. Could have been the location because I had it indoors but the GPS light indicated a GPS lock. So maybe it was the cellular connection. Quite possible. Over the next week I'll do a lot of outdoor real world testing and see how reliable it is. Also want to test the battery life.

    I'll report back after.
     
  17. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    Ok, I've run into a problem.

    It seems my particular unit is randomly not awakening from sleep mode. I'm still checking to make sure there's no setting that controls this but so far I can't find anything. It seems at random times the unit will not awaken from power saving sleep mode when I call it. The majority of the time, once it powers down into sleep (or standby) mode, it has to be manually turned back on. I let a friend carry the unit with her today and within about an hour, I could no longer communicate with the device. The same thing happened last night but I thought it was just a fluke.

    If I disable sleep mode through the SMS configuration, it stays on just fine. I could possibly even use it this way indefinitely. I would simply never have power saving mode so my battery life would be limited to about 8 hours rather than 100 or more. For drone flying this might be ok. But I'm concerned that this fault might grow into a bigger issue later. I'd rather have a fully functional unit.

    BOTTOM LINE....
    If the wake up from sleep is the ONLY thing that doesn't work, I would consider this a very good solution for a drone. Other than the waking from sleep function, everything else seems to work and work well. The simple work around for this is to simply disable the sleep mode so it stays on for the entire time you're out flying your drone.

    It's about $100 less than the Trackimo and you do not have to use ANY website or special software. All you need is a SIM card and low cost account to handle the Texts. Again, I'm using H2O wireless and I paid $10 for 90 days service and about 200 texts.

    Trackimo is free first year (you actually paid for it in the $140 purchase price; then it's $60 a year after that. A few Trackimo drawbacks...You have to use their website for tracking. If their server is down, you're out of luck. The TK109B relies on nothing but your phone and the GPS device. I really like that a lot. Trackimo also limits text notifications to 30 per month.

    I may return this one just to see if the next one I get is any better. If Trackimo was $75 - $80 I'd probably go that route. But it's not.
     
    #17 JKDSensei, Aug 16, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
    dirkclod likes this.
  18. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    Well mine will be here Wed. [love that Prime ;)] and will check that but have the 102 so I only cut it on when I fly and then cut it off when I get back and have always plugged it into charger every nite . I always call it before I fly as part of my check list just to be sure all is well .
     
    Goldni and JKDSensei like this.
  19. JKDSensei

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,511
    Likes Received:
    658
    Location:
    USA
    For $40.00 it can't be beat. I'll use mine the same as you. Turn it on before flight and off after.

    Did you order yours from SourcingBay?
    They are not very customer oriented I have found.
    I would avoid them if possible.
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  20. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Messages:
    10,633
    Likes Received:
    5,698
    Location:
    Amory Mississippi
    Really didn't look who it was really coming from just got on Amazon and bought it . Whoops :eek::D