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Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 4:37 pm    Post subject: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

So I use my Van for work.
It is packed with tools and while not priceless or irreplaceable, I don't desire them to walk away.

In Jersey we had instances of contractors shopping for supplies and while they are inside, someone cleans out their work Van!

I want tracking of my Van if it is stolen but almost more importantly I want to be notified if a door is opened.

The Van Tracker does this!

https://www.thevantracker.com/

I've owned the Van Tracker for Months but have been too busy to install it. I think of installing it, or more precisely of NOT having installed it, every time that I park and walk away from my Van.

I am hoping that the next few days will let me install the Van Tracker.
I pulled it out this evening and began figuring out what needs to be connected and where the components should be mounted.

Josh has been super helpful as I Email him with stupid questions!

It really isn't complex at all.

I'll make a tutorial about my install and setting it up.

Looking forward to having a level of moderate security and peace of mind.

Yes, I know the system is Cellular based but I'm in the East, there is cellular coverage almost everywhere!
Well, except at my FLAPS in Califon New Jersey! Rolling Eyes

Any town USA has cellular. It may not extend beyond the town borders, but they most likely have cellular.

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Dave
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Last edited by djkeev on Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:40 am; edited 4 times in total
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 4:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... door open notification system Reply with quote

Awesome! I like that feature for your situation.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... door open notification system Reply with quote

Josh is EXCELLENT in providing support for his product.
Recommend the Van Tracker to anyone.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:41 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... door open notification system Reply with quote

That SMS feature is pretty neat. I have a ScorpionTrack S5+ on both my daily and my Harley here in the UK and will be having one installed on my van too.

The downside with the ScorpionTrack devices are price, so this option certainly puts up a compelling competitor.
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:00 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... door open notification system Reply with quote

I used to laugh at people with Power Door Locks in their Vanagon!
What a frivolous unneeded feature!

Now, every time I park I go from door to door circling the Van making sure it is locked.

But......

This probably isn't the worst thing in the World, as I walk around I observe the tires, I can smell any unusual smells, I will see smoke or steam that isn't normal and I can look for odd puddles.

This walk around is fine in the good weather, but what about February in a freezing rain storm or in a wind whipped snow fall? Shocked

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... door open notification system Reply with quote

The GPS antenna is the black plastic item on the long wire.

I have a Tintop, any educated guesses or experience on where it the best installation spot?

I cannot see effectively hiding it as I did in my Westy, but then again? What do I know?

I am thinking behind the Right "D" Pillar plastic cover? But no view of the sky.

It may be better to not even try to hide it and simply place it on the dash in front of the passenger. Throw a map (a MAP?!! What the heck is a map?) on top of it.

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:03 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

This would be a good question for the maker. He likely knows how good the antennae is inside a tin top.
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MD>Canada>AK>WA>OR>CA>AZ>UT>WY>SD
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=620646

Building a bus for travel in Europe (euroBus)
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371

The Western Syncro build
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=746794
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
This would be a good question for the maker. He likely knows how good the antennae is inside a tin top.


It's a tad early in Texas!

Anyway, I think I have my solution, hide it in plain sight!

I have a anti-slide pad on my dash tray.....

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


It isn't a perfect fit and I've toyed with cutting it to fit but I really don't want the cut edges exposed.
To that end as I debate what to do, I installed it and it over hangs the front.

It just so happens that it covers the metal front edge of the dash assembly!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The GPS antenna is magnetic so it just grabbed right on tight!

I'm thinking of drilling a hole for the cable which will be covered by the mat also.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The Van Tracker was furnished with a small whip antenna that screws on the side of the box.
If I mount the unit up behind the glove box by the wiper motor it will be surrounded by steel.

I wonder if you can get a cellular antenna very similar to the GPS antenna?
If so, I could put it in the same location.

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:43 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

Down the rabbit hole I went!

Thinking about how and where to mount the Van Tracker, I ended up cleaning and organizing my tools!

I also checked that all of my door light switches are working, happily they are!
I have the GL so every opening has an interior light switch.

Dave
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:11 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... door open notification system Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
The GPS antenna is the black plastic item on the long wire.

I have a Tintop, any educated guesses or experience on where it the best installation spot?

I cannot see effectively hiding it as I did in my Westy, but then again? What do I know?

I am thinking behind the Right "D" Pillar plastic cover? But no view of the sky.

It may be better to not even try to hide it and simply place it on the dash in front of the passenger. Throw a map (a MAP?!! What the heck is a map?) on top of it.

Dave


I've got mine up inside the headliner under the roof. It was no fun getting the cable leads down the A Piller, but I did it.
Signal strength is good.
I just finished mounting the Westy Luggage carrir and it had the reflectex insulation under it and signal strength is still good.
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

Josh suggests a fast dirty hook up to verify operation before mounting things and running wires permanently.

Because I plan a behind the glove box location I figured I would tap into the RF door brown light switch wire.

There was no brown wire to be found!
I looked and reached but only found a black wire!

Odd……..
I finally unscrewed the switch and tugged on then brown switch wire……
The BLACK WIRE MOVED!!
Odd……..
never have I ever seen a black door switch wire!
And where does it change to black?

I tried the fancy tap device Josh includes but the black wire was way to big for it!

Odd……..

Oh well, I cut the black wire to make up a plug in terminal connection.
I snipped it and stripped it.
But stripping it only removed the Black!!
Inside?????

A brown wire.
Must be some sort of an abrasion protection sleeve.
Oh well, live and learn.

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Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

Oh, forgot to say that I got it connected to GPS and Cellular.

It is operating but not fully installed yet. I'll get that done in the morning.

I had to figure out that it wanted you to text words, not command numbers.

I armed it and tested the door open feature...... it worked just fine.

The geofence is set up but not yet tested.

Dave
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Stop Dead Photo Links how to post photos

Ghia
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392473

Vanagon
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6315537#6315537

Beetle
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=482968&highlight=74+super+vert


Last edited by djkeev on Sat Jul 31, 2021 6:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 6:17 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

A few days ago
I did some final placement and hooking up wires.

My unit is up behind the glove box.

You need to have available access to the unit but not a daily access. So a hidden spot also needs to be accessible.

It has an on/off switch and it has an indicator light that blinks. This is why access must be available.
By counting the blinks (not unlike an old OBD I system) you then can understand what is happening and if you have connectivity.

Anyway I initially used command Velcro strips on the back of the Van Tracker and mounted it on the side just above the ram air/crash beam vent into the door jamb.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This location was GREAT!

Until I closed the glove box and the anti fall open hook smashed into the side of the Van Tracker and knocked it off of the velcro mount! Rolling Eyes FAIL!

Right now it simply sets upon the crash beam awaiting a better placement but it is secure.

I did run the GPS antenna so it sits in front of the dash tray.
There is a hole in the dash assembly next to the door that I fed the wire through.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The antenna placement isn't perfect or hidden but until I decide on ultimate final placement?
It works just fine!

Actually a member with this unit PM'd me the perfect antenna location that is hidden yet has a sky view. He asked me not to share it publicly but I know and I did tell Josh about it.
Contact me, I'll be happy to share the location.

I will move the Antenna to this location but I have concerns about the Cellular antenna being essentially encased in a cage of body steel behind the glove box.
It seems to work OK but I'd like a better location.

Josh sells a dual wired antenna that I think I will order. Had I known then what I know now I would have ordered one with the Van Tracker unit and shipping would have been free!
It isn't expensive so I'll get one coming. You need the one with the SMA connections.

https://www.data-alliance.net/antenna-4g-lte-gps-c...-sma-male/

Right now I pulled +12v unswitched power from the fuse panel in a dirty male fitting into the unused #1 relay plug (top left).

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This doesn't satisfy my hidden requirement so I'm going to tap into the cigarette power right there where the Van Tracker lives.
But again, I'm still in the testing phase of this installation.

I've had a few stumbles but I think they are mainly because I am NOT electrically or technology savvy.

I've had to figure out the text commands. Josh lists far more commands than the unit accepts.

There is a GPS location bug that makes the unit think it moved when it didn't and I get a text in the middle of the night.
Josh knows about it and is sending me the fix for it.

Even with the slight stumbles, I'm happy with it.
Josh has been nothing short of fantastic on responding to my questions.

I've made suggestions to him on how to make this install almost old stupid guy plug and play.

Doing so would Eliminate a lot of my questions that I pestered him about by enclosing an easy install sheet and a credit card sized valid commands card to slip into your wallet.

He likes to use video for install advice.

As an older person I like printed instructions That I can follow along as I go without having my phone or pad in hand and the screen keeps timing out as I pause and do an install step, then I need to log back in before I can watch the next step. The Sun washes out the screen ...... so frustrating!

Anyway......
I'll add some photos.

Because I’m curious and need to see what is inside things……
You can see that I also added labels to ID the various plugs And wires.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Dave
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deadaheadub
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Van Tracker VT ..... GPS and Cellular door opened notification Reply with quote

What happens if the van is stolen and removed to a location that does not have a cell signal? Is it untrackable at that point? Is last known location shown?
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