Capital Equipment News

There is a misconception that a tracking device is most often the reason for the drain on a vehicle’s battery power and for the vehicle not starting. About 20 years ago, this might have been the case, and as a result, the conviction arose that if a vehicle was wheeled into a service centre, the problem must lie with the tracking unit. It became easier to just blame the tracking device rather than finding the root cause of the problem.

As vehicles have evolved and become more sophisticated, power management has become a critical issue for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to consider. Vehicles have more electronics than ever before, and this means less battery capacity for the tracking device among other aftermarket fitments.

OEMs allow up to 50 milliamperes (mA) during 24 hours for all aftermarket fitments. It’s not a fixed rule, but any more would drain the battery power within a few days. A tracking device should use 2 mA or less in 24 hours and these limitations apply when the vehicle is switched off.

Myth bust TrackerAccording to Ron Knott-Craig, executive: Operational Services at Tracker, Tracker’s units use one mA or less. They do this through engaging ultra-low power mode for most of the day. The units will only draw more current under certain circumstances, for instance when detecting unauthorised movement of the vehicle or when transmitting during a stolen vehicle recovery activation. With a drain of only 1 mA or less during a 24-hour period, a vehicle battery would last for months, perhaps even years, depending on its size.

All Tracker units have “intelligence” – microprocessors and algorithms built into the units that enable them to control their power use and charge their own backup battery. For instance, when the vehicle’s alternator is charging the vehicle’s battery while driving, the intelligence will allow the unit to become more active and thus use more power. It will go back into low power mode as soon as the vehicle is switched off.

So, if it’s not the tracker, what could it be? Bear in mind that all batteries degrade over time and will eventually reach the end of their service life. The older the battery, the less likely it is to keep its charge. So, while the vehicle’s radio and lights might still function normally, the battery might simply not have enough charge to turn the starter motor and it will not be possible to start the vehicle.

Also, there are many bits of electronics in modern vehicles and some of these are on all the time, even when your vehicle is switched off, for example the clock and the internal memory of engine computers. Other aftermarket products could be causing battery drain.

For a modern tracking unit to drain a healthy vehicle battery, the tracking unit has to be faulty or the unit could possibly have been installed incorrectly. Tracker works closely with OEMs to ensure that its installation technicians receive the latest training and install the devices correctly to ensure no damage or interference with the electronic circuits of the vehicle.

“It’s incredibly unlikely that it’s the tracking unit causing the problem. However, if our quality supervisors determine that the unit is faulty or incorrectly installed, we will ensure that your vehicle is restored to the way it was before the device was fitted,” concludes Knott-Craig.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Email: capnews@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Email: elmaries@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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