Updated: Jun 24
There's nothing worse than getting on your bike and it won't start because of a flat battery! If you haven't experienced it yet, you will someday.
And when this happens, we lose-it and look for someone to blame - no matter how left-field our direction might be. Tracking companies often receive complaints regarding their tracking units and misguided conclusions that the units themselves are responsible for the draining of bike batteries. But as we have been able to prove, the real reasons for 'battery-drain' are far more likely to be as a result of an already compromised battery or even environmental influence such as weather.
With a couple of million users worldwide, tracking units often get 'bad press' for vehicle battery faults, with some users ripping them out in moments of angst, when in fact the ability of the average tracking unit to drain a 12 volt battery remains almost impossible. Considering that that 'average' tracker draws less than .05ma per hour when it charges, it's unlikely to affect a healthy battery at all. I mean. Consider that the power consumption on a tracking unit is this low, it's even less than the on-board EPU of the bike itself..!
Rather - as we have found, the problem lies with the battery itself. The average motorcycle battery carries a 12 volt, 15 -18 amp rating, more than enough to run a range of accessories from heated grips, seats, spotlights and yes, even a tracking unit. In almost every case that we have experienced, we have found the battery to be defective - either on it's last legs, or with a faulty cell. Unless your battery is pushing-out the correct amps it was designed for, it will drain under the least stress, and we have in all cases been able to track problems to this simple fact. The most common reaction to this finding is 'K*K - it's a new battery', but even new batteries have been known to be faulty at times. Better still, some bikers have unknowingly replaced their prescribed battery with one with a lower amperage rating.
Tracking units draw such a small charge - even when the bike is parked, that it would take three months of constant charge to drain a bike battery in good order. Some of the bikes that we have had fit the unit, then they park the bike for extended periods expecting the same charge from their battery. All batteries lose charge over time from the small amounts of charge used by the ECU and other critical systems, and of course, issues such as cold weather.
Another consideration worth noting is that good tracking systems enter into what we call a 'deep sleep' after your bike has parked. In this mode, it sends a four-to-six hourly signal to the control room to verify its position. Only when it is disturbed does it increase its rate of signal to a faster tempo - in our case, every 30 seconds, but that is designed to ensure that once the vehicle starts moving, we are able to track it consistently. In this state, the bike is on and running, so there is no battery draw at all. If your bike is parked in a spot that entails regular movement past it - or even vibration on some systems, it automatically updates at the faster rate until it goes back to sleep - and this also draws power - albeit very small amounts.
Something else to bear in mind is the possibility of a more comprehensive electrical problem on the bike. We recently had a case where the bike battery kept failing and of course the owner blamed the tracker as the cause. But after having the bike checked by an auto-electrician, we found a faulty and intermittent alternator which was not charging the battery at the expected rate.
With South Africa now in the grip of winter, we - like all tracking companies, are experiencing an increase in the number of battery complaints from customers, but unlike many systems available on the market, ours is able to provide a minute-by-minute record of the battery life, allowing us to really interrogate the problem. Again - it's not necessarily the tracker that sucks the power from your battery, so don't jump to conclusions about the consumption of your tracking system before considering the alternatives.
At Guardian Angel, we are so confident in our claim that the tracker doesn't flatten your battery that we will fully refund any client should an independent battery test show otherwise.