View Full Version : Bike GPS Tracker on the cheap

15-05-16, 04:50 PM
So I'm gunna try and add a GPS tracker to my bike, on the cheap.
- SMS texts of location
- Ring fence
- SMS on vibration/motion detection
- Long standby (built in battery)
- Charging only when ignition on (using my existing USB adaptor)

Nice to have
- Listen in (monitor)

Don't need
- Alarm sound from the bike
- Alarm indicator flashing
- immobiliser
- Remote start
- Key fob
- Hard wired power
- Ignition on sensor

After a lot of searching on Amazon and Aliexpress, have ordered this one:
Vehicle Car Accessories TK102 GPS/GSM/GPRS Tracker Car Vehicle Mini Tracking Device + 2 Battery Car-styling

Commonly known as TK102.

For the princely sum of USD13, delivered to Japan.

Now I need a really cheap SIM, data (GPRS) and SMS, optional voice (for monitor function).

The concept of Internet of Things does not seem to have arrived in Galapagos Japan, and prepaid voice SIMs are illegal in Japan, due to anti social forces.

So, being a permanent resident I will probably register a SIM.

Will try freetel.jp they have a deal for 399yen a month. More than likely this will turn out to be a rip off. I'll let you know.

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15-05-16, 04:53 PM
Also available in Japan at four times the price (don't ya love it?)


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15-05-16, 05:02 PM
Great idea! Interested to see how it works out for you. Keep us updated.

15-05-16, 05:15 PM
Instruction manual

Shesh! Luckily I have several years' experience designing embedded Microsystems. But for those who don't, there's an App for that (in fact many apps)


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15-05-16, 05:17 PM
This random internet dude saves me some time with posting stuff here

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15-05-16, 05:24 PM
There are many flavours of these things and some are for permanent wiring into your bike and can connect to indicators, ignition etc to give a full alarm immobiliser and have remote start with a key fob. Having tried to start my bike when it was in gear once, I know that with remote start I would do that one day and the bike would be moved forward by the starter motor and fall off than side stand. How cool would I feel then?
Also, my bike is a Ducati, from 1997. What is the weak point of Italian vehicles? electrics. In fact, I think it is wired with left over spaghetti. The last thing I need is a permanent drain on the battery and any extra spaghetti spliced in. That would be an excellent theft deterrent, as they would be unable to start the bike. But then, so would I.

So I went for a USB charged device, and then I can plug it straight into my cigarette lighter socket (powering my ETC) with two USB sockets, wired off a fuse switched by the key. This will then charge while the engine is running and run off battery (supposedly for a few days) when the ignition is off. In case some bastard lifts it into a van to steal it.

I will not be using it to track my spouse, kids or (nonexistent) dog. Which actually seems to be the main selling point of these battery powered units. (Hmmm maybe I should get a second one?)

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15-05-16, 05:49 PM
So now I wait for it to arrive from the same place everything else in the world is made, Shenzen.
Come back for more (including swearing) when I try to get a cheap SIM and activate it for SMS and GPRS. If I can get the GPRS set up then I think I can communicate with it via apps using only the data allowance rather than SMS messages. Data should be very light usage as just plain text.

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16-05-16, 07:02 PM
SIM cards. Many choices now in Japan for data only and data and SIM. Most aimed at high data usage, but we only need a tiny amount of data as the device sends HTML text only.
Docomo do a pre paid 12 month card, discounted on Amazon to 13,000Yen.
http://www.amazon.co.jp/docomo-LTE-%E3%83%87%E3%83%BC%E3%82%BF%E9%80%9A%E4%BF%A1%E3%8 2%AB%E3%83%BC%E3%83%89-800%E5%86%86%E3%81%A7%E5%88%9D%E6%9C%88-%EF%BC%91%E5%B9%B4%E9%96%93%E4%BD%BF%E3%81%84%E6%9 4%BE%E9%A1%8C%EF%BC%88%E3%83%91%E3%83%83%E3%82%AF% EF%BC%89-x/dp/B00HSH1CUA/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1463392641&sr=8-10&keywords=Docomo+sim+12

I want cheaper than that. We only need maybe 10MB a month, 2G or 3G network (4G is not supported by the device) and super slow KBps is OK, don't even need MBps let alone GBps. It is possible that these services exist as Vehicle SIMs, which I found some reference to, or SIMs for vending machines, which send stock replenishment requests when low or when running out of change. I can't find reference to them in retail websites. Anyone know better?

There are only 4 service providers but there are multiple onsellers who purchase bulk bandwidth and sell cheap.
Currently cheapest is
Freetel.jp who do a data and SMS
For 439Yen a month.
You have to be resident and sign a 1 year contract.
Today I went to Yurakacho Bic Camera. 1st floor all the carriers have concessions and Bic Camera themselves sell all the onseller SIMs.

When trying to buy online last night every supplier tried to sting me for a ~3,000 Yen "admin fee". Or "price fixing cartel fee" as I prefer to call it, like Key Money when renting a flat.

Same at Bic Camera, every SIM had a price around 3,000 Yen whatever the monthly cost. The helpful guy who spoke English agreed with me that it was almost the same as 6 months worth of the service fee, but whatyagunnado?

Walk away is what I did.

But, when the device arrives I will probably buy the stupid SIM with the fee at Bic Camera, because you can show your ID there and walk out with the SIM. Otherwise you either have to scan and upload your ID or be there when the SIM is delivered to show the ID to the delivery man. Online activation is still needed even if buying at a shop. Instructions show this to be the normal unnecessarily complicated and frustrated process that most Japan services seem to delight in imposing on their customers. Probably want the date of birth of all my relatives and a pint of blood.

This is all to avoid criminals using untraceable throw away voice SIMs. They can just use Line for free or an 050 number service for 150Yen a month for voice calls. One of which is advertised by that unconvincing cross dressing fat bloke from TV who always has a 6o'clock shadow in the evenings. Why doesn't he shave just before he goes on air? WHY JAPAN WHY?!

Anywho, I have a slight concern that the initial device activation seems to need a single phone call (which goes unanswered). I don't know if a data and SMS SIM will pass the incoming call number to the device. Hence a bit concerned about signing up for a year contract. So I might start with a 30 day tourist pre pay. Unless someone here has a definitive answer on that?

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17-05-16, 02:54 PM
Plenty of suppliers here
But the ~3,000 yen setup fee seems universal.

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18-05-16, 10:18 AM
Also following this topic closely. Thumbs up on the research so far RedSquare!

Plenty of suppliers here
But the ~3,000 yen setup fee seems universal.

Does the TK102 support all 2G and 3G mnvo networks in Japan?

18-05-16, 05:47 PM
That, I do not know. But I did find mention that it does not support 4G.
So, have a bit of doubt about whether I can get this to work.

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26-05-16, 02:24 PM
So, I am tracking this. It's gone from Shenzen to Hong Kong to Singapore. Now sitting in Singapore airport. Why? I have no idea.
Some more news of SIM card. My local combini has SIM cards for sale, monthly or prepaid. I now think that I will get a prepaid card, with low data and SMS, lasts three months and can be topped up an extended by buying another card in the combini, with a scratch off number that you type into the providers website. So cash only, no contract and no visible entry in credit card statement.
This company
Open in google chrome and it'll translate to English.

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26-05-16, 02:25 PM
Anyone else trying doing/ done this?

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26-05-16, 04:35 PM
I just now saw this thread (I've been away for a few months--so busy building bikes for GPR Camp). But I think I'm going to try this in a while. Of course I'm in SF, but I think this is some great research that you've done, and I think you very much Red!

26-05-16, 04:49 PM
I should probably share this with you as it's tangentially related. I did buy one of these goofy alarm systems from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/BlueFireŽ-Motorcycle-Security-Anti-Hijacking-Disarming/dp/B00ZGGORFM?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00).

Like you I didn't want to wire it up to the bike. It will run off of a 9 volt battery--but they don't last very long). I hooked it up completely on its own with no connection to the bike's systems. There's no way I want to run a $20 box on my bike that could cut the ignition while I'm riding!

The range on the remote is quite far, and works from inside the house. The connectors are decently made, and the siren is quite loud (ear hurtingly so). The included double sided mounting tape is useless, but you can zip tie it to where you need and the speaker has mounting holes too. The black remote has a switch blade like key blade that can be removed with a set screw if it's not the same style as your bike.

It functions off of a motion sensor. It will go off when loud piped bikes ride by (like many car alarms do), and on windy days the bike cover flapping will trigger it. But these seem to only trigger a short alarm burst, and not the long duration alarm that triggers when actually moving the bike.


26-05-16, 05:02 PM
For the princely sum of USD13, delivered to Japan.

Do you have the link for this? The best I've seen it is $22 (http://www.amazon.com/ABLEGRIDŽ-RealTime-Tracker-Vehicle-Tracking/dp/B01535CSCE/ref=pd_sim_107_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=51zihhYi4zL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1KSCCE3KK0TGM9VC2X2Y), which isn't too bad really. ;)


26-05-16, 10:53 PM
Mine was cheaper because I didn't get the charger, USB cable or pouch.

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10-06-16, 07:04 PM
OK, so finally this doodad turned up.
That's for any unboxing freaks in the audience.

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10-06-16, 07:08 PM
Looks robust. How does it feel?
What are it's dimensions?

10-06-16, 07:08 PM
So, I excitedly went into the combini to buy my SIM
Imagine my disappointment when I realised that all you get is that bit of cardboard, with a scratch off patch with a number on it (covered up in the photo).

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10-06-16, 07:13 PM
I then spent nearly an hour on a website (quite well organised) to sign up for a monthly service. I chose yen1,600 for voice, data and SMS. You only need voice if you want to use the Monitor function where you can call up the device and listed through its microphone. I could also use it in a SIM free phone if I like. If you don't have voice, then yen1,040 a month.
During sign up you receive an email with a link to upload a form of ID. I took a photo of my driving licence. In Japan you can not have a voice phone account without showing ID. To avoid crooks using disposable and untraceable SIMs. You can buy only prepaid, but ID is still needed.
Now I wait for the SIM to be delivered to me and I will have to sign for it.
If I had bought this in BicCamera it would have cost the same, and I think they would have given me the SIM on the spot. But not entirely sure about that.

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10-06-16, 07:15 PM
When the SIM arrives, I'll update this on the process for activating the tracking. If I'm lucky.

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10-06-16, 07:19 PM
For sizehttp://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160610/17fadf356c96d155dc1982b0bfc7a2b3.jpg
Feels pretty strong, should be up to the job. I will keep it in the zip bag it came in, under the seat.

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11-06-16, 12:55 AM
Good progress! Thanks again for sharing every step as thoroughly as you do.

11-06-16, 06:01 AM
Don't know if still around but when I was interested in putting such device in my bike, I found the prepaid softbank option interesting. As far as I remember you can charge 3000 yen and then keep your phone line for a year so, it cost you 3000 year a year for keeping your line active.
However your credited money will disappear in 3 month but you can charge remotely via Internet the line if needing reaching it threw SMS within that year of line activity.

So 3000 year a year plus 3000 year if you need to get a SMS from your tracker in case of bike stolen. Depending on what you need / always monitored bike or just in case of steal.

Also, I was thinking that GSM networks are not available in Japan so needing an UMTS connectivity. Am I wrong?

11-06-16, 10:40 AM
So now I have received an email telling me that I have passed ID check and that I will get my SIM in one week.
I really should have just done it at BicCamera. But this is Japan, so they probably say a week and I might get it in a couple of days. Then I have to try and activate it in a device with no screen or keyboard. If it just works straight off then I can control the device with the app I downloaded, and I can set up the APN internet connection. That means I can communicate with it using the 3GB data connection (which will be waaaay more than I need) rather then the SMS which will cost me if I use more than the free number of them.

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11-06-16, 10:41 AM
The app

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12-06-16, 11:33 AM
Hey Red! Thanks for the updates.

Back when I would go to Bic Camera to buy a one yen phone as a Gaijin they would give it to me that same day--with Vodafone. It seems likely that sims will be the same.