A Motorhome tracker you'd be stupid not to fit.

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
I am looking to find a motorhome tracker that would be a cost-effective way of having a chance of getting a motorhome back. I have access to a very talented guy who can develop a product to my specifications.

I know there are some among you who are not sold on trackers and would prefer that if some low-life steals their van, they’d rather not see it again preferring to claim on the insurance. I’ll admit I used to think the same until I heard the account of the guy who lost his motorhome when at a shopping centre in France. They lost everything, all they had was shopping trolley full of food and nowhere to unpack it.

I can only imagine the shock that sets in when something like that happens, and you realise everything is gone; your holiday is effectively over and a nightmare of repatriation about to begin. At that moment, would you want your van back? Yep, I would. The guy in question got his van back that day and carried on with his holiday.

The thing is, people are not stealing Motorhomes to trash and joy-ride. Instead, mostly, they are taking them to ship out of the country so are likely to look after them rather than wreck them.

We know thieves are stealing them and making a dash to a port, but they don’t want to be tracked. The smart thieves know the likely places a tracker will be fitted. Even if it’s well hidden, they are likely to have tracker detectors to find and remove it. Or, more often than not, it will be so easy to find they won’t need a detector when they see it attached to the OBD port. If they can’t find a tracker, then the most common pattern is to park it up somewhere, for 24/8 hours and see what happens. If on their return it is still there then its unlikely to have a tracker on board and off they drive to a port.

Presently we can cough up for a Thatcham approved bit of kit that costs Hundreds to purchase and a similar amount to keep online. Or buy a £30 tracker from China of eBay, hoping it won’t be found if the van is stolen, but knowing it probably will.

So I’m looking for some middle ground, and my brainstorming thus far has resulted in the following.

  • The tracker needs to be small, entirely self-sufficient, having a power supply, that lasts years rather than days.
  • It needs to water-proof so we can hide it anywhere we like inside or outside of the motorhome.
  • have a powerful magnet should we require to hide it on the chassis.
  • That it is dead and undetectable till we turn it on. Or at least have it only switch itself on for just a few seconds a day to minimise the chance of detection. And in those few seconds, it reports it’s location that we can see on a map as well as things like the state of the power supply etc.
  • That we can talk to it in any country in the world and ask its position, or in the event of a theft ask it to report in hourly or more for live-tracking.
  • That is cheap and effective enough to be stupid not to fit one.

Anything else?
 

Andpopse

Free Member
Sep 29, 2018
3
3
Funster No
56,454
MH
A Class
Exp
I’m a newbie
Do you have a target price? I’d be interested in two.
Cheers
 
Mar 11, 2013
474
237
Gillingham
Funster No
25,056
MH
coachbuilt
Exp
since 2005
Sounds like a good idea, but I do have one concern and that is that if it is attached to the underside of to well concealed, will it have a readable signal?
 
OP
Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
Do you have a target price? I’d be interested in two.
Cheers
No not yet because that will depend upon the facilities we settle with. But my aim will be to source it as cheap as possible. I appreciate that sim cards on networks need to be paid for but the £25 or more a month that some tracking companies charge does seem to be a rip off, So I'd be looking for no subscription at all or if I am snookered into a sub then it would be a very, very low one!
 
OP
Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
That it is acceptable to mosst insurance companies.
No, the insurance companies run Thatcham, so of course, they insist of Thatcham approval, that costs tens of thousands.
 
OP
Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
Sounds like a good idea, but I do have one concern and that is that if it is attached to the underside of to well concealed, will it have a readable signal?

Of course we will need to have a testing mode so we can test the locations we hide it are effective.
 

DBK

Jan 9, 2013
13,614
22,325
Plympton, Devon
Funster No
24,219
MH
PVC, Murvi Morocco
Exp
2013
As you will know there is something like this available for hikers etc called a PLB or Personal Locator Beacon. These mini-EPIRBs work anywhere as they talk to a satellite but they aren't cheap (£200) and don't switch themselves on if they are stolen.

https://www.force4.co.uk/department/safety/epirbs-plbs-ais-units.html

I think you will struggle with battery life if the requirement is it can be contacted and switched on if the vehicle is stolen. You could have a very long battery life if it only came on for a few seconds, this is how the trackers fitted to migrating birds etc work, the device sleeps virtually all day and just wakes up to chirp out a message.

Waiting 24 hours isn't acceptable I think but the device could come on say every 4 hours, send out its message and if the owner has reported the vehicle stolen it would get a reply to start reporting much more frequently.

The device would need to use a sim card as I don't think there is any other alternative which meets the low cost criteria.

There are practical issues which would need to be trialled, particularly if stuck to the chassis by a magnet can it get a signal? GPS certainly wouldn't work and would the location based on phone masts be accurate enough? Hopefully it would. Battery life would be influenced by how often it woke up to report it's position and again this would need to be trialled to find the best compromise.

Edit: The cheapest monthly SIM card I can find is Giffgaff at £5 a month which is £60 a year. A cheaper alternative would be a preloaded SIM card with ideally a 24 month life.
 
Last edited:

Chris

LIFE MEMBER
May 5, 2010
19,059
60,239
kent
Funster No
11,412
MH
None
Exp
10 years
Excuse my ignorance Jim, but do these gadgets plot position on things like Google maps or Apple maps or do they have their own mapping thingy?
 

DBK

Jan 9, 2013
13,614
22,325
Plympton, Devon
Funster No
24,219
MH
PVC, Murvi Morocco
Exp
2013
Excuse my ignorance Jim, but do these gadgets plot position on things like Google maps or Apple maps or do they have their own mapping thingy?
The cheap £25 tracker I tried for a while sent out postion link in an email. When you clicked on this Google maps came up on your phone showing the location.
 

mike mcglynn

LIFE MEMBER
Jan 6, 2008
2,408
17,149
St. Helens MERSEYSIDE
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1,144
MH
Autosleeper Warwick XL
Exp
A long time now
Would it be possible to make it heatproof ? to enable it to be mounted somewhere in the engine bay as for me that would be an ideal place to put it on my van.
 

Robert Clark

LIFE MEMBER
Jul 12, 2014
10,635
43,882
East Sussex
Funster No
32,375
MH
N&B Arto 78F
Exp
Since June 2014 - learning something new all the time
We’ve found this one very effective

XCSOURCE Vehicle Tracker Real-time Locator GPS/GSM/GPRS/SMS Tracking Motorcycle Car Bike Antitheft AH207 Amazon product
No subscription
Works great with a GifGaf SIM card
Just call the number anytime and it texts you it’s location and speed
 
Sep 16, 2016
2,856
4,623
Near the junction of the A14 and A1, Cambs
Funster No
45,145
MH
Elddis Autoquest 175
Exp
Since 2010
We can track ours anytime anywhere via google maps or I can have it send a txt with position at set intervals, report if it moves, goes out of a presubscribed area etc,etc, via a payg sim, cost £70 and I have a lifetime license at £60. We have these fitted to all our vehicles.

tracker6.jpg
 
OP
Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
We’ve found this one very effective

XCSOURCE Vehicle Tracker Real-time Locator GPS/GSM/GPRS/SMS Tracking Motorcycle Car Bike Antitheft AH207 Amazon product
No subscription
Works great with a GifGaf SIM card
Just call the number anytime and it texts you it’s location and speed

Yes, these are hooked up via the 12v system and constantly transmit. Because of this they are found pretty quickly.
 
Oct 26, 2014
495
491
Lincolnshire
Funster No
34,001
MH
Adria Coral Supreme 680st
Exp
since 2001
Motor homes have loads of hiding places as long as it small enugh I bet I Coul find sum whare to put it and it would never be fund with perminant hard wiring
Bill
yes they do have Bill, my spare key is in one

BUT guess who forgot where it is?
 
Jul 29, 2007
4,889
10,380
Ipswich
Funster No
32
MH
RV
Exp
30 years
Something that came on for just a few seconds, every 3-4 hours, would be hard for low life's to find. Good idea Jim.
 

DuxDeluxe

LIFE MEMBER
Jul 10, 2008
11,213
30,073
Planet Zog
Funster No
3,243
MH
A Class Le Voyageur
Exp
since 2008
I am looking to find a motorhome tracker that would be a cost-effective way of having a chance of getting a motorhome back. I have access to a very talented guy who can develop a product to my specifications.

I know there are some among you who are not sold on trackers and would prefer that if some low-life steals their van, they’d rather not see it again preferring to claim on the insurance. I’ll admit I used to think the same until I heard the account of the guy who lost his motorhome when at a shopping centre in France. They lost everything, all they had was shopping trolley full of food and nowhere to unpack it.

I can only imagine the shock that sets in when something like that happens, and you realise everything is gone; your holiday is effectively over and a nightmare of repatriation about to begin. At that moment, would you want your van back? Yep, I would. The guy in question got his van back that day and carried on with his holiday.

The thing is, people are not stealing Motorhomes to trash and joy-ride. Instead, mostly, they are taking them to ship out of the country so are likely to look after them rather than wreck them.

We know thieves are stealing them and making a dash to a port, but they don’t want to be tracked. The smart thieves know the likely places a tracker will be fitted. Even if it’s well hidden, they are likely to have tracker detectors to find and remove it. Or, more often than not, it will be so easy to find they won’t need a detector when they see it attached to the OBD port. If they can’t find a tracker, then the most common pattern is to park it up somewhere, for 24/8 hours and see what happens. If on their return it is still there then its unlikely to have a tracker on board and off they drive to a port.

Presently we can cough up for a Thatcham approved bit of kit that costs Hundreds to purchase and a similar amount to keep online. Or buy a £30 tracker from China of eBay, hoping it won’t be found if the van is stolen, but knowing it probably will.

So I’m looking for some middle ground, and my brainstorming thus far has resulted in the following.

  • The tracker needs to be small, entirely self-sufficient, having a power supply, that lasts years rather than days.
  • It needs to water-proof so we can hide it anywhere we like inside or outside of the motorhome.
  • have a powerful magnet should we require to hide it on the chassis.
  • That it is dead and undetectable till we turn it on. Or at least have it only switch itself on for just a few seconds a day to minimise the chance of detection. And in those few seconds, it reports it’s location that we can see on a map as well as things like the state of the power supply etc.
  • That we can talk to it in any country in the world and ask its position, or in the event of a theft ask it to report in hourly or more for live-tracking.
  • That is cheap and effective enough to be stupid not to fit one.

Anything else?
The alarm system where I do maintenance is a remote radio system, the batteries are very long life (a few years) - I will try to get a picture tomorrow; the same size as an AA battery but they would be useful. They aren't on all the time but are pinged every now and again I think and give a low battery alarm when down to 3.2v from 3.6v. A very decent power supply source
 

hilldweller

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 5, 2008
32,151
32,729
Macclesfield
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5,089
MH
Swift Sundance 620FB
Exp
From Aug 2007
Or buy a £30 tracker from China of eBay, hoping it won’t be found if the van is stolen, but knowing it probably will.
Re-inventing the wheel has little merit. Don't dismiss cheap Chinese 'till you've tested one or two.

There is a battery one for bikes not far off your spec. Find it's maker.
https://www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk/motorcycle_parts/content_prod/231761

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&toolid=10001&campid=5338547443&icep_item=111355670700
 
Last edited:
Nov 18, 2011
10,305
20,526
Funster No
18,938
Would it be possible to make it heatproof ? to enable it to be mounted somewhere in the engine bay as for me that would be an ideal place to put it on my van.
Between floor and fuel tank bit of a buger to fit but also a bugger to get out in a hurry
Bill
 

TheBig1

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 27, 2011
11,709
15,063
Dorset
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19,048
MH
A class
Exp
many many years! since I was a kid
Good luck with that Jim, it's hard to beat the Chinese ones sold under many names. They even include the option of a geofence and remote immoboliser for about £20-£25 and work very well

At such a cheap price some people fit 2 with one of them easy to find as a decoy
 

DuxDeluxe

LIFE MEMBER
Jul 10, 2008
11,213
30,073
Planet Zog
Funster No
3,243
MH
A Class Le Voyageur
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since 2008
Good luck with that Jim, it's hard to beat the Chinese ones sold under many names. They even include the option of a geofence and remote immoboliser for about £20-£25 and work very well

At such a cheap price some people fit 2 with one of them easy to find as a decoy
Good thinking there........

I'm stuffed though as the insurance insists on a Thatcham approved tracker. Might fit a "BigoneHilldweller" special as a backup, though ;)
 
OP
Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
Good luck with that Jim, it's hard to beat the Chinese ones sold under many names. They even include the option of a geofence and remote immoboliser for about £20-£25 and work very well

At such a cheap price some people fit 2 with one of them easy to find as a decoy
Can you point to one? If it has a geofence it is likely on all the time, but I'd like to see how they can do that without turning it on.
 
Feb 22, 2008
10,911
21,504
Norfolk
Funster No
1,575
MH
Hymer B544
Exp
Since 2004
I may have missed something but to protect battery life it only needs to switch on if stolen so linked to an app via the mobile network it could be switched from a dormant state to live for location.
 
OP
Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
29,419
87,109
Sutton on Sea
Funster No
1
MH
C Class Diesel RV
Exp
Since 1990
I may have missed something but to protect battery life it only needs to switch on if stolen so linked to an app via the mobile network it could be switched from a dormant state to live for location.
Yes all the cheapo Chinese Ive seen are on all the time so need 12v and are easily found.
 
Nov 18, 2011
10,305
20,526
Funster No
18,938
If Jim was hosting it for free to members I bet their would be a line all the way to Sutton on sea :rofl:
I think its a grate idea and would be happy to have one if the cost was valu for money.
As it's on a dedicated secure server ade with Jim's security experience I am sure it would work
Bill
 
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