Unplugged devices FAQs

Published on July 5, 2021 in Fleet Management by Geotab Team |  2 minute read

Find out everything you need to know about unplugged devices with insights from the Geotab Community and Blog.

The Geotab GO device is a powerful tool for fleet managers around the world. When plugged in, this small telematics device works to collect data from a vehicle and relay it back to a database to provide actionable insights into fleet operations. 

But what happens when a GO device is unplugged? Using insights from the Geotab Community and the Geotab Blog, we'll help you answer this question and more.

What happens when a Geotab GO device is unplugged?

When a GO device is unplugged, the device no longer communicates its data back to the database. This means that it will no longer capture fresh data. However, when a GO device is unplugged, the device will keep the data for at least a month


Vehicle and driver data is stored in the internal memory, which does not require power to preserve records. Unless the data is purposefully erased, any information provided to the database by the device will be stored there.

How do I know if drivers are unplugging devices? 

Though there is no way to tell if a driver intentionally unplugged a GO device, you can look up a fault code in MyGeotab that will tell you exactly when the device was unplugged. To do this, you would need to search for the engine fault code "Telematics device fault: telematics device has been unplugged" in MyGeotab. For more details on this, visit the Geotab Community article: How to know if a device was unplugged?


However, keep in mind that the results of this report will not be available until the device has been plugged back in. A device loses all power when it is unplugged, so it is unable to communicate with your database as a result. 


That being said, setting up a watchdog report to refresh on a regular basis is a good way to keep track of any changes in device communication statuses. This can help you better pinpoint when a disconnect occurs and work to correct the issue more quickly.

Why do drivers unplug their devices?

There are many vehicle tracking myths that drivers may believe if not properly educated about the benefits of telematics. If a driver is not informed of the intent of the device, they may find it to be an invasion of their privacy. Alternatively, they may object to starting to receive driver feedback when they've operated fine without it in the past. In rare cases, drivers may also unplug a device to use a company vehicle for a side job or personal use.

How can I stop drivers from unplugging their devices?

The best way to stop drivers from unplugging a Geotab GO device is to include telematics education in your driver training programmes. Advise drivers of the benefits of telematics and allow time for gaining driver buy-in before installing devices.


Additionally, to prevent purposeful or accidental unplugging, you can install a device in a location of the vehicle that is not easily accessible to the driver. You can do this by using a Geotab harness to better secure the device and move it to an inaccessible location, making it harder for the driver to disconnect it. 


Another key way to prevent unplugged devices is to have an Authorised Geotab Installer fit the device in your vehicle instead of a driver. If a driver installs a device, they will know how to uninstall it. Keeping the installation process separate from the operation of the vehicle can help prevent unnecessarily unplugged devices.

Where do I learn more?

To learn more about Geotab, our GO devices and MyGeotab, visit the Fleet Success Centre on the Geotab Community to ask questions or post your own success tips or stories to help others.


See also: Look at the Geotab GO device: Past, present and future

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Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.

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