BCA has recently started shipping a new version of software for our Tracker2. The new software (version 4) addresses an issue discovered by the Jackson Hole ski patrol and alpine guides in a fleet of 182 beacons purchased in mid-November. Several of the Jackson Hole units have inadvertently entered our opticomm reprogramming mode. As a precautionary measure, we have replaced the Jackson fleet with version 4 units, which addresses this concern. We will analyze their original fleet to determine the extent of the problem.
The Jackson Hole patrol and guides have been using Tracker beacons for ten years and tested Tracker2 samples last season. Their heavy usage patterns have enabled us to identify potential improvements early in the process and implement them in production. In this instance, they played a role in the recognition of a problem and alerted us about them.
The problem the units experienced caused them to occasionally go into opticomm mode inadvertently. Opticomm is a programming mode which is used to download new software through our optical communication window on the front of the unit. When the Tracker2 is in opticomm mode, it does not transmit. Normally this mode is activated by disconnecting and reconnecting one of the batteries while the unit is attached to our opticomm reprogramming accessory. However, it appears that this mode is occasionally being triggered by a buildup and discharge of static electricity.
Out of thousands of Tracker2′s shipped since production started last January, we have had reports of 10 units that have malfunctioned in this manner. We have received five other units that have shown similar symptoms, however, they have not been verified to have stopped transmitting. We are currently researching the extent of the issue and hope to make a conclusion shortly.
If your Tracker2 occasionally reboots while it is off or in transmit mode, then it is experiencing a power interruption. This is always accompanied by an audible beep. (This should not be confused with the warning beeps that sound when the beacon is left in transmit or search mode for extended periods of time.) After a power interruption, the Tracker2 will usually return to the mode it was in: search, transmit, or off. While the issue of power interruption is not a major concern, we hope to determine if the issue of entering opticomm mode is significant enough to warrant a corrective action. In the meantime, we are offering free upgrades to our version 4 software. This software version provides additional safeguards against inadvertently entering opticomm mode.
To determine if you already have version 4 software, disconnect and reconnect one battery while the unit is off. After displaying “t2,” the unit will then display the software version. If the display reads “r04,” then you have the most recent software. This software has been included in all Tracker2 units shipped since late December.
We apologize for this complication and are working diligently to analyze and rectify the issue. If you would like to upgrade your Tracker2, please contact BCA at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (303)417-1345 and we will provide you with a return authorization number. Thank you for your patience and support.