3g cameras will not work

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30 comments

  • John Lockburner

    Where did you buy the camera and what cell carrier?

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    Verizon cameras were supposed to sunset December 31, 2019. However, Verizon extended that to December 31, 2020. AT&T is sunsetting on or about December 31, 2021.

    Spartan Camera was notified in mid June 2018 that Verizon was sunsetting 12/2019. They sent out emails, posted on their FB page and web site, about that sunset. 

    There was an upgrade program offered at the time they sent notification (this was for Verizon). 

    Johnny’s question about carrier is the first I’d ask. I’d also like to know what the specs of your SD card are. What is the camera doing or not doing? Trying to get on the network and it fails so it just shuts off? Or something else?

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  • Chase Worsham

    From spartan, service att

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  • Chase Worsham

    As stated, I have spoken with spartan several times. All cards, firmware, everything is right and up to date. I can get signal on network at my deer feeder, walk 15’ away to mount it and have no network service at all.

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  • Chase Worsham

    I never received the upgrade email, and you can’t depend on people to see the Facebook post, and now I’m told there is nothing they can do for me. Even so, I have att, I should have another 18 months of working service if the above statement is true

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    I have had 3G cameras that could get signal and then 15' away could not. I had one camera in a low spot that I could walk out maybe 20 or 30 yards, get service, and walk it back to its hole and it would somehow manage to work. If it's getting signal in one place but not in another close by, it likely is not the camera. Signal is spotty at times, as anyone who's fought getting service on their cell phone knows.

    Apparently you have no other place to mount the camera. You may try cleaning the contacts on the SIM (rub them with a pencil eraser or against your jeans), checking the antenna to see if it's loose. It's possible that a different antenna (I think those shipped with a short rubber duck, but there's a longer rubber duck and a paddle) would help, but if you don't have either of those, that's not really an option.

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    I understand that you are frustrated, but Spartan sent multiple emails, posts were made on multiple FB pages and groups, here, and on various forums (archery, hunting, camera). Spartan did the best they could to get the word out. However, the carrier in question was Verizon, so that may be why you didn't get an email. Verizon notified Spartan in early June 2018 that all 3G cameras had to be activated no later than the 30th of that month and 3G would sunset in 18 months (end of 2019).

    You should have another 18-20 months of service, in theory, but that depends on whether AT&T shuts down towers ahead of the sunset date.

    Does the camera work at your house? In locations other than the exact location you want to put it?

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    I am running one ATTb, one ATTi, and five ATTxb (two at our camp in SW MS, and one each in various locations in south Louisiana, over a hundred miles apart from the eastmost to the westmost). They're all on AT&T Buy-A-Session data plans and are working fine. A couple of them miss sending a photo occasionally, but for the most part, they are rock solid.

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  • Chase Worsham

    It works nowhere. Will not connect to a network anywhere I try. It is a paperweight at this point

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    Okay. I'm sorry that I got confused. You said that you could get signal at your deer feeder then walk 15' away and not have signal. That is not the same thing as not connecting to the network at all.

    You've tried a different SIM? Is there any way that you can take it to an AT&T store and see if they can put a working data SIM in it to see if the SIM might be the problem? I have had cameras that wouldn't work or worked poorly because of bad SIMs, so I keep several on hand all the time.

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  • John Lockburner

    John you said you get signal at your feeder, will it send a manual picture from there?

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  • Chase Worsham

    Yes test picture sends from there, move 15’ and lose network all together

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  • John Lockburner

    Ok, then ATT hasn't taken down any 3g towers it's just that the signal is very poor in that area. The camera is still working as it should which is good we just need to figure it a way to boost the signal with a better or different antenna or maybe find a different location. Sometimes even a foot or two or the left side of the tree instead of the right can make a difference.

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  • Chase Worsham

    Clearly it’s not working as it should, I simply cannot believe that one foot this way or that way will completely lose the network. As far as network being poor in the area, where is connects at the feeder, has full bars of signal, 15’ to the left, zero service. No reason at all that should be that drastic of a a network change if the camera is operating properly.

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  • John Lockburner

    I had one camera that when I mounted it on the front of the tree it didn't send so I screwed the security box to the side of the tree and it worked just fine. It's also possible that the antenna is broken internally, it might be worth trying another one.

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  • Chase Worsham

    Tried 3 separate paddle antennas , and 6 different locations around the ranch. Some wooded, some wide open on top of a hill. No success anywhere.

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  • John Lockburner

    Do you have any of the 3g pencil antennas? If it's the Spartan paddle antenna they are for the 4g cameras and don't always work with the 3g's.

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  • Chase Worsham

    They’ve worked with paddle antennas on two different leases that were much more secluded than the one I’m on now. Quick question John, do you work for spartan? Or a very experienced customer?

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  • John Lockburner

    I do camera testing for them and tech support from home, not at Spartan headquaters.

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  • Chase Worsham

    Ok. Well I asked them to send it in to see if they could test it and get it to work and their response was there is nothing they can really do about it, it’s a phased out camera. And have not offered any kind of resolution. Spent $400+ to use a camera for two seasons. Doesn’t seem right to treat customers like this but can’t count on anyone these days to do the right thing

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  • John Lockburner

    Can you take it to one of the locations where it used to work and see how it reacts? Honestly if it works fine in one spot but not another the camera is working. Did they have you try messing with the APN settings at all?

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  • Chase Worsham

    I’ve already wasted enough time driving out to my lease trying to set this camera up, I’m not making a special trip hours out of the way to see if it might work where it once did. I would say I have about 4 hrs of phone time with customer service on this camera. Have changed every setting including apn, bought new 10 series sd cards and have gone thru two new sim cards as well. I have exhausted every possible solution at this point.

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    In case you want to try the APN setting (I helped a customer who was having trouble getting a camera online recent;u and that fixed the problem), here are the instructions:

    With the camera in setup mode, on the camera, press the Menu button, fourth menu tab, Diagnostic, APN Setting, password is 123456, OK.

    Spartan SIM should be APNSP. AT&T should be either APNBR or APNBL (choose whichever one it isn't already)

    FWIW, my expensive Verizon Galaxy Note 9 won’t get signal at most of our camp, so I’m quite familiar with flaky signal. It’s possible that the tower(s) in your area are using more resources to support 4G signal than 3G signal. 

    (Camera test team member, here, too, not a regular SC employee)

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  • Daniel Stumpf

    I have a 3g camera same exact issue have reached out and all I was Told is it’s out of warranty there is nothing we can do but you buy a camera for 400 plus again. This camera has been sent in once already after having for a year and needed to be replaced. It’s been nothing but a problem and I also Never saw anything about upgrading to another camera. Also was told that att notified spartan 3/4 years in advance about phasing the camera out of that’s the case and bought mine 2 seasons ago why would they still let you purchase it at full price?! Pretty bad if you ask me. Then even if there is a “buy back program” paying another $250 on another camera and sending the 3g back you’re paying $650 on a 4g. This camera should still work and since it is not even if it’s because att decided to phase out towers early spartan should stand behind there customer service and their product and honor there cameras.

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    Daniel,

    Did you try changing the APN setting? If you have, then never mind. If you haven't, then it's worth a try. I assume you've also tried different "to spec" SD cards. Does your camera work in any location at all?

    There is no "buy back" program and there never has been. There has been an upgrade program (mainly for the Verizon 3G cameras because Verizon provided very short notice, less than a month), but I'm not sure whether it's still available. You always got to keep your old camera and get the new one, too.

    We went through this when we transitioned from 2G (text cameras) to 3G.

    Which camera model do you have? I bought several ATTxb about two and a half years ago. I've replaced some with A4Gb2 but am still running several of them. My oldest camera, an ATTb, was deployed on 8/26/2015. It's the security camera watching our camper. My first ATTxb (a test camera) was deployed 4/21/2017 and is still running fine. I have several others that were deployed in October through December 2017. I have had some ATTb go out, though, and I have an xb that has weird lines on the LCD screen. Out of warranty so I'll use it as a spare if I need it, but nothing I can do about getting it fixed.

    My cameras are running in a very rural county (about 8000 people) with really lousy cell service, especially back in the area where we are. I have dealt with cameras that couldn't get signal in some places on our property. When I started with Coverts, sometimes troubleshooting that camera involved driving over and literally parking under the AT&T cell tower to see if the camera could get signal. (Less than 2 miles from property to tower, but 7 or 8 miles by the road.)

    Spartan has no control over what AT&T does with their towers. The cameras come with a 2-year warranty. Heck, my fancy schmancy iPads (that cost a lot more than cameras) come with a 1-year warranty unless I pay extra ($100 or more) for an extra year. Granted, if one breaks after that, I can probably pay to have it fixed, but repairs are expensive.

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  • Daniel Stumpf

    I have Spoken on the phone and there was a offer in 2019 that would get your 3g and sell you a 4g for $250 I was Told that when calling spartan by a gentleman on the phone and he pretty much said there is nothing they can do now. My 3g camera isn’t working I have Tried everything after calling support several times. It’s the second time there have been issues with this camera and I also Have had a fancy schmancy iPad and the one I had Broke and you know what apple did after having it for over 3 years. They replaced it with there newest model because that’s what good customer service is. The fact that this camera is becoming obsolete and is still very new something should be done. I can Go to academy and buy a camera with way better megapixel and spend less than what this one is worth at this point it will not do what it is suppose to do which is send photos to my phone and should do so for another 18 months. Of course Elizabeth you will have some very different opinions being employed by spartan. I also Was very happy with spartan until this issue has occurred not once but twice with this camera. I have Even gone to the lengths and purchased another antenna to help boost the signal. Spartan has no control over what att does but they do know or have an idea of when there service will start to be phased out and that was probably around 2015/2016 when they knew this would happen with the 3g and from then on out that camera should of no longer been sold at the price they were sold at and every customer should of been aware. You said started with coverts you had problems and I have not read anything wrong with them or people having issues like me and John Worsham have had. What happened to standing behind your product and taking care of your customers. Really bad look.

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  • John Lockburner

    Att has not started phasing things out as far as I have heard, they should still work for another year and a half. When they do start it will affect a lot of things (everything 3g not just the cameras), there's alarm systems, tablets, watches all brands of cell cameras, GPS's, ON-Star type systems and smart watches. If it's in a bad signal area there's really not much that can be done other than trying different antennas or locations. I will to try and help out and see if there is something we can do to get the cameras working. If you guys could post a picture of the information screen on your cameras and a screen shot of the status report that would be a great place to start, also please post the exact camera model with the photos and maybe a picture of the SD card that's in the camera..

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  • Daniel Stumpf

    John, Elizebeth are you a decision maker or just tech support that want to walk us through what has already been done to tell us that they don’t work and there is nothing we can do? I want someone higher up to reach out to me about this a decision maker not a customer service rep. That keeps telling what I already Know that my camera doesn’t work and 3g is going away that your camera is a paper weight at this point.

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  • John Lockburner

    We are just tech, if you don't want the help that's fine. I understand you've probably tried everything we would suggest already but you never know. Like I said I don't believe that 3g has gone away yet so was hoping we could figure something out.

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  • Elizabeth Swoope

    Daniel,

    I started with a 2013 Covert. Keeping that camera up and working was a nightmare. In retrospect, I think a lot of the blame probably should have fallen on AT&T. That was back when cell cameras used texting plans. The camera constantly went down and would have to be restarted and cajoled to start working. That was no easy chore since the camera was over 2 hours away and mounted 10 ft high on a telephone pole and the only way to test was to pop the SIM into an old Blackberry Pearl phone and try to talk to AT&T tech support in a crappy signal area while perched on a ladder. Not only was it difficult to get the camera online and keep it there (I never knew when the last photo I got was the last photo I was going to get because it had gone down again), I'd get billed for phone calls (which the camera could neither make nor receive), some of which lasted for several minutes.

    I got a 2014, went through several of them because that model had a horrible problem with white outs for a couple of hours morning and night.

    Then I got a 2015 (first model to use a data plan rather than a text plan). I ran a Spartan that I was testing and that Covert. Sold the Covert when it took/sent about 1/3 of the photos that the Spartan (mounted in the same location, with as close to identical an aim as possible, and also using an AT&T data plan) did. The guy who bought it from me had better signal than I did and it worked fine for him. I was so glad that it did. Made us both happy campers.

    What I know about things in general is that warranty is warranty. If I have something that is out of warranty, I may ask if it can be fixed, but I don't expect it to be fixed. The Spartan Camera warranty (materials and workmanship) is two years. It's not a guarantee that technology won't change. I've been using small computers since 1982 and have experienced all sorts of things going obsolete, back when the cheapest computers were thousands of dollars and warranties were typically 90 days.

    I paid $650 for a Reconyx license plate camera (non-cellular, black and white during the day, nothing but license plate at night) with either a one or two-year warranty (don't remember). Replaced the two with a $460 version that does color day time pics and poor IR night pics, but still better pics than the other one. These have a 5-year warranty, non-cell, but cost more than any of Spartan's cell cams.

    John and Daniel,

    Johnny has made suggestions about what would help him see if he can help y'all. Y'all know what you've tried but we don't. I'm sorry that we've annoyed you by asking questions and making suggestions based on the information that was provided. Neither one of us is a mind reader, we do not have access to any records on what real tech support might have gone through with you. We ask questions and ask for screen shots and photos because we've had the experience enough times that seeing something (rather than just having someone describe it) showed us something important. (64 G SD card, microSD in adapter, microSD adapter with no SD card in it, Spartan AT&T SIM used to purchase an AT&T Buy-A-Session plan just to name a few of the things where screen shots or pictures made all the difference)

    Johnny's last post sums it up. He's offered everything he possibly can to see if he can get y'all up and working.

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