Iridium global recall of all 9575 extreme satellite phones

Iridium global recall of all 9575 extreme satellite phones

Posted: Apr 30, 2012 04:10 pm EDT

( In an email to resellers this morning Iridium wrote that a mechanical problem with the 9575 extreme antenna can lead to various problems and reduced performance of the unit. "Unfortunately, we estimate a significant number of shipped units are impacted," the company wrote issuing a global recall.

When Iridium launched the model last September we wrote:

"No matter how hot, new (untested) tech is not always the smartest choice for an important, hard and costly expedition. If you are going the distance - leaving early November and skiing all the way to the Pole - we would not recommend the new Iridium 9575 as a first choice. Stick to the 9555 or 9505A but do bring 9575 as a backup to play with until all the usual tech glitches have been ironed out."

Turns out this was a good advice.

Not the first time

Although the latest issue has been known to Iridium for 4 months or longer, visiting Iridium website at the time of this publishing we find continued recommendations to military and Everest climbers to buy the Iridium 9575 extreme. No mention about the recall.

It's not the first time Iridium sent out badly tested units and continue selling them despite being made aware of problems. At the launch of Iridium model 9505A polar skiers reported serious issues with charging, something Iridium denied for months before admitting they knew about the issues early on.

Iridium's mail to resellers

Here goes the mail in full:

"As a follow-up to last week’s Iridium Extreme® communication, we have identified the root cause of the issue and are now able to provide you the following update. A mechanical element on the antenna stem that triggers a deployment sensor has insufficient tolerances which is leading to instances of the sensor not working as designed. We have traced the problem to a vendor manufacturing process and have worked with this vendor to stop the issue from occurring in future production. This issue is isolated to the Iridium Extreme and does not affect the Iridium® 9555.

Unfortunately, we estimate a significant number of shipped units are impacted. We have identified several impacts to the use of the phone. One possible result of this mechanical issue is that a customer is still able to make calls and send messages but the phone’s performance may be reduced even if the antenna is fully extended. Another possible result is that the unit may operate at a power level exceeding the equipment’s authorized FCC radio frequency limits unless the antenna is fully extended.

This issue may not impact all units; however, due to the nature of the issue, it is difficult to determine which units are affected through standard screening processes. Therefore, Iridium strongly requests that partners return all Iridium Extreme phones for replacement. This includes unsold inventory as well as sold and fielded equipment. Partners should not sell existing inventory and should request that customers immediately stop using the phone and return them for replacement. Additionally, the handset may operate at power levels above its authorized limit when the phone is in use and the antenna is stowed (in the retracted or lowered position). Partners should remind customers who use the phone out of necessity until replaced about proper handset use, particularly ensuring the antenna is extended during all calls.

We are happy to report that we have implemented the fix for this issue and are restarting production immediately. We are very confident that Iridium Extreme phones manufactured going forward will perform to specification and be of high level production quality."
#Mountaineering #Polar #Oceans #Tech #topstory

Iridium Axcess Point works with Iridium 9555 and 9575 (showing).
Image by Iridium