You might have noticed a new setting in the Starlink app after a recent firmware update. The new snow melt configuration setting was first spotted in January 2022, and allows better control over the heat and energy usage of the Starlink dish. Customers living in cold weather climates will appreciate the enhanced flexibility that comes with the new settings.
I thought the Starlink dish already melted snow?
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.
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 choose from:
Disable the ability for Starlink to automatically increase power consumption to melt snow/ice
This is basically normal mode. The software will automatically adjust power consumption and melt snow/ice when needed
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.
Snow melt is a welcome feature for many Starlink customers, as it allows more flexibility for heat and energy management. Those living in areas that get a lot of snow will appreciate the ability to pre-heat the dish, while RV’ers and off-grid users can save energy by leaving the heat function off. For more details on how Starlink handles different weather, check out our post about how well Starlink works in bad weather.
How do I get mime working it idnt melting snow
It’s a setting in the Starlink app. It should be on Automatic by default, which will melt snow. It has a pre-heat option if you know a heavy storm is coming.
What are the steps to find “Snow Melt” option? I’ve been throughout the app and it doesn’t seem apparent. Thanks!
Open the app, tap Settings. Then it’s under the Snow Melt section. You should be able to select between Off, Auto, and Pre-Heat.
Is it harmful to the dish to leave it in Pre-Heat mode all winter ? Is there any downside to using Pre-Heat mode all winter, other than additional electrical consumption ?
I wouldn’t think so. The dish is smart enough to not damage itself. It won’t do any good though unless you know a storm is coming. The dish is always heating to some degree above freezing just by connecting to satellites. Heat is a byproduct of the transmissions to the satellites.
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?
The dishes are heated from the antenna. There is no separate heating system, the dish can simply activate the transmitting antenna to produce heat that would be necessary to melt snow and ice. The cable itself isn’t really anything different than CAT6, it’s just the connectors are proprietary. Starlink sells the cable itself up to 150ft that you could use as your permanent home mounted cable. But there is the concern of wearing out the connector over time, as you mentioned.
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
The rectangular dish has been reported to have lots of issues with snow, rain, and ice. It seems much less capable of actually melting and dealing with snow than the original round dish. I’ve never had any issues with snow or ice, even with heavy snowfall rates. But lots of users with rectangular dishes have experienced the same issues you are describing. Part of the problem is that the rectangular dish is more power efficient, which means less heat buildup. That’s good for your electric bill, but bad when you need to power through snow/ice/rain to get a signal.
They need to fix this. Second time in a year my rectangle dish stopped working in wet snow. Not efficient for being away from home that has electronic heating devices or security cameras that don’t work while its snowing. urgh