Replacement & Repair

Our recorder systems are developed for very harsh environments. Although our products are very robust, they are still systems with complex hardware and firmware that can occasionally break.  To be exact, less than 3% of units in the field fail and need replacement - but it does happen!

In this Article


Troubleshooting

Before assuming the unit is completely damaged and needs repair, be sure to check out the typical troubleshooting questions and steps on  our troubleshooting article.  Because the recorder is an electronic system, like many, a simple power cycle can often "fix" any buggy operational characteristics it exhibits.  This is accomplished by holding down the button for over ten seconds until all LEDs turn on.  Another common fix is to update the firmware, instructions are available here.

Note

Many common failure modes can be resolved by resetting the device. This is achieved by holding down the button for 10 seconds. The initial button press/hold will cause the LEDs to indicate current battery life, and then they should turn off. Continue holding down the button though for another 5 seconds. At that time all LEDs will turn on until you release the button. This will not delete any data on the unit or change the configuration, it just reboots it.


What We Can & Will Repair/Replace

We will replace failed units that are bought within a year ago.  We experience five common failure modes in order of frequency (although cumulative these failures still make up less than 3%):

  • Dead battery - The batteries are lithium-ion batteries that can degrade over time.  With age and use these batteries may lose a significant amount of their original capacity.  More information on batteries is available in our battery specifications article.
  • Damaged USB receptacle - The USB receptacle can become damaged if it has been overstrained.  We've seen this occur occasionally when used in environments with heavy vibration and shock while the device was plugged into USB.  We recognize why the USB port was used (to extend battery life and/or communicate digitally to the device) but special care needs to be made to provide strain relief to the USB cable.  We are developing a mounting accessory that will have an incorporated strain relief for when it is plugged in during operation.
  • Broken/damaged main accelerometer - The main accelerometer can occasionally fail and need to be replaced.  This will be evidenced by a very large DC offset in the data meaning that one of the channels is shorted out or broken.
  • Disconnected or damaged SD card - The SD card used for storage in the Slam Stick is in an SD card holder and can be replaced.  Occasionally the SD card will come dislodged from the holder and/or damaged but can be replaced.
  • Broken/damaged outer control pad - The control pad on the top of the recorder houses some sensors that can become damaged if impacted directly. Depending on the failure of these sensors it causes other problems in the device if/when there is an electric short.

Of the five common failure modes on that list, only the last two (SD cards and control pads) can be repaired or swapped out.  Everything else needs a full unit replacement due to the mechanical potting we use. In the image below of a split-view of a Slam Stick recorder, you can see that the accelerometers, battery, and USB receptacle are all on the bottom of the PCB.  That volume is mostly filled with a potting compound to rigidly couple/fix the accelerometers to the enclosure bottom.  This potting, when cured, resembles a hard plastic like Delrin or polycarbonate.  The board cannot be removed from it without significantly damaging the board.


The Replacement/Repair Process

To initiate a replacement or repair of a device under warranty, please contact our Support Team with the following information:

  • Serial Number of the Device
  • Original order number 

Our Support Team will then create a return merchandise authorization (RMA) label for you. After we receive your unit, we will troubleshoot and verify if the unit needs a replacement or repair (if possible). We will perform the necessary fix/production and ship back a working unit.

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