When is powered tracking the right choice for equipment or trailers?

For equipment and trailer tracking there is a choice – not only among systems – but between powered and non-powered tracking devices. That is usually the first cut. Deciding if your requirements dictate a powered or non-powered unit.

What are the differences and what should we consider?

In a nutshell, the difference between powered and non-powered tracking (or battery operated) is the type of data (location, movement, or operation) and the frequency of the data along with whether there is communication on-demand.

Additionally, the installation of a powered tracking unit requires that it be wired and therefore is slightly more complex than a non-powered unit that only needs to be attached to the equipment or trailer.


Powered units give us the most varied information with location, movement, or operation (engine hours for example or tractor hook-up). And because it is powered we don’t have to balance battery life with usage.

Battery operated units. Small, self-contained, and easily installed are great for knowing where something is and if and when it moves. They are not so good if you need to know about the operation of the equipment or trailer.

Let’s look at some examples:

If I have a fertilizer tank or a bin box I am probably going to use a non-powered (aka battery operated) tracking unit. The “why” is simple – there is no power to use.

Now with a light tower there is power. But that isn’t all. With something like a light tower I may want to know how many hours it is being run in addition to location and movement. So in this case, a powered unit will give us all that information.

Trailers can go either way.

A powered unit in a trailer can give us status, movement, and location. On the other hand, if your trailers sit for long periods, or if you want something simple to attach, a battery unit is easy to use and all we give up is some of the use data while keeping the main parts of location and general movement.

Every business is different and your situation is unique to you.

We carry different tracking systems to solve different tracking problems.

The key is to balance cost, ease of use, and the features you need to solve your problem.

If you have questions, give me a call and I would be glad to go over it with you.

Take care,

Robert Dixon

email: robert@fleettek.com

1-888-232-4470 x 801