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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking System?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the pulley-to-the-roof-each-night dept.

Crime 296

New submitter Chuckles08 writes "I'm about to complete the purchase of an electric scooter that is worth over $5,000. Since I'll be parking it on a college campus, it will be vulnerable to theft. I'd like to install some kind of tracking device on it but the solutions I've seen so far seem quite expensive. Are there any reasonably priced and effective solutions out there? Ideally, I'd like to be informed by text message if my scooter moves without my knowing. I'd like to then track the scooter's movements." And anything small enough to work for a scooter might be very useful for car owners, too.

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Easy! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109304)

a "Made in the USA" sticker.

Re:Easy! (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109356)

a "Made in the USA" sticker.

Why would you say that?

We don't make much of anything anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109528)

a "Made in the USA" sticker.

Why would you say that?

Because any would-be thief will be massively overcome with disbelief. That level of cognitive dissonance would probably make him pass out.

Re:We don't make much of anything anymore (3, Interesting)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109854)

We don't make anything anymore? Popular rhetoric, I suppose, but I thought /. readers dug down to the numbers.

Let's look at some facts: The US is still the largest economy in the world. The US is still the largest manufacturer in the world - 1/5 of the entire world's output. China will probably pass the US soon but they have a billion more people - over 4 times as many - as the US. The US is the largest trading country in the world. Sure, the US economy is in the tank with nearly 10% unemployment. But where would one go? Greece (18%)? Spain (>21%)? Ireland (14%)?

There are some bright spots like Germany and Brazil but they are currently the exceptions.

Re:We don't make much of anything anymore (1, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109888)

"The US is still the largest economy in the world."

Not without California, it isn't, given that California by itself is the like #5-#8 economy on the globe right now.

Re:Easy! (5, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109706)

Because it used to be that people complained about the quality of products made in the USA.

The irony is, we cant do that anymore.

Re:Easy! (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109796)

Bleah. Most depressing post of the week to you sir.
Sadly, also informative.

Re:Easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109820)

Because it used to be that people complained about the quality of products made in the USA.

The irony is, we cant do that anymore.

Or maybe it has more to do with imported brands, especially European, having more prestige than American - regardless of any differences in quality real or perceived?

You're buying a Segway, aren't you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109316)

It comes with a built-in alarm system.

GPS Tracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109322)

http://www.gpsvision.de/index.php/produkte/gps-tracker-tk5000

but it's in german

Simple (1)

CtownNighrider (1443513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109336)

Automated turret

Re:Simple (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109366)

Automated turret

A propane flamer mounted underneath. Anyone tries to steal the thing gets his feet burned off.

It's called "Insurance" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109354)

You won't find a cheaper way to cover the loss and there is no way to prevent it from being stolen for a reasonable amount of money. As it can be lifted into a truck, taken out and dismantled and any anti=theft system defeated before you can finish reading this response...

Re:It's called "Insurance" (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109432)

I tend to agree with this. I always laugh at people wasting time installing 'the club' on their steering wheel. It jsut screams "Im desperate and have no means to recover from losses."

Re:It's called "Insurance" (5, Insightful)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109496)

I tend to agree with this. I always laugh at people wasting time installing 'the club' on their steering wheel. It jsut screams "Im desperate and have no means to recover from losses."

It's not that it's impossible to dismantle such anti-theft systems but that the anti-theft systems provide enough incentive for the thieves to move on and steal the low hanging fruit. Given two identical cars parked next to each other, where one has a club and the other doesn't, which one will the thief steal?

Re:It's called "Insurance" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109568)

If I'm the thief, the one with the club. Just to prove a point, and to mess with the statistics.

Re:It's called "Insurance" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109884)

If I'm the thief, the one without the club. Because the other one might have a tracking system installed. ^^

Re:It's called "Insurance" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109584)

Given two identical cars parked next to each other, where one has a club and the other doesn't, which one will the thief steal?

The one with the club. It's easier to steal a car with a club than without, as it means the thief does not need to carry around a long pry bar to break the steering wheel lock, as the club will provide the necessary leverage once it has been cut apart with a small hacksaw blade.

From: http://www.freakonomics.com/2010/06/08/what-car-thieves-think-of-the-club/

Re:It's called "Insurance" (0)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109842)

It's possible to break the club in under 30 seconds (seen it done in under 10) using a relatively inexpensive item that will fit into oversize pockets, and has so many other legal uses you can buy it in various stores.

I'm not telling, but if you do a little research, I bet you can find out. Hint, make the lock tumblers cold and brittle.

Re:It's called "Insurance" (4, Funny)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109924)

Marriage?

Re:It's called "Insurance" (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109680)

In this case, I'm more inclined to pessimism than usual about the utility of technological anti-theft systems.

A ~$5k electric scooter is a fairly atypical piece of kit. This isn't a generic "ISO standard bike for getting around campus" or "some massively popular compact car", either of which can disappear or turn into parts even in the hands of a complete n00b; but where getting GPS-tracked or otherwise running into an unexpected security system might discourage/catch a low end opportunistic operator.

If you are going to be stealing something as relatively unusual as a $5,000 light nerdmobile, you are either curious and joyriding(in which case the system will turn up within one charge-length of where it was stolen; but in god knows what condition, hope you have insurance), or because you have some definite plan in mind(most likely transporting the whole thing well away from the market in which it was stolen for use or resale, or breaking it up for the probably rather pricey battery and components). Anybody who tries to flip it on craigslist or something similarly low-rent is going to discover pretty quickly that the sheer oddity of the vehicle will make that difficult.

Because of the sheer inconvenience of having stuff stolen, I certainly wouldn't leave it less locked than the other bikes and stuff near it; but I'd be very much inclined to make any security investment beyond the basics in the form of insurance, rather than technology...

Re:It's called "Insurance" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109780)

For a drug addled crappy thief who's just looking to by some meth you're probably right. Any thief worth his salt can defeat the sadness that is the club in less than 10 seconds however. The idea of being more difficult to get than you're neighbor only works if it actually is more difficult to get rather than just appears to be at first glance.

Re:It's called "Insurance" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109580)

I use "The Club" as icing on the cake combined with a hidden switch that turns off the PATS RFID antenna [1] and another switch for the fuel pump. If a thief gets past that, that is what insurance is for. But, they are going to fight for what they steal.

I agree -- The Club can be defeated easily. But it forces a thief to have to deal with it, and time is their enemy

[1]: The reason I turn off the PATS antenna is that for more sophisticated thieves, it will throw them off the scent, because all attempts they try at key cloning will not work. Of course, if that gets bypassed, the fuel pump switch ensures they won't go far.

Re:It's called "Insurance" (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109670)

I use "The Club" as icing on the cake combined with a hidden switch that turns off the PATS RFID antenna [1] and another switch for the fuel pump. If a thief gets past that, that is what insurance is for. But, they are going to fight for what they steal.

I agree -- The Club can be defeated easily. But it forces a thief to have to deal with it, and time is their enemy

[1]: The reason I turn off the PATS antenna is that for more sophisticated thieves, it will throw them off the scent, because all attempts they try at key cloning will not work. Of course, if that gets bypassed, the fuel pump switch ensures they won't go far.

Tow truck, shove into a cheap used metal shipping container, dismantle at your leisure - no tracking device will be able to get a signal through the steel walls.

Dump the stripped frame and body, buy it at the insurance auction, get the pink slip, and put the engine, transaxle, wheels, seats, etc. back in an sell it.

And yes, people DO do this. It's one reason insurance companies have begun crushing "strippers".

Re:It's called "Insurance" (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109630)

You won't find a cheaper way to cover the loss and there is no way to prevent it from being stolen for a reasonable amount of money. As it can be lifted into a truck, taken out and dismantled and any anti=theft system defeated before you can finish reading this response...

If you can track it on the truck that would be good enough.
Most thieves will not start tearing it down on site.

A cheap add on smartphone with a minimal dataplan and a free find-my-phone app or child tracking app would report its last position.
Permanently wired to the battery and hidden under a plastic part (seat) it would likely survive long enough to provide a location of the
chop shop it was taken too.

I rather suspect it is the casual thief might (as opposed to the professional) might never discover such an installation.

That and learning where campus security cameras are focused should be cheaper than theft insurance.

Re:It's called "Insurance" (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109698)

I came here to say the same thing.

A tracking system is going to be spendy and probably useless. Do you really think the cops are going to make recovering your scooter a high priority? Do you really think you're going to go all Internet Tough Guy and break into someone's garage to get it back? (Remember, you just admitted to being a Scooter Guy so we all know that won't happen.)

Just insure it against theft. If it gets stolen, you should have the money for a replacement within a week. The deductible will be less than what you would have spent on your tracking system.

choose pink (5, Funny)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109364)

Noone is going to steal a pink electric scooter. Maybe put some flower stickers on it.

Re:choose pink (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109710)

There are more Rollergirls out there than you think.

Re:choose pink (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109860)

hmmm.... maybe pink skulls and actual rabbit entrails hanging on the back, that should dissuade anyone from wanting it, including the unfortunate owner. :)

No good for car (5, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109368)

If your car was stolen, you don't want it back. Trust me.

Buy a dog. (5, Funny)

apparently (756613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109374)

It is a known fact that burglars skip over houses that have dogs in them in favor of houses without dogs. The same should hold for your scooter. As an added benefit, if you pick the right breed, the coolness of the dog will balance-out the total uncoolness of the scooter and you might still have a chance at getting laid.

Re:Buy a dog. (1)

Unoriginal Nick (620805) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109470)

A dog won't help much when parking on a college campus.

Re:Buy a dog. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109502)

I think your sarcasm detector is broken. Might want to have that looked at.

Re:Buy a dog. (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109506)

Claim it's a seeing eye dog and therefore you should be allowed to park in handicapped spaces!

Re:Buy a dog. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109478)

Unless they steal the dog too.

The geekiness of electric scooters & getting l (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109620)

A few years ago I bought, and started using, an electric motorcycle. A geekier vehicle has rarely been seen.

Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an utter chick magnet. Better than a puppy. Even better than a baby. Once two women lifted their shirts and pressed their chests to either side the windshield. I kid you not! I was constantly approached by curious women (and some men) wanting to know about the vehicle, and then giving me their contact info. I wish I'd known about this effect when | was single!

Your mileage may vary.

lojack (5, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109388)

Chances are that the insurance company will pick up a significant portion of the tab to have the vehicle lojaced. I was looking into it when I was going to buy a motorcycle and the cost after insurance company rebate and discount makes it quite inexpensive. Plus they have a good record for recovery and ever car that's lojaced increases the likelihood that a vehicle thief is going to be caught red handed and sent to prison.

Re:lojack (5, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109586)

I have used LoJack [lojack.com] on my car for about 15 years now. One benefit of LoJack is that there is no recurring fee (other than battery check / replacement), and it is supported by most law enforcement agencies.

The disadvantage of LoJack for something like $400 vs a DIY thing for $200ish (all told after you pay for EVERYTHING related to it) is that you can't play with it and do your own location of your scooter when it isn't really stolen.

If you value the play factor, you might consider getting one of the GPS kid tracking cell phones, but monthly fees will get you up to over $400 before you finish 4 years of school, even for the cheapest of cell phones.

If you want to go full nerd on it, you can get a HAM foxhunt type solution with or without GPS. If you're honest about what you spend on such a setup, you'll be far above the cost of a LoJack which is essentially the fox transmitter, with the local Police picking up the tab on the hound locator/receiver for you.

you could build something for $130 (5, Interesting)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109400)

Building one for $130 would be easy enough. You would have to pay a monthly for cell service though.
An Arduino, a voltage regulator, a GPS module, and a GSM module would be the essential parts. Stick them in a weatherproof enclosure and conceal it on the scoot. You would be good to go. You would need to write a little code to get it to squawk its location to a webserver somewhere so in case it was stolen you'd know where it was hiding. I'm not sure how much the retail version are but I'd bet they are similarly priced. Economies of scale are a bitch.

Re:you could build something for $130 (5, Insightful)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109576)

Wouldn't it be simpler to get an old Symbian phone and write an app?

A Nokia N95 has GPS and it very low power compared to modern phones (week between charges), you get a cigarette charger hooked up to the battery to keep it charged and then write an application that listens for text messages. Upon recent of the text message he phone would text/email it's number. Then all you would need is a water proof case and a pay as you go sim card.

A quick check on ebay shows them going for £40. I'm getting a Honda CBR 600 RR next week I might do this.

Re:you could build something for $130 (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109578)

Yes, but there is really nowhere to conceal anything on an electric bike.

If you're spending $5K on the bike spend another $200 on a very good bike lock and use it. The current crop of electric bikes are hilariously ugly and heavy. No one is going to steal one on a lark, and you're not going to be able to stop a professional thief with a lojack.

Re:you could build something for $130 (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109628)

I imagine GPS and GSM modules for the Arduino will run you more than $130.

It would probably be cheaper to use an Android phone. The Neo Freerunner is very hackable, but has poor battery life. I'm sure you can find a better one. Just add a prepaid cell plan for around $10/mo.

Re:you could build something for $130 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109644)

You might be able to get a second hand smart phone with a broken screen for a lot less. That would give you GPS, some form of network and probably accelerometers for tilt detection (Maybe just report when it was moved). Depending on how it was concealed it could take a picture as well.

Re:you could build something for $130 (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109652)

If you can add a phone to your cell plan and pay cell service, why in hell would you want to build something?
The phone companies will GIVE you an entry level smart phone and there is an APP for that.

GPS Tracker (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109406)

Instamapper provides a tutorial for a pretty cheap tracking option. It is basically free, except for the hardware cost ($35 or so) and the data cost (10/month so so). You may need to worry about weather-proofing but that could probably be taken care of with a zip lock bag. Check it out, this may be exactly what you are looking for.

http://www.instamapper.com/diy.html

look at motorcycle solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109408)

There are plenty of motorcycle anti-theft solutions that make sense for a $5k investment. Most are alarms and some have a fob that gives you a warning. The fob or a text message doesn't do any good, since the scooter will be gone by the time you get to it. A good u-lock, or a good bike chain lock from Kryptonite would allow you to lock it to a fixed object. I'm not sure you'll be able to find an affordable gps-based tracking system that you can hide on the thing.

But anything you can pick and carry away is vulnerable to theft unless you solidly lock it to an immovable object. Instead of buying a top end scooter, I'd suggest buying a reasonably priced motorcycle that's not a target for theft. For the type of riding you'll be doing, a motorcycle is safer (better brakes, better engine, taller, etc). Most motorcycle deaths on secondary streets are caused by cars hitting riders, so you'll need to wear all the same protective gear and pick up all the same skills you need to safely ride a motorcycle since you're just as vulnerable (more, actually).

As a bike rider (for 42 years) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109802)

The only deterrent is the big chain & padlock. If the bastards can't move it in 15 seconds then the will move along to the next target.
Alarms? Don't make me laugh. I had a brand new Fazer stolen from right outside a Police Station. Alarmed? Yep. Immobilised? Yep. Did the alarm go off? Yep. The Buggers simply put it inside a 3.5ton truck and drove off with the alarm sounding.

They caught up with them as they tried to board a ferry from Immingham to Gothenburg. There were more than 20 bikes in the back of the truck. All less than 6 months old.

Now I carry a heavy chain and lock. The chain is think enough to stop standard bolt cutters.

Tracking on the cheap (4, Informative)

ldm (676254) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109412)

Find a Xexun TK-102 on ebay, they will report back their position via the mobile network (you supply a SIM card, and can send it a request for the current position, it will text you back). You can get large extended battery packs too, or you could wire it into the bike's power. They work well enough for us to track drivers at work. Just make sure you get a genuine Xexun one, the others are less reliable and tend to lie about their position, in my case being offset by about 4 miles. There are separate car sized ones, but I have not used them.

Re:Tracking on the cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109450)

There are separate car sized ones,

Somehow that doesn't sound practical.

viper alarm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109416)

get a viper alarm. you can get them for motorcycles, which is essentially the same thing as a moped or scooter regarding theft. it will alarm if the bike moves off it's kick stand, upright, or moves a distance. it will alarm on the bike and alert you via a keychain device that tells you whats up. you can turn it on and off with the remote as well. look to spend 300 for this. too much for you? then dont own a 5000$ bike that two people can pick up and put in a truck.

GPS/Cellular (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109420)

There are GPS trackers that incorporate a GPRS (or similar) uploading function. Some of these are smaller than a pack of cigarettes and contain a backup battery (in case the thief figures that disconnecting the primary battery will disable any alarm).

These will report in continuously (any time the tracker changes location), so you'll have to either turn it off or filter the messages in the event of authorized use.

The down side is that you will have to pay for a wireless plan that supports this minimal communications.

U-lock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109446)

buy a u-lock and put it through the front tire. I would get a kryptonite or similar. Make sure it's thick steel. No one will be able to move the bike without a forklift.

Re:U-lock (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109530)

if it has disc brakes, I've seen some pretty nice locks which go into a hole on the disc so it's easily portable.

as others have said, being able to lock to a fixed object is best. Next would be motion based alarm and then the last resort might be a full on GPS-GSM tracking system. Or you could wire some electric shock system to the seat and handlebars triggered by the motion sensor. When you hear ambulance sirens, go back to your bike and watch them pick up the convulsing would be thief. Don't forget the warning label.

LoB

Child GPS locator (3, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109456)

How about one of the GPS kid locators? I despise them for tracking your kid, but for your scoot? Maybe. I've seen some for $200 or so. Mount it on the bike somewhere hidden...reports back to your smartphone.

dealextreme comes to rescue (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109458)

less than 30 euro
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/gsm-realtime-anti-theft-vehicle-tracker-81881

the downside: chineese documentation

Check out www.blacklinegps.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109464)

They have small units that can be hardwired in a hidden location and include their own rechargeable battery. Tracking app provided as well as web app. Canadian company based in Calgary.

Old smartphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109472)

get a g1 or mytouch phone from ebay for ~$80 and hide it somewhere, and write an app that sends you a text message with coordinates every once in a while. as a bonus, you have an emergency phone available. I'll write the app for you, even. mkb@libero.it

Garmin GTU-10 (5, Informative)

pem (1013437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109480)

I have two, on things I don't want to get lost.

Garmin has two plans. The simple one lets you draw virtual fences around where it's OK for the thing to be, and alerts you when it leaves the area, and also lets you poll for location at any time.

The more full-featured plan (basically $10/month) also will automagically poll and keep history, so you at least know where the thing was when the thieves realized that it had a GPS tracker on it and ripped the thing off.

I built a little 12v -> 5v converter for the one of these I have on a device that has a battery, and hooked it in permanently, so every time the main device is switched on, the GPS's battery gets recharged.

A big rock. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109484)

Like a one ton boulder. Just set it under the boulder and no one will be able to move it.

Let the feds do it (5, Funny)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109486)

Become a person of interest to the FBI and they'll track you with their superior equipment free of charge.

Geez you guys are dumb sometimes. Here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109490)

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Car-GPS-Tracker-GSM-GPRS-GPS-Tracking-Device-Auto-Vehicle-TK103B-/320778127660?pt=AU_Electronics_GPS&hash=item4aafddc92c

Re:Geez you guys are dumb sometimes. Here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109558)

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GPS-GSM-GPRS-Car-Vehicle-Tracker-TK102-no-retail-box-/180755342382?pt=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item2a15dba42e

Or here.

FBI (5, Funny)

codegen (103601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109492)

Get yourself on the terrorist watch list. The FBI will install one free of charge.

Find a motorcycle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109500)

Park next to it. Everyone will go for the motorcycle.

Side note, why bother spending 5k on an electric scooter? Buy an old Japanese bike for 1k.Less embarrassing for a fifth of the price. If its for environmental reasons I'm sure it's worse to buy a brand new electric bike then to just burn a small amount of gas. The battery manufacturing process is pretty nasty. So is the mining and smelting of all the raw materials needed to make all the other parts.

APRS (2)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109504)

Get a ham license, an old 2m handheld and a GPS puck.

http://www.aprs.org/ [aprs.org]

Cheap smartphone would do the trick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109508)

Just buy a cheap smartphone and use a low end data plan. You could even strip the guts out and make a custom box I'd you wanted.

Prioritise proven law enforcement credibility (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109516)

Unfortunately that may collide with the goal of low-cost.

There's been plenty of reports about people using their home-made tracking systems and getting zero interest from the police. You should go for one that has proven to have credibility with the police (which basically means a brand name and existing relationship that the company has invested in to build).

Alternatively, if you go for a home-made one, it might work because a scooter is big enough not to hide easily. In that case if it's ever stolen you should NOT call up the police and say you have a homemade tracking device - rather just track it down yourself, and when you see it parked somewhere, call up the police and say you randomly spotted it and is absolutely sure it is yours.

tk102 and other gsm trackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109524)

I've have a tk102 tracking device on my bike. It has a fence mode, to alert you when it's been moved or you simply call the device and it replies with an SMS with a google maps link. There are various versions of it and other similar products, originals and various knock offs.

Also their batteries last only a few days, luckily I got mine with a charger which works on 12V. However it's a stupid charger which drains my bike's battery in about 5 days. I'll install a switch, so I can turn it off when I'm not using the bike and it's stored securely. The pre-paids here cost 15€ and come with a cheapo (unlocked) phone or simply one or two euros. I paid 50£ for my unit, I'm sure one can them cheaper too. Check out ebay or amazon.

They are crap, but work and are cheap. I still hope I'll never need mine.

While you could... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109532)

While you *could* get a method to track your now stolen scooter, what is the point? Are you seriously gonna retrieve it yourself? Dangerous. Get the police to do it by giving them the data? Difficult as that still requires the police getting a search warrant on probably cause assuming the police would cooperate with you.

Either way, it's an expensive solution that creates alot of hassle if it does get stolen. Quite simply, insurance is your best bet. The relatively low cost and reliability is much better. You know you will get the money if your scooter isn't recovered with insurance. Doing it yourself, you have to deal with the probability of the scooter recovery. Even if you do recover it, you have to deal with the time it took to recover it and the possibility of damage to the scooter during the time it was missing.

Insurance = minor hassle who you know who to complain to if things don't go your way
Your own method = hassle in which you may not even benifit from

Re:While you could... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109786)

I'd be more interested in punishing the criminals than recovery. A world in which crime is risky is better than an world in which the rest of us just accept crime as something insurance will cover.

Best Anti-Theft System for College Campuses (3, Funny)

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109546)

Paint it Pink [slashdot.org] .

it's not worth the worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109570)

get a cheap bicycle instead

Christ, buy an old M3 for the same price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109582)

Yes, you'll have to fix it up a touch but it's a dam sight more useful and dignified.

Stick, not automatic, or I'll go over there and slap you.

Alternative Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109590)

Get a refund on the scooter. Buy a $500 bicycle. If you get 10 bicycles stolen, you'll still break even on what you would have paid on the scooter. Also you'll be in better shape and hipster chicks might think you're cool.

dedicated smartphone (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109598)

It occurs to me that you could get a really cheap ("free") smartphone with GPS (not a Samsung, their GPS is crap), hide it somewhere on the vehicle (where it can still get signal) and track it with Latitude. Dunno what to do about notification. There's probably an app for that.

Low-tech solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109600)

Weld a steel loop to the chassis and use a motorcycle chain to lock it to a building.

Enfora (1)

GalacticOvergrow (1926998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109602)

I have been working on an online GPS tracking system for about 4 years now. The tracker we use the most is from Enfora. For about $130.00 dollars you can get their newest model with built in antennas and a 3 axis G sensor. It has a latching output to control a disable relay, a couple extra I/O (digital in, digital out and analog in). It supports different types of geofence and an overspeed. You should be able to find a service that supports this tracker for 10 to 25 dollar a month or you could roll your own if so inclined. Typical data usage is about 1 meg a month. I would shamelessly plug my service but I only operate in Brasil in partnership with risk management and insurance companies.

UberTracker! (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109604)

Sounds like a job for the Sparkfun UberTracker [sparkfun.com] ! It grabs GPS coordinates and sends them out via email using the cell network. It polls the GPS at a programmable interval (as much as once per minute or as little as once per day). Not sure if it can be programmed to start sending coordinates upon being moved though, so you may have to just activate it whenever you park the vehicle. Total cost: $325 + shipping.

Off topic, but cheaper, more portable e-bike... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109610)

http://yikebike.com/ [yikebike.com]
I don't have one, as I'm holding off to see what my new job's commute will be like, but it looks pretty interesting to me anyway.

Students are Untrustworthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109618)

Since I'll be parking it on a college campus, it will be vulnerable to theft.

Just because YOU are a student, it doesn't mean that everybody else is going to be as untrustworthy as yourself.

You remind me of this person I knew who wouldn't let me into his home because he was afraid that I would steal things (because I wasn't middle class like the other people I was with). Well at least I'm not black. At least being poor means that you can make yourself look like a Winner, which is how successful salesmen are made: just ask Steve Jobs.

Anyways yeah, never trust people who try to improve their knowledge and education. I guess it must be some Promethean type thing. Meanwhile I won't even bother trying to answer your question because you demonstrated that you are an asshole unworthy of an answer. BTW, I could probably guess that you live in the United States of America, because only in a place that is so anti-socialist and pro-capitalist would they have students who would even think of stealing somebody's transportation at an institution of higher learning. When you can't even trust people at your own school; it's just a very sad commentary on where you live.

Re:Students are Untrustworthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109858)

I'm on a campus where the students are a little too trusting. They don't always lock their bikes up, and don't always lock their cars. At the start of the semester around 10 bikes were being stolen per week. It isn't that we can't trust the students, but it only takes a few bad students, or even off campus visitors, and you start having problems.

Get the FBI to do it! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109622)

Just buy a few suspicious chemicals and/or read some carefully selected books at the library and they will tag your vehicle for tracking for you. Just check it periodically for modifications, remove it, re-purpose it and you're done.

..what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109626)

Electric scooter that costs over $5000

OhShitNiggerWhatAreYouDoing.jpg
WhatTheFuckAmIReading.jpg
WhyWouldYouDoThat.jpg
Seriously!? OP, you are an idiot. For $5000 you could have bought a really nice, low-mileage motorcycle from the used market, giving you the following benefits:

  • Great gas mileage compared to a car
  • Refuel at any gas station in minutes (instead of having to find an outlet and waiting hours)
  • Larger than a scooter, better visibility to other drivers (read as: SAFER)
  • Ability to carry a passenger (read as: chicks dig motorcycles)
  • Not riding down the street looking like a complete dork (read as: You bought something a spoiled brat 12 year old's parents would have bought them to shut them the hell up)
  • Not having the shit kicked out of you for looking like a complete dork because you're riding a piece-of-shit scooter (see above)
  • Actual resale value later on (shitty electric scooter? Not so much, not at all)

My advice? Try and return the shitty thing and get your money back, buy a motorcycle.
Oh, and so far as your anti-theft worries? Don't bother worrying. There is nothing you can do to prevent theft of it if someone really wants it, and even if you run a huge cable through both wheels and the frame, it's not going to stop someone from taking parts off it. Or just smashing it up, and vandalizing it.

Doesn't matter (1)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109634)

A tracking device will only help aid in recovery *after* theft, it won't prevent the theft in the first place.

Since you already likely have to carry some sort of insurance, it's cheaper to just ensure you have coverage for theft, ensure that the front wheel is locked, and keep the make / model / VIN / photo / insurance info handy in case you ever have to make a police report.

I'm speaking from experience, my scooter was stolen a few years ago -- Vespa LX-150. The insurance company cut a check, I bought a new one.

Re:Doesn't matter (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109720)

...less any policy excess, then you got raped on all insurance policies on all vehicles because you suffered a theft, the thief was free to steal again, and some chump bought a stolen bike. Insurance is the very last line of defence.

get a bicycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109684)

It will help work off all that beer.

Easy (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109734)

Just buy a minivan and lock your scooter in it once you arrive at your destination.

APRS (1)

elkto (558121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109740)

Pick up an Amateur Radio License and install a APRS beacon.

Worth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109778)

I'm about to complete the purchase of an electric scooter that is worth over $5,000. Since I'll be parking it on a college campus, it will be vulnerable to theft

Priced @ != "Worth" and anything is vulnerable to theft, to varying degrees with relative factors.

Replace it with a bike? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109790)

If it were me, I'd replace the $5000 scooter with a $500 bike and a $20 u-lock. Replace it when it gets stolen.

Re:Replace it with a bike? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109838)

Better uses for $5000, so get a crapo bike or scooter off Craigs List.

They will steal a wheel anyway if they need a tire.

In fact buy 2 off Crags List.

I can't give this thing away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109810)

Get a 79 jeep with manual choke. Who here actually knows how to start something with a choke?

Little mystery knob on the dash that just doesn't have to be operated, but operated correctly.

An Inexpensive Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking System? (4, Funny)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109840)

Have you considered a giant ball of yarn? Tie one end to a pole and the other to a fender. If the bike gets jacked just follow the string.

Carefully placed.... (1)

ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109856)

and hidden, a cheap prepaid cellphone with GPS tracking turned on should do the trick. P.I.s use them to track surveillance subjects all the time. Just be sure to turn the ringer off.

Check out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109890)

Drone, SmartStart, etc.

The issue with those is they need to have a full fledged alarm system to work (DEI, CompuStar, etc)... so that might be a draw back but the units + service are fairly cheap, plus you can get paged/texted/emailed/etc when the alarm is tripped or the thing is moved out of the set area

Insurance (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109908)

Next to a straightforward disk lock or chain, generally considered the best and most cost-effective "in event of theft" option amongst the motorcyclists I regularly converse with.

a suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109914)

You need a keypad, some circuitry, a microcontroller and some CD-4. Program it so after the key is turned on, the explosive goes off in 30 seconds unless you have entered a nice strong passcode that you have shared with no one. You may lose your investment but then you will do the world a favor by taking out a scambag thief. Check your local laws, first. And be damn sure you remember that passcode.

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