SpaceX recently debuted their third generation Starlink antenna and accompanying accessories in late 2023. Despite only being in the market for a few weeks, SpaceX has issued a recall for a popular mounting accessory, the Standard Pipe Adapter, due to a potential design flaw.
Typically, Starlink provides a mounting base for its dish, ideal for temporary or portable setups. However, for permanent installations on roofs, customers have the option to choose from various mounts available in the online shop. To cater to diverse needs, Starlink also supports third-party mounts with the help of an adapter called the “Standard Pipe Adapter,” priced at US$35. This accessory enables the use of a Gen 3 Standard dish with nearly any mast or pole.
Surprisingly, a few weeks after its launch, Starlink has decided to replace all Standard Pipe Adapters already in the hands of customers due to a suspected design issue. While Starlink’s official response was somewhat vague, citing a “possible issue,” complaints from users on social media have shed light on the problem.
One Reddit user, u/zenzic64, expressed concerns about the adapter’s stability, noting that “very little force is required to pop it off.” Another user, u/libertysat, suggested a flaw in the design, emphasizing the need for additional depth to properly secure the pipe to the adapter.
Comparisons between the Gen 2 and Gen 3 Pipe Adapters reveal a significant difference in design. The older version allowed several inches of the pipe to be inserted into the adapter, secured by six fasteners. However, the latest design allows less than an inch of insertion, with a single bolt holding the adapter in place, lacking thread locker or additional mechanisms to prevent loosening over time.
Starlink, taking a proactive approach, announced a complete replacement of all Standard Pipe Adapters at no cost to customers. Those who purchased the accessory can anticipate the replacement to be shipped by mid-January. In the interim, Starlink is asking users to discard their current Standard Pipe Adapters.
“Upon review we’ve currently encountered a possible issue with some of our Starlink Standard Pipe Adapter mounts and will be replacing all current ones at no cost to you as a precautionary preventative measure to ensure all received mounts meet intended specifications. We are advising the current Starlink Standard Pipe Adapter be discarded.”Starlink Customer Support Team (via StarlinkHardware.com)
The new Starlink antenna was launched late last year and costs US$599, the same as the second-generation version. However, there is a catch as customers have to opt for the Roam tier, which allows the antenna to work in multiple locations, translating into a monthly bill as high as US$150 per month. It is not known at this time if the new Starlink dish will be made available to customers on the cheaper Residential tier at a later date.
The new antenna is also currently only available in the US. In Canada, customers can only select from the Standard Actuated antenna, which just this week saw its price lowered from C$759 to C$599.