• Grizzly Adams

Old Mobile phone GPS tracker

So I've been working on setting up my own server for GPS tracking of my vehicles using old mobiles as the tracking device.

I bought a couple of old Huawei Ascend Y520's for $40 each as guinea pigs and the original install went remarkably well!  No rooting of the Android O/S, no custom rom, very simple!

Then I over thought things...

First I rooted the phone in order to get the app to load automatically on start up and foreground itself

That was pretty easy using KingoRoot - originally I saw OneClickRoot and that looked promising but then they direct you to a "buy NOW to root your phone" site and that was the end of that.  Further searches found KingoRoot (http://www.kingoapp.com).

That part was scary but easy to do one one of my test phones.  Then I thought, what if the car is turned off for X days and the phone's battery runs flat?  I'll need the phone to start once it gets charge.


That was fun.

3 days later, a lot of frustration and an Android phone that still won't start when it is plugged in to a charger.  For the record, Huawei phones use the MTK chipset and their powered-off charge animation is /system/bin/ipod.  Replacing this file with a shell script of even copying /system/bin/reboot over the top of it made no difference - the most I would get is the Huawei logo and no further.

So I did some more research.  Apparently Motorola's will start automatically upon receiving power but very few other Android phones do.  However, and I found this interesting, all Apple iPhone's automatically start upon receiving power.  Apple's idea is that you will want your phone on all the time, hence the setting.  So I lashed out and bought an old iPhone 3Gs for $50 to test with.

Then I was speaking with the mate of mine helping to rewire the Defender and he asked why I would want the phone to automatically start?  When I explained it, he reminded me that we've wired all the accessory ports in the vehicle to run directly off the battery and not off the ignition.  d'oh!  As long as the vehicle batteries have power, the phone will run.  3 days of frustration wasted.


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