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Tagg Pet Tracker to Track your Phantom

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jondrew, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. jondrew

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    I decided to test drive the Tagg Pet Tracker http://pettracker.com . I've added a lot of stuff to my Phantom the last few days, so this was kind of an afterthought. But since I've been venturing further and further away via FPV I figured I wanted some extra insurance for that $1500+ I send up in the sky.

    Like most things, the Tagg tracker gets very mixed reviews. "Its great", "Doesn't work", "service fee is too high" etc. So you really have to give it a shot yourself to decide if its for you. If you buy stuff like I do from Amazon, you get 30 days to return it. The Tagg pet finder service ($8/mo) is free for the first 3 months, so you really can't lose (unless you really do lose it, and can't find it using the service).

    Since I've only had this a couple of days, and really only have started using it today, these are my initial observations subject to change with experience.

    The Tagg system is a GPS based system using cell phone communication and consists of the collar tracker (this is a pet based system), the base station, and the actual Tagg service. The collar unit charges in the base station (they say it only needs to be charged every 30 days or so). It then attaches to your pet. You use the service (either PC/Mac, iPhone or Android) to set up you "home zone". This is a GPS "fence" which as long as your pet is inside everything is ok. Also, when the collar unit is near the base station, it goes into "sleep mode" to conserve power. i.e., it is not communicating back to the Tagg service because there is no need to. When your pet leaves the home zone (i.e. runs away), you get an email alert (or alert on the mobile app). You then can locate or track to the collar which has the GPS receiver and cell transmitter. You can find all the system details at the Tagg website, although I don't think things are as clearly explained as I would like.

    Initial impressions:

    The good:
    The unit you put on your Phantom is fairly small. It consists of a rectangular plastic box with a function button in the middle and a status led . It measures about 1-1/2" by 3-1/4" and is about 3/4" thick. The stated weight is 1.16 Oz (about 32g). There are plastic "wings" protruding from the sides which I had thought about clipping off. Apparently this is part of the antenna system, so they have to stay.

    It is "water resistant", but not intended to be submerged. That is so you can wash your pet or let it go swimming with the unit on. But I guess if it gets dunked, you're out of luck.

    Its fairly easy to use (kind of), and does seem to work. I've driven around with the unit and it locates itself pretty accurately. I've also used it so see where my Phantom is flying (but there is a significant lag between the time you say locate, and when it comes back with a position).

    It seems to have all you need to mount to your Phantom's leg (see pictures). Although you could probably find other spots to attach it. I assume it should be exposed as best as possible so the GPS antenna can see the sky.

    The "bad"

    The service charge puts a lot of people off. $8/mo is $96 a year, although you can sign up for an annual subscription for $65/a year. Thats on top of the $100 to make the initial purchase.

    You can cancel the service at any time. However (and I read this somewhere and am not 100% sure its true) if you cancel, you cannot re-subscribe. You would have to buy another unit for $100. That means not only can you not change your mind, but you really can't sell the tracker to anyone if you want.

    There is no iPad app. And the iPhone app does not support the iPhone 5 screen size. Kind of makes me wonder how committed the company is to maintaining their service. Looks like people have been complaining about this since the iPhone 5 came out. Obvioulsy, if Tagg goes belly up, this unit is worthless.

    The system is slow. I left my house with the collar unit and drove about 5 miles away. I did a "locate" on the iPhone app and it kept telling me the unit was in power saving mode near the base unit in the Home Zone. Took about 10 minutes or more before it realized the collar unit was gone. This might not be such a big deal if you are looking to recover your Phantom (obviously you know when its lost), but if Fido were to take a run on you, he could go a long way before this unit lets you know he bolted. Also, I don't thing this really gives you real time tracking. Again, more a problem for the Pet use case than if your Phantom is sitting in the woods somewhere waiting for you..

    All in all I like what I see so far. If my Phantom drops from the sky during an FPV run, or does an infamous "fly away" I should be able to figure out its final resting place fairly easily. Unless of course it is submerged in water, or the antenna is face down and it does not get any GPS/Cell reception.

    I'm not too put off by the cost of the service. If I used one of the other GPS/Cell trackers people use I'd have to get a separate number for the box, or use my Phone SIM card. Not sure I'd want my SIM card flying away or not having my phone available while flying. Again, that all depends on how you feel on the subject.

    Pictures below show the installation of the collar unit on my extended leg P2 Zen GoPro

    Unit on the Leg
    [​IMG]
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    http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t657/chopper109/Phantom/IMG_1103_zps99c508e7.jpg

    Mounting using the supplied collar accessories
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. plainolmoo

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    Great review and nice pictures. I've been debating on taking the plunge and buying one of these and this just helped me make up my mind. It's a little larger than I feel comfortable mounting on my P2V. There has to be a more compact and fitting solution out there somewhere... :|
     
  3. jondrew

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    Maybe. The people stripping down the TK102b to the card and installing them internally probably have the cleanest solution. I think my Phantom is going to have all manner of stuff strapped on it for the foreseeable future. I already see a 550 on the horizon. I'll be able to transplant most of the gear I buy for the Phantom onto it to hopefully keep the cost down. I will have to buy a transmitter I guess, but no hurry.
     
  4. WoodlakeDrone

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    Received my Tagg yesterday. Tested today. Works well. (Delivered in 4 days) I eliminated attachment hardware. Wrapped device around P1 belly and secured on sides of battery case with Velcro. Looks much better. Using free Android app to track. Device will also make animated map of flight track using track points every 3 minutes on Google map overlay.
     
  5. jondrew

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    I wasn't sure putting it on the belly would work. I assume the device should have a view of the sky. Of course in a crash, you can't predict which end would be up. But apparently that doesn't matter since it seems to work for you. Good to know.

    Wonder how this stacks up with a flytrex?
     
  6. WoodlakeDrone

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    Quote: "I wasn't sure putting it on the belly would work. I assume the device should have a view of the sky. Of course in a crash, you can't predict which end would be up. But apparently that doesn't matter since it seems to work for you. Good to know."

    I suppose, when a dog wears it on his collar, it's in approximately the same position (upside down). I noticed it also works while being transported in a car; under a metal roof.
     
  7. jondrew

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    Right. Of course I already have a bunch of stuff on the bottom. Mini IOSD , transmitter, and soon a ground station unit. I think the Tagg will stay on the leg for now. Seems very secure.