Selecting Asset TrackersBoats, Generators, Trailers, Tanks, Trains, Pumps, ATVs.
Asset Tracker Considerations
There are several things to consider when selecting an asset tracker thats right for you. Thinking through these factors will ensure you make the right choice. You will notice that price is not a consideration listed. When dealing with $250,000+ equipment or $10,000 utility carts, the price difference between a $200 GPS tracker and a $400 GPS tracker is irrelevant if you get what you need.
Obviously, the environment for tracking heavy equipment is quite harsh on electronics. At a minimum, you want an IP-67 rating. Asset trackers need to be weatherproof,
A common feature requested is a backup battery. A backup battery can play a key role but batteries have limitations ranging from last gasp transmission to a reduced reporting profile so the battery can last longer if the main power is disconnected. There is a difference between battery types such as Li-ion verse NiMH batteries and whether the batteries are off the shelf or special order and very expensive. Get a clear understanding of the battery size and expected performance so you can make a good decision. View System
- IP-67 rated for durability
- Backup battery to aid in theft recovery but capable of wired connection
- Location data to indicated productivity and aid in theft recovery
- GPS position every 10 minutes when in motion to indicate productivity
- GPS position every 24 hours when the ignition is off for inventory & field service
- Tow alert movement without ignition, indicating theft
- Zone violation alert between
8pmand 6amMonday Sunday
- Engine hours for routine maintenance and tracking billable hours
- Cellular or satellite communication network depending on
Ultimately the asset tracker you select has to deliver the data YOU need, not what the sales rep wants to sell you. Having a clear understanding of what is required from the data and what data you would like to have before you shop for an equipment tracking system will make your buying process more efficient.
It is important to keep the list of required data as short as possible. The more required data, the fewer your choices. If engine hours are required, almost any equipment tracker will work. If you need engine diagnostics codes from a CAT the choices are very limited and often expensive relative to less capable asset tracking systems.
Equipment tracking might be part of a bigger fleet management program. Therefore, the data provided by the equipment tracker may need to look like vehicle tracking data and be in the same interface. A system like the GO System enables fleet managers to see similar data, in the same interface and set the same alerts and reports. This convenience saves time in more complex fleet environments. If the requirements are simple and static, an independent system which is lower in cost might do the trick.
Installing Asset Trackers
Installing an asset tracker or equipment tracker can be a challenge or as simple as slapping it on the top, depending on your intended use. The type of material and angle have a lot to do with getting good GPS location information. GPS trackers have a directional antenna and facing the antenna toward the ground or putting up against the metal frame will degrade the GPS signal. For instance, putting the GPS unit in the engine compartment is often not going to work.
As an anti-theft device, you would want to place it in a location that is not obvious. The challenge is that where you want to hide it, it may not get a GPS signal. GPS signals are blocked by metal so be sure to test the location before putting everything back together. One idea is to put the GPS device in the light housing. Customers have purchase amber light housings on eBay for $20 and hid the GPS inside.
Put the GPS system in a location where it is not likely to get pressure washed. The driver is going to know or pay attention to the IP-67 limitation of not pressure washing from less than 3′. The driver might accidentally wash it from forcing water into the unit which will not be covered by warranty.
Protect the connections by soldering the connections and then putting heat shrink tubing over the connections. Ideally, the connections are out of the line of fire of pressure washing. You may need to build a shield or put the unit and connections behind something to protect it.