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“Dump” files: What are they and why am I getting them?

“Dump” files: What are they and why am I getting them?

You have just returned from collecting your SD cards from a deployment and you find files on the cards that have the word “dump” in the name.

What are these? Why were they created? Should you be concerned?

Dump files can help diagnose issues

Recorders in the SM4 family (SM4, SM4BAT FS, SM4BAT ZC) are smart.  Often the recorder knows if something isn’t working correctly.  In those cases, the recorder will automatically run a set of internal diagnostics to determine the health of the recorder and write the results to a file on an available SD card.   These files will have the word “dump” in the filename and can be opened by Wildlife Acoustics technical support to help diagnose the root cause of the problem.

But… Usually they are benign

The most common cause of dump files being created is when the batteries in the recorder start to die.   In this case the recorder may lose and regain power multiple times before finally shutting off completely.  When this happens, the unit has just enough life to determine something isn’t working correctly and creates dump files as described above.  If low power is the cause of dump file creation then the solution is simply to install new batteries.  The recorder should then continue to work correctly and the dump files can be discarded.

Should I contact Wildlife Acoustics?

When your recorder automatically creates dump files during a deployment, check the date and time of those files.  If they were created at the end of the deployment then low power is the most likely cause and you can probably ignore them.   Replace the batteries and verify that the recorder is working correctly.  If so there is no need to contact Wildlife Acoustics.

If, on the other hand, you find dump files that were created earlier in the deployment, or they continue to be created even after you replace the batteries with new ones, then save all files and contact Wildlife Acoustics’ technical support team for assistance.