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PingGPS - Finally!
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Dirty Bird
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For a couple of years I have been anxiously monitoring a product called PingGPS as a potential GPS-based locator for our birds.  I ordered this thing ages ago & today was pleasantly surprised to find it in my mailbox.  The PingGPS is a small, GPS-based, locator device for on-demand tracking.  It is NOT a real-time tracker as was the Flytrex.  It is on-demand...you track it via the PingGPS app available for both iOS & Android devices.  On-demand locating allows the batteries to last much longer than a real-time tracking device.

The PingGPS unit is 42mmx42mmx12mm & weighs in @ 25 grams (unit weighed in @ 28.24 grams, 0.996 oz).  It is internally powered by a rechargable 370 mAh lithium-ion battery that lasts for 3 weeks to several months depending on connectivity & how often you locate the device.  It is IPX68 rated to 10m for water resistance.  PingGPS includes an internal GPS & accelerometer, & connects via cellular broadband and/or Bluetooth.  The device can also use cellular triangulation for a rough location in the event it is unable to obtain a GPS fix.  The device costs $129 & includes the PingGPS unit, belt clip, charger, & one year of North American service (Canada, United States, Mexico).  Additional coverage is $36 per year.  Global coverage is available for an additional $10 annual fee.  

You can have multiple units linked to the app & track them independently.  To locate the device simply open the app, click on the icon for the desired unit, & click locate.  The unit begins flashing as it determines its location & transmits the coordinates back to the app via cellular and/or Bluetooth.  The location appears on the map display which may also be sent to your Map app.  There is a "Sound Device" selection, which emits a sound (though not particularly loud) & flashes the lights (the entire logo lights).  The unit also features a "Check In" & "SOS" feature (activated from the PingGPS unit).  Being as the unit is self-contained, Velcro or QuickLoc can be employed for quickly swapping between multiple drones.  I'm sure someone will come up with a 3D printed mounting option as well.

I have not tested this in flight yet but sent a friend out with it this evening & performed multiple tracking requests successfully.  Obviously this requires a cellular connection to be an effective locating solution.  The app is an early iteration & will be adding more features in time.

You can purchase the PingGPS by visiiting their website located here.

























2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Ooops....
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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PingGPS - Finally!

For a couple of years I have been anxiously monitoring a product called PingGPS as a potential GPS-based locator for our birds.  I ordered this thing ages ago & today was pleasantly surprised to find it in my  mailbox.  The PingGPS is a small, GPS-based, locator device for  on-demand tracking.  It is NOT a real-time tracker as was the Flytrex.  It is on-demand...you track it via the PingGPS app available  for both iOS & Android devices.  On-demand locating allows the batteries to last much longer than a real-time tracking device.

The  PingGPS  unit is 42mmx42mmx12mm & weighs in @ 25 grams (unit weighed  in @ 28.24 grams or 0.996 oz).  It is internally powered by a rechargable 370 mAh lithium-ion battery that lasts for 3 weeks to 3 months depending on connectivity & how often you locate the device.  It is IPX68 rated to 10m for water resistance.  PingGPS includes an internal GPS & accelerometer, & connects via cellular broadband and/or Bluetooth.  The device can also use cellular triangulation for a rough  location in the event it is unable to obtain a GPS fix.  The device costs $129 & includes the PingGPS unit, belt clip, charger, & one year of North American service (Canada, United  States,  Mexico).  Additional coverage is $36 per year.  Global coverage is available for an additional $10 annual fee.  

You can have  multiple units linked to the app & track them independently.  To  locate a device simply open the app, click on the icon for the desired unit, & click locate.  The unit begins flashing as it determines its location & transmits the coordinates back to the app via  cellular and/or Bluetooth.  The location appears on the map display which may also be sent to your Map app.  There is a "Sound  Device" selection, which emits a sound (though not particularly loud) & flashes the lights (the entire logo lights).  The unit also features a "Check In" & "SOS" feature (activated from the PingGPS unit).  Being as the unit is self-contained, Velcro or QuickLoc can be  employed for quickly swapping between multiple drones.  I'm sure someone  will come up with a 3D printed mounting option as well.

I have  not tested this in flight yet but sent a friend out with it this evening & performed multiple tracking requests successfully.  Obviously this requires a cellular connection to be an effective locating solution.  The app is an early iteration & will be adding more features in time.


























2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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PingGPS - Finally!

For a couple of years I have been anxiously monitoring a product called PingGPS as a potential GPS-based locator for our birds.  I ordered this thing ages ago & today was pleasantly surprised to find it in my mailbox.  The PingGPS is a small, GPS-based, locator device for on-demand tracking.  It is NOT a real-time tracker as was the Flytrex.  It is on-demand...you track it via the PingGPS app available for both iOS & Android devices.  On-demand locating allows the batteries to last much longer than a real-time tracking device.

The  PingGPS unit is 42mmx42mmx12mm & weighs in @ 25 grams (unit weighed  in @ 28.24 grams, 0.996 oz).  It is internally powered by a rechargable 370 mAh lithium-ion battery that lasts for 3 weeks to 3 months depending on connectivity & how often you locate the device.  It is IPX68 rated to 10m for water resistance.  PingGPS includes an internal GPS & accelerometer, & connects via cellular broadband and/or Bluetooth.  The device can also use cellular triangulation for a rough location in the event it is unable to obtain a GPS fix.  The device costs $129 & includes the PingGPS unit, belt clip, charger, & one year of North American service (Canada, United States,  Mexico).  Additional coverage is $36 per year.  Global coverage is available for an additional $10 annual fee.  

You can have multiple units linked to the app & track them independently.  To locate a device simply open the app, click on the icon for the desired device, & click locate.  The unit begins flashing as it determines its location & transmits the coordinates back to the app via cellular and/or Bluetooth.  The location appears on the map display which may also be sent to your Map app.  There is a "Sound Device"  selection, which emits a sound (though not particularly loud) & flashes the lights (the entire logo lights).  The unit also features a "Check In" & "SOS" feature (activated from the PingGPS unit).  Being as the unit is self-contained, Velcro or QuickLoc can be employed for quickly swapping between multiple drones.  I'm sure someone will come up with a 3D printed mounting option as well.

I have not tested this in flight yet but sent a friend out with it this evening & performed multiple tracking requests successfully.  Obviously this requires a cellular connection to be an effective locating solution.  The app is an early iteration & will be adding more features in time.

You can purchase the PingGPS by visiiting their website located here.
























2018-5-30
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Hurley1718
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Does this device interfere with any of the drone sensors or GPS signals?

If not then this is a pretty neat device. Can't wait to get more updates from you.
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Hurley1718 Posted at 2018-5-30 18:47
Does this device interfere with any of the drone sensors or GPS signals?

If not then this is a pretty neat device. Can't wait to get more updates from you.

I have not had an opportunity to test PingGPS in-flight yet, however, I did have a Flytrex installed on one of my Phantoms & never experienced any interference issues.  The PingGPS should be even less prone to interference as the Flytrex was a real-time tracker unit which was constantly connected & broadcasting to the cellular network.  PingGPS only connects when you perform a location request.  

I always loved the Flytrex & was saddened to see it discontinued.  The real-time tracking was great.  You could open the app or a web browser & watch your bird's flight in real-time updated every second.  Alas Flytrex was somewhat problematic as it required opening the drone for a hard-wired connection.  I always hoped Flytrex would release a self-contained version.
2018-5-30
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Hurley1718
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2018-5-30 19:12
I have not had an opportunity to test PingGPS in-flight yet, however, I did have a Flytrex installed on one of my Phantoms & never experienced any interference issues.  The PingGPS should be even less prone to interference as the Flytrex was a real-time tracker unit which was constantly connected & broadcasting to the cellular network.  PingGPS only connects when you perform a location request.  

I always loved the Flytrex & was saddened to see it discontinued.  The real-time tracking was great.  You could open the app or a web browser & watch your bird's flight in real-time updated every second.  Alas Flytrex was somewhat problematic as it required opening the drone for a hard-wired connection.  I always hoped Flytrex would release a self-contained version.

Are you using the PingGPS just for recovery purposes?
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Hurley1718 Posted at 2018-5-30 19:27
Are you using the PingGPS just for recovery purposes?

Yes my plan is to use it to locate a bird in the event one goes missing on a Litchi mission.
2018-5-30
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Hurley1718
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2018-5-30 19:33
Yes my plan is to use it to locate a bird in the event one goes missing on a Litchi mission.

Seems like a very useful device. Hope you never have to use it (in a good way )
2018-5-30
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HedgeTrimmer
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Pretty cool.  Any idea as to how rugged Ping is?   Like say taking a fall on to hard ground from height of ###-feet.
2018-5-30
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Amateur Droner
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2018-5-30 19:33
Yes my plan is to use it to locate a bird in the event one goes missing on a Litchi mission.

So if I read it right, $129 to purchase, then $36 a yr (for what tracking)?
Then you need a data service provider (3G I presume)?
That would be $3 a month to Ping and the monthly cost of provider?
I am just trying to compare to Trackimo .The big advantage is the track/data usage on demand factor.
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Amateur Droner Posted at 2018-5-30 20:06
So if I read it right, $129 to purchase, then $36 a yr (for what tracking)?
Then you need a data service provider (3G I presume)?
That would be $3 a month to Ping and the monthly cost of provider?

The $129 includes the first years service.  It's $36 per year thereafter.  You don't need a SIM or plan.  It's service/SIM is included/internal.
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Amateur Droner Posted at 2018-5-30 20:06
So if I read it right, $129 to purchase, then $36 a yr (for what tracking)?
Then you need a data service provider (3G I presume)?
That would be $3 a month to Ping and the monthly cost of provider?

BTW the service is unlimited.  It only broadcasts when you request a location fix.  
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-30 19:49
Pretty cool.  Any idea as to how rugged Ping is?   Like say taking a fall on to hard ground from height of ###-feet.

It's tiny & light in a rugged polycarbonate housing so I imagine it's fairly durable.  Waterproof to 10m.  Says it's designed to stand up to kid abuse.
2018-5-30
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Amateur Droner
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Sounds excellent!
Keep us informed and update your tests of the unit.
Hope you never have to use it for real!
2018-5-30
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Geebax
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2018-5-30 20:18
BTW the service is unlimited.  It only broadcasts when you request a location fix.

The only thing is how that works in another country. If there is an internal SIM card, then you would have to enable External Roaming for it to work in another country and that would possibly cost more. If you could install your own SIM, as you can do with other makes, then it would not be as costly.
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Geebax Posted at 2018-5-30 20:42
The only thing is how that works in another country. If there is an internal SIM card, then you would have to enable External Roaming for it to work in another country and that would possibly cost more. If you could install your own SIM, as you can do with other makes, then it would not be as costly.

You can't install your own SIM.  It is already capable of global connectivity you just have to pay the additional $10 annual fee to activate the global service.
2018-5-30
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Dirty Bird
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Geebax Posted at 2018-5-30 20:42
The only thing is how that works in another country. If there is an internal SIM card, then you would have to enable External Roaming for it to work in another country and that would possibly cost more. If you could install your own SIM, as you can do with other makes, then it would not be as costly.

Even with global coverage it's only $46 annually for unlimited use.
2018-5-30
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HedgeTrimmer
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2018-5-30 20:20
It's tiny & light in a rugged polycarbonate housing so I imagine it's fairly durable.  Waterproof to 10m.  Says it's designed to stand up to kid abuse.

Thank you.
2018-5-30
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SparksBird
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Very cool thanks for this info.  Definitely something to consider.  
2018-5-30
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Montfrooij
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Might come in handy
2018-5-30
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GDL
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DJI should build-in this function.
2018-5-30
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HereForTheBeer
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That’s not too bad!  I’m looking into getting myself a locator beacon but I want one light enough so if I sidegrade to the Mavic Air from the Pro it won’t negitively impact its flight time or performance.

I’m really liking the idea too because if I do lose my drone it gives me an adventure.. sure I can just make a insurance claim and get another..where’s the sense of fun and adventure in that.
2018-5-31
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dj_dread
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good information!
2018-5-31
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Dirty Bird
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GDL Posted at 2018-5-30 22:25
DJI should build-in this function.

It would be an extremely valuable technology to have built-in to the drone.
2018-5-31
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Dirty Bird
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HereForTheBeer Posted at 2018-5-31 00:03
That’s not too bad!  I’m looking into getting myself a locator beacon but I want one light enough so if I sidegrade to the Mavic Air from the Pro it won’t negitively impact its flight time or performance.

I’m really liking the idea too because if I do lose my drone it gives me an adventure.. sure I can just make a insurance claim and get another..where’s the sense of fun and adventure in that.

At under an ounce the PingGPS should be light enough for use with all DJI models.
2018-5-31
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Woe
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I been looking at these as well. I wonder about interference, but agree this is a great idea.
2018-5-31
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DJI Stephen
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Good day. Thank you for the information.
2018-5-31
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Dirty Bird
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Woe Posted at 2018-5-31 06:19
I been looking at these as well. I wonder about interference, but agree this is a great idea.

I will test it soon but can pretty much guarantee there won't be any interference unless you mount it directly over the internal GPS unit.
2018-5-31
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idbl_fanatic
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$129??
2018-5-31
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Sparky_17
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hi, thanks for sharing this information.  Now the question is, will it impact WFI and GPS signals from drone to remove to app?  There isn't much room to attach this little gadget on the spark without added weight on the battery (those with falling battery issues) or on top blocking the GPS and wifi sensors.  Can you thouroughly test it and let us know what you find out.  cheers, again thanks for sharing
2018-5-31
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DMX_MT
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Also add - Additional coverage is $36 per year.  Global coverage is available for an additional $10 annual fee.  
2018-5-31
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Woe
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2018-5-31 07:39
I will test it soon but can pretty much guarantee there won't be any interference unless you mount it directly over the internal GPS unit.

Cool waiting for your results.
2018-5-31
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Dirty Bird
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idbl_fanatic Posted at 2018-5-31 11:26
$129??

Correct $129 for the PingGPS with 1 year of North American service.  $36 per year going forward.  $10 per year for global coverage.
2018-6-1
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Dirty Bird
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Sparky_17 Posted at 2018-5-31 11:34
hi, thanks for sharing this information.  Now the question is, will it impact WFI and GPS signals from drone to remove to app?  There isn't much room to attach this little gadget on the spark without added weight on the battery (those with falling battery issues) or on top blocking the GPS and wifi sensors.  Can you thouroughly test it and let us know what you find out.  cheers, again thanks for sharing

I don't own a Spark but anticipate no interference issues.  Mounting a PingGPS should be no issue on a Spark.  You could simply install a zip tie through the clip around one of the motor nacelles with the device face down.  Alternatively the back of the unit is flat so you could omit the clip & use Velcro or QuikLoc to attach to a nacelle or any available spot that clears the props.
2018-6-1
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jh8
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You might also want to check out the RF-V16:
https://www.gearbest.com/car-gps-tracking/pp_232609.html

Very similar but only $30. A bit of a hassle to do the initial setup, but I have 2 of them and they work fine. I actually hooked one up to USB in the trunk of the car as a dirt cheap tracking solution.

IMO losing it completely without any trace is so unlikely I would not bother to use it with the Spark though.
2018-6-1
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VoicOfReason
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I just received mine in the mail several days ago. I have been waiting for this for a LONG time. This device is simply the best on the market, in my opinion. Flytrex is too big for smaller drones and weighs too much and requires a sim card, etc. It's nice, but this is so small and durable. What is cool about this thing is that when you bring the phone closer, it has a graphic display to help you locate it, so if you crash in a field and can't quite find where it is, you can locate it this way. Also, it has a small tone it emits which might be audible, but might not be. I'm definitely going to stick mine on every drone I fly. It even fits on my 4" racing drone. I lost 2-3 drones already, and I vowed never again!
2018-6-1
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Dirty Bird
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VoicOfReason Posted at 2018-6-1 05:08
I just received mine in the mail several days ago. I have been waiting for this for a LONG time. This device is simply the best on the market, in my opinion. Flytrex is too big for smaller drones and weighs too much and requires a sim card, etc. It's nice, but this is so small and durable. What is cool about this thing is that when you bring the phone closer, it has a graphic display to help you locate it, so if you crash in a field and can't quite find where it is, you can locate it this way. Also, it has a small tone it emits which might be audible, but might not be. I'm definitely going to stick mine on every drone I fly. It even fits on my 4" racing drone. I lost 2-3 drones already, and I vowed never again!

Like you I have been awaiting the release of PingGPS for a LONG time.  I remember going through a similar situation with the Trax which ultimately crashed & burned having never lived up to the promised performance.  The now discontinued Flytrex was released about that time (I was a Flytrex 3G beta tester) so I bailed on my Trax pre-order.  

I am seeing PingGPS advertisements on Fakebook so some units are finally becoming available.  I will putting the PingGPS in the air for a real-world test in the next day or so fingers crossed.  So far it is working perfectly in ground testing.

I also wrote the developers requesting increasing the volume level of the audible alert & also requesting that they include altitude info in the location data.
2018-6-1
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Dirty Bird
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jh8 Posted at 2018-6-1 02:42
You might also want to check out the RF-V16:
https://www.gearbest.com/car-gps-tracking/pp_232609.html

I checked this unit out online once before.  It was inexpensive but the reviews were pretty mixed.  Also you need to acquire service on top of the purchase price.  Half the users said they could never figure out to configure it & get it working due to the poorly translated documentation.  Also I could never determine what standard it supports.  2G, 3G, etc??  I can pick one up for about $26 & may order one just to test it out.

Where the PingGPS stands out is simplicity.  It takes only a couple of minutes to download the app & be up & running with no need for a SIM or additional service.  It connects automatically with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth for configuration.  Just name the device & its good to go for a year.
2018-6-1
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rwynant V1
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I'll be hanging around for an update!  Appreciate your time and followup

Randy
2018-6-1
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