This question can be answered in two ways. I will offer both the correct and concise answer for those on a tight schedule and for people like me, a much more in depth version.
For those who just need an answer to the question 'Is a self-installable product easier to remove than one fitted by a competitor?'
Firstly, lets look at how GPS vehicle tracking devices work.
1. A device is fitted to a vehicle that is going to be monitored.
2. Power needs to be taken from the vehicle in order to power up the tracking device.
3. The device uses a GPS antenna to pin point its exact location and speed.
4. A SIM card is used to transmit the GPS data from the tracking device, via SMS or GPRS, to a server which then uploads the data on the system which you monitor on a computer.
Simple? Stay with me, it gets easier...
Going back to the original question, 'Is a self-installable product easier to remove than one fitted by a competitor?', the key to answering this comes down to the way in which the devices obtain their power supply from the vehicle. I have seen many competitor systems, similar in principle to ABAX but with one fundamental difference, the power is obtained by chopping into, piggy-backing or splicing into some part of the vehicle's wiring loom.
Wiring accounts for 100 kilograms of the average vehicle's weight. Looms sprawl throughout the vehicle like the mighty Amazon, branching off into smaller and more complex harnesses, each serving a purpose, providing power and facilitating the flow of information to and from the many control units and ECU's fitted to today's modern vehicles. Could I fit a competitor's system? Not a chance! I have no idea what each of the brightly coloured wires does and you expect me to cut one of them? In the movies, deactivating a bomb is as simple as red or black and yet i'm looking at a loom with more colours in it than they Dulux aisle at B&Q!
With ABAX, we take the positive feed from the positive terminal of the battery and complete the circuit by connecting the negative terminal of the battery. It is as simple as that Physics lesson you did when you were 12. We even have a little LED light that flashes to let you know you have fitted it correctly. Yes there are more ways to power up an ABAX unit, yes you can be more inventive when manufacturers move batteries from under the bonnet, but the same principle of positive and negative applies.
So, ABAX is easier to fit, so it must be easier to remove? Now we hit the nail on the head! Fitting is one thing, removing is another. Could I remove a competitor's system? Oh yes! Where the wires were cut in the loom, a connector is fitted that allows for the electricity continue to flow in the loom but also routes it into and out of the tracking device. Another example of some GCSE physics - a parallel circuit! To stop the device from working, I simply pull the connector out. Done. The same applies for ABAX. If you remove a wire from the battery, you stop the power supply to the tracking device.
I cannot speak for competitor's systems but with ABAX, a loss of power instantly sends a text message and email to the fleet manager. The internal battery also allows the device to keep recording, so who knows what you will see!
Finally, with ABAX, you are not going to cause any damage to the vehicle whilst fitting the unit. Even if you get it wrong (and I have!) by connecting across the wrong battery terminals, nothing happens. No fried electrics, no smoke comes out of your ears, just nothing! I hear horror stories where other companies have cut into the wrong wire in the look. At best this means that the unit only gets power when the radio is turned on. The worst case scenario is that 12V is sent the wrong way into the engine ECU.
BBA Reman are the UK's leading re-manufacturer of complex automotive electronic systems. Will Irish explains that faults caused by an incorrectly fitted third party device are likely to cause irreparable damage. "We occasionally come across ECU's where the components have literally been blown off the PCB. The excessive damage within the ECU can also cause this electrical shockwave to spike other circuits on the car and cause further damage elsewhere. We must ensure that our customers find what causes this damage before they refit the re-manufactured ECU"
If Will and the BBA team cannot repair the damage, you are left with no option other than a trip to your friendly local main dealer who will gladly charge you £2,000 and upwards for a brand new ECU.