Aquarius IT raises alert on serious tachograph glitch

Aquarius IT has warned transport operators about a serious technical glitch uncovered when remotely downloading from some GEN2 tachographs

Aquarius IT has warned transport operators about a serious technical glitch that has been uncovered when remote downloading from some GEN2 tachographs, which can cause the system to fail.

Guy Reynolds, Aquarius IT’s director, says that the issue seems to occur when the tachograph tries to authenticate remotely with an expired company card that has been left in the hosting rack of a remote download service provider. If the system then tries to initiate a download using the expired company card, it results in the tachograph becoming incapable of remote downloading with a valid company card thereafter; and more problematic, it also shuts down the remote process completely with no obvious way to reset it, leaving operators only able to manually download data from the front panel.

Aquarius IT believe that this problem only affects certain GEN2 tachographs dating from June 2019 onwards. This explains in part why the problem is now only surfacing because the first company cards to be used in a GEN2 tachograph during that time are now coming up for expiry.

“Our experience and testing have shown that if the company card is left in the rack after its expiry date with or without a new GEN2 card, and the tachograph tries to authenticate it, the system will fail and it will become incapable of remote downloading – even if you try to use a new valid company card thereafter,” said Reynolds.

Aquarius IT is also warning that the same problem applies in another common scenario, where, for example, a GEN1 card is in the hosting rack and is due to expire on 31st July. To ensure continuity a GEN2 card dated from 1st August is placed in the rack alongside the GEN1 card, on and around the 31st July. This is a standard remote downloading practice to ensure no scheduled downloads are missed. Then on 1st August, the tachograph authenticates with the GEN2 card, but on 2nd August, the tachograph then defaults to try and automatically authenticate with the now out of date GEN1 card. Instead of rejecting the card, it locks up and refuses to remote download ever again.

The result for operators is that the tachograph is rendered permanently unusable for remote downloading, which means there is potential for missed hours and they will have to revert back to manually downloading from the vehicles, which can be logistically challenging and costly.

Reynolds says there are many questions as to why this problem is occurring, but Aquarius IT is seeking the answers and whether it is fixable with a firmware update, or it will require a complete replacement of the VU.

In the meantime, Reynolds advises that although there might be minor continuity issues, the safest way forward is to remove the old company card the day before the last day of the month, i.e., if the last day is the 31st, remove it at some point on the 30th, and replace it with new company card, which will start working from the 1st of the month.

Reynolds adds that there may be a few vehicles that may not download on the last day of the month, but they will catch-up in the coming days; and is a work-around until the root of the problem, and a solution is found.

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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