Iridium Extreme Recall Replacement Program Problems Solved
On April 27, 2012, Iridium announced a replacement program to address a problem with the Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone (9575). The company is voluntarily replacing all Iridium Extreme phones due to an internal antenna sensor problem that can cause the phone to malfunction. Please note this does NOT affect the Iridium 9555 satellite phone.
Today one of our best customers called us very concerned about the recall. He was leaving for a 25 day sailing passage to Tahiti and didn't have time to complete the Iridium Extreme recall process before he left.
What to do? Fortunately Luis Soltero was able to discover an Iridium engineer-endorsed work around.
Iridium Extreme Antenna Problem
The replacement program was initiated due to a mechanical element on the antenna stem of the Iridium Extreme that triggers a deployment sensor with insufficient tolerances which is leading to instances of the sensor not working as designed. In plain English, it seems that the phone doesn't always properly recognize the antenna, and so the phone won't work.
Iridium Extreme Antenna Work-around
First, you should take up Iridium on the replacement as soon as possible. But what if you need to use your phone before you can get a replacement? Fortunately, there are two easy work-arounds.
1) Using an external antenna bypasses the internal antenna and thus circumvents the problem. All Iridium Extreme phones ship together with an external antenna in the box. Simply use the external antenna, and you will not experience the problem.
2) Using any docking station that bypasses the internal antenna will also eliminate the problem, buying you valuable time to use your phone.
The full text of the Iridium announcment is below, and available as a pdf document from Iridium "Iridium Extreme Replacement Program."
We're pleased to see Iridium stand behind their equipment, take responsibility, and act quickly to replace affected phones.
Iridium Extreme® Replacement Program
On Friday April 27th, 2012, Iridium announced a replacement program for the Iridium Extreme®. The replacement program was initiated due to a mechanical element on the antenna stem of the Iridium Extreme that triggers a deployment sensor with insufficient tolerances which is leading to instances of the sensor not working as designed. The problem was traced to a vendor manufacturing process and has since been rectified.
Iridium has identified several possible impacts to the use of the phone, and we estimate that a significant number of shipped units may be currently affected. 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. If the customer must use the phone out of necessity prior to its replacement under this recall, the customer needs to follow proper handset use guidelines as specified in the User Guide and ensure that the antenna is extended during all calls.
This issue may not impact all units; however, due to the nature of the issue, Iridium strongly requests that customers contact their Iridium Service Provider to determine the replacement procedure for their Iridium Extreme phone. Iridium has implemented the fix for this issue and is 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.
We sincerely regret this occurrence and apologize for the impact on our customers, partners and distributors operations and any issues with using the phone in the field. Iridium is taking swift actions to assist with the replacement of Iridium Extreme phones in partners’ inventory and in the hands of customers and we expect to have all recalled units replaced within 2 months.
The Iridium Extreme is the most capable and highly featured satellite phone on the market and it is Iridium’s intent to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your continued support and we remain confident that all will benefit greatly from the features and the capabilities unique to the Iridium Extreme.
Note: The Iridium 9555 is not affected by this issue and we have both sufficient inventory and have increased production to assist in meeting your demands for Iridium satellite phones.