Note that not all data cables are the same, but a cable designed to fit a PC won’t fit, say, an iPAQ. In other words, different devices need different cables to talk to other devices. The more GPS tracker for Car you have, and the more varied the devices you want to connect them to, the more cables you will need. Even with the widespread popularity of USB ports on PCs, most data cables still make use of older serial ports for data transfer. This can be a real pain on modern PCs (both desktops and laptops), whose serial ports have typically been replaced with the more versatile USB ports. If this is the case and you still want to make use of data cables, you will need to get a USB-to-serial converter and plug it into your USB port to create a serial port for the job.
Make sure that whatever converter you get has drivers to support the operating system you are running on your PC. Bear in mind that there are several different kinds of GPS connector. If you want to buy a cable for your GPS, most manufacturers make such cables available. They aren’t cheap compared to making a cable yourself, but it is a quick option. Check the user manual for details — most accessories are listed there.
If you have owned and used a waterproof GPS tracker for any length of time, you know how often the batteries need replacing just at a moment when you can’t replace them, such as while driving. Power cords differ from data cables in that they are used to transfer power to the GPS unit from a battery pack, a stack of batteries, or from an automotive circuit (commonly via the cigarette lighter). Using a power cord while using your GPS in the car (or while on the move, as I’ll show you shortly) can dramatically increase the lifetime of the batteries in the device, saving you money (if you are using disposable batteries). It also reduces the load of spare batteries you have to carry for a particular trip. You do need to be careful with power cords. The automotive system is a 12-volt system, and while some GPS receivers can handle this amount of power, some cannot. Not all GPS receivers can handle a direct 12-volt power input and can be seriously damaged. When in doubt, check! If you aren’t sure, carefully check the documentation or user manual.
Don’t assume that power cords are only useful in cars. Plenty of small 12-volt, lead-acid batteries available can be easily carried on a belt or in a backpack. You’ll look at power cords in more detail later in this chapter, while Chapter 3 covers a few in-depth power hacks. As with the data cables, if you want to buy a power cord for your GPS magnetic tracker , most manufacturers make such cables available. Again, they aren’t cheap, but it’s quicker than making your own. Check the user manual for details.