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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a Biopod Terra from a retail location. Thought some of you might be interested in the experience so far...

After a couple weeks of flawless operation, I was greeted with a puddle of water under the unit yesterday. Almost all the water in the false bottom had drained out of the unit.

I initially could not locate where the water was coming from. After some investigating I was able to determine it was leaking from under the base the tank rests on. So I moved the unit between two shelves so I could see underneath, and came to realize it was leaking from the control module :mad:.

At this point I have everything shutdown. I have sent two emails to Biopod asking for assistance, but have yet to receive a response. The unit is fully planted and currently occupied, so I'm hoping I get a response soon.

Here are a few photos of the leak.



 

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I received my terra last week but due to many broken parts I have not been able to set it up. Can you be more specific on where the leak is coming from? Is there a crack in the control module or is one of the fittings leaking? Any information would be appreciated so I can troubleshoot mine if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To be honest I don't know for certain where the leak is coming from. I'm holding off on tearing too much apart, since the Biopod guys seem kind of uptight about the warranty stuff.

That being said from what I can see it seems likely it is either coming from the irrigation pump or the air pump. The air pump has what looks to be a check valve on the line. There was a little water around that valve, which makes me wonder if the air pump was actually pulling the water out of the unit.

Looking at the control module, it is not a great design. It sits at the bottom of the unit (where water is likely to run) and with the pumps sealed inside, if you get a big leak the box can fill with water and get to the control board. Would be better to have the control board mounted at the top of the unit and the pumps at the bottom. Less chance for water to reach the control board.

Overall, the quality of the unit is really very average. The "living wall" did not align at all, so I had to use silicone to prevent water from running out the back. The top plastic canopy appears to have wrapped from the heat of the lights. And the unit also arrived with damage to plastic base in a bunch of spots. When it was running it did seem to work, though. Just would have expected better quality for $500. The plant pack was also a joke.

I have some videos I took of the unboxing and the unit running that I will try to get on Youtube.

At this point I'm just curious to see how they handle things from a warranty standpoint. I have yet to hear from them, which is not encouraging.
 

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You are nice in giving them a “very average” rating. At this point I am very disappointed in the product. I have contacted them regarding my broken parts and they have responded. They have told me that they will send me new parts but it may take a couple of weeks due to the backlog from the holidays. Hope you hear from them soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think the only reason I'm giving them an "average" rating is I understand how hard things can be as a startup. I have an MBA and have worked with a few startups, and I think they got way ahead of themselves with this launch. They should have focused on one model to start and really perfected things before adding all the additional models. There is also cost cutting that is very evident throughout the product, and lots of very questionable engineering decisions.

I really want to like the product because I have wanted a nice looking alternative to Exos that have to be modified for darts, but sadly this is not looking like that product. Hopefully, they can address some of these issues in a Biopod 2.0 that offers a better package.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It is also concerning that parts are an issue. When launching a product like this you should always have both extra parts and units. There should be no issue exchanging defective units. When Apple releases a new iPhone they keep some inventory for exchanging defective devices. Every product has some units that are bad from the factory, you just ensure your manufacturing and supply chain makes it a small percentage of units.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Still no contact from Biopod support. I have now sent four emails requesting assistance for my broken unit. Going to try the 800-number today and see how that goes.

Very disappointed in the customer service so far...
 

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Give them a shout on Facebook too. They've done well in responding to my messages there in the past. Sorry to hear of your troubles!

My unit was also a little disappointing in many respects - wasn't quite the quality I had expected for the cost and required some jiggery pokery to get it running as I wanted.
I've found the water reservoir especially to be much smaller than I expected and made of very flexible plastic, meaning it warps out of shape when close to full. The individual components are also of reasonably average quality. Humidity and temperature sensors are pretty unreliable. Camera is low resolution and as a result a novelty -- can't even manipulate its position or angle into the vivarium.

It looks great, but several things could have been done better. I hope app updates in future can help with this too. More lighting control would be particularly nice.

Hope your occupants do alright during the blackout!
 

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I have a Biopod Terra. Didn't share it on DB because it was made for my Cloud Forest orchids.

On the back of the Biopod is a water connector like Mist King's. It's used to prime the water pump. Maybe the connection was not tight enough after priming the pump?


Just wanted to give an idea on where the leak might be coming from...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That was my first thought as well. Once I got the unit moved where I could see things better, I was able to determine the water was running out of the black electrical control box underneath (you can actually see the box and the water in the first pic up top). Today I took sometime to get a better look at things. It appears what happened is the check valve failed on the air pump line. So the air pump siphoned all the water out of the bottom. This is a pretty major design issue. The pump should not be below the unit for this reason. Check valves fail all the time. Biopod relying on the valve to prevent this is a bad idea. They need to redesign things and move the air pump up into the canopy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Spoke with Biopod support team for the first time yesterday. After sending yet another email requesting assistance. The representative was nice in the email and asked what was wrong. I responded in about 5-10 minutes with a list of all the issues. So far today no response...

The lack of communication with Biopod is getting to be a problem at this point. It seems others on the Kickstarter page are having similar problems and have not had problems getting help from the support team, so I'm not sure what is the issue with my request.

I would be happy with any kind of response at this point. I understand they might not have replacement units or parts available, but just be honest and inform me of the situation.
 

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Check valve? Where was that located? I don't see any check valves on the exterior behind my Terra. They're just mostly quick disconnects (mostly elbows).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thought I would update everyone on what happened with my Biopod.

After a lot of back and forth with Biopod customer service, I was told to contact the original retailer. So I reached out to the retailer and they will be sending me a new unit. I don't need to return the original either. The new unit should be shipping today. While I'm very disappointed in Biopod, I'm very pleased with the retailer's response to this mess.

It seems that Biopod is unwilling to send new units to people to fulfill warranty requests. They are willing to send parts, but don't want to address leaks and other issues with the tank. Telling people to silicone things themselves, is not going to fly with many customers after spending this kind of $$$$.

I plan to look into the cause of the leak inside my original faulty Biopod, now that I don't have to worry about maintaining a warranty anymore. I will likely start by pulling the air pump and opening that up. If there is water inside, that will indicate that it was siphoning the water out of the unit.
 

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Sorry to hear about the issue with your unit and I'm not surprised that they didn't want to ship you a new unit. The company as a whole is very unresponsive and they're way over their head in a number of ways.

Hopefully we'll learn more about the actual mechanics once you get a chance to tear that unit apart.
 

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I'm having a problem connecting mine to their server, everything works ok until I put in the serial number, then it comes up "cant connect to biopod server" so I'm not sure what next, I sent them an email.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I never had any connection issues. Others have mentioned that the unit has to be very close to the wireless access point to get a signal. I might open up the cover where the main control box is located. Will be interesting to see what they are using for the main board. If it has an onboard wifi module, burying it inside a metal box, covered by multiple layers of plastic and glass, can't be great for signal.

I wish I could tell you that they will be helpful, but in my experience they don't seem to admit there is an issue with anything. At least twice they basically seemed to deny that my unit could be leaking. Despite, being sent photos of a Biopod surrounded by a puddle of water. They only seem to be helpful with known issues that they already have solutions for. Like the issues with the screen top everyone is having. Everything else they just stall and keep having you self-diagnose. At one point they were also going to send me a bunch parts to replace components in the control box. The list Biopod had provided was everything but a couple components in the box. A good company would be sending a complete new box with all components installed at that point, not asking customers to take everything apart and install the components themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update time!

Took some time out today to disassemble my faulty Biopod and take some photos. In doing so I have located the cause of my "leak"...

The air pump!

Removed and took apart the pump, and sure enough the rubber diaphragm had water inside. When I worked the pump by hand more water came out of the tubing leading to the pump. This is a complete design flaw. It is only a matter of time before this happens to EVERY Biopod. The cheap check valve used will fail sooner or later on every unit, and this will be the result.

I will give more updates as I continue to look at things. In the meantime here are some photos I took showing the components and the water in the rubber diaphragm and the inside of the air pump.











 

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I'm having a problem connecting mine to their server, everything works ok until I put in the serial number, then it comes up "cant connect to biopod server" so I'm not sure what next, I sent them an email.
I had the same issue with my aqua. Instead of trying to register it, go to ‘update’ first (on same screen of the app) It will then (hopefully) update the firmware and then the registration should work fine :). Hope this helps
 

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It does let me update the firmware, but from there when I put in serial number is when I get the error. I have it less than 2 feet from my modem. i hope they get back with me on it, tomorrow.
 
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