A top ELD device should be one that fulfills all the current industry standards and the regulations for owner-operators. While purchasing E-log devices for your fleet, you must consider the following essential aspects:It is necessary to ensure that the selected product is within your budget and its features are according to your need.
You also need to ensure that the device you are about to buy is relatively easy to install and user-friendly.
Also, it is important that the device is such that your drivers can quickly learn its operation and are comfortable to use it when on the road.
Many products in the market barely fulfill the above considerations. But, if you remember these three factors, it will save you from future losses.
Similar to other electronic gadgets, it is crucial to select an E-log device that is up to date and obeys all the federal rules and regulations. Some ELDs come with warranties and manufacturer guarantees so that users (the drivers) can be sure the product they have purchased can be updated if the need arises.
If you need some help in choosing the ideal E-log device for your fleet, here are the top 10 FMCSA approved ELDs that are garnering rave reviews from the trucking community.
How to install an ELD?
To make the installation process easier for the users, we have summarized the whole process step by step below. You can follow these steps and get your E-log device installed quickly:
Step 1: Finding Truck’s Diagnostic Port
The position of the diagnostic port may vary as per the vehicle make and model. You might find the port at any of the following places:
• Under the dash or the wheel/steering column to the left or right
• To the left or right of the pedals or above the pedals
• In the fuse box
• Above the footrest
• Near the clutch pedal handbrake or the handbrake
In some trucks, you may also have to remove a plastic cover to find the connector.
Step 2: Attaching Device to Diagnostic Port
If you have to fit your ELD device to the 9-pin or 6-pin connector, rotate the collar to align the collar tabs with the matching slot on the diagnostic port. Press firmly until the ELD is fully connected. Then turn the collar clockwise until it clicks.
If the E-log needs to be fitted to the OBDII connector, line up the device connector so that it exactly matches the diagnostic port in the vehicle. Then firmly press until the ELD device is fully connected.
Step 3: Device Is Nearly Installed Now
It is recommended to always install your E-log device in a place that will not:
block or interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle pedals
obstruct the driver in any way
Also, try to avoid installing the ELD under metallic surfaces. This is because Electronic Logging Devices need proper ventilation to work efficiently.
If the place/space is a closed one, use the extension cable and double-sided sticky pad in the kit to place the ELD device in a better position.
Using your own smartphone, tablet, GPS: BYOD
The “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD refers to the phenomenon in which employees bring their own hardware devices (smartphone, tablets, GPS, etc.) to the workplace, and use them to work on company projects.
In the trucking community, drivers use ELD software on their smartphones or tablets to keep their HOS and duty status on track. A typical BYOD-configured ELD consists of a “dongle”. On one hand, it links with the driver’s device using Bluetooth, while on the other hand, it connects to the ECM using the truck’s onboard diagnostic port.
Benefits of BYOD:
- Familiarity: By letting your drivers bring their own smartphones, you are actually providing them with a hardware that they are already familiar with. This creates a level of comfort that may help minimize errors and simplify the onboarding process for drivers that do not know how to use an ELD device or have never used one before.
- Easy to install and uninstall: ELDs that do not depend on hard wire are very easy to install and uninstall. The ability to easily install and uninstall comes handy if you are a large carrier or you have many owner-operators around.
- Portability: It is apparent that you cannot take a hardwired ELD unit outside the truck you are driving. But in the case of BYOD ELD, you can just grab your smartphone or tablet and go out of your vehicle to take pictures and stuff like that. Your data will always remain with you, even outside the vehicle.
Disadvantages of BYOD:
- Expensive: Even though you might not be paying for the individual devices, maintaining real-time data of the location and duty hours of the truck drivers requires a high-speed internet connection. If your company has to pay for every driver’s data plan, then the costs will quickly add up.
- Limited device options: All smartphones or tablets operate on either Android or iOS platforms. This potentially limits the choices available to vendors since the BYOD ELD applications have to run on either of the two operating systems or not at all.
Best software and apps for ELD
Below we have listed the best software and mobile/tablet applications for FMCSA approved ELDs:
- KeepTruckin Electronic logbook: KeepTruckin is the highest rated Electronic Logbook App and ELD system. It helps you record your Hours of Service using either your smartphone or your tablet.
- Transflo HOS: This app helps the user to track and access HOS, electronic logs, duty status features, and more from their mobile device or tablet.
- Gorilla Safety: The PRIME8 mobile app is designed to offer an easy-to-navigate portal using which you can access all the features and capabilities of the PRIME8 ELD device.
- Garmin eLog: The app for the device automatically tracks and records Hours of Service. It also allows you to manually set driver duty status and lets you see the remaining driving hours by day or week.
- Switchboard ELD + AOBRD: Switchboard combines the best features of AOBRD and modern-day ELD. Like the other apps, it can also be used by truck drivers on their smartphones and tablets.
E-Logs with easy installations
Here is a list of some of the best E-logs that are easy to install and user-friendly:
- Rand McNally – ELD 50: To install the ELD 50, all you have to do is to plug it into the diagnostic port and then follow the on-screen instructions.
- My20 ELD by Konexial: It is the most affordable eLog Device for fleet owner-operators.
- Garmin eLog Compliant ELD: This ELD is easy to install. After plugging it into the diagnostic port of your vehicle, you’ll just have to download and install the Garmin eLog App in your Android or iOS device to get started.
- ThinAir ELD: Again, this device is also very easy to use and the installation process is equally hassle-free.
- Stoneridge EZ-ELD: This E-log device stands out for its relative ease to move from one vehicle to another. It comes with multiple adapters so that it can be effortlessly installed on different trucks.
If you are a truck or fleet owner in the US or Canada, then ELDs are indispensable. Having the right e-logging device installed in your vehicles will ensure that you remain compliant with FMCSA requirements. It will also give you access to an assortment of features that will effectively keep track of your HOS.