SpaceX's much ballyhooed satellite Internet service Starlink suffered a serious blow this week after users in warm areas in the US have been encountering overheating issues, leaving their terminals and devices disconnected for hours.
A Starlink user in Arizona claimed he lost his Internet service for over seven hours Tuesday when the satellite dish, "Dishy McFlatface," overheated, Ars Technica reported. On Reddit, the user reported that his Starlink app showed an "Offline: Thermal Shutdown" error.
Starlink Satellite Dish Shuts Down Due to Extreme Heat
The user, whom Ars Technica named Martin, said he contacted Starlink support after posting a screenshot of the error message on Reddit. He then got the response, "Dishy (his satellite dish) will go into thermal shutdown at 122F and will restart when it reaches 104F."
Martin then made an unconventional solution: sprinkling water on the dish to let it cool down. When it cooled enough to get back on, he said he "immediately heard YouTube resume playback," he posted. But the resumption of the Internet service did not last long, Martin added to Ars Technica.
After cooling down, he said, the dish would then "heat back up" and eventually go back down for a thermal shutdown.
He said the overheating problem started at around 11:30am and the outage lasted until 7pm. Martin even claimed in the Ars Technical interview that he was "headed to a hardware store to get materials to build a solar shade...around the dish" and see if it would impact the Internet connection and speed.
SpaceX has informed users that the satellite dish can operate at temperatures from 22 degrees below zero up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Tom's Guide posted. However, the temperature at Martin's location at Topock, Arizona, soared to 120 degrees Tuesday, making the dishy shutdown understandable.
Starlink Satellite Service: Different Claims on Heating Impact on Dish
However, another user in Northern Arizona reported having his dish working at 122 degrees, WCCF noted. The user, "DutchDaddy," even posted a Speedtest screengrab showing Internet speeds of 226 Mbps even with the scorching heat. But what made "DutchDaddy's" case different was that the dish was placed on the roof, with electrical components positioned inside his house. This could have prevented his dish to heat up and shutdown, given that the Topock user had placed his dish on hard ground, further increasing the dish's internal components, making it easy to heat up quickly.
But a separate user, "another-fun-day," in Northen Arizona also posted on Reddit that his satellite Internet service shut down even with a supposed manageable temperature of 110 degrees, as he placed the dish on his roof as well. But the roof's white color might have contributed to the increasing heat as sunlight could have been reflected off the roof to affect the dish's performance.
Starlink Satellite Service Shut Down Due to Software Issue
With this heat wave prevailing across the Western US, more users are complaining about the service's robustness and resiliency. Because of this, Starlink support staff assured "another-fun-day" that SpaceX is tirelessly working on the issue and will make a software update available to address the overheating problem.
The Reddit user said satisfaction with Starlink customer support, who admitted the problem was not due to any hardware malfunction amid hot temperatures but is related to a software issue. WCCF reported that SpaceX has already released two software updates for Starlink this June, and this particular upcoming update should make terminals work trouble-free even with raging temperatures hitting the country.