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Fixed Skytrak not reading shots... kind of...

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  • Fixed Skytrak not reading shots... kind of...

    *** Disclaimer ***
    The fix for my Skytrak problem required me to disassemble the unit. I am out of warranty and this process would void any warranty that would have been in place. I am a software engineer with hardware expertise. I'm not suggesting that you attempt this unless you are fully confident I'm your abilities.

    In other words... I'm not responsible for you breaking your Skytrak!



    TL;DR: The laser curtains on these devices can fail prematurely. This will cause the skytrak to not read shots on either left or right hand mode but not both. It is possible to swap the left and right laser curtain which would allow shots to read in the opposite direction but not the other (i.e. if it's not reading right handed shots this would cause it to not read left handed shots and allow right handed to read)



    The Problem
    A few weeks ago my Skytrak stopped reading shots. Laser stayed red and no shot data was sent to TGC or the Skytrak app.

    How Skytrak Works
    Skytrak relies on two infrared (IR) laser curtains (aka trigger) that detects a ball flying into through it. One laser is for right mode shots and the other is for left hand mode shots. When these are triggered it fires off an IR led flash and takes two pictures which it then sends to the appropriate the app for processing.

    Troubleshooting
    I spent a few hours troubleshooting and found that the right hand laser curtain was defective. Here are the main points of interest that brought me to this conclusion

    1. I found that my Skytak read left handed shots but not right handed ones.
    2. Using a newer model smart phone you can see the IR's in action. I turned the camera on and watched some slow motion videos. The flash would trigger in left hand mode but not right.
    3. The laser curtain that illuminates when in right hand mode was very dim while the left hand mode laser was considerably brighter.

    Solution
    I decided to take on the risk of dissecting my Skytak. I was no longer in warranty and too impatient to send the unit off. The plan was to attempt a swap of the two laser curtains which would make my unit a right handed only launch monitor. Things went as planned and I found that the two parts were interchangeable. The small screws that held sensors, pcb and various components were easily removed. The big challenge was the process of cracking open the case. Without knowing how the thing splits It was really tricky getting into it without breaking it.

    After putting it all back together the unit has worked better than ever. I've had fewer miss reads where the red laser would stay on. The bummer is that we have a left handed son that cannot use it. It is likely that a replacement part could be found with enough searching. I failed to take a picture of the numbers on the laser itself so I'm afraid I would have to tare it down again to know what replacement laser diode would work as a replacement.

    All-in-all, for me it was worth the risk to fix my problem and it was a fun project that I was able to use as a teaching experience for by kids.
    Last edited by BirdieBalls; 08-28-2019, 03:48 AM.

  • #2
    Thank you! It seems I have been reading about this laser curtain failure in a few threads lately. Good to know you can swap out the left and right. Any tips on cracking the case open??

    Comment


    • #3
      You can open it up by removing 2 screws on the bottom. One of these is under the VOID sticker. The case slides apart but it is tight. If you need to pry a bit to encourage it to come apart, it's best to use a plastic pry tool that wont damage the plastic.

      The IR lens covers doesn't need to be removed. I thought there would be screws behind them holding the 2 halves together... wrong.

      Dont force anything. Dont rush. Take your time.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have the same background and had to do this months ago. So far so good.

        Comment


        • #5
          Makes me think/wonder. If we could source the laser curtain from somewhere online? Was there a part number on it? Something searchable? I mean if its out of warranty and the fix is as easy as you presented it to be, it would make it pretty easy for most people to do this repair on their own.

          Comment


          • #6
            I failed to take note of a number on the laser itself. I'll bet we could find some on line somewhere if we can figure out the specs of the component. I'm not sure most people would feel comfortable taking apart a pricey piece of equipment like this but If it is an option it could save some folks a few hundred bucks.

            I'm pretty slammed with work stuff this week but if I get time over the next few days, I may have another look inside the case to try and find a part number.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the write up. I myself had a laser curtain failure a few months ago on a 6 month old unit. Normally I tend to lean toward working on my own things but I fell just inside the warranty. If I have another failure I'll be making the switch myself.

              Comment


              • BirdieBalls
                BirdieBalls commented
                Editing a comment
                I dont blame you for sending it in. If mine was in warranty I would have done the same.

            • #8
              Is this laser curtain what is most prone to break in ST? Is there other known issues as well that is known?

              Comment


              • BirdieBalls
                BirdieBalls commented
                Editing a comment
                It seems to be the most common failure that I know of. Although, I still dont think there have too many of these. I've heard some people saying that they couldn't get the skytrak to connect to the Protee/TGC interface. But that is usually a configuration or PC problem.

              • kokoskorpen
                kokoskorpen commented
                Editing a comment
                Ok. I got my ST a couple of days ago and can still leave it back, so i have been reading here. Tried it yesterday and it performed perfekt, read every shot, with and without tee, so it’s a keeper.

              • Morini
                Morini commented
                Editing a comment
                Most likely there was a bad batch. There lasers should not burn out that quickly. There are a few other causes of hardware failure, but this is by far the most common.

            • #9
              Mine just failed this past weekend and I am just out of my warranty window. Tech support said could be $200-$400 to fix, but wouldn't know until I paid to send it in. I've dissected laptops many times in the past, so I'm considering attempting this as well. Very frustrating that the thing worked perfectly up until my warranty ran out. If anyone from SkyTrak is reading this is there anything you guys can do?

              Comment


              • #10
                Like I have stated before, this is clearly a faulty batch of parts. The true goodwill gesture would be to fix free of charge even if reasonably out of warranty. If that is not possible, at least offer game improvement credit equivalent to repair cost.

                It would be nice if replacement part could be sourced. My Skypro battery finally failed, and I found a replacement on amazon for a few dollars and soldered it on myself in about 5 minutes. Runs like new. I am hoping to have the same option for when my ST fails due to laser curtain. If I have the same batch, it is only a matter of time.

                Comment


                • GungHoGolf
                  GungHoGolf commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Got a link to the battery replacement? Cool you were able to do that.

                • Morini
                  Morini commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don't, but will look at my amazon history and let you know. It was very hard to read the specs on the old battery, but I could read the model number. I could not find the exact same model for purchase, but was able to find specs online, and then ordered one with same specs including physical size.

              • #11
                Well happy to report I completed surgery on my SkyTrak tonight and successfully swapped the left and right laser curtains. Unfortunately there were no part numbers or any other markings on the laser curtains that might be useful in finding replacements. Good thing I don’t have any left handed friends.

                Comment


                • #12
                  Both of my IR laser curtains burned out today. Not reading right or left shots. Sending in I guess. I wish I could swap them.

                  Comment


                  • Morini
                    Morini commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Do you mean that both burned out today? That would be extremely improbable. Is there another potential cause?

                • #13
                  I’ve never paid attention but right and left handed shots aren’t registering I have no light on either side. I guess it could be something else like the main board or something.

                  Comment


                  • Morini
                    Morini commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The laser curtain is IR and is not visible. Did you mean that the laser dot is not visible?

                • #14
                  No the dots are fine on left and right shots just nothing registering. I called support and they had me switch to left handed and a few did register but not consistent and nothing on right handed shots. I’ll try to record a shot like birdieballs did.

                  Comment


                  • Morini
                    Morini commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You could turn the lights down and take a picture with the selfie cam of your phone. Laser curtain should show up. In your case, that will likely be missing for right and very faint for left.

                • #15
                  I’ll try that. Thanks.

                  Comment

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