Visual Check of the Guardians by partner from the ground and in the canopy


At times RFCx will need the help of partners to diagnose Guardians that have prolonged periods of downtime. There are two ways the partner can help, firstly, through ground visual checks and secondly, by climbing the trees carrying to get a much closer look at the Guardian. The second method if more favourable, however, it depends on weather the partner has tree climbing capacity.

This document will describe the information RFCx needs from the partner on the Guardian’s status. This information will allow RFCx to make decisions to proceed with the project.

When a Guardian in project has not sent message or check in for 7 days or more, we consider it 'down' and in need of investigation.

Ground Guardian Check


Camera with good quality zoom
Backpack (place any fallen equipment in bag to take away)
Android Phone (to connect to Guardian)

Physical Check of Guardian

Arrive to the Guardian location and search the ground for any potentially fallen equipment. Document and photograph any and all fallen equipment you can see.

Use binoculars if need to search for the Guardian in the tree, then use your camera with zoom to take photos of the Guardian in the tree. Potentially something has fallen from the Guardian, but hasn't reached the forest floor.

What is the state of the tree with the Guardian, is it dead/ dying or alive?

Companion App Tests

Open the RFCx Companion App on your Android phone 

Search for the Guardian WiFi Hotspot on your phone using the Companion App (fig 1.)

Figure 1 - Guardian Hotspot appearing on Companion App

If the WiFi Hotspot appear on the Companion App, try and Connect. If it doesn't appear please note this down (Guardian is potentially dead).

If you can connect to the Guardian using the Companion App, please proceed with the checklist to Guardian deployment. RFCx will need screenshots of the 'power diagnostics', 'Communication Configuration' and 'Network Signal Test' steps. (fig 2, 3 and 4)

Figure 2 - Power Diagnostics of a Guardian (showing the Guardian charging)

Figure 3 - Communication configuration step of Guardian checklist showing Satellite module, GPS and timezone detected 

Figure 4 - Network signal test showing very bad signal (ideally we want 'Good' or 'OK' at least)

Summary Questions Questions RFCx needs answering from the Visual Check:

  1. Has any component of the Guardian fallen from the tree? If so What?
  2. What is the status of the tree where the Guardian is installed? - Is it dead / damaged ?
  3. Send the best photos of the Guardian installed in the tree from below the ground.
  4. If anything has fallen from the tree is the rest of the Guardian in the tree? 
  5. What has the weather been like during the period since the Guardian stopped working?
  6. Is there a Guardian hotspot?
  7. Is the Guardian charging well?
  8. Is the GPS and Satellite Module detected on the companion app?
  9. What is the background noise / result of network signal test?

Climbing the tree to check the Guardian


  • Climbing equipment
  • Android (to connect to Guardian and take photos)
  • Hand saw
  • Cable ties
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Knife

Physical Check of the Guardian in the tree

*This method requires tree climbing capacity*

Once you have climbed the tree and are at the level of the Guardian you should take photos of the current state of the Guardian before carrying out any adjustments. It is vitally important to carryout a full forensic examination of what state the Guardian is at this will help RFCx diagnose the problem and learn lessons for future installations.

The circumstances of the installation could have changed dramatically between the initial installation and the prolonged period of down time suffered from the Guardian. So we will need to gather evidence of this change of circumstance.

Gathering evidence (taking photos of):-

  1. Are the Solar panels still connected to the frame securely (all 4 panels)
  2. What state are the connections on the Guardian box (are any of the connections loose or rusted).
  3. Is the frame cable tied to the Guardian box.
  4. What is the state of the Swarm antenna and the cable connecting to the box (Are there any rusty parts or have any parts become disconnected).
  5. What is the state of the canopy above the Guardian (solar panels and Antenna) (is there any? has anything fallen on top of the Guardian and broken anything or covered the panels).

Several photos from various angles should be taken from each category in order to paint a clear picture of what has happened to the Guardian. 

Once the photo information has been collected it should be organised into folders called:

  • Solar panel and their connections
  • Guardian box connections
  • Cable ties
  • Swarm Antenna and cable
  • Canopy above panels and antenna

Diagnosing the problem

RFCx will also use diagnostic data sent to the dashboard to help further diagnose the potential issue.

Problems will come in two main categories, solvable by the partner or a replacement is needed either of singular component or a full Guardian set.

An example of something solvable by the partner is that we need to expose the solar panels to more sunlight by removing canopy or moving the Guardian to a position with more. Or the Antenna is also covered by too much canopy. These might occur if part of the canopy falls at some point after the installation.

An example of the second category is if a component of the Guardian like the solar panels or the swarm antenna break completely off. This will need replacing.