Image: Starlink

SpaceX’s satellite internet service might be a problem for residents who live in hotter areas. As documented by various beta testers, Starlink’s satellite dishes will enter a thermal shutdown mode when they reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit and lose connectivity, failing to restart until they cool down to 104 degrees. One user tried to speed up the process by pointing a sprinkler at his satellite dish, but the solution was temporary and short lived. Another frustrated user pointed out that the rooftop of his house could easily hit 125 degrees on a 90 degree day, which would make Starlink’s equipment highly impractical during the summer months. Starlink will presumably improve the design of its so-called “Dishy McFlatface” so it can withstand higher temperatures.

Image: Wandering-Coder

“When I stopped the sprinkler, [the dish] heated back up and would cycle back on for a few minutes and go back down for thermal shutdown. The overheating started that day about 11:30 am and came back for good about 7 pm… I’m currently headed to a hardware store to get materials to build a solar shade/sail around the dish to see if it doesn’t impact connection and speed.”

Sources: r/Starlink, ArsTechnica

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16 Comments

  1. I wonder if you could build a plexiglass enclosure box for this thing. Pump cool air into the box to keep the temps down, while the clear plexiglass will allow for the signals to not be dropped?

  2. So it hasn’t got quite that hot around my place yet – according to my weather station, we’ve only hit 93 as a high so far this summer – and for where we live, mid 90’s is about the worst of it. I haven’t noticed any horrible issues with the dish shutting down, but the intermittent dropouts still remain…

    That said, if it’s just local temps getting up there because of being on a asphalt roof or something – and not the fact that it’s hitting 110F+ outside (sorry AZ folks) – then a fan would probably be all you need.

    If you’re hitting 110F+ outside… then I honestly don’t know. The plexiglass idea might work, but some of the signals may reflect off of it as well, I’m not sure. And it would need to be a pretty big box – probably at least a cubic yard, if not bigger. The dish has to have room to move around and track, and a cube shape might not work, depending on where the seams end up – they would block signal… so it would probably need to be a dome. One that doesn’t act as a fresnel lens. And then you’d still need to pump air in, and if it’s up on your roof or up on a pole to get clear line of sight… your pretty well screwed.

    It really needs a hardware revision – they need to put a bit of active cooling in there. – a vent and fan may be enough – the thing is entirely enclosed and waterproof right now, so there’s no place for heat to escape at all – the fact that it holds up to 122F alone is pretty amazing given how it’s built.

  3. 122f wouldn’t be hard to hit at all in TX summer, especially if the thing is on my asphalt tiled roof…

  4. Geothermic cooling….

    That really sucks. I hope they will address it and take care of the customers

  5. 122f in the sun is possible across the globe. Especially in areas where wind comes and goes (which is most).

    Obviously something that has to be on the list for the next revision; there are semiconductors that can operate reliably at 122[B]c[/B] and higher!

  6. [QUOTE=”Eduardo_Domingot, post: 36219, member: 246″]
    Seems like a poor oversight.
    [/QUOTE]
    It is, but there are more than one reason it’s called the “Better than nothing Beta” right now.

  7. They already have a second gen dish in application stage. This stuff is still all in beta. It’ll get better.

  8. Give me one that can handle boiling water temps and temps down to -10 or more C and I’ll be happy.

  9. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 36247, member: 215″]
    Give me one that can handle boiling water temps and temps down to -10 or more C and I’ll be happy.
    [/QUOTE]
    I don’t mean to dissuade you.

    But for where I live, so long as it’s running at least 2 hours a day, it will beat out all other service providers in the area in the amount of data I can transfer in a day. So if it overheats for a few hours (mine has not, but I think we are about to test that theory out today) – it’s still better than what I had before by ~a lot~.

    I don’t think that says as much about SpaceX’s engineering effort as it does about the state of broadband in general — that I can have a satellite connection that is broken up to 22 hours a day, and it would still cost less and transfer as much or more data than what I otherwise have available – and there are anywhere from 20 to 80 million other people in the US in the same boat as me.

  10. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 36252, member: 96″]
    I don’t mean to dissuade you.

    But for where I live, so long as it’s running at least 2 hours a day, it will beat out all other service providers in the area in the amount of data I can transfer in a day. So if it overheats for a few hours (mine has not, but I think we are about to test that theory out today) – it’s still better than what I had before by ~a lot~.

    I don’t think that says as much about SpaceX’s engineering effort as it does about the state of broadband in general — that I can have a satellite connection that is broken up to 22 hours a day, and it would still cost less and transfer as much or more data than what I otherwise have available – and there are anywhere from 20 to 80 million other people in the US in the same boat as me.
    [/QUOTE]

    Honestly the burst speed is nice of what it offers but for real use for the vast majority of households. Having your down time be during peak heat during a day is a problem.

    As a IT engineer with a certain kind of redneck ingenuity… I would just get an old water sprinkler, Rest this thing on top of a tarp on whatever position it needed to be on and for x hours a day have my sprinkler running a bit of cool water over it. Not titanic floods mind you. Hell I might even find an old as water pump for an above ground pool and set it up over a river rock collector to recirculate water over the device while it is running. It’s already weather water proof, why not do a little evaporative cooling?

  11. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 36268, member: 215″]
    I would just get an old water sprinkler, Rest this thing on top of a tarp on whatever position it needed to be on and for x hours a day have my sprinkler running a bit of cool water over it. Not titanic floods mind you. Hell I might even find an old as water pump for an above ground pool and set it up over a river rock collector to recirculate water over the device while it is running. It’s already weather water proof, why not do a little evaporative cooling?
    [/QUOTE]

    I’m not ashamed that I had a similar problem (not SpaceX related, but work related) with an engine overheating – and we did exactly that. It worked great, for about 2-3 months. Then the scale started to build up. That ended up being a big mess.

    BUT

    I like how you are thinking. Great minds think alike.

  12. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 36269, member: 96″]
    I’m not ashamed that I had a similar problem (not SpaceX related, but work related) with an engine overheating – and we did exactly that. It worked great, for about 2-3 months. Then the scale started to build up. That ended up being a big mess.

    BUT

    I like how you are thinking. Great minds think alike.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yea would totally need a way to handle water scale and other such buildup issues.

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