A quick question for the technologically minded

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A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby jonathon.e » 16 Mar 2018 10:47

Being a complete Luddite when it comes to technology, I am looking for a small bit of advice. I am shipping some freight, and want to put a tracking device in it, the freight company says it will send regular updates, however, I want to use my own tracking device, the problem is the country I am shipping to, will not allow unaccompanied Lithium -ion devices to be shipped. Any suggestions please, witty, funny or useful please.
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby Jimba » 16 Mar 2018 18:42

Sorry, no ideas at all, but am more interested in the “freight” or is it one of those things you better not tell me.......or the rest of the world :lol:
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby Jack Hughes » 16 Mar 2018 20:08

Different battery technology? Rig something up using "ordinary" batteries.

Why the prohibition on Li devices?

Although this does sound a bit like the remote controlled detonator for a bomb.

Which is probably what they are worried about.
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby jonathon.e » 16 Mar 2018 20:35

The freight is a bike, but, sadly the country, Australia, has severe freight restrictions, no dirt, no plants, no food stuff, and no unaccompanied Li-on batteries, it needs to be freighted due to the weight and the battery power needs to last in excess of two weeks. It isn't a big problem, just a speed bump, but just wondered if anyone had suggestions. There you have it, nothing illegal.
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby Kevy427 » 17 Mar 2018 21:34

jonathon.e wrote:no unaccompanied Li-on batteries

I could take a few weeks off work and keep the battery company as I could do with a holiday 8-)
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby Kevy427 » 17 Mar 2018 21:38

If it’s being freighted, won’t it end up in a metal container deep within the bowels of a large vessel floating on the water (I’m not talking about Tritans) which will somewhat hamper any signal escaping?
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby jonathon.e » 18 Mar 2018 13:14

Kevy427 wrote:If it’s being freighted, won’t it end up in a metal container deep within the bowels of a large vessel floating on the water (I’m not talking about Tritans) which will somewhat hamper any signal escaping?


It should be going air freight, but, the tracker would just give me a trace and if it stopped, I would know where it was last seen, just a bit of added security for me really, you would think that working in the airline business I could trust freight handlers, but when they treat the woods ' unbreakable ', ' Somsonite ' as a challenge, you tend to get worried :shock:
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby Jack Hughes » 23 Mar 2018 09:56

This sounds like the timing/controlling mechanism for a bomb to me. Well, a more modern variety.


1) 1970s IRA classic era: use a timer. Problems. If things don't run on time, then it goes off at the when thing target is in the wrong place, thus not getting the effects you want.

2) 1990s Modern IRA era. Use a mobile phone. Ring the phone, bomb goes off. Given accurate control over time/location, i.e. observe the target then detonate at the right place. Problem, need a phone signal. Limited range of cellular phones.

3) 2010s Post-modern IRA era. Use a GPS device with a specified Geo-fence - i.e. once the device is in the right location, then detonate. Pros: Complete autonomy, independent of time, doesn't need to be monitored. Works wherever GPS is available.
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby Bopomofo » 25 Mar 2018 21:59

I have problems at work with shipping sample/prototype phones around to certain countries because of the perceived fire and explosion risk of lithium ion batteries.

Even in the UK for some shipping companies there is extra paperwork to accept responsibility for fires etc.

Most of this seems to be driven by the perceived risks after a certain phone manufacturer's little battery whoopsie.

In other news, I have seen a battery evaluation done by another mobile phone company 12 months before batteries started going pop stating that they did not wish to use them as a supplier because of inadequate protection between the battery layers in the case of stress or temperature causing bending which could result in a high risk of fire. Ahem.

Anyway, for the battery issue the options are probably:

1) Lie and just use a Li-ion or Li-Poly (same thing, tbh)
2) Use a few standard alkili D-type cells which should last for bloody ages
3) If you really need some serious capacity use a motorbike battery: small, 6V and a lead/acid gel so they are happy to be chucked around and inverted.

A few questions: what are you trying to protect against? Theft or mis-routing? Do you need/want to track at sea or just on arrival, wherever that may be?

More interestingly, what tracking technology are you using? If using a mobile phone then be aware it could hammer the batteries more than sitting in a good coverage area as being in the middle of a metal ship it will spend a few weeks occasionally shouting "Hello!" at full power. But mostly it will just be listening for a signal.

You'd need a SIM card that will work in the target area. And possibly some prior knowledge of a wifi network provider you can use to give your phone more of a chance on arrival. I bet there's an app you can find that will keep your phone in airplane mode until a certain time & date then enable the radios.

Finally, if using a mobile then for some models you can buy a 'battery eliminator'. Not sure if that applies here but thought it would be worth you searching.

I've had a search for mobile battery chargers that allow you to use D-types or similar but can't find anything. If you are genuinely stuck and REALLY need a solution then a cheap 4 x D-Type battery box with a 20p voltage regulator attached connected to the 2-pins of a micro-USB power cable would get you months of power for a sleeping phone. Duracell D-Type batteries weigh in around 17000 mAh and a 6V pack would stay above the USB 5v standard for about a 2 weeks based on my sums. If you could get a battery elimator and bypass the USB bits then you could possibly be looking at a few months!!

Going to need some fiddly work, though. Or a bit more determined Google work than I've just put in.

I'll ask in work for you, too. See if anybody has any ideas.
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Re: A quick question for the technologically minded

Postby jonathon.e » 26 Mar 2018 17:31

Bopomofo wrote:
A few questions: what are you trying to protect against? Theft or mis-routing? Do you need/want to track at sea or just on arrival, wherever that may be?



I'll ask in work for you, too. See if anybody has any ideas.


Just trying to protect an assets if it goes missing and where I can point the finger at, that is all. It is insured, I just acquired a shiny new bike box and purchased a tracking device at the same time, but, as the asset is being Air freighted to Australia, Australia will not allow unaccompanied electrical devices powered by lithium batteries to be freighted. It isn't a big problem, I was just curious about available technology. If the box was travelling with me then no problem. It will be air freighted, and using SIM card and a phone app, the lithium battery gives between 240-400 hours use, before it gives up the ghost. I won't be able to use it for OZ but elsewhere shouldn't be a problem.
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