Starlink Firmware Update Adds Snow Melt Configuration

Photo of author
Starlink melting snow and ice
Credit: @nickmelchi

Starlink customers using the latest firmware release 992cafb5 will notice a new page on the app that allows snow melt configuration changes. The firmware release was first noticed on January 12, 2022 and has been rolling out to customers since.

If you are confused about this new “feature”, let us explain. In the original versions of the beta kit and firmware, the Starlink dish used a lot more electrical power than it does now in the most recent versions. Originally, the power consumption of the dish created enough heat buildup to melt snow and ice simply as a coincidence. Snow melt was never really a feature per say, it just happened naturally as power was boosted to overcome signal loss due to snow and ice buildup.

Starlink snow melt

Now that the Starlink dish is more power efficient, sometimes the normal operating power doesn’t cause enough heat buildup to prevent ice and snow from accumulating on the dish. And while eventually power consumption and heat would increase to combat the signal loss, this new configuration setting lets customers better prepare for upcoming storms.

Snow Melt Configuration Options

When you look at the Snow Melt Configuration page in the Starlink app, you just have three different options to chose from:

Off

Disable the ability for Starlink to automatically increase power consumption to melt snow/ice

Automatic

This is basically normal mode. The software will automatically adjust power consumption and melt snow/ice when needed

Pre-Heat

Expecting a heavy snow storm? Pre-heat mode increases power consumption on demand to heat up the dish surface before snow/ice has arrived

Which setting should I chose?

Automatic is the setting that most people should pick. It’s the default setting, so if you haven’t already changed it, you don’t need to do anything.

Pre-Heat would be useful in situations where a heavy snowfall is expected. Customers in climates that get multiple feet of snow per year would find this feature useful. Users who use pre-heat mode should remember to change back to Automatic after the storm.

Off should only be used in special circumstances or in climates where snow/ice isn’t an issue. One example would be for off-grid customers who are worried about maximizing every last watt from their energy system.

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Heather
Heather
4 days ago

I take my dish camping, and instead of removing the cable from my house, I contacted Starlink to see if there was a dedicated cable I could leave inside the home to use with a connector. Starlink has created a new problem…you can move your “portable” system but you might damage the cable removing it. They don’t sell anything like that to (Canadian?) customers and I’m really only concerned because in our climate, I need to heat my dish during the winter. So, my question is: how are the flat/round dishes heated (new December 2021)? Does the cable have something different than a cat 7 cable for example?

Heather
Heather
2 days ago
Reply to  Noah Clarke

Thank you

Kevin
Kevin
4 months ago

Unfortunately the new snow melt feature does not really work very well I have the new rectangular dish
This spring 4 times now,, when It has been above freezing for a period of time say a day or two and then it goes to say 32 degrees and starts snowing the dish goes offline
Starlink needs to write some new code to have the dish heat better because I understand I should not just leave it in “Pre Heat” mode