Master ELD 2020 : How Reliable is This Affordable Device?

The Master ELD is very affordable and comes with features you might not expect. Find out more about what it offers to over the road truckers and fleet managers.

With so many different electronic logging devices (ELDs) on the market, it can be tough to determine what the best options are. When you’re looking to spend as little as possible to be FMSCA compliant, the price may be a priority, but you shouldn’t forget to watch for value and getting the best features possible for your money. One of the choices out there for budget-minded truckers, owner-operators, and fleet managers is the Master ELD, which we’ll be reviewing today.

The tool is an affordable ELD solution that offers a variety of exceptional compliance and fleet management tools. It provides one of the most robust suites of tools on the market and meets all compliance requirements so you can avoid fines and other problems. It also happens to be simple to install and just as easy to put into use. Check out our review to learn more about the ELD and whether it meets your needs.

The Company Behind the Master Electronic Logging Device

The Company Behind the Master Electronic Logging Device

The masterminds behind the Master ELD are known as National Transportation Partners, LLC, which operates out of Bensenville, Illinois. This company is best known for work in the safety, product certification, and performance industries in the management services sector and has been in operation since 2017. However, its most popular product is none other than the Master ELD, which we’ll be going into more detail about later in this article.

Basics About the Master ELD You Should Know

section 395.20 of CFR 49 and associated safety regulations. It is known for being an inexpensive choice for truckers to stay in compliance to make the most of their time on the road. While compliance is one of the most important things that the ELD offers, it also includes other fleet management tools for use by small and large shipment companies. The three main features of this ELD are GPS tracking, IFTA reporting, and electronic logging solutions, but it also has other means to assist drivers and fleet managers. It's made to be simple to install since it just needs to be plugged into the diagnostic port of your truck. After that, all it takes to get started is downloading the free app that goes with the device. It takes only a few minutes to get it installed and ready for a driver to get on the road. When established in several semi-trucks, it offers information on all of them for management purposes. Before we go into more detail about the other features of the Master ELD, we want to take a look at the specifications. This will give you an idea of whether this electronic logging device is the right solution for your needs or you should be looking at another product.

Specifications

Type of ELD Bring Your Own Device
FMSCA Compliant Yes
Installation Options 9-pin, 6-pin, and OBDII
Application Use Android and iOS
Connection Type Bluetooth
Historical Reporting Yes, including route data
Driver Scorecard Yes

As you can see, this device is designed to fit a wide variety of businesses and trucks. Since you can use an existing smartphone or tablet with the device, there’s no need to spend additional money on a particular display unit. It also fits into various diagnostic ports, so you don’t have to worry that you need extra components to get things installed and running.

Special Features Offered Through the Master ELD

Special Features Offered Through the Master ELD

We mentioned a few of the top features with the Master ELD above, but we want to go into a bit more depth now. There are too many features to list them all out, but we’ll be focusing on some of the top options for truckers on the road and managers watching compliance from an office. For such an inexpensive device, it might be surprising how many bells and whistles you get from the tool.

  • Driver Log Auditing – This ELD audits every driver’s logs to determine how efficient and safe each trucker on the road is. This can offer a means for the company to increase its profitability and safety scores at the same time. Knowing when unsafe behavior is occurring can help with feedback and retraining to ensure vehicles are safe around drivers.
  • Driver Scorecards – The driver scorecards with this electronic logging device look at many different things, including hard braking, time spent idling, rapid acceleration, and others. All of these things are considered inefficient or dangerous. The drivers who aren’t interested in improving their habits can be counseled about their behavior or cut from a company.
  • Easy to Use Functionality – One of the things that make the Master ELD such an excellent choice is that it is simple to implement and use. Both drivers and fleet managers will have a short learning curve before using the ELD is something that takes no thought or effort. This reduces the amount of downtime needed to begin using the device.
  • FMCSA Compliance – Since the introduction of new rules and regulations in 2017, truckers have been required to have specific ELDs installed in their trucks to take care of logging needs. This is a change from the old method of writing down each duty status in a paper logbook and is required for nearly all commercial truckers. The Master ELD meets all compliance requirements and ensures drivers are spending the appropriate hours on the road, sleeping, and doing other things.
  • GPS Tracking – Most of the ELDs that you find on the market are going to come with GPS tracking functionality, and the Master ELD is no exception. This offers help for fleet managers since they can see where each truck is at any time. In most cases, apps will connect through Bluetooth and need a continuous data connection to offer transmission of GPS data. However, when that isn’t available, it can use GPS solely to provide a less detailed history of locations.
  • Historical Reporting – This ELD offers the option to look back at old data like routes. However, drivers and managers can also look at information through location sharing and customer updates. This is an excellent feature for any trucking company that is involved with business to consumer shipments.
  • IFTA Tax Reporting – Another place where Master ELD helps fleet managers is in terms of IFTA tax reports. IFTA licenses allow companies to file a single tax report for all areas where their drivers are spending time on the job. With the use of the reports from this device and app, exemptions are easier to obtain to meet all the mandatory requirements.
  • Messaging – Master ELD is one of the devices on the market that streamlines messaging between managers and drivers. Rather than needing to make endless phone calls or emails, those on the road and in the office can message each other with updates and relevant information.
  • Vehicle Diagnostics – As with other ELD devices, the Master ELD connects to a truck through the diagnostic port. This also allows it to show certain diagnostic information that can help drivers and managers alike. Having access to this information can cut down on problems later on to save both money and time.

How to Install the Master ELD Into Your Semi-Truck

One of the things that make the Master ELD an excellent choice for the money is how simple it is to install. There is no need to bring in a professional mechanic so you can save time and money while getting drivers back on the road quickly. Below, we'll go over the necessary process of installation so you know what steps are required to get everything running and ready.

Turn off the Engine of the Truck

For safety reasons, you are going to want to make sure that your truck is turned off while you install the Master ELD. If the engine is running, turn it off before you move forward with additional instructions. All you need to do to complete this step is to turn your ignition key until it reaches the off position.

Find Where the Diagnostic Port is Located

The ELD you are installing will connect into the diagnostic port of your vehicle, so finding it is the next step. This can take a bit of time if you don’t know the location since different trucks will place the port in unique areas. Some of the most common places to find it include under the left dashboard, under your seat, beneath the steering wheel, and next to the left kick panel.

Install the Master ELD to the Truck

First, you should open the port, and then you will want to plug the device in. After that’s done, twist the base of the device so it locks into place. As soon as the ELD is property attached to the port, it will begin to sync with the app if you already have it on your smartphone or tablet.

Download and Install the Application

Since the Master ELD unit doesn’t have a screen, you will need to install an app onto your phone that syncs with the electronic logging device. This can be done by visiting the company website, the iOS App Store, or the Google Play Store. Once you have downloaded and installed the app, you can open it up to begin using it.

Sign in to the ELD App

After installation, you’ll need to sign in with a username and password. If you have a fleet manager, they can provide this information to you. Once you’ve logged in, all you have to do is choose your vehicle from a drop-down menu. Once you make your selection, it will connect the app to the device in that same vehicle. The app screen will show the connection status at the very top of the main display.

Once you’re done, you can start driving. The app will offer you the option to do everything from providing your logs to officers to signing records, conducting inspections, viewing your profile, and much more.

Every one of the electronic logging devices on the market is going to come with positives, but all are also going to have downfalls. No single device is perfect, which makes choosing one a matter of finding the features you want with disadvantages you can live with. Since the Master ELD has its own set of pros and cons, we want to make sure you're aware of both for your purchasing decision:

The Pros and Cons Related to the Master ELD
PROS:
  • Comes at an affordable price for small trucking companies
  • Offers a free to download companion app to cut costs
  • Requires extraordinarily little manual input so drivers can keep their eyes on the road
  • Simple and straightforward to install and use
  • Features a fully FMCSA compliant system
CONS:
  • Does not offer an offline mode so an Internet connection is required
  • No display module comes with the device so you rely on the app
  • Doesn't allow you to enter hours of service exceptions
  • May not offer optimal tracking in traffic moving slow

Conclusion

The Master ELD is an extraordinarily popular electronic logging device offered by National Transportation Partners, LLC. It complies with trucking regulations implemented in 2017 and provides a bevy of features that make it stand out from the competitors. Both drivers and fleet managers have found that the device makes it easier to handle all of their day-to-day tasks and requirements.

With everything from driver scorecards to vehicle diagnostics and location sharing, the Master ELD has carved a place for itself as an inexpensive device that does things the most expensive ones offer. If you are looking for an option that won’t break the budget and fits well to a small or medium-sized operation, this could be the right selection to ensure safe driving, appropriate hours of service, and much more!

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