Support

Knowledge Base

If you have a question about our products, the answer may well be in this knowledge-base. However, if you can't find what you need, please get in touch and we will be able to help with personalised advice.



How can I get access to the data directly

There are several ways you can access the data from our devices.

RockBLOCK units will send data directly to your email address or web-service, and you can configure the destinations yourself.

RockSTAR and RockFLEET units send data directly to The CORE, where you can access all features of the units, visualise the data on a map, send/receive messages, and export data to Excel.

However, we also provide a full API which allows you to directly access the data, send/receive messages, and configure the devices


Are devices locked to Rock Seven as an airtime provider

By default, yes, our Iridium modems are locked to Rock Seven as an airtime provider, since we subsidise the hardware pricing by assuming we will sell line rental and credits. Our systems are also setup to make it very easy for you to use Iridium airtime through our portal, on a pay-as-you-go basis. The vast majority of people use our devices in conjunction with our systems and airtime, and we work hard to ensure this results in the best experience for you as a customer.

Some customers have specific requirements for airtime, and/or already have a relationship with another Iridium airtime provider. Because of this we do sell our hardware on an 'off-contract' basis, and in this case we have different prices for RockBLOCK, RockSTAR and RockFLEET units - please get in touch with us for more information. However, bear in mind that you may not be able to make use of all the facilities on our devices using another airtime provider (it depends what aspects of our devices they support).

How do I add line rental and credits

Line rental and credits can be added via your account. Once you receive your RockBLOCK, RockSTAR or RockFLEET units you can log into your account, go to Contract Status, and top-up from there. You cannot buy line rental and credits through the online shop.

These transactions are typically done via a credit card online. For customers with large fleets of units, with prior agreement, we provide an invoicing service for line rental and credits.


Developer Documentation & Manuals

Documentation for our products can be found on their respective product pages:

For RockBLOCK click here
For RockBLOCK+ click here
For RockSTAR click here
For RockFLEET click here
For The Core click here


Ground Connection for serial data

Q. I have connected the Rockblock unit with Tx and Rx to serial, then 5V and GND to a 5V power supply. Is there a signal ground for serial data or does it rely on the single GND connection?

A. It relies on the single GND connection

Sleep pin high or low?

Applies to RockBLOCK Naked only

Q. Do I need to set the Sleep to supply or any other pins (to supply or ground) if I am working with 3-wire?

A. The sleep pin can either be left disconnected (on by default) or should be connected to 5V - this will keep the module awake. To put the unit to sleep, you pull the sleep pin to ground.

Problems talking to the RockBLOCK using Arduino Mega

If you are using the library 'IridiumSBD', you may experience some issues talking to the RockBLOCK, depending how you have set things up. The problem is, the IridiumSBD module uses 'SoftwareSerial', and you can't use SoftwareSerial on all the pins on the Mega. See http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/SoftwareSerial for details. Happily, the solution is an easy one. Change the RX pin to one that supports pin change interrupts. Also (and this is just as important), make sure you haven't got your TX and RX lines mixed up. This is VERY easy to do, depending which way you think you are viewing TX/RX from, the RockBLOCK or the Arduino. If it doesn't work one way around, try the other way!

How to control the sleep pin

The sleep signal is internally pulled high on the RockBLOCK and RocKBLOCK+ products, so you can leave it disconnected if you want to leave the modem 'awake' all of the time.

To turn 'off' the modem, pull the line to ground.

Unit refuses to give me data using the SBDRT command

If you are using the SBDRT command, and the modem appears to 'hang' when you issue the command, it is probably due to flow control configuration. The default state for the RockBLOCK and RockBLOCK+ units has flow control turned ON in the modem. When running in 3-wire serial mode, flow control should be turned OFF, which will ensure you get responses to your requests.

Use the command AT&K0 at the start of your command sequence. This turns flow control off, and should solve the problem.

How do I get a RockBLOCK account?

If you have purchased a RockBLOCK product then there will be paperwork inside the box which will have your login and password on. If this paper is missing, or you have lost it, then please get in touch. You can register for an account at http://rockblock.rock7.com

Using IridiumSBD library and not transmitting

There are many reasons for the unit not being able to transmit. The main reason is that it does not have a good view of the sky. However, in your transcript you should always see the SBDIX command being issued (which is the command which asks the modem to 'try' to transmit).

If you are using the IridiumSBD library (http://arduiniana.org/libraries/iridiumsbd/ by Mikal Hart) and you are not seeing this command appear in your transcript, then your unit is not even attempting to transmit data. It's possible that you are being affected a hangover from a previous firmware issue on Iridium devices.

To counter this add the line:

isbd.useMSSTMWorkaround(false);

after the line:

isbd.begin();

This appears to resolve the problem in most cases, and you should start seeing the SBDIX command being shown in your transcripts.

What is the exact model of the FTDI-USB cable?

There are various FTDI->USB cables, the precise model used with our products is TTL-232R-3V3, and it's available to purchase from our shop or from various electronics outlets globally.

Forwarding messages via email and web service

Q. As well as forwarding messages to an email address, can HTTP messages be sent to a server and port?

Yes, you can get the RockBLOCK to send data to either email destinations, web services, or both - this is detailed in the RockBLOCK Web Services Guide

About the LiIon, On/Off and 5v Out pins

The LiIon pin is designed for you to connect a power supply between 2.5V and 5.3V. It essentially bypasses the 450mA current-limiter. You will be directly charging the on-board super capacitor. If your voltage is lower than 5V then the capacity will be lower and so more current will be drawn from your power supply during transmit bursts (maximum 1.5A at 5V).

The 5V out pin is provided for you to power your Arduino (etc) host. This is a regulated 5V. The maximum current will depend on your power supply, and the power demands of the modem.

The On/Off control will switch off the 5V regulator, and therefore power down both the Iridium modem, and your external host.

Can I connect an external antenna?

Yes - there is a version of the RockBLOCK available with an SMA connector (instead of the built-on antenna) which allows you to attach an external Iridium antenna


How do I update my firmware?

Updating your firmware is a relatively simple process. If you have a Mk3 tracker (sold from October 2014 onwards) then you can do this via the YB Connect app. Go to Advanced, Firmware Update, and follow the instructions to ensure you have the latest firmware.

If you have a Mk2 tracker or earlier (bought before October 2014) then please email us for instructions.

Unless advised otherwise, please don't do this when you are in mid-expedition, or just about to get on a plane to Peru... as with all firmware update processes, there is a very very minor risk that the process will fail

If in any doubt at all, please contact us for advice and support

Does the unit work indoors?

As with all satellite-based devices, the better view of the sky the unit has, the better it will perform.

RockSTAR units use two sets of satellites - GPS satellites in order to get a position fix, and Iridium satellites to transmit that position back to base. The GPS signal is weaker than the Iridium signal

Typically, if the RockSTAR is near to a window inside then it may be able to obtain a GPS fix and transmit, although it will take longer than normal, and will therefore use more battery power.

If the unit is deep inside a building then it is unlikely to be able to get a fix or transmit very well, and will therefore use up a lot of battery quite quickly. However, we have had devices transmit successfully from inside caves, fridges, under the seats of cars etc... it is possible, just not guaranteed, and not as reliable as usual.

As a rule, the better view of the sky you can provide for the RockSTAR, the better it will perform, and the longer the battery will last.

Why does my RockSTAR not stay at 100% when on charge

Lithium Ion batteries should not be kept permanently at 100%, and so when the RockSTAR is fully charged, a battery protection circuit will start working, and will allow the battery to run down to 95% and then top it up again.

If you have the unit on charge for a long period, you may find it is showing something like 96% rather than 100%. Do not worry about this, it is perfectly normal, and it is the battery protection system doing a good job.

The RockSTAR has a huge battery capacity, so you should not worry about a few % difference. It is better that the battery will last for many years of service, and so this system protects against this.


How do I get a CORE account?

If you have purchased a RockBLOCK product then there will be paperwork inside the box which will have your login and password on.

If you have purchased RockSTAR or RockFLEET products then the login details for your CORE account will have been emailed to you. If you cannot find your details, get in touch


How to control the sleep pin

The sleep signal is internally pulled high on the RockBLOCK and RocKBLOCK+ products, so you can leave it disconnected if you want to leave the modem 'awake' all of the time.

To turn 'off' the modem, pull the line to ground.

Unit refuses to give me data using the SBDRT command

If you are using the SBDRT command, and the modem appears to 'hang' when you issue the command, it is probably due to flow control configuration. The default state for the RockBLOCK and RockBLOCK+ units has flow control turned ON in the modem. When running in 3-wire serial mode, flow control should be turned OFF, which will ensure you get responses to your requests.

Use the command AT&K0 at the start of your command sequence. This turns flow control off, and should solve the problem.