Device Orientation, Set Up and Key Features
The user interface consists of a mono display and 6 buttons. One alert button at the bottom, and four navigation buttons around an 'OK' button at the centre.
The behaviour of many features of your RockSTAR, including the alert features, is configured by changing settings in the device menu, as below.
The device is equipped with both Iridium & GPS antennas located at the top of the casing. For the best results it is important to be mindful of the orientation of the unit when in use. To ensure good satellite signal, the antennae should be clear of obstructions and have a clear view of the sky.
Examples of obstructions include a heavily wooded area or inside a vehicle or building. Environments such as these offer very little, if any, view of the sky. In these instances, it would be best to reposition your device so that it can have a clear view of the sky, such as in a clearing, on the dashboard or rear window of a car or on a windowsill.
Once switched ON, the RockSTAR will try to obtain a GPS signal. The time taken to obtain a signal will vary from few minutes when the device has never been used or not been used for a while to few seconds when the device is regularly used.
Charging and Switching On
The RockSTAR has an internal rechargeable battery which must be charged before use. Before the first use it is recommend that the device is left on charge for a minimum of 8 hours.
The RockSTAR can be charged from any USB compatible charging device, although we recommend you use the provided charger whenever possible.
To Charge the Unit
- Connect the charger to a wall outlet
- Attach the USB cable to the charger
- Unscrew the cap from the bottom to reveal the USB port
- Plug the USB cable into the USB port on the bottom of the device
When charging the light on the front, between the keypad and the Distress button, will be red. The red light will flash for 5 minutes when the unit has finished charging, and will then go off.
The estimated charging time to fully charge the device is 7 to 8 hours from completely discharged.
The device can be used whilst charging, however, the charging cycle will complete more quickly if the device is deactivated. The device can be used with a partially charged battery.
When the RockSTAR is ready for use, you can turn it on by pressing and holding the OK button for 5 seconds.
Sending a Basic Alert (Distress)
The alert button is located under the flap at the bottom of the unit. To trigger an alert, lift the flap and hold down the alert button for 5 seconds. The screen will display ‘Sending Alert’ and the RockSTAR will try to transmit an alert message.
If you are in an alert situation, ensure that you give your alert the best possible chance of sending by considering the orientation of the RockSTAR. Ensure it has a good view of the sky, or as good a view as is possible in your situation. The better the view of the sky, the more likely it is that your alert will be received.
Features and Facilities
There are two basic operating modes, deactivated and activated.
When the device is deactivated, the screen will show the current battery percentage, and will display ‘NOT ACTIVE’ on the screen.
In this mode, the Device will not transmit or receive any position reports or messages. This is the equivalent of ‘Flight Mode’ and suitable for transport.
When turned on the device will show the Device logo on the home screen.
The display will automatically turn itself off after a pre-defined interval (default is 20 seconds) in order to save battery power. To wake up the screen, simply press any key.
In this mode, the Device will automatically send position reports and messages as per its current settings.
There are Several Indicators on this Screen
- In/Out – how many messages are waiting to be read, or are waiting to be sent.
- Battery power (% of battery remaining)
- Status – what the tracker is currently doing
Pressing the UP or DOWN button will also display an information page, which shows the details of the last position report and whether a GPS fix and Iridium transmission were successful for that report.The Device has a fully featured menu system allowing you to access and adjust a large number of facilities and settings. The menu structure is outlined below.
Accessing the Menu
To access the menu, press the OK button. The menu can only be accessed when the device is activated. Navigate options using the up and down buttons, and press OK to select and item.
Status On / Off
Choosing this option allows you to turn the automatic position reporting on or off. When turned on, the device will automatically obtain a GPS fix and transmit it at a set frequency (see below).
Send Manual Reports
Choosing this option will prompt the Device to obtain an immediate GPS fix and transmit the position immediately. This function is also possible from the home screen, by pressing/holding the UP button for 2 seconds.
The history screen allows you to see the last 10 attempted position reports and their associated data (time, lat, lon, altitude) and whether the reports were sent successfully over Iridium.
Using this menu option the frequency of automatic position reporting can be viewed and set. Options range from ‘Continuous’ which will obtain and send reports as quickly as possible, to 12-hours, allowing for 2 automatic reports per day. There is also a BURST mode.
Burst mode allows the RockSTAR to collect many GPS reports, in order to get more accurate tracking information, but to send them as a batch in order to keep airtime costs down. For example, the RockSTAR can collect a GPS fix every 5 seconds, and then transmit those positions once per minute.
To set burst mode, in the Report Frequency you need to choose Burst. Then, in the Burst Settings menu you can choose how often you wish to take a fix (Burst fix) and how often you wish to transmit (Burst transmit).
Note: This mode will use power more quickly than other tracking modes, since GPS is kept on all of the time.
In some situations you may want to immediately mark a position with a manual report whilst travelling at speed. In this sort of situation you want to be able to rely on an instant GPS fix when you fire a manual report.
With GPS Hot turned ON, this means GPS is continually keeping track of your position so there is no delay between the time you fire a manual report and the time the position is marked. This mode will use power more quickly than other tracking modes, since GPS is kept on all of the time.
There are 6 alerts messages that you can select from.
This option allows you to set an alert message to be sent after a pre-defined interval. This is useful if you would like to send an alert in the eventuality that you are not able to cancel the alert within a pre-defined time. Timers can be chosen between 5-minutes to 12-hours.
Dead Person's Switch
The dead person’s switch alert allows you to set a frequency. You are then required to press a button on the device at least every X minutes, to confirm you are still with the device. The timer resets every time a button is pressed.
If a button is not pressed at least every X minutes, or when prompted then an automatic alert is sent.
Should the temperature leave your defined range (e.g. 0 degrees to 40 degrees) then an automatic alert will be sent. This option allows you to turn this alert type on/off and set the temperature over which the alert will be sent.
Power Loss Alert
If this option is turned on, should the unit lose external power then an automatic alert will be sent.
Bluetooth Pairing Loss Alert
This alert type allows you to set your current position, then set a distance. Should the device leave the pre-defined circular area, an automatic alert will be sent.
This alert type allows you to set your current position, then set a distance. Should the device leave the pre-defined circular area, an automatic alert will be sent.
After a set number of seconds the screen will timeout to save battery. This option allows you to set the number of seconds before this happens.
You must first enter the current PIN number for the device to access this menu. The default PIN is 1234.
In this menu you can turn on/off the screen lock and set a PIN code to access the device. When this option is turned on, you must enter a PIN code to be able to access the menu system.
A PIN code is entered digit by digit, by pressing UP/DOWN to choose the number, and OK to move to the next digit.
GPS Wake-up Time (Early Wake-up)
By default the unit will wake up 20 seconds before the automatic position reporting time, in order to obtain a GPS fix before transmission. In challenging conditions, or where visibility of the sky is limited, it may be required to increase this wake-up time to allow the GPS more time to get a fix.
Options range from 20 seconds to 3 minutes. By increasing this time, battery life will be decreased.
By default the screen is set to 50% brightness. This option allows you to change the screen brightness for better viewing in bright sunlight. Increasing the brightness will decrease battery life.
This setting will change the language of the device from the default English.
Send Config Report
This menu option will prompt the Device to send a configuration report detailing its current setup to the back-office system.
Turn On / Off
By default Bluetooth is turned off on the device. This is to conserve battery. From this option you can turn Bluetooth pairing and messaging capabilities on/off.
Dependent on the Bluetooth accessories and sensors you have purchased, you may have other options on this menu.
Android / Apple iOS Software
The RockSTAR Messenger app is available to download from the Android and Apple App Stores – this software allows you to pair your smartphone or tablet with the Device and send messages to email and SMS destinations through it from anywhere in the world.
It also allows you to update your social media status amongst other features.
This is called Advanced Messaging, and is only available on some device models.
From this menu you can choose to send a new preset message.
Messages sent using the RockSTAR will go to your chosen destinations which are pre-setup using either your YBlog (individual customers) or back office system (corporate customers).
You can choose whether you would like an acknowledgement from the recipient, and if you wish to send the message immediately (or if not, the message will be sent on the next scheduled transmission).
When you are finished choosing/writing your message, pressing OK will put the message into the outbound queue ready to send.
Remember - if you chose the ‘Send Immediately’ option then the RockSTAR will try to send straight away. If not, then the unit will queue the message and attempt send it at the same time as the next scheduled position report.
You can also send free text messages, using a ‘pinball style’ on-screen keyboard. Note, we do not recommend this for long messages!! To do this, go into free text, use the left/right/up/down buttons to move around the keyboard, and press LEFT and RIGHT together to choose a letter. When you have finished, choose EXIT to confirm and send your message.
As mentioned, this is NOT an efficient way to send long messages, and we would suggest either pairing with a smartphone/tablet or using preset messages where possible.
This page allows you to cycle through messages received on the RockSTAR. You can choose if you wish to delete messages, or reply to them.
Message details shown are the date/time, source, and the message itself.
This page allows you to cycle through messages sent from the Device. You can choose if you wish to delete messages.
Message details shown are the date/time, destination, and the message itself. The Device will also indicate if the message was successfully sent, and if it was acknowledged (if an acknowledgement was requested).
This page allows you to cycle through messages waiting in the queue to be sent. You can review these messages and delete them from the outbox if you change your mind and do not wish to send them any more.
From the outbox you can also force an immediate retry-send of all messages waiting to be sent.
This setting can be used to force the RockSTAR to check for new messages every X minutes. It is set by default to Off. Be aware, inbox checking uses up credits just like normal position reports.
A normal tracking report also checks for new messages, so you do not need both Tracking and Inbox Checking set to ON. You will use up twice as much credit if you have both items turned on.
If you want to clear all old messages from your inbox and sent items then you can do so using this option.
Customer Preset Message Lists
It is possible to customize the preset message list on your RockSTAR, to better suit your own personal needs. Facilities and instructions to do this can be found in your YBlog admin panel (for individual customers) and in the back-office system (for Corporate customers)
Sending Messages to your RockSTAR
Every Device has its own e-mail address which you would have been provided with at registration.
People can send emails to this address, and those emails will be forwarded through to your RockSTAR and picked up at the next transmission. New messages will go into the Inbox.
Any messages you send from your RockSTAR to e-mail contacts will also come from this e-mail address, and people can reply directly to those emails as well. Similarly, people can reply to any text messages they receive from your RockSTAR and these replies will also be routed through.
Note: Only registered contacts are allowed to send you emails – to add contacts to your ‘allowed’ list, use My TracPlus to add the email address to the white list.
Using this feature you can mark interesting points and send them to the back-office for display. Choosing ‘Mark Waypoint’ will allow you to choose the type of waypoint, and the system will then take a GPS fix and transmit the waypoint to the back-office. '
Custom Way-points Lists
It is possible to customize the waypoint type list on your RockSTAR, to better suit your own personal needs. Facilities and instructions to do this can be found in the back-office system.
The advanced menu will have a number of features, dependent on your RockSTAR model. These features are for advanced use only, and should only be adjusted under instruction from a member of RockSTAR staff or following specific instructions.
For connecting the device to a laptop using a USB cable. This enables he USB otherwise the PC will not recognise the device or that a connection is available.
Whenever RockSTAR transmits information via satellite, it will also check whether there are any messages waiting to download. This suits most modes of operation, and there is often no need to use speciﬁc ‘Mailbox Checking’.
However, if you are predominantly running in cellular mode, you may wish to have the unit check-in with the satellites every so often, just to download any messages waiting for you, since otherwise you may not get them.
To do this, you would turn on Mailbox Checking and set the Frequency to suit your preference.
Again, for most customers, this feature is not required or useful, and excessive mailbox checking will incur satellite costs. Contact TracPlus Support for more information on this and for speciﬁc advice.
In all activity sense modes the tracker will switch to the burst mode settings when 'activity' is detected, and use the normal tracking frequency when activity is 'not' detected. Activity is normally motion, but in the case of the 'power' mode, activity is when external power is applied:
Burst mode is activated when external power is applied and normal mode when running on battery.
Bump will use the accelerometer to detect bumps, and will activate the burst mode whilst it's 'bumping'
Speed Over Ground will turn on the GPS chip all the time, and activate burst mode when SOG is over 4 mph (this uses lots of battery power).
Bump+SOG is kind of between the two. It will trigger burst mode when it detects bumping, and THEN turn on GPS, and will keep burst mode going until SOG goes below 10 knots.
- Bump is good for walkers, or in something which is continuously bumpy, such as a 4 x 4 car.
- SOG is good all the time, but uses a lot of power as the GPS is on all the time in this mode.
- Bump+SOG gives optimum power usage; for example when the aircraft initially is 'bumpy' on tarmac to activate it, but then when in cruise it is smooth (and so needs the SOG mode to keep burst going).
Log to File
The RockSTAR device can also wite tracking details to a log file that is stored on the device which can be downloaded at a latter time. The default setting is off.
When On you can select to record an GPS fix from 1 second out to 60 minutes.
Note: Logging uses more battery power.
The RockSTAR requires a certain quality of GPS ﬁx before it is allowed to transmit data. One of the options is whether it accepts a 2D or 3D ﬁx. A 3D ﬁx generally has more accurate altitude data but requires more GPS satellites to be in view.
By default the RockSTAR requires a 2D ﬁx.
RockSTAR requires a certain number of ‘good’ GPS ﬁxes in a row before it will accept the ﬁx and transmit. This setting controls how many consecutive ‘good’ ﬁxes are required. The default is 5.
This setting controls whether the GPS chip is permanently powered during battery-only operation. By default when running on battery, the GPS chip will only be turned on for short periods controlled by the ‘early wake up’ period deﬁned earlier.
Note: During powered operation, the GPS chip will always be on, so the Hot Status will be ignored.
When connected to an external power source, the RockSTAR will keep its GPS chip and Iridium modem powered at all times. This enables it to maintain an accurate GPS ﬁx more easily, and also means it will receive messages from Iridium more quickly.
At times you may wish to use your device without external power, but by default this will have the side-eﬀect of turning oﬀ the GPS / Iridium when not being used to send a position.
If you wish to ensure GPS and Iridium stay on permanently when running on battery alone, you can set External Power Availability to ‘Unlimited’. This will deplete your battery more quickly.
This setting can also control whether the device comes on automatically when external power is applied, and deactivates itself automatically when external power is disconnected. To do this, change the setting to ‘Unlimited + Activation’. Some may prefer this mode of operation, as it removes the need for the operator to remember to activate / deactivate the tracker - for example, for automated tracking of ﬂights in aircraft.
Note: When set to Automated Power Mode, as a safety measure the unit will not be deactivated automatically unless the GPS speed is lower than 10 knots. For instance, in case power is lost during a ﬂight it is assumed that it is desirable for tracking to continue, even though external power is not present.
The Time Off Set allows you to select the time zone that you are operating in. This is just the time that is displayed on the device only.
What are the symbols on the screen mean?
If there is a number 1-9 on the bottom left of the screen, this indicates the amount of positions reports/messages/alerts that have been queued to send. This is likely due to lack of signal.
If there is an ! symbol, this means there are 10+ messages queued.
If there is a G or an I, this means the signal has been acquired or the process of acquiring that signal is happening. The G will appear first as the unit wakes up the GPS module to acquire a signal. Then the I will appear when it comes time to send the position report. When the Iridium sending process is complete the G and the I will disappear. Whether the transmission was successful or not is denoted by the number on the left. If the number is 0, then the report is not queued and was sent. If there is a number 1-! it will mean that the unit has queued the position as it was unsuccessful.
Pro - this means the type of unit it is. Its a RockSTAR Pro so you should always see that there.
E01 means there has been some sort of failure potentially. The most likely cause is the Message inbox is full and needs clearing, though it could be SD card failure ( the whole unit will stop working so you’ll know if it is this). If clearing the inbox or hard resetting the unit doesn't work, contact TracPlus Support at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.