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Discussion: SIAC Chip Problems

in: Orienteering; General

Jul 13, 2019 2:25 AM # 
Issue spun out of other thread.
Jul 13, 2019 2:26 AM # 
...there seem to be some problems with SIAC sticks. One at JWOC, a competitor's proximity function failed during the course. The SIAC had been provided by the organiser, and there was a battery check as part of the start procedure. The competitor was able to punch in the ordinary way (Edit: I think) but was clearly at a disadvantage. There's discussion under the topic "JWOC Live?"

The other comes from the World Masters. This notice is on the website: "Runners having "ChangeSI" in the startlist MUST use another SIAC instead of currently planned one that was used in MF. These SIACs of with older firmware can experience the readout lockup issue if the battery dies during the race, and it will be timeconsuming and stressfull both for you and us to restore your punch data, and complete restoration of your punch data might not be possible by the time of anouncement of official results. SIACs in question should be sent back to Sportident for firmware upgrade."
Jul 13, 2019 2:27 AM # 
My supplier (not Sport ident directly) says that the "readout lockup issue" affects SIACs on firmware 4.2 or earlier, produced in 2013 or earlier. From 2014 the firmware level is 4.3. It should be possible to check the version in any readout station, he says.

So now there's something to go on. I searched unsuccessfully on the Sport Ident site for info like this, but I wouldn't say I looked everywhere. However it must be late-breaking news if WMOC is advising users DURING the event not to use 4.2's. Maybe it was a slow-news day and they needed another drama to spice things up...

Edit: the dates above are suspect, see the link below to a notice which has now appeared on the SI website. This would be more authoritative.
Jul 13, 2019 2:28 AM # 
jSh wrote...

Actually it's firmware up to 3.2 affected, not 4.2. And it doesn't always lock up. And yes, beginning with 4.0 a SIAC with dead battery becomes safely passive and can be read like a SIcard10.

Basically the story is there was a lockup of a 2013 SIAC on WMOC SQ, the Latvians were in contact with me re radio controls and I advised what to do with the SIAC (physical opening and brief external power is required). Data was successfully read. After that, I proposed to SI to cross-check WMOC entries and production logs, this turned up 10 more potential victims. So I communicated that list to my WMOC contact, and the drama was added ;)

Production logs are non-public, and all registered (direct) buyers were contacted, but many SIACs get sold by o-shops. One of the ChangeSI in Latvia was bought in Portugal but lives in Japan... so it's kind of lucky to have a big event like WMOC were start list matching makes sense.

Reading the SIAC with SIconfigPlus in "Read cards" will display the firmware value.

and subsequently jSh wrote...

Regarding the Kalinina issue, the data currently available to me is inconclusive (I'm not on site), but public data from radio controls shows her SIAC definitely was active until the phi-loop, then no more data.
Jul 13, 2019 2:31 AM # 
Thanks jSh. I run an o-shop so concerned about obligations to customers. I have moved this discussion to its own thread so the other one can concentrate on the "punched, feedback, but no record" problem.

PS for Fossil: With the newer firmware you can punch in the hole if the battery dies, and read the stick just fine.
Jul 13, 2019 5:51 AM # 
There's a notice on Sportident's website stating that pre-2015 SIACs should be returned for maintenance. I guess if you have a very early number (8000 001 was the first) or purchased a custom number fairly early, then you should return it.

Problem for Aussies is that the local distributor is overseas for several weeks - at WMOC as it turns out. I don't think he'll be back in time for upgrades to be done before Oceania 2019 - and that probably includes the stock of hire cards.
Jul 13, 2019 6:11 AM # 
Would help if they gave you a number range to help identify production dates. I got mine in 2016 but have no idea when it was produced. Tash got hers at the same time and it had a meltdown last year after being left on for a mere ~8hrs.
Jul 13, 2019 6:32 AM # 
Left on what tRicky? If you mean a stove top, I am sure it would have been an impressive meltdown.
Jul 13, 2019 7:48 AM # 
One of the other Aussie team members borrowed it for a training event because he didn't have SI Air and wanted to practice but he DNFed the course and didn't punch the finish. I noticed her chip still flashing later that night so we had to get one of the organisers to bring a finish brick to our accommodation so we could turn it off. The chip failed to work next time it was used.
Jul 13, 2019 8:46 AM # 
Age of SIAC has nothing to do with its number, as custom numbers prevail and use the range up to 8599999, batches for rental and shops are above 8600000.

Identifying the firmware is easy if you have a readout (download) station at hand, read the card with SI Config Plus in "Read cards" function, the firmware version is listed there. Below 4.0 is critical. A fairly certain indicator of "really too old" is a black SIAC tip, but some white tips are also affected.

To be clear - the issue now publicised has been known for years (hence the change to the firmware), but not deemed extremely critical. The lockup doesn't bite every SIAC on battery depletion and only affects readout. There is a procedure, a bit daring, but usually successful. It requires carefully removing the plastic tip (without destroying the electronics within that tip), removing the electronics board, prying the top battery lead off the battery, inserting another coin-cell (from remote control, watch, heart rate monitor, anything with 3 Volts) to briefly power up and reset the SIAC, then external battery removal and normal readout. Obviously, don't do this unless you're really certain you know what you're doing, and are willing to carry the consequences if you break something.

If you're willing to be just a bit daring, there's nothing to stop you run another few local events with your potentially affected SIAC. Just don't do so on events where you'll be really depressed if you don't get a result due to SIAC failure. WMOC or Oceania for example.

If somebody can point me to a list of registrations with chip-numbers for Oceania, I can cross-check for affected chip-numbers. Yes, I have a list; no, I can not publish it.

Individual SIAC owners without access to a readout station please follow the advice on the SPORTident news (see above) and contact SI directly stating chip-number for them to check the list.
Jul 13, 2019 9:43 AM # 
There are several events, and there will be some different entries in all of them. You will find them at Australia's Eventor, search the event calendar for National and Regional events in September. There is a list of people wanting to hire SIAC, but currently shows their non-SIAC card number. Entries don't close until 31st August.
Jul 13, 2019 11:05 AM # 
Simmo, thanks for the pointer. To be honest, I will not be pro-actively checking all Eventors and events worldwide, I hope you understand that is impossible. But if you nudge me at a time when registrations are closed I will try to check.

Now, I did look at current Oceania registrations, and of currently 171 athletes registered with a SIAC, one has a chip that according to the records is still on FW 3.2: Cameron de L'Isle, North West.

I am hoping the person assigning hire-SIACs for Oceania is able to check the FW of the hire-SIACs available well in advance and react accordingly.
Jul 13, 2019 11:46 AM # 
That figures. Young NZ elite, early adopter, would have bought overseas. I have emailed an address I have for him.
Jul 13, 2019 7:54 PM # 
The Scottish 6-Days folks have been proactive: we got contacted by them to let us know that one of ours is impacted. Any news as to whether SI is going to pay for the return postage?
Jul 13, 2019 8:24 PM # 
When Tash returned hers last year for repair she had to pay for postage and no offer of reimbursement.
Jul 13, 2019 11:18 PM # 
We at the just went through our records and have determined that all SIACs sold by us have at least firmware version 4.0 or better. This fall we'll also announce a plan on how to deal with SIAC battery repairs. At the moment we're busy getting ready for the Ottawa O-Fest and the Canadian Championships in Montreal. Hope to see you there.
Jul 17, 2019 9:20 AM # 
@jSh Just wanted to say thanks for your help here. I sent you an email last week which (only now) has bounced back to me. Your interest and knowledge is appreciated.
Jul 17, 2019 12:37 PM # 
@gruver - thanks for the thanks, much appreciated!
Mail bounced? That's weird. Are you 100% sure you got my mail right?

Meanwhile, various people have provided me lists of chips from national databases. So after checking SWE, SUI, GER, DEN, EST, LAT, LTU, and RUS, and thus compiling a list of 83719 unique chips, of which 11879 SIACs, 64 were deemed relevant and their owners are being identified and informed. ORingen, 13738 participants with chip, 1293 SIACs, 14 relevant, notified. SPORTident has also directly informed all affected participants of Swiss and Scottish 6-days events.

So Europe is pretty well covered at this point. But if there's anybody able/willing to provide something from the Americas or Oceanic parts of the world, feel free. For data privacy reasons, I only wish to receive chip numbers, ideally even just SIACs (8,xxx,xxx). I'll cross-check and return the list for you to then match up to athletes and contact them by your own means.

Please do note however that I'm leaving for two weeks of vacation tomorrow, so my turnaround time might suffer :)
Jul 17, 2019 1:21 PM # 
@tRicky - you were worried about your SIAC above. I tried to find a mention of yours and think it may be 8633228. If yes - relax: it's not on the "bad list". :)
Jul 17, 2019 2:26 PM # 
Jul 18, 2019 11:26 AM # 
Hire numbers for SIAC just sent for checking when @jSh is back from holiday. Apologies if someone already did that.
Jul 18, 2019 5:51 PM # 
Checked and all good.

@gruver - did you get around to resending to any of those addresses above? I haven't received anything from you. I'd be really interested in the bounce message if possible. I have successfully received and sent with @undy - maybe he could relay? I'm partly worried because I recently changed my web hoster - but I've received 37 mails on SIAC lists alone in the last week, so... weird.
Jul 24, 2019 8:33 AM # 
riley mcfarlane :
Mum just bought me a new SI air. Hopefully, it's all good?
Could you please check that my si ends in 507 instead of 419.

Idk how well I changed my SI rego from SI 7 to SI air.
Jul 24, 2019 8:42 AM # 
@jSh Yes I sent to all address on Saturday. No bounce message received, but the last one took many days. Have just now forwarded the same to undy.
Jul 24, 2019 1:44 PM # 
Riley I think that's something you're going to have to do yourself. Eventor update is unrelated to this issue if that's what you're referring to.
Sep 5, 2019 12:27 PM # 
Hi all "down under", especially @gruver and @undy.

Oceania registrations are nearly closed, so I just spent a few minutes screen-scraping the registrations for a total of 15 events, found 1131 unique chip numbers, of which 401 are SIACs. Only 2 have "bad" firmware according to the production data available to me from early July 2019:
Cameron de L'Isle and Jessica Sewell, both club North West.
Both SIACs were produced on 23rd June 2014 - that's 5 years ago.
As this means the expected battery life is pretty much over, the readout-lockup-bug is increasingly likely to happen, therefore a battery service is recommended. Anybody with contacts to them, please inform them. Thanks!
Sep 5, 2019 3:20 PM # 
They're from NZ so not important.
Sep 5, 2019 3:44 PM # 
Ouch. I am truly not going to get into NZL-AUS politics, being GBR exile in GER myself, so... could we remain technically chip-problem oriented here, please?
Sep 5, 2019 9:25 PM # 
Passed on to the unimportant people.Thanks jSH.
Sep 5, 2019 11:41 PM # 
Just jokes. Am I banned from NZ MTBO champs yet, Michael?
Sep 6, 2019 6:47 AM # 
Kiwis and Ozzies shouldnt have to explain jokes.
Sep 6, 2019 7:46 AM # 
...except when Kiwis need to explain them to the Ozzies, of course

This discussion thread is closed.