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Thread: BRILLIANT !: Use an old cell phone as a vehicle GPS tracker.

  1. #16
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    Zapjb, HOW will Google find a car? OR a phone that doesn't have a phone number?
    Without a SIM card, the phone doesn't even have a phone number. . . correct?

    Maybe that's the same question that Hamradio has?

    Google's FIND thing is not an app that needs to be installed on the phone.
    It's just a part of Google.
    When you connect your phone NUMBER to your Google account, then the FIND function works.
    Thus, I'm pretty sure that you cannot Find a device that doesn't have a SIM / phone number.

    StupidGenius, yup, sometimes it gets Hot in a car, especially here in southwest USA.
    Often above 110 nowadays. Regardless, this phone would be Under the seat, out of the sun.
    "Battery-powered". . . Anything. Not an option. I want the power to be up when the need arises.
    And I don't want to be bothered with changing batteries every so often.

  2. #17
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    If you are trying to use a phone as a cheap LoJack , which App works that tells you your car has moved and shows on Google maps and the route it took......

    Find my devise works , but if your car is parked in underground parking it will not get the Find my devise signal,
    But a google map would show you the area it is in......at least until it loses cell signal ......

    LoJack does not use cell signals ,
    Wanted: old barnfind VWs and Sports cars ,
    save them from the crusher , I have had my tetanus shots so rust does not scare me ,
    anything considered even parts cars

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark51 View Post
    Zapjb, HOW will Google find a car? OR a phone that doesn't have a phone number?
    Without a SIM card, the phone doesn't even have a phone number. . . correct?
    How is your app going to work with no cell service?

    ...

    StupidGenius, yup, sometimes it gets Hot in a car, especially here in southwest USA.
    Often above 110 nowadays. Regardless, this phone would be Under the seat, out of the sun.
    "Battery-powered". . . Anything. Not an option. I want the power to be up when the need arises.
    And I don't want to be bothered with changing batteries every so often.
    I have some experience with leaving cellphones in cars for extended periods.

    After a year or so of normal use, I put an inactive Tracfone (flip phone) in my car console. It lasted 12 more years before dying. At one point I did not even check and recharge it for five years. Up to the twelfth year, it would take and hold a charge and function. I tested it once to call 911, which is all it could do without service.

    I have had my old Galaxy S3 in the glovebox for two years or so after five years of normal use. It's still working fine. I do check and charge it once a month.

    This is for phones that are not powered on. Does the battery still have good capacity? Probably not.

    This is in central Virginia. It does not generally get above 100F, but I have measured 130F in the car on a hot Sunny day.

    I wouldn't leave a valuable phone in the car, but I don't worry about old ones that are past their normal service use.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stupidngenius View Post
    Lithium battery powered devices are not good for keeping in the car unless they are somehow temperature controlled. Search for battery powered dashcams, they do not last very long.
    That's true. However, it's also bad for the battery to leave the phone in a drawer for years. Both being in a drawer and plugged in are end-of-life assignments for an otherwise obsolete phone. One might as well put it to good use in the car.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Brantford View Post
    That's true. However, it's also bad for the battery to leave the phone in a drawer for years. Both being in a drawer and plugged in are end-of-life assignments for an otherwise obsolete phone. One might as well put it to good use in the car.
    Old phone being continuously on and charging may not be reliable, I guess. If charging can be restricted somehow, say between 20-80%, it might prolong the life of the phone.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark51 View Post
    Google's FIND thing is not an app that needs to be installed on the phone.
    It's just a part of Google.
    When you connect your phone NUMBER to your Google account, then the FIND function works.
    Thus, I'm pretty sure that you cannot Find a device that doesn't have a SIM / phone number.
    All I know you don't necessarily need a phone number to make Find my device work, just the Google account will do. I came over to buddy's garage last week to help him install the brake kit, tires and a couple of led light bars he ordered from 4WheelOnline on his weekend toy Wrangler. He mentioned about the cheap phone he brought from a random guy. The phone looks good as back up phone but the owner's a Google account was not deleted and the phone accidentally got locked on Find My device on guy's account. No sim on the phone. My buddy was able to contact the guy and they will meet again to clear the lock and his account on the phone.

  7. #22
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    In fact, I don't agree with the use of mobile phones as the cheapest way to find a car using GPS tracking. This is really convenient, you don't need to look for additional trackers, but it also has some security risks. For example, in the summer, the cell phone battery may explode. Moreover, mobile phones are larger than ordinary GPS trackers (especially hidden GPS), and thieves can easily find them and discard them at the roadside. In this case, you will lose your car.

  8. #23
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    the idea is very good.
    I do not know on your smartphone but it is possible that the "eco" mode of the phone disconnects the GPS (the location would remain possible by the data network but you would lose precision).
    we should also see if it is possible to find an application capable of sending notifications if the phone leaves a predefined area.


    Appvalley TutuApp Tweakbox

  9. #24
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    The main issue as I see it is keeping the battery charged on the phone. Short of taking the device out to charge periodically, the only other way would be to wire it to an a power source to keep it charged. Most vehicles don't continuously have power to the charging ports (cigarette lighter port, USB) when the ignition is off.
    Just another day in paradise.....

  10. #25
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    have we got any farther on this ?
    Apps you can delete and the phone will still track ,

    and if there a way to tell when the phone leaves a fenced area , say 1/4 mile from normal ?

    it would be installed on a trailer and normally just parked and locked at the shop parking lot , yes I can "find my phone" but I need to do it daily and the trailer could be long gone in the hours I did not check it !

    Thanks for your ideas

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