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Questions About Specific Products
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More General Questions about using our GPS Trackers
Using a GPS Tracker
There are no tie-in contracts, minimum use restrictions, hidden fees or ongoing subscriptions at all - you just pay for your own texts (5p each) and/or data (5p per megabyte, only if online tracking used) that you use and no more!
You send a location request text to the GPS Tracker, then the GPS Tracker immediately texts you back with the location.
The text reply contains a live link to Google Maps, which you simply click on to see the location on a map.
If you don’t have an internet phone, then you can either request the address information instead (the address will be written in the text reply) or type the coordinates from the map link into a desktop/laptop browser if you have one.
You can click on the above picture to see the example on Google Maps (opens in a new window).
The texts sent both ways are just standard text messages.
There is also the option of live online tracking, where the location is instead uploaded to a website. You then log in to your account (free to set up and use) and see the location on a live map.
The standby battery durations are below. Please note that standby means that the device is switched on, and available for locations. This is the basic functionality which most customers use the trackers for. Using it more will reduce the battery life – e.g. frequent location requests, and making/receiving phone calls (if available) which reduce the battery life accordingly. Ongoing functions such as geo-fencing or live online tracking can reduce the battery life by about 20-50% depending on the settings (e.g. how frequently the location checks are made). This is because the tracker is then doing something every few minutes – checking its location against the geo-fence, or uploading it to a web server.
Standby battery durations
The GPS Trackers can text a “low battery” warning when the batteries are running low.
How are the batteries charged?
The GPS Trackers have a small USB port, and the battery is charged by plugging the charger lead into the tracker directly. This can be via a USB port on a computer/laptop, or a plug socket. A USB charging plug is supplied.
An optional charging cradle is available for the Stray Star GPS Tracker.
Charging takes just a few hours.
Information for International Orders
We have UK, EU and US plugs, which we supply depending on the shipping destination. These cater for the vast majority of international orders – we always check destination countries and send the appropriate plug for the country. If you want to specify a plug when you order (e.g. you are buying in UK but will be predominantly using it abroad), then please do so via the “customer notes” message box on the checkout page. The plugs are standard USB charging plugs – if you need to source a specific plug for a different country, or a spare, then they should be readily available. They’re commonly used to charge all manner of USB devices – tablets, phones etc.
A SIM card
The GPS trackers need SIM cards inside – this is how they are able to make and receive calls and texts. Think of them as being like mini mobile phones, with their own unique phone number. On your shopping cart page, you can choose to have one added to your order for no extra cost. We will even pre-install it, and give full step-by-step instructions on a sheet of how to activate it (takes about 2-3 minutes).
The devices are not locked to any network though, so you can use a spare SIM if you have one. SIM cards can be either on contract (with inclusive texts or minutes) or “pay as you go” – from any typical carriers (e.g. in the UK – Vodafone, Tesco Mobile, Giff Gaff, Orange, O2 etc).
There is no cost for having a SIM pre-installed in your device, and it makes life easier. The SIMs we install are from Giff Gaff, which have no tie-in contracts, and incredibly cheap rates for texts (5p each) and data (5p per mb, which works out very cheap because any data usage is tiny!) Once you have activated it with £10 of credit, you will get £5 free credit added on top. GiffGaff use the O2 network, so check to make sure coverage is good in your area.
Your mobile phone
The person wishing to locate the GPS tracker will need to use their mobile phone in order to text the GPS Tracker. This is how you get the location coordinates back by reply, and also how you configure various functions on the tracker. Most people have their own mobile phones these days, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
In that scenario, you wouldn’t be able to locate the Tracker, because they use text messaging and/or mobile data to transmit information.
Its necessary to make sure you do have good network coverage, and this should be checked with whatever SIM network you are planning to use. The SIM’s we supply free with the Trackers are with GiffGaff who use the O2 network. They generally have excellent coverage in the UK, but may have small signal blind-spots in certain rural areas.
GPS satellites surround the world, so the GPS tracker will be able to get a location anywhere (as long its not deep indoors). The only limit is the SIM card inside the tracker – if you want to track from a different country then it will need to have “roaming” enabled to send the location texts
For most purposes (i.e., local tracking in your own country), you don’t need to worry about “range” as your SIM card will be fine for the whole country.
GPS signals are good when the GPS trackers are outside, on transport, or near a window. If the GPS Tracker is in a building and not near a window, then the GPS signal may be weak (resulting in slightly reduced accuracy) or absent.
The tracker will give you the next best thing though – the last known location (with the date/time of when it was found), or it will resort to using the mobile phone mast towers to find an approximate location and report that instead (and tell you that’s what its done).
All our trackers have an SOS button. When pressed (and held), a text is sent out to the programmed number to indicate the SOS has been pressed, along with the location coordinates. It will then also call the programmed numbers one after another until someone answers, so a two-way conversation can take place.
Sometimes, people require a GPS Tracker that can be fixed to the body – for example for tracking autistic children who may remove a GPS Tracker.
Depending on the person, this will likely be the most important consideration in choosing your Tracker – what they feel comfortable will. The Stray Star GPS Tracker is our most popular, primarily because of the longer battery life, but also because its pretty versatile in how it can be carried.
Yes – please see our main GPS Vehicle Tracker.
The Stray Star GPS Tracker is also a good vehicle tracker – is it small, discrete, has a strong signal and also a long battery life. Trackers can also be used to track people, your children, your pets or assets. Of course, ethical and legal restrictions must be considered.
There is no indication to the wearer that the location is being requested or sent via text. Our Stray Star GPS Tracker vibrates briefly before answering incoming calls from authorised numbers automatically. It does have small intermittent LED lights which blink – but these can be deactivated with a simple text message.
The GPS Watch Tracker makes a ringing sound when called, and is answered by pressing a button. It is discrete when sending any location text messages.
SIM Cards and Ongoing Costs
Please read our page explaining the need for SIM cards. Everything you need to know can hopefully be found there.
Once you’ve bought the GPS Tracker, that’s that – there are no more charges from us.
The only costs you will have are the SIM costs – just as you would pay with a mobile phone.
The pre-installed SIM card for UK customers has no tie-in contracts, costs just 5p a text, and only 5p per mb of data (the data usage, if used at all, is tiny and shouldn’t cost more than 20p in a month).
Here are some scenarios, so you can get a rough idea of what your ongoing costs are likely to be.
If you’re going to just be making text locations every once in a while, perhaps a few times a week
It would make sense to use the £10 airtime credit (pay as you go). This will dwindle down slowly over a few months, with location texts here and there. Once its about to run out of credit (which you can always check by logging into your account), it can auto-renew (unless you untick this option), or you can switch to a GoodyBag if your usage has increased. You could gauge this by how long it takes your first £10 to run out – if it takes longer than 2 months, then it makes sense to stick with it. If it runs out in less than two months, then it makes sense to switch to the £5 per month GoodyBag, because that gives 300 texts as well as an hour of call time. Their website is very user-friendly for switching packages.
If you’re going to be using text based locations, but also might want to use the live online tracking once in a while
In this scenario, it would still make sense use airtime credit (pay as you go), because data usage is so cheap. Even with online tracking constantly enabled, it would only amount to about 30p in a month (the data usage is tiny).
GiffGaff don’t have monthly contracts – so you won’t get locked into anything expensive!
Also, if you have your SIM included with your GPS Tracker purchase, you’ll get an extra free £5 airtime credit added to your card when you activate it – so you will start off with £15 for the price of £10.
Basically there are no hidden catches – you only pay for the GPS Tracker itself, then your SIM usage costs, which are minimal.
No, you do you not have to use live online tracking. You can locate your tracker via text messaging instead. This is the primary, and most common method of locating the Trackers. A simple text message will give you an instant reply text with a current location link.
Live tracking requires a little setting up (all explained in the manuals), which allows you to log in to a website to see the location.
Anyone with the log-in details can then log in to see the location. This is useful for relatives, friends/family in any country in the world, whether the same country as where the tracker is or not.
You can see the historical track of where the tracker has been in the past, by selecting a date range. This is useful for seeing where someone has been, and when. You might be curious as to a person’s wandering route for example, or where an employee takes a company car.
If you set up GPRS (live online tracking) – then the data packets which are uploaded are very, very small. A month of location uploads every few minutes will still only amount to a few megabytes. That’s megabytes – not gigabytes – and its only 5p per mb with the pre-installed SIM!
Remember that you can switch GPRS on and off with a simple text command once set up, and you can always use text based locations instead of live tracking.
Our Trackers are 2G devices, and unfortunately, major networks in US, Canada and NZ/Australia have stopped providing for 2G devices. However, we have a 3G version of the Stray Star GPS Tracker available. Please read here for details on 2G and 3G availability.
The only other limitation is SIM network coverage – if you’re out in the middle of nowhere then your tracker will still get a GPS signal, but it might not pick up a cell phone network signal – so there will be no way to text the information out. Most urban areas will be fine. Its worth checking on the signals in your country and area.
The GPS trackers are unlocked, so you can use your own SIM from any network.
So yes – they work in Africa, France, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Brazil, India and everywhere else except for America, Canada or Australia – unless you order the 3G Stray Star Tracker. But you will still need to find a SIM card for the country that you’re using it in.
We regularly ship via airmail to international customers. Delivery times are 7-14 days depending on distance from UK and the postal systems of the shipping destination.
Its up to you to research the SIMs that are available in the country that you’re going to be using it in. Make sure that its not a pure 3G SIM (unless you purchase the 3G Stray Star Tracker) – the SIM cards should be backwards compatible with 2G to work properly with the trackers, and micro-size rather than nano. To clarify, most 3G SIM cards are backwards compatible with 2G devices. Your choice of SIM provider will depend on costs, associated fees, Pay as you Go vs contract deals etc.
If you’re in the UK, then you’re welcome to use the SIMs that we pre-install with the trackers (which use the o2 network but have really cheap Pay as you Go rates), or use your own SIM instead.
If you are going shopping for a SIM card in another country, you basically want to find the cheapest option, preferably Pay As You Go without any long contracts. The Tracker will primarily be used for receiving and sending texts – but you might also want to have call time as an option to use the SOS or call functionality.
We have UK, EU and US plugs. These cater for the vast majority of international orders – we always check destination countries and send the appropriate plug for the country.
If you want a specific plug when you order, then please do so via the “customer notes” message box on the checkout page.
The plugs are standard USB charging plugs – if you need to source a plug for your own country then they should be readily available. They’re commonly used to charge all manner of USB devices – tablets, phones etc.
Customer Service & Ordering a GPS Tracker
We write our manuals are written in a down-to-earth, easy to understand way. They include all the detailed information you need to work your GPS tracker and make the most of it. Most problems are a result of not reading the manual properly!
There are also thorough troubleshooting guides, referenced at the back of the manual. These have any updates or “more detail” for some functions, as well as lots of tips and best-usage practices, and are constantly updated. This will solve most issues.
If you’re still stuck or have questions, just email via the contact page and we’ll do our best to help as soon as we can.
Yes, you can select a different shipping address at the checkout page.
Yes – please click here to add the Special Delivery option to your cart. You can then add your GPS Tracker and extras. Choose the free shipping option at checkout, even though it says 3-5 days delivery, as your Special Delivery add-on will override that.
If you have already placed your order and have just found this when about to enquire about next day delivery – don’t worry – if you could kindly click the link to pay the Special Delivery anyway, we’ll refund any postage you had already paid.
Please order by 3pm for Special Delivery – any later and we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to get it off in time.
If you’re sure the order went through (you will have received an order confirmation), then you should also get a dispatch email when your Tracker is sent out. If you haven’t received this, check your spam folder (the emails are automated). Please wait for the appropriate amount of days before getting in touch – for the UK this is three working days for 1st class, 5 working days for Courier. For international orders, please allow two weeks before getting in touch. If you’re unsure if your order went through, then please do ask and we’ll let you know.
Please use the page for PO’s and Council Orders.
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