Incorrect date causing 'regularly format memory card for data integrity' error

CZroe

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It's definitely annoying, though if something would happen (accident, or like with your wife) I would be more than happy to go
through all the footage to find the right clip. cos wrong date or not, the camera does film everything.

if have sent 10 mails (yes that's TEN) to TW KOREA about this problem and got 0 (yes that's ZERO) reply. - their customer service is a F'in joke

though in all fairness, TW UK were very reactive when I contacted them about my Q800 cameras which overheated.
Even worse:
Months ago I did have something happen right after formatting the card so I didn't have much to go through. It still did no good. It seems having the wrong time/date doesn't just sort them incorrectly... it makes successive clips record over each other. Practically useless!

Considering that it remains powered from the vehicle when parked it is inexcusable that the firmware can't maintain the correct time/date from GPS at least until external power is interrupted. There is no engineering excuse for not doing this! This expensive device invariably fails at it's most basic function (reliable incident recording) within a few short years even if you get expensive installation that should increase reliability and they won't even issue a super-simple firmware mitigation after the problem reveals itself. It's laughably incompetent. I can't even suggest it's planned obsolescence or an attempt to force you to upgrade, since all it will actually do is make sure NO ONE buys from them again and all previous customers will tell others to stay far away.
 

Mj1pate

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Even worse:
Months ago I did have something happen right after formatting the card so I didn't have much to go through. It still did no good. It seems having the wrong time/date doesn't just sort them incorrectly... it makes successive clips record over each other. Practically useless!

Considering that it remains powered from the vehicle when parked it is inexcusable that the firmware can't maintain the correct time/date from GPS at least until external power is interrupted. There is no engineering excuse for not doing this! This expensive device invariably fails at it's most basic function (reliable incident recording) within a few short years even if you get expensive installation that should increase reliability and they won't even issue a super-simple firmware mitigation after the problem reveals itself. It's laughably incompetent. I can't even suggest it's planned obsolescence or an attempt to force you to upgrade, since all it will actually do is make sure NO ONE buys from them again and all previous customers will tell others to stay far away.
Review my issue above in the thread. Yes, I disgorged the circuit boards in the camera and soldered in a new button sized battery and voila, the thing works again. Of course, my camera had the $400 external long-charge-holding battery attached which made no difference when the button battery went south. I emailed Thinkware and requested they send me at no cost a front-rear camera ensemble that doesn’t require disassembly periodic maintenance, to replace my $800 system. I haven’t heard back.
 

EGS

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Review my issue above in the thread. Yes, I disgorged the circuit boards in the camera and soldered in a new button sized battery and voila, the thing works again. Of course, my camera had the $400 external long-charge-holding battery attached which made no difference when the button battery went south. I emailed Thinkware and requested they send me at no cost a front-rear camera ensemble that doesn’t require disassembly periodic maintenance, to replace my $800 system. I haven’t heard back.
I believe extreme temperature is responsible for the premature death of those button batteries, specially when they are located too close to the processor and remain in constant heat. Wouldn’t be a bad idea relocating that battery elsewhere (when possible) at time of replacement away from the hottest components. Some cameras have plenty of room inside the shell and is possible to do that.
 

Mj1pate

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I believe extreme temperature is responsible for the premature death of those button batteries, specially when they are located too close to the processor and remain in constant heat. Wouldn’t be a bad idea relocating that battery elsewhere (when possible) at time of replacement away from the hottest components. Some cameras have plenty of room inside the shell and is possible to do that.
I consider an $800 camera investment to be a candidate for usage during the lifetime of the vehicle. So, this is possibly only the first battery replacement I’ll undertake during the system lifetime. I thought about soldering wires to the PC Card lands and bringing the battery outside the case for easier future replacements. I’ll probably do that next time.
 

Mj1pate

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I consider an $800 camera investment to be a candidate for usage during the lifetime of the vehicle. So, this is possibly only the first battery replacement I’ll undertake during the system lifetime. I thought about soldering wires to the PC Card lands and bringing the battery outside the case for easier future replacements. I’ll probably do that next time.
And BTW: Thinkware responded with an offer of 40% off on an upgrade after my complaint. I dunno, mine works again now. I think I’m ok. I feel better about it regardless. Now that we know how to remedy this, I do suggest others find a camera or PC shop who will agree to replace the battery. Now I wish I would have taken pictures of the disassembly. If someone can take pictures, they might be of value to whichever tech replaces batteries for no tech customers
 

CZroe

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Review my issue above in the thread. Yes, I disgorged the circuit boards in the camera and soldered in a new button sized battery and voila, the thing works again. Of course, my camera had the $400 external long-charge-holding battery attached which made no difference when the button battery went south. I emailed Thinkware and requested they send me at no cost a front-rear camera ensemble that doesn’t require disassembly periodic maintenance, to replace my $800 system. I haven’t heard back.
Thanks, but we've already done that. The incident a few months ago was right after we got the car and we were trying to figure out what was wrong with the ThinkWare DVR, hence the recent format and FW update. We had just purchased the car which had it pre-installed.

Yes, it works fine now, but that doesn't change the fact that it didn't when we needed it (prowler in our driveway, peeking in our cars right after breaking into a neighbor's car) and there is no good engineering reason why. That's why I will never buy another ThinkWare and will advocate against it.

My previous post was specifically to point out that the date problem also prevents people motivated to comb through the footage when something serious enough warrants it. The files are gone and even professional data recovery is unlikely due to writing over them.

It's ridiculous that these things completely fail at their intended purpose just because the date is wrong, especially when the correct date can be reacquired by GPS and maintained without GPS as long as there is power. Even if it lost power it should be able to detect that and turn on GPS long enough to reacquire or at least make undated sequential recordings during the condition where the time/date was not known.

The next BIG concern is that they would market this for permanent installation in vehicles with a ticking time-bomb that essentially ruins the product after only three years (earliest reports were about three years after the product was announced). There was plenty of room for a larger battery and even a non-rechargeable could've easily outlasted that.

For an example that should set consumer expectations, look at all the Pokémon Game Boy Advance games that used a battery for a real-time clock (RTC). They died faster than the older games that used a larger battery for saving game progress to SRAM, but they still lasted several years and weren't even full-size 20mm batteries. The one used by ThinkWare is laughably small in comparison and somehow has a shorter useful life DESPITE being rechargeable (Pokemon's RTC battery is not).

Many laptops use a non-rechargeable coin cell battery for maintaining their clock and CMOS settings and they don't even have to fit into space constraints on the circuit board (often attached with leads/wires and a disconnect). Again, they last several years at least. My Toshiba Libretto CT110 ultraportable laptop from the '90s has a tiny little one that still works, and they actually bothered to attach the wire leads with a disconnect.

A car that is being operated or maintained frequently enough that the starter battery and fuel doesn't go bad should be fine with having no RTC battery in the integrated GPS-aware DVR system. Heck, even if they had to have some on-board power source specifically for the DVR RTC, a simple capacitor could do it... recharges everytime it sees power and lasts weeks with no battery needed.

Capacitors are often used as a cheaper substitute for a battery in situations where you might need to maintain time/date or other electronic settings when main power is removed. The only reason a vehicle's clock doesn't always have a capacitor like that is because it isn't as critical for basic vehicle functions as it is for a DVR's functions, which brings us right back to their basic engineering failures considering the device's application.

But their shame doesn't end there. Not only have they not remedied it with a firmware update, they won't even properly acknowledge it, seemingly even working to undermine people looking for a solution. Users searching for the date issue will find a "How to set time/date" tutorial which doesn't address it at all- heck, it doesn't even address what the guide presumes to explain (setting time/date)! It ignores the premise and title of their video and shows you how to change the time ZONE, never even mentioning that time/date is set automatically by GPS, confusing users even more. You might triple-check that the time/date option they imply is there, isn't, then wrongly conclude that something is wrong with your browser, wireless device, etc suppressing the option.

This is something this FW engineers could literally fix overnight. The fact that they still haven't as more and more users inevitably experience this speaks volumes about how serious they take critical issues like BEING FUNCTIONAL. I seriously hope they see people reacting this way and reverse course before it completely ruins their company but, as it stands now, they deserve it.
 
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CZroe

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And BTW: Thinkware responded with an offer of 40% off on an upgrade after my complaint. I dunno, mine works again now. I think I’m ok. I feel better about it regardless. Now that we know how to remedy this, I do suggest others find a camera or PC shop who will agree to replace the battery. Now I wish I would have taken pictures of the disassembly. If someone can take pictures, they might be of value to whichever tech replaces batteries for no tech customers
I hope you told them how offensive it is that they would expect you to continue doing business with them after they failed to mitigate the issue with a FW update on the existing product or take responsibility for a blatant engineering flaw, dooming it to a ~4 year life (or less) for your average user.

The nerve of those guys!
 

CZroe

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I consider an $800 camera investment to be a candidate for usage during the lifetime of the vehicle. So, this is possibly only the first battery replacement I’ll undertake during the system lifetime. I thought about soldering wires to the PC Card lands and bringing the battery outside the case for easier future replacements. I’ll probably do that next time.
Exactly.

...and I forgot to say in the last post that I intended to make a video but I had a falling out with my twin brother during the two months it took for the replacement battery to arrive. When it did arrive he just went ahead and installed it without me. :(
 

EGS

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I consider an $800 camera investment to be a candidate for usage during the lifetime of the vehicle. So, this is possibly only the first battery replacement I’ll undertake during the system lifetime. I thought about soldering wires to the PC Card lands and bringing the battery outside the case for easier future replacements. I’ll probably do that next time.
I totally agree with you!!! At that price tag you should not expect those cameras failing that soon and manufacturer should take steps to make it right for the customer.
 

egonvdv

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I finally got a reply from TW after having resent my email about 10/12(!) times (to 5 different addresses including the general cs@thinkware.co.kr)

from jinjuha@thinkware.co.kr

Dear customer.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

We are very sorry for the late response because the inquiry was sent to other than the Tinware Customer Center.
In this case, we regret to inform you in accordance with the warranty period policy.
The life of the backup battery is difficult to convert into years and can be determined by the black box setting and the frequency of use of the vehicle.
In addition, if it occurs within the warranty period of the black box, it can be replaced free of charge by visiting the store where you purchased it.
However, according to the AS policy, if the warranty period is out of date, it will be replaced.
Please let me know your country and where you purchased it, and we will guide you to the nearest branch one.
If you have any other questions about our product, please feel free to contact us again.

Kind Regard,
THINKWARE
 

Oilburner

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My Thinkware F770 was purchased in 2017 and is out of warranty and the backup battery has also failed, and like others on here I've invested a lot of time installing and money into this Thinkware F770 dual camera system including a Cellink battery setup, only to found the tiny backup battery has failed, this should not have happened on a top of the line dash camera system being just over two years old, especially when I compare it to the relatively cheap in comparison to the Transcend Drivepro 220 dash camera that is working perfectly in our other car and is now 4 years old and the vehicle is used as a daily driver, unlike the vehicle with the Thinkware F770 which is only used occasionally so the camera has had very little use.

But because of all the hassle and time I had installing the Thinkware F770 dual camera I reluctantly decided just to order a replacement Seiko battery, after following some instructions on this forum I dismantled the camera carefully making sure I did not pull any of the ribbons especially the one mounted on the camera lens I used a piece of tape just to steady the lens & ribbon whilst handling the circuit board, but during the dismantling stage of the case itself I did have difficulty in one corner not wanting to open up, after struggling for a bit it did open but I could see the problem it was one of the two screws that hold the circuit board together, was fouling the case itself and had broken the very corner of the screw hole on the circuit board, on careful inspection luckily it had not damaged any of the printed circuit on the board, once I located the defective battery back up battery, I heated up the small battery contacts with my fully adjustable Hako FX-888D solder station using a fine tip on the iron, this went well the defective battery was removed, and the new replacement Seiko battery was soldered in place.

I then re assembled the camera carefully the circuit boards back into the case, noting that the broken corner screw hole on the board was not going to cause any problem, the remaining screw firmly held the boards in place, plugging the camera back into the car was a big disappointment the camera showed no life at all.

So I removed the camera and dismantled it again to check nothing had unplugged, nothing was found I then rechecked the replacement battery it appeared to be soldered well, but I attempted to resolder the battery thinking it may have suffered a cold solder joint, in doing the re solder work both of the tiny contacts on the board itself detached from the printed circuit, I'm now in a situation where do I go now its not possible to solder the contacts back to the board certainly not with the equipment I have, it may be possible to solder two fine wires to the circuit board and solder the replacement battery to them and then secure the battery casing to the board with glue or double sided tape.

The alternative for me is reluctantly get a replacement front camera but just the front camera is £189 after looking online, there are used Thinkware F770 camera's on ebay site, but these would almost certainly be suffering the same problem with poorly designed backup battery, so at the moment I'm undecided but I will be writing a strong complaint email to Thinkware regarding this issue.


I'm certainly not impressed with this expensive top of the range dash camera with such a premature failure at just over two years old, it will depend on Thinkware Support reaction to my complaint, whether I stay with the brand or look elsewhere for a more reliable brand.

As another member suggested putting some photos of the dismantled camera to help others I did take some photo's including where the battery circuit board contacts on my board broke off, also you can see where my circuit board screw hole fouled the case on removal and broke the corner off.
 

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Oilburner

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Update - I have managed to salvage the camera from my previous disaster after attempting to resolder the RTC battery in place, I had a mishap and the printed circuit battery contact pads & traces got detached from the board.

After some thought and also checking on youtube regarding repairing damaged circuit board traces and pads, I came up with a possible solution which would also mean if successful it would be easier to replace the RTC battery again in the future without any risk of damaging the circuit board again.

What I did I used a multi meter set to continuity test and checked for continuity from the positive damaged trace and found the round pad marked in the photo gave a continuity, so I soldered a thin insulated wire to that pad, I then checked continuity for the negative damaged trace, this proved to be a bit challenging mostly because all the close by negative ground would not be able to take solder, I then checked some mesh netting for ground continuity this was being used to ground a socket, I then soldered a thin negative wire to the netting on the under side of the board which is attached directly to the metal part of the socket, using the multi meter again checking both wires still gave a good continuity.

I stuck the new battery down with double side tape to its original position, but decided there was to much flex which may cause the wires to eventually break on the solder joint, so I used some epoxy glue to set the battery in place this could be easily removed if required in the future, I then soldered the positive and negative wires to the correct pre tinned terminals on the RTC battery, checking again after completion for continuity from the battery to the other previously soldered ends, all looked good so I was hopeful this time it would work, after finally reassembling the camera and plugging back in success at last it worked perfectly with no more messages about reformatting card for data integrity.

Unfortunately I did not take a photo with the wires in place but have marked on this photo where I got my solder points from, the positive point is the round pad shown, and the negative point is on the under side of board where the grounding mesh is touching the metal part of the socket.
 

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egonvdv

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thinkware singapore put me in touch with a company in the UK: https://chameleoncodewing.co.uk/

they will replace the batteries free of charge. you only have to pay postage fee to them,
and cameras are returned for free.

so to anyone with the same problem, i would definitely advise to do this, rather then trying to change the battery themselves,
as it can be a risky business as you can see from previous posts.
 

ManuMCoupe

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Yesterday I've checked the date on my f770 2ch and it's ok. Very strange because everytime I start the car, the system asks to me to format the memory card...

Enviado desde mi MI 9 mediante Tapatalk
 
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Oilburner

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thinkware singapore put me in touch with a company in the UK: https://chameleoncodewing.co.uk/

they will replace the batteries free of charge. you only have to pay postage fee to them,
and cameras are returned for free.

so to anyone with the same problem, i would definitely advise to do this, rather then trying to change the battery themselves,
as it can be a risky business as you can see from previous posts.

Thanks for that information unfortunately a bit to late for me, as I have now soldered two wires in place which makes changing the RTC battery easy, without causing any more damage to my printed circuit board.

Requirements for those users that wish to still do the job themself s.

1. They need a steady hand.
2. Magnification to see what you are de-soldering and soldering.
3. Solder iron with a fine tip.
4. If doing as I did two short lengths of fine insulated wire.

Whilst it's an offer from Thinkware but because of the high value of the camera, paying postage and insuring the camera for loss or theft in transit it won't as cheap, I only paid £2.99 for one local Seiko battery, and I have ordered two spare Seiko batteries from China for £1.77 inc post, as back up batteries should they need replacing again in 18 months.

Whilst I agree you do have to be very careful de-soldering the battery and soldering new replacement in place, it's a shame Thinkware did not think about the RTC battery failing after a relatively short period of time, and designing the camera with a different type of battery, or as I have now done attach the battery to wires instead of the circuit board thus making it easy to change the battery if required.
 

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Yes it's a cmos battery, similar to a pc motherboard. I'm an IT consultant so had my suspicions when I spotted it after taking it apart.

Not really sure a how to guide is needed, it's really just pull the 4 rubber hole covers out, undo the 4 screws and pop the top off. There's an additional two screws inside holding the two circuit boards in place but that's all there is to it. Just be careful not to tear the ribbon cable when popping the top off is all.

Battery number is written on it though perhaps a little difficult to read. It's MS621FE. It's a rechargeable button battery that comes complete with contacts and so replacement is pretty straight forward. Got my replacement on ebay.
Hi SirCozak
I have never joined a message board before but would be remiss if I did not thank you for your post. I have a Thinkware F770 and is was showing wrong date and time. Thinkware told me the product is discounted and they would give me a discount on a new model. Instead I got the MS621 battery and everything works great now. Saved me $500. If anyone else is doing this for the first time - the mistakes I make were: 1) There are screws and plastic tabs to take it apart. The screws are under the rubber plugs. 2) Use a utility knife to gently wedge the top off. The bottom does not need to come off. The bottom is actually held by one screw from the inside (I ended up snapping that off by mistake but not harm done fortunately.) The battery is underneath the circuit board. You need to gently pull the plastic case open a bit to lift out the circuit board. Circuit board is held in with two screws. Battery is soldered in with two tabs. Sharpen your iron with a file as it is fine work. I dipped the new battery tabs in flux so it made a good connection. Used tweezers to hold the battery while soldering. Be careful of ribbon wire connections. They are fairly strong but if you break them it's new camera time.
 

CZroe

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Hi SirCozak
I have never joined a message board before but would be remiss if I did not thank you for your post. I have a Thinkware F770 and is was showing wrong date and time. Thinkware told me the product is discounted and they would give me a discount on a new model. Instead I got the MS621 battery and everything works great now. Saved me $500. If anyone else is doing this for the first time - the mistakes I make were: 1) There are screws and plastic tabs to take it apart. The screws are under the rubber plugs. 2) Use a utility knife to gently wedge the top off. The bottom does not need to come off. The bottom is actually held by one screw from the inside (I ended up snapping that off by mistake but not harm done fortunately.) The battery is underneath the circuit board. You need to gently pull the plastic case open a bit to lift out the circuit board. Circuit board is held in with two screws. Battery is soldered in with two tabs. Sharpen your iron with a file as it is fine work. I dipped the new battery tabs in flux so it made a good connection. Used tweezers to hold the battery while soldering. Be careful of ribbon wire connections. They are fairly strong but if you break them it's new camera time.
Most iron tips have special plating so I wouldn't use a file but you can get many with a fine tip. For most things with a similar pitch you can get away with a large tip since proper technique will let you melt both at once without leaving a solder bridge. Unfortunately, the temporary bridge while melted would short the battery so you really do need to be careful here. Thanks for the tips!
 

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Finally gotten round to soldering the mic. it was too big, so had to put it on the outside
(the connections go through the ventilation grill)
All is well again
20200111_134318307_iOS.jpg
 
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