Why this topic?
Since I've tested the MT530 I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts and findings.
No more TLT-2
With the last units of the TLT-2's being sold-out practically everywhere online, and some of them dying of old age and even broken firmwares, we have to look for other trackers. Most of us not using professional gear, use trackers like the TLT-2, TK102 and such. Clones are being offered online, and even clones of clones. That would be not much of an issue if they weren't tied to specific tracking sites. With our choice for non-professional trackers, we also don't want to be tied to specific tracking sites or monthly fees. So what's best to try now?
Luckily MicTrack stood up and revived the TLT with their MT530 model. Providing A, E and T versions, they can be used worldwide, with practically all (GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz) bands. The current position can be queried by SMS but it's active on 3g all the time also. The MicTrack comes with wiring to set the tracker for use with an SOS trigger. And it's still possible to connect the tracker to your vehicle so that's it is possible to arm or disarm specific components. The manual explains how to connect the tracker to for disarming the ignition, but you can also make it so that your car horn triggers upon sending the right commands. Or a remote nuke ... depending on how you want to punish thieves...
Those familiar with the TLT-2h will get started quickly with the MT530. To be exact, there are just 32 commands you can send to the tracker. That's a whole lot less than the more confusing TLT trackers reply to. So, when you're new to trackers you'll probably get up and going even faster. There's not a lot to it. Just make sure your SIM-card has PIN disabled and enough credit, and you're good to go. Although most commands are alike, they are not entirely the same. So make sure, you don't end up sending a bunch of TLT commands just like I did.
The MT530 has an internal battery, but it is way too small (3.7V 130mAh) to be able to provide power for a couple of days, a weekend or even a day. That's a shame! For a car, this is probably not an issue, but on a bike or scooter, it is. Since these vehicles are more easily moved or towed. The TLT lasted up to about a couple of days depending on the upload frequency and power saving settings. The MT530 just lasts a couple of hours. It would be better to apply a slightly better (factor ten at least) battery, or even an option to use normal batteries like rechargeable triple A's. There's enough room to fit in an extra battery in the current casing. I'll swap the current one with a slightly bigger one, to gain these extra few days.
The MT530 tracker also has an On-/Off-switch. This won't be needed when operating, so you can wrap the sides of your unit in adhesive-tape to make it (more) water resistant. This switch is just for storage. When you don't use it, it's a means of disconnecting the battery. If you want to be able to power down the tracker, to avoid emptying your car battery, I'd suggest to solder a switch yourself.
If the tracker loses power it takes some time to get a new GPS-fix. It looks like everything resets; position, date, and almanac. I think it would be logical to at least save its position data. So when it's able to reply again you can query its last known position. Also, if your update interval is set to a high value, your online tracking server might show the last uploaded position. It would be nice to have a command to send its current location to your upload server. Just like the command that returns its location by text.
In short - For those who don't like to read the above. A good device, especially functionality/price wise.
+ small device, thus easy to place in your vehicle
+ easy config, thus easy to use
+ resembles the TLT-2 tracker
+ can be used with free tracking services
+ cheaper than the TLT-2 trackers
+ power saving settings by default
- a very tiny battery, it doesn't even survive a day
- it forgets GPS data when it has lost power
- it takes a while to get a proper fix from empty
- it takes a while to reply to commands sometimes
- fewer options to set than the TLT-2
- it has no command to manually upload its current position
Where to buy?