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How Long Does a GPS Tracker Battery Last

How Long Does a GPS Tracker Battery Last
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It is not out of to ask how long does a GPS tracker battery last. The answer depends on several factors.

Considering the type of operations that require the use of GPS trackers, it is always better they are designed in such a way that one maintains minimal contact with it.

Because most operations where trackers are used are covert except for a few cases especially where it is used to monitor children and aged people.

Even at that, each of these instances is most effective when you do not have to worry about retrieving the device for maintenance operations (charging the battery).

Fortunately, the only possible maintenance check on a GPS tracking device is charging or replacing the battery of the device. The amount of times you have to change the battery of the tracker clearly depends on how long the battery lasts.

In view of this, it is better to have a battery that lasts long. Sequel to this, it is imperative to ask, “how long does a GPS tracker battery last?”

how long does a gps tracker battery last
Photo Credit: Andy Armstrong, flickr.com

In the course of this article, you will discover that there is no particular time span for which all the batteries of GPS tracking devices last. There are various models and models of GPS trackers.

Each of these types has different setups and consequently, different battery designs and capacity. We will first attempt to review types of GPS trackers and their mode of operation.

GPS Tracking Devices

The battery life of any given tracking device really depends on the design capacity of the battery, and the amount of work the device does. Even if you have a large capacity battery, if the amount of work it does is enormous, then the battery is going to drain quite fast.

In view of this, the amount of work done by a tracker is always taken into consideration while designing the battery. In spite of this, there is always a limitation on how long the battery lasts.

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Active GPS Trackers or Data Pushers

When using an active GPS device, especially those that transmit location data to a remote server via the internet, the load on the battery is always large.

In spite of this, battery technology influences the in-built capacity of most batteries and plays a direct role in determining how long the battery could last.

One of the most frequently used GPS devices is the active GPS tracker sometimes called a data pusher. This type of GPS device transmits the location information it interprets from GPS satellites to a remote server at regular intervals.

In some cases, they use cell phone network or the internet technology to transmit the data.

Some of such devices in this age are capable of not just giving the location of a target at every point, it is also able to provide voice recordings.

This is the most popular GPS device and it is also one that has a large capacity to drain batteries faster. When equipped with a good battery, it could be your best choice. This type of GPS device is mostly available on online stores and you could get one on Amazon.

Passive GPS Trackers or Data Loggers

The other type of tracking device is the passive GPS device or the data logger. It simply records GPS locations to an attached memory device. It mostly uses a memory card for its recordings. You can only retrieve the information in the tracker when you retrieve the tracker from the target.

It is specially made for certain applications. If it meets your criteria, you might as well get it for yourself. It is available on Amazon too.

how long does a gps tracker battery last
Photo Credit: Sho Hashimoto, flickr.com

One of the advantages of this tracking device is that it does not drain the battery as fast as the earlier type of tracker. The reason is quite simple, it does not do a lot, it only receives GPS location and stores it in a memory device. Hence, it is easy to see why its battery life will likely be longer.

How GPS Trackers Function

The basic principle that governs the functionality of a GPS tracking device is based on the mathematical principle of trilateration. In view of this, a GPS tracker requires at least three GPS satellites over the location to determine the position of a target.

We have 2D and 3D trilateration, each providing a level of improvement in monitoring technology.

Essentially, the information provided by GPS trackers are just latitude and longitude coordinates. The technicalities of how a GPS tracker functions are provided in one of our earlier articles on how a GPS tracker works.

How long does a GPS tracker battery last?

GPS trackers do not have a fixed battery life and calculating the anticipated life of tracker battery or how long the battery could go in between charges cannot be obtained with hundred percent certainty.

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The number of days a tracker’s battery could last depends on the type of tracker you are using too. This is because the GPS tracking function of GPS trackers differ.

Some GPS devices perform multiple functions and hence put a lot of pressure on the battery. However, you could reduce the amount of work a tracker does by increasing its motion sensitivity.

Motion sensitive trackers minimize the power consumption of the tracker while still performing all the functions it is expected to do.

Some portable trackers that have motion sensitivity are able to last for as long as two weeks with absolutely no need for charging it. This simply means that the tracker only works when the target moves. This is one of the best means of conserving energy and extending battery life.

On the other hand, there are some other trackers that have a longer battery life than the type described above. They are designed for monitoring construction equipment. This is exclusive because of the type of job they were designed to do.

Lastly, there are these recent GPS tracking instruments that have an incredible battery life of about 3 years. This is amazing right? The only limitation on this device is that it only transmits GPS location once per day. This may not be enough if you require monitoring your assets as they move.

However, if whatever job for which you need GPS tracking does not require minute by minute monitoring of your target, then this type of device could suffice.

3-year battery life is an amazing offer. This is a significantly long battery life especially for vehicle tracking applications.

There are several areas where a GPS tracker with such a long battery life could find application.

Such applications that suit long battery life trackers include vehicle tracking, speed limit monitoring in your car, fleet management, monitoring your children or aged parents who are traveling or in transit and so many other applications.

Other Alternative Solutions

There are however alternative solutions to resolve the battery life issues associated with GPS trackers.

If you are not using your GPS tracker for multiple functions such as monitoring a lot of vehicles at the same time, then you may have to consider hard wiring your GPS tracker to the electrical system of your vehicle.

By so doing, this your GPS tracker then functions just like the regular vehicle onboard devices powered by the battery of the car itself. You need basic knowledge of the electrical system of the car to be able to safely wire a GPS tracker to the car.

They are some GPS Trackers that are built as plug and play devices. Such trackers do not need batteries to function. They are simply plugged into ports designated for car chargers and lighters.

They are several plug and play GPS trackers. You could even check out a plug and play GPS tracker on Amazon.

The advantage this type of trackers offer is only limited to tracking vehicles. Here, you do not have to worry about how long the battery life is. Batteries are totally off the equation.

Concluding Advice on Choosing a GPS Tracker

Before getting a GPS tracker, you should first define the type of GPS tracker that suits your need (whether an active or a passive GPS tracker). Each of these types offer different levels of power consumption which have implications on the battery life.

More so, you should also consider how many times per day you would want to know the GPS location of your target. Each of these considerations will help you in choosing the best GPS tracker to buy in order to get the long battery life you desire.

If your tracker does not have a long battery life, it could ruin the entire effort of tracking your target.

Here is a video that shows how to improve the battery life of a GPS tracker:

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