How to Upgrade Your Helium Hotspot SD Card to Remain Online & Continue Earning HNT

Certain Helium Hotspot Devices Are Experiencing Technical Issues Due to Their SD Cards; Here’s the Easiest Way to Solve the Problem 

optimized helium hotspot antenna

Do you have a RAK Wireless Helium Hotspot installed in your home? Is your Helium Hotspot offline and you’re unsure why? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, you could be in need of an SD card upgrade.

A growing number of Helium Hotspots are experiencing technical issues caused by their limited SD card capacities. RAK Wireless hotspots have been hit particularly hard due to their out-of-the-box 32 GB storage limitations. Put plainly, these Hotspots are being asked to store increasingly large amounts of blockchain data in order to properly function on the Helium Network. The more the Helium Network expands, the more data needs to be stored on each device. 

While manufacturing these devices, RAK Wireless and other hotspot device producers didn’t anticipate a need for storage capacity that stretched beyond 32 GB. The bittersweet reality is that the Helium Network has managed to expand exponentially and is currently growing well beyond the initial predictions of most manufacturers. This has led to a huge shortage of available Helium Hotspots as a whole and is now starting to impact the performance of a select number of devices that are currently online. As of writing, roughly 25% of all RAK Wireless Helium Hotspots have been impacted by this SD Card issue. 

If you own or host a Helium Hotspot manufactured by RAK Wireless and it’s currently offline, this issue likely pertains to you. If you own or host a RAK Wireless hotspot that is still functioning but is utilizing the stock version of the SD card then you should continue reading. And, if you own or host a Helium Hotspot that isn’t manufactured by RAK Wireless but still uses the stock version of its SD card, then we highly recommend considering an upgrade so that you can potentially avoid this problem in the near future. 

There are currently 19 approved Helium Hotspot device manufacturers on the market. If you’re a member of the JAG Network and have received a hotspot through us, then you’re most likely hosting a RAK Wireless or SenseCap device. For the majority of SenseCap or other device hosts, this SD Card issue hasn’t been much of a problem. Unfortunately, there’s a growing number of RAK Wireless hosts that continue to see their devices disconnect from the network for seemingly no reason. This is more than likely due to the device’s SD card limitations. 

There Are 3 Easy Steps to Resolving This Issue 

1. Identify the Status & Manufacturer of Your Device 

Take a look at your Helium Hotspot to determine who the manufacturer is. For most RAK devices, there is a bit of text on the back where the power chord connects that reads “RAK Hotspot Miner”. Most other Helium Hotspots will have similar markings to help you determine who made the device. Whether or not your device is currently offline or not functioning properly, you should continue reading if you’ve determined that your Helium Hotspot was manufactured by RAK Wireless.

Once you’ve identified your device manufacturer, you should determine whether or not it is online or inactive. As a JAG host, you can see your device’s status in real-time by logging into the JAG Portal and viewing your dashboard. You can also view your Hotspot’s status by creating a Hotspotty account which will provide access to an external knowledge base and additional information for optimizing your Helium device setup. 

To view your device’s status in the JAG Portal, simply log in and select “Hotspot” from the top navigation menu. You should then see a notification that indicates whether or not your hotspot is online and active. If you aren’t currently a JAG Host or if you’d rather view your device status elsewhere, you can also determine its network activity by utilizing Hotspotty. This is an open-source platform that offers a “Real-Time Status Check” report for each Helium Hotspot device. 

If your device is currently offline, then you can proceed to the Helium mobile app to run a diagnostics test. If you see any of the following messages, then you’ll likely need to replace your SD card:

-  “Disk Error”
- The block is the same after running diagnostics a full day in between
- An outdated firmware version
- A very old block height

Other indications that your Helium Hotspot device needs an SD card upgrade are as follows:

- Does not boot up
- Cannot find a Bluetooth connection after pressing the pairing button
- Shows a solid or flashing green status LED

Once you’ve determined the status and manufacturer of your Helium Hotspot, you can proceed with the SD card upgrade. This upgrade isn’t 100% necessary for all devices and only ¼ of all RAK Wireless devices are experiencing the SD card issue at this moment. Still, the number of affected hotspots continues to grow as the Helium Network expands and it’s a valuable upgrade to consider regardless of your current device status or manufacturer. 

2. Find Your Hotspot SD Card

Most Helium Hotspot devices have a fairly obvious or universally recognizable slot for their SD card placement. On RAK Wireless devices, the SD card slot should be located on the side where the antenna or coaxial cable connects to the hotspot. There is a small semi-hidden flap that can be pulled away to reveal the actual SD card. Be sure to keep the card in place until you decide to purchase a replacement.

3. Replace Your SD Card

Regardless of whether or not you’re a JAG Network Helium Hotspot Host, you can purchase one of our pre-flashed SD Cards from our online store to upgrade your device and get it back online. Our cards have double the storage capacity of the stock or “out-of-the-box” hotspots and have already been loaded with all of the necessary allow for Helium Network functionality. Of course, you can always purchase a standard microSD card from any retailer and “re-flash” it on your own. However, this requires multiple additional steps and will likely result in your hotspot being offline for a longer period of time. 

Shop our Pre-Flashed Upgraded SD Cards below to get your hotspot reactivated and earn HNT again as soon as possible! 

Pre-flashed Gigastone 64GB UHD Micro SD Card
Pre-flashed Gigastone 64GB UHD Micro SD Card

Pre-flashed Gigastone 64GB UHD Micro SD Card

Gigastone 64GB UHD 90MB/s Micro SDXC UHS-I A1 Class 10. This card is to replace the 32Gb card in your RAK Helium Hotspot. Follow these instructions and the video below for instructions on how to swap the card out in your RAK v1.5 or v2 device:
  1. Power off the hotspot (unplug from power)
  2. Carefully peel off the tape protecting the microSD card slot, it is below the gold/black sticker on the side of the hotspot where the antenna is, next to the status LEDs.
  3. Remove microSD card inside, there is a small lip on the bottom part which you can use to pull it out, some people prefer to use tweezers.
  4. Replace card making sure it's correctly inserted all the way with brand side down
  5. Power on the hotspot again.

Works with RAK v1.5 and RAK v2


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