What’s the difference between wired GPS tracker and wireless GPS tracker?

If you are beginner in purchasing GPS trackers, you may hesitate in selecting the trackers among thousands of suppliers in the market since you have no idea on their performance and advantages, especially now there are wired tracker and wireless tracker for option. As an experienced tracker supplier, we would like to compare these two types of trackers in details and help you select the suitable one easily.

We have to say that every coin has two sides, the important thing is to find out the most suitable one and make best use of it.

Generally, wired tracker has stable power supply, full features, while you need to break the original cable in vehicles for installation.

wireless tracker is easy to attach to vehicles while feature is basic and battery life is the main challenge.



Wired tracker is designed with small backup battery, which can only last 10-30 minutes, so it’s main working power would rely on the external battery. If the vehicle insurance company is allow to break the original cables, we would undoubtedly choose a wired tracker, since vehicle battery would charge itself when motor is running, it would supply tracker a stable power. The major reason to choose a wired tracker is not only the stable power, but also because it contains input, output, analog input and serial port which can realize many features like detect the status of vehicle ignition, door, light, air condition, trunk, and connect accessories such as relay, fuel sensor, camera, temperature sensor, etc.. However, some of the customer would still give up the wired tracker no matter it is versatile because of the insurance issue. Now more and more novel products come out in the market, some of the products like quick splice connector can really help solve the insurance issue in cable connection.


Wireless tracker is much more used in vehicle financial loan and insurance company. Its big advantage is that it doesn’t request to break cables in vehicle. One of the products in the market is OBD tracker; another is long standby magnetic tracker. OBD tracker is designed to connect to the OBD II interface in vehicle, which is plug and play, and it can use the power from vehicle battery as well as read the corresponding CAN data in vehicle such as VIN, RAM, driving mileage, fuel, and coolant temperature. Long standby magnetic tracker is designed with large back up battery and totally wireless with strong magnet to attach to metal, which can last very long under the sleeping mode and is easy to hide and tamperproof, so it plays a very useful role in container tracking and anti-theft purpose.


After analyzing advantages and disadvantages between them, we would have better idea to select a suitable tracker. But whatever you do choose, please purchase sample to test it fully before make a big order.

How to install and activate a vehicle GPS tracker online?

As one of the leader of GPS tracker manufacturer, we have experienced a lot of after-sales services in teaching customer how to install tracker and activate them online in platform. Beyond all doubt, all these services have increased our job, and sometimes it caused bad customer experience either because of the time difference. Now we simply sorted out the procedure below so to help customers.

In General, there are 3 major points need to complete, firstly, we have to carefully read the user instructions provided by suppliers, secondly, activate the tracker online in platform, at last, hide and fix it in vehicles.


Hereinafter we break it down in detail.

  1. Read the user instructions and diagrams

When we get a tracker, we should acquire the product user manual and diagrams from supplier whether it is PDF documents or brochure since different supplier would have different operation procedure. Usually we could find out the configuration command in the user manual and the definition of each cable in trackers. Learn the knowledge before installation in case damaging the device or wasting time.

  1. Activate the tracker online in platform

Many customers don’t understand why we put activate tracker online to second point. However it can help us save time and creating better customer experience. if you fixed the device firstly in vehicle and then try to activate it, and accidently it doesn’t go online because of parameters error, message error, or network issue, it will embarrass you a lot standing ahead of customer without any comments. It’s better we can prepare a Power adapter, Power supply or a car battery that can support device power in office environment. If you really cannot make it, it still doesn’t matter, because device itself have backup battery, you can open the backup battery to test while you need to speed up the testing procedure since internal battery won’t last long.

  1. a) Insert SIM card

Before connect the device to power supply according to diagram, we need to find the device SIM slot and insert the SIM card into device, because different supplier would have different appearance design, some SIM slot are easy to be found in surface while some may be hidden inside the shell, we can find it according the user manual. If it’s not easy to install, we can use some tools, anyway, we have to pay attention to the SIM card direction so to insert it correctly and make sure the slot chip would touch and read it. SIM card is the important part in tracking system, the tracker is connecting internet via GPRS (3G/4G) network feature in SIM card, and transmit all the location data and vehicle driving data to tracking platform. In first activation, we may prepare the SIM card with the feature of voice, SMS, and GPRS (3G/4G) flow rate so we can call the SIM card in device to check the working status and use SMS to configure parameters.

  1. b) Configuration in tracking platform

No matter you use tracking platform provided by supplier, your own developed one, or the third party’s, we should have the username and password to login and add vehicle information into the platform first as per the user manual. Each vehicle should have a unique identification (hereinafter we call it “ID” for short) for platform to recognize. The ID is the important parameters for a tracker to be activated online in the platform. Some supplier would use IMEI as ID, some use preset number, and some use configurable number.


  1. c) Use SMS or Configuration tool to activate

All kind of tracker in the market should be able to activate by SMS, in addition, some supplier would provide customer with configuration tools which can help in massive configuration and saving SMS cost, and some supplier even help customer preset parameters in factory. Whatever tools you are going to use, you will have to configure the correct parameters into tracker so to activate it online. Besides the ID we have mentioned above, we also need other parameters like server IP and Port, SIM card’s APN information. If you configured with corresponding parameters, the tracker still offline, we should check whether there are mistakes in parameters especially the APN information. If the tracker comes online, it means successfully activated, and then you can switch the SIM card to the one you are supposed to install in tracker for future use.

  1. Hide and fix the trackers in vehicles
  2. a) Before we install the activated tracker into vehicle, we should check whether all the accessories are ready, and print the diagram and find the features of each cable in tracker. Let’s us take our basic tracker as an example below:


Red cable – Car battery positive

Black cable – GND

White cable – ACC (for detecting ignition on/off)

Orange – Relay output (for remotely disable/enable engine)

When you are connecting the other cables, please keep the power disconnected in case damaging the device.


  1. b) Make sure all the connection is well and water resistant according to correct diagramsin case it cause fire to vehicle or sometimes feature not work such as disable/enable engine feature. If possible, connectors should be protected by heat-shrinkable tubing or waterproof electrical tape, and cables should be fixed by plastic bandingand placed in order.

3) After fixed the connection, we should find a place to hide the tracker. Because the GSM signal is affected by metal and radio, we should try to install it far away from metal or radio, and keep the GPS antenna side upwards to face the sky. Usually we would hide it under tool case of driver seat or passenger seat, or window shield pole if the size is small enough.


When you complete all the procedure above, congratulations! You have made it successfully and now you can lie in bed, sit in sofa or in front of office desk to check your vehicles online at an ease.

What’s the situation would cause the GPS tracker dead?

As a GPS tracker supplier, do you often receive frequent call from customers asking the product’s issue even at midnight? As a GPS tracker retailer, do you often receive slow response from supplier because of the time difference, and feel very disappointed? The purpose of writing this article is helping both of you to release the pain. Except some professional technical issue, we actually can solve the common issues by ourselves if we knows the reason, when you carefully read the below listed common issues and solutions, you will find things are so simple.

There are two main reasons cause the GPS tracker dead, either device hardware issue, or platform software issue. Such as device lose signal, PCBA burnt, cable connection issue, SIM card no GPRS credit, firmware hung, platform server crashed or program bugs.

Let’s trying to fix one by one.


  1. Device lose signal.

We have to pay attention to this issue when we are installing the tracker to vehicle, make sure the GSM signal won’t be shielded by metal or affected by other signal, and place the GPS antenna or the built-in antenna towards the sky so to receive satellite signal. If the issue happens when tracker have worked smoothly for some time already, we need to check if the vehicle with tracker installed is staying beside skyscraper, under roof or big tree, or under bad weather which may affect the signal. If tracker lose GSM signal, it will stop sending data to platform, while usually device has the flash memory to store blind zone data and resend to platform when signal recovered, if tracker lose GPS signal, it will sending data to platform without coordinates, you will see the vehicle online in platform while no location. In this case, we will need to check if GPS antenna is broken or covered.


  1. Device’s PCBA is burnt.

Sometimes, the PCBA of tracker is burnt because of circuit short, seeped into water, or high temperature. When device’s PCBA is burnt, it won’t power on, obviously, the LED indicator in device would turn off or blink abnormally, and GSM module won’t work, if you call the SIM card phone number, it won’t get through or would remind you device powered off.

  1. Cable connection issue or battery runs out.

Besides the PCBA issue, it may be powered off because of the cable connection loosen when you call the SIM card phone number in tracker but didn’t get through, if it’s wireless device, you may need to check the battery status also.

  1. SIM card no GPRS credit

If you have checked the tracker LED status and it’s blinking normally, while device is still dead, we should consider whether the SIM card GPRS credit is enough. Try to refresh credit to check the status again. Some of telecom operators would stop all the features when there is no credit in SIM card, some still keep the GPRS working while only limit the flow rate, in this case, tracker is still online, but it won’t upload the data as per the preset interval, and won’t response any command from platform.


  1. Device firmware hung.

Firmware is the program loaded into device to fulfill each features. Because each supplier may have different research ability, program developed by them may have bugs which would cause the device dead. Usually when the device firmware hung, the LED indicator would blink abnormally. We can use SMS command to restart the device, or manually restart it. If restart won’t work, we may request supplier update over the air or load firmware again through PC.

  1. Platform update and maintenance

When you tried above 5 points, and find out that the tracker’s LED blink well, it reply SMS, preset parameters are correct, and call can get through, we will have to consider the issue from the platform software. We need to check with supplier if they are updating platform or maintain the server.


  1. Platform server crashed or program bugs

If you find tracking platform cannot load in computer, it may because the server is crashed. If the platform remind error, it may because the program bugs, if the platform shows all trackers are offline, it may because the server network issue or program bugs. All these issue will need professional engineer to solve.

At last, when you eliminate all the errors one by one and the tracker is dead finally, you may just send them back to supplier for repair and don’t waste your time any more.