Why Does My SM4 Say "Fatal Clock Error"?

As the batteries in an SM4 series recorder die, the hardware can start acting incorrectly. One symptom of this is seeing the message "Fatal Clock Error" when you try to turn the recorder on. This can commonly be resolved by one of two methods:

  • Turn the SM4 off and replace the batteries with brand new alkaline cells (Energizer brand recommended). Wait at least 30 seconds, then turn the SM4 back on. Repeat the cycle of turning the recorder off and on 5 more times if necessary, letting the unit remain off for 30 seconds each time.
  • If the previous method doesn't work, turn the recorder off. Remove the small, disk-shaped clock battery, wait 1 minute, and turn the recorder on. If the unit turns on normally now, you can turn the recorder off and reinsert the battery. Make sure that the battery is inserted under the small metal contacts, and note that you will likely have to reset the recorder's clock.

If neither of these methods resolves the issue, please contact Wildlife Acoustics support.

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