Frequently Low Battery Levels
Prior to using your AeroPoints, gently clean their solar panels with a damp cloth. This will ensure maximum charging efficiency.
If your AeroPoints are new, or if you have not used them in a while (AeroPoints slowly deplete their batteries while idle), make sure they are fully charged before you use them. To do so, place them in a sunny location. In our experience, in full sun it takes about ten hours to fully charge the batteries. To check the battery levels, log some data and upload it.
AeroPoints Fail to Process
After submitting a flight for processing in the Propeller portal, processing should not take more than approximately 24 hours. If it takes significantly longer and the portal keeps displaying 'Awaiting Corrections', we recommend the following:
- Try another geographic datum when processing your AeroPoint data. For example, in Australia, the reference stations do not use the GDA94 datum in some areas, and to avoid processing issues GDA2020 must be specified instead in these areas. The screenshot below shows how to specify the geographic datum in the Propeller portal:
- If the above fails, please contact Propeller Support and ask them to verify the processing status of your dataset.
AeroPoint Upload Fails
First, ensure that your internet connection is good and that you have followed our instructions for uploading your logged data. Make sure that you give each AeroPoint enough time to upload. Often it looks like an upload has finished (red LED stops flashing), but - especially if you have logged data for several sites - uploading may resume after a short pause. To be sure that uploading has finished, wait for about one minute after the LED has stopped flashing. If the LED stays off, the upload is most likely complete. If an upload got interrupted, reconnect the AeroPoint to a WiFi network and allow the upload to complete.
If an AeroPoint fails to charge, to log data or to upload data, it may be malfunctioning. Often, the button of a faulty AeroPoint behaves in an unusual way (i.e. it may no longer be possible to turn this point on or off) or shows an unusual flashing pattern (e.g. 1 long - 6 short - 1 long - 6 short, etc.) that persists despite pressing the button and only stops when the battery is exhausted.
If your AeroPoint is still under warranty, we strongly recommend that you have it checked by Propeller. Opening and trying to fix it yourself may void warranty and cause additional damage.
If your AeroPoint is no longer covered by warranty, you may consider repairing it yourself. This should only be attempted by people who have experience with electronics repairs and may cause further damage to the AeroPoint. The next section contains detailed instructions that are based on successful repairs carried out by SiteSee staff.
Repairing an AeroPoint
By using this Repair Guide and following any of its instructions, you acknowledge that opening and attempting to repair or modify an AeroPoint may:
- cause damage to the AeroPoint, and/or
- void its OEM warranty.
- Suitable flexible, water resistant glue. We have used this glue with good results:
- A new microSD Card from a reputable brand. While Propeller AeroPoints are equipped with 4 GB cards, we have used 32 GB cards successfully. Note that, though you might be able to get a faulty SD card to work again by cleaning its contacts (see section Repairing the Board below), we strongly recommend replacing it with a new one.
Opening the AeroPoint
- Use a tool such as the one shown in the image below to prise open the back cover of the AeroPoint.
- Grab the back cover and pull it off gradually. The back cover is glued to the AeroPoint with a strong adhesive, so this requires significant force. While pulling off the back cover, hold down the AeroPoint by stepping on its edge, or get someone to hold it for you.
- Once the back cover is removed, you will see the electronics in the image below.
Note that the u-blox GNSS module (beneath the AeroPoint ID) is shielded by a perforated metal cover that tends to come off and stick to the back cover. Carefully remove it from the back cover, straighten it, and clip it back on the metal frame surrounding the u-blox module.
Repairing the Board
- Unplug the power supply by pulling back the connector as shown in the image below.
- Unplug all other connectors and remove the board. Unplugging and later plugging in again the connectors will clean their contacts, so do not omit this step.
- Using your fingernails, pull forward the metal bracket that holds the SD card (see image below), flip it upward, then remove the SD card.
- Gently clean the contacts of both the SD card slot and the SD card itself using a soft cloth or cotton tip and some isopropyl alcohol. Only apply a small quantity of alcohol (do not soak), then allow the contacts to dry.
- The next steps depend on whether the Propeller Portal shows an 'Upload Interrupted' error for this AeroPoint (see image below). If so, go to step 6. If not, go to step 7.
- Insert the AeroPoint's SD card in a PC and check whether it can be read. After cleaning the card's contacts, this often is the case. If so, copy its contents onto your PC, then onto the new SD card.
- Insert the new SD card into the AeroPoint's SD card slot.
- Replace the board and plug in all connectors. Plug in the power connector last.
- If the AeroPoint's button has been constantly flashing for a long time, its battery is probably low. Place it in a sunny location for at least about 4 hours to charge the battery (do not yet glue the back cover back on).
- Press the button to turn on data logging and allow the AeroPoint to log its position for about 1 hour. If the button LED turns on and remains steady, you most likely have succeeded in fixing your AeroPoint.
- Turn off the AeroPoint and upload the data as usual. If you copied old data onto the SD card (step 6), this might take a bit longer. Ensure the LED stays off for at least one minute before turning off the Propeller WiFi hotspot.
- Open the Propeller Portal and check that the upload succeeded. If you previously experienced an 'Upload Interrupted' error for this AeroPoint and you were able to transfer the data from the old to the new SD card (see step 6 above), this error should now be gone and any old data should also have uploaded. If the error persists, you can simply ignore it and keep using the fixed AeroPoint. If the error bothers you, contact Propeller Support; they might be able to remove it for you.
- Submit the data for processing, and wait for processing to complete successfully.
- Place the AeroPoint in the sun for a few more hours and log another set of data. Upload and submit the dataset for processing and check the battery status (i.e. the battery is getting charged). If all is good, you are ready to reseal the back cover.
- Using plenty of glue everywhere where the old adhesive is (you don't have to remove the old adhesive), glue the back cover back on. Press the back cover down with suitable weights (e.g. books) and let the glue dry for at least 24 hours (check the instructions for your glue).