Before we dive into GPS tracking battery life, let’s first talk about Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking. GPS tracking enables business owners from various industries to determine the precise location of objects or individuals in real time and carefully monitor their movements. This tracking is used across various applications, including vehicle tracking, fleet management, personal safety, wildlife tracking, and outdoor sports, just to name a few.
At the core of GPS tracking lies the GPS tracking device, which receives signals from a network of satellites orbiting the Earth. These signals allow the device to calculate its exact position and relay this information to a user or a monitoring system.
However, for a GPS tracking device to function effectively, it requires a reliable power source to maintain its operation continuously. Because of this, battery life is a crucial factor to consider when it comes to the performance and reliability of GPS tracking devices.
In this article, we will explore the intricacies of GPS tracking battery life, including factors impacting battery performance, tips for extending battery life, and innovations in battery technology. Understanding these aspects is vital for anyone looking to utilize GPS tracking devices efficiently and effectively, whether for personal or professional use.
Factors Affecting GPS Tracking Battery Life
Several factors can influence the battery life of a GPS tracking device. By understanding these variables, users can make informed decisions when choosing a device and managing its power consumption. The key factors affecting GPS tracking battery life include:
1. Type of Device (Hardware vs. Software)
GPS tracking solutions can be either hardware-based or software-based. Hardware-based devices are standalone units that require their power source, while software-based solutions rely on smartphones or other devices with built-in GPS capabilities. Generally, hardware-based trackers tend to have longer battery life as they are designed specifically for tracking purposes. However, software-based solutions, like GPS tracking apps, can still provide reasonable battery life depending on the device they are running on and the optimization of the tracking application.
2. Quality of the Device
The overall quality of a GPS tracking device can significantly impact its battery life. High-quality devices often incorporate energy-efficient components and power management features that help extend battery life. On the other hand, low-quality devices may have subpar components that consume more power, leading to a shorter battery lifespan.
3. Type of Battery
Different GPS tracking devices use various types of batteries, including disposable alkaline batteries, rechargeable lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, and even solar-powered options. Each battery type has its advantages and drawbacks. However, rechargeable lithium-based batteries are often popular due to their longer lifespans, lower self-discharge rates, and higher energy densities.
4. Frequency of Use
The battery life of a GPS tracking device is directly proportional to its usage frequency. Devices used continuously or frequently transmitting data will consume more power, resulting in shorter battery life. Conversely, devices with less frequent usage or data transmission intervals will have longer battery life. Adjusting the tracking and reporting frequency can help balance battery life with the desired level of tracking accuracy.
5. Environmental Factors
Temperature and humidity are two environmental factors that can affect GPS tracking battery life. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can cause a battery to lose capacity more quickly, while high humidity can also impact the performance of electronic components within the device. Choosing a GPS tracker designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions can help mitigate these effects and prolong battery life.
GPS Tracking Battery Types
GPS tracking devices employ various types of batteries to meet the demands of different applications and usage scenarios. Understanding each battery type’s characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages is crucial for users seeking the best solution for their specific needs. Here is an in-depth look at the main types of batteries used in GPS trackers:
Rechargeable batteries are eco-friendly and cost-effective in the long run, as they can be used multiple times before needing replacement. The most prevalent rechargeable batteries in GPS tracking devices include:
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries
Li-ion batteries are widely used in GPS trackers due to their high energy density, lightweight nature, and compact size. These batteries have a low self-discharge rate, allowing them to retain their charge longer when not in use. Li-ion batteries also support fast charging, enabling quick GPS tracking device recharging. However, they can degrade over time, decreasing capacity with each charging cycle. Moreover, Li-ion batteries are sensitive to high temperatures and can pose safety risks if not properly managed.
- High energy density
- Lightweight and compact
- Low self-discharge rate
- Fast charging support
- Capacity degradation over time and with each charging cycle
- Sensitive to high temperatures
- Potential safety risks if not managed properly
Lithium-polymer (Li-poly) Batteries
Lithium-polymer batteries are similar to Li-ion batteries but use a different electrolyte composition. This makes them more lightweight and flexible, making them suitable for small or irregularly shaped GPS tracking devices. Li-poly batteries share many advantages with Li-ion batteries, such as low self-discharge rates and fast charging support. However, they have a slightly lower energy density and can be more expensive than their Li-ion counterparts. Like Li-ion batteries, Li-poly batteries also degrade over time and with each charging cycle.
- Lightweight and flexible form factor
- Low self-discharge rate
- Fast charging support
- Can be molded into various shapes
- Lower energy density than Li-ion batteries
- More expensive than Li-ion batteries
- Capacity degradation over time and with each charging cycle
Non-rechargeable batteries, also known as disposable or single-use batteries, are another option for GPS tracking devices. They are generally more affordable upfront but must be replaced when depleted, increasing long-term costs and environmental waste. The most common non-rechargeable battery types used in GPS trackers include:
Alkaline batteries are popular for their affordability, availability, and compatibility with various devices. They have a long shelf life, making them suitable for GPS tracking devices that are not frequently used or require extended periods of standby time. Alkaline batteries can provide stable power output for a long duration but are less energy-dense than lithium-based batteries. Moreover, they are heavier and bulkier, making them less ideal for compact or portable GPS trackers.
- Affordable and widely available
- Long shelf life
- Stable power output
- Non-rechargeable, leading to increased costs and waste over time
- Lower energy density compared to lithium-based batteries
- Heavier and bulkier than lithium-based batteries
Alternative Energy Sources
Some GPS tracking devices employ alternative energy sources to extend battery life or function independently of traditional batteries. The most notable alternative energy source used in GPS trackers is solar power.
Solar-Powered GPS Trackers
Solar-powered GPS trackers use solar panels to harness energy from sunlight, which is then used to power the device or recharge its internal battery. These trackers are ideal for long-term tracking applications, especially in remote areas or situations where regular battery replacement or recharging is impractical. Solar-powered GPS trackers are also eco-friendly, reducing the reliance on disposable batteries and minimizing waste. However, their performance may be affected by factors such as weather conditions, the availability of sunlight, and the efficiency of the solar panels.
- Eco-friendly and sustainable energy source
- Ideal for long-term tracking applications in remote areas
- Reduces reliance on disposable batteries
- Performance may be affected by weather conditions and sunlight availability
- Solar panels may increase the device’s size and weight
- Initial costs may be higher than traditional battery-powered devices
There is a diverse range of battery types and alternative energy sources available for GPS tracking devices.
Rechargeable lithium-based batteries, such as Li-ion and Li-poly batteries, offer high energy density and compact form factors, making them popular for many GPS trackers.
Non-rechargeable alkaline batteries provide an affordable and widely available option, while solar-powered trackers offer a sustainable and eco-friendly solution for long-term tracking applications.
Understanding the specific requirements of your GPS tracking needs will help you determine the most suitable battery type or energy source for your device.
GPS Tracking Battery Life Expectancy
Battery Life Expectancy
Construction & Field Services
Unlimited/minimal Battery Usage
(Depends on Phone Battery)
GPS ID Badges
Access Control & Compartmentalization
1 month to 1 year
Portable GPS Transponders
Fleet Management & Asset Tracking
Unlimited/minimal Battery Usage (Depends on Phone Battery)
Workyard is a GPS tracker designed specifically for the construction and field services industries. One of its key features is its ability to run in the background of your phone’s locked state, allowing you to use other apps without significantly impacting the device’s battery life.
The app also works offline, making it an ideal solution for contractors and field service providers who often work in areas with poor or no internet signal. The app stores location data locally and uploads it once a stable internet connection is re-established, ensuring continuous tracking without draining the battery due to constant attempts to reconnect to the internet.
Battery Saving Tips
To extend the battery life of your GPS tracking device, it is essential to adopt efficient power management practices. Here are some practical tips that can help you conserve battery life while still enjoying the benefits of GPS tracking:
1. Turn Off Unnecessary Features
Many GPS tracking devices and apps come with additional features, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and notifications, that consume power even when not in use. Turning off these features when not needed can significantly extend your device’s battery life.
2. Reduce Screen Brightness
If your GPS tracker has a built-in display, reducing the screen brightness can help save battery power. A dimmer screen consumes less energy, allowing your device to last longer between charges. Some devices also have an auto-brightness setting that adjusts the screen brightness based on the surrounding light levels, which can efficiently manage battery life.
3. Use Power-Saving Modes
Many GPS tracking devices and apps come with power-saving modes that limit the device’s functionality to conserve battery life. These modes often reduce the tracking frequency, disable certain features, or lower the screen brightness. Activating the power-saving mode when you don’t need real-time GPS tracking or additional features can prolong battery life.
4. Adjust Tracking Frequency
The more frequently your GPS tracking device updates its location, the more battery power it consumes. Reducing the tracking frequency or setting the device to update its location only when it moves can significantly extend battery life. Remember that less frequent updates may compromise tracking accuracy, so balancing battery life and your tracking requirements is essential.
5. Keep the Device in Optimal Environmental Conditions
As mentioned earlier, extreme temperatures and high humidity can adversely affect battery life. Storing and using your GPS tracking device in optimal environmental conditions can help preserve battery capacity and prolong its lifespan.
6. Update Software and Firmware Regularly
Manufacturers often release software and firmware updates that include optimizations for battery life and overall device performance. Keeping your GPS tracking device and app updated to the latest version can ensure you take advantage of any battery-saving improvements.
7. Use Quality Batteries and Chargers
Using high-quality batteries and chargers can help extend the battery life of your GPS tracking device. Cheap or counterfeit batteries and chargers may not provide the same performance or safety standards, potentially causing damage to your device or shortening its battery life.
Enhancing GPS Tracking Reliability Through Battery Optimization
Battery life is crucial for reliable GPS tracking performance, reduced downtime, and maintained accuracy. Properly understanding factors affecting battery life and employing effective power management practices can help users optimize their devices to meet and suit their needs.
Workyard, designed for the construction and field services industries, runs in the background of your phone’s locked state, allowing other app usage without significantly impacting battery life. This efficient power management ensures up to 10-14 days of battery life, depending on usage patterns.
Workyard’s robust GPS tracking app also works offline, making it ideal for contractors and field service providers working in areas with poor, limited, or no internet signal. The app stores location data locally and then uploads it when a stable internet connection is available, ensuring continuous tracking without draining the battery.
Monitoring and managing GPS tracking battery life is essential for effectively using these devices. By carefully considering battery types, power-saving tips, and the advantages of solutions like Workyard, users can ensure their GPS tracking devices remain reliable assets for their personal and professional tracking needs.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free trial of Workyard today.