Sram eTap rear derailleur sporadically stops shifting - then performs all queued shifts at once?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
shawnito
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:38 pm

by shawnito

As far as I could see on the FCC test pictures of both old Red eTap and new AXS detailleurs, they changed the way they are assembled. On Red detailleurs they uses some kind of flex embedded ribbon between the PCBs while on the new AXS there is a one piece fiber PCB. On FD they changed the embedded flex with a replaceable on with connectors. Flex ribbons are prone to failure when stressed, copper traces can break or corrode. Not sure if this change from flex-ribbon to one-piece PCB have something to do with the RD failing, if it is lack of ESD protection that kill some chip or as someone pointed before, the servo protecting itself when too much resistance is applied due to dust or grime on the pivots. It would be nice to have a look inside a failing RDImage

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by Weenie


Nickldn
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:35 am

by Nickldn

I've been running etap since March and this shifting issue happened to me on Friday. RD was fine in the morning, before I took off and charged the battery, stopped shifting properly in the afternoon after the battery was put back on. Battery was off maybe 9-10 hours.

I re-paired the RD with the shifters and it seems to work fine again. Hope it's not broken as it would be a tremendous pita.

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wheelsONfire
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by wheelsONfire

Is this what finally makes Rotor UNO gain momentum?
Bikes:

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2018.12.21)
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Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)
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Ex bike; Vial EVO D

Nickldn
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:35 am

by Nickldn

Yep RD is not shifting consistently, sometimes it's fine, then goes for a nap.

Doesn't sound like it can be fixed, so I guess I'll need to shell out for a new RD. :cry:

flyordie
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:15 am

by flyordie

The bug caught me too. Me bike came with short cage, I switched to long cage shortly after (bought it 2nd hand from someone who ended up never installing it). Went to a dealer yesterday and they didn't give me much hope. SRAM doesn't do repairs and also doesn't have a out of warranty exchange program. Since I'm not the original owner AND I don't have a proof of purchase I'm not covered by warranty.

So it looks like I'll be dropping another $700 which makes me seriously consider switching to Di2. I'm a little disappointed since this seems to be a common failure (aka design flaw) and this is not a cheap product.

Anyone had a similar situation?

Nickldn
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:35 am

by Nickldn

Yeah, I spoke to SRAM's UK warranty contractor.

Not very helpful at all unfortunately. I need to take the faulty derailleur to a bike shop and persuade them to send it to SRAM, in fact I was told I may need to pay them to send it off.

Then SRAM will assess it. It'll take a while for them to turn it around and in the meantime I'm on the bus. Not holding out for a positive result either.

GREAT!!

As you say it's really negative for the SRAM brand. I may go back to mechanical.

izza
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:03 pm

by izza

No reason you should get charged by a UK dealer to send back to SRAM as the latter pays the shop’s mailing costs.




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Jugi
Posts: 522
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:10 am

by Jugi

shawnito wrote:Not sure if this change from flex-ribbon to one-piece PCB have something to do with the RD failing, if it is lack of ESD protection that kill some chip or as someone pointed before, the servo protecting itself when too much resistance is applied due to dust or grime on the pivots. It would be nice to have a look inside a failing RD
I'm starting to think this might be the core reason, ie. low voltage (or intermittently no voltage) going to the servo. There may be a mechanical aspect to this, as the issue may start or become more common after dirty riding conditions.

This is how my troublesome derailleur's (short cage) issues developed during last week (during preparation for and riding Tour TransAlp). I have been using it with an SRAM Red 22 chain and a XG-1190 11-28 cassette. Atleast on the outside, the RD was clean as there weren't any wet or dirty conditions encountered during the week:

June 19th, 40 km / 1h 22 min (last shakedown ride before packing the bike):
RD freezed two times during the ride. I could get same symptoms to appear afterwards on a workstand. Disappeared after a while, so decided to leave the RD on the bike. I had a properly working eTap RD one meter away from me on my TT bike, but decided not to swap them and packed the bike ahead of a flight to Innsbruck. I detached the RD and it got to fly in it's original packaging inside my bikebox.

June 22nd, 18 km and 30 m alt. gain / 54 min (transitional riding in Innsbruck):
No faults to report.

June 23rd, 90 km and 1140 m alt. gain / 2h 48 min (1st stage Innsbruck - Brixen):
Two freezes which happened almost consecutively. Both came up on a single, quite short (less than 10 minutes spent) uphill section.

June 24th, 142 km and 3330 m alt. gain / 6 h 1 min (2nd stage Brixen - Kaltern):
Two or three freezes. First during a long climb up to Pender Joch and once during final 10 kilometers on a slight uphill. Seemed to happen only on easier gears (bigger sprockets) but, bigger sprockets did see a lot of use all through TransAlp.

June 25th, 135 km and 3150 m alt. gain / 6 h 16 min (3rd stage Kaltern - near Bormio):
RD froze to the biggest sprocket for approximately 30 minutes. We were at a constant 6-8% grade all the way, so didn't really need bigger gears. Stopped and tried to manipulate it by hand (I thought I had set a limiter screw a bit too tight, therefore making the RD hit that and stop there). Miraculously just started to work again during riding, right when the grade eased to 3%. No faults during the rest of the stage, although gear shifts were few and far between as we were either bombing down a fast descent or climbing at 8% or harder grade. I observed the jam happening at the warmest time of the day. Morning hours went just fine and problems started in the afternoon. After the first stage, afternoon temperatures were well over 30°C for the rest of the week.

June 26th, 134 km and 3240 m alt. gain / 6 h 32 min (4th stage Bormio - Livigno):
First freeze after a kilometer of riding. Before noon it seemed like things were mostly fine when on the bigger chainring and freezes happened when on the smaller ring. During afternoon started to experience freezes on both chainrings and in all sections of the cassette. The general pattern seemed to go like this: 1. RD freezes while shifting to an easier gear. 2. After a waiting period of 5-20 seconds, the RD moves one step to a harder gear without any additional button pushes. 3. If trying to shift to an easier gear right after that ghost shift, I usually ended up on the gear I originally wanted. If not, sometimes an additional ghost shift happened dropping me to an even harder gear. I recall at least two occasions where I had three ghost shifts in a row, without shifts to the direction I wanted in between. That wasn't much fun.

Most freezes happened between the largest and 2nd largest sprocket. During final two climbs of the day, I resorted to moving the RD by hand a couple of times, as that delivered the gear I wanted immediately (but on the side of the road). My racing partner made a suggestion I should build a cable actuated system, which would nudge the cage into the wanted direction when it freezes. Can't beat dry humour at 2000 meters above sea level.

After the 4th stage I washed the RD with a pressure washer (to clean, lubricate with water and cool it as I suspected the relatively high temperatures) and didn't observe any changes in behaviour. Then decided to quit playing with it, first of all for other rider's safety (to avoid disruptions in a large pack if can't get a proper gear in). I resorted to a loaner bike for stages 5-7.

Right now this particular RD is sitting on a shelf. When trying to shift without chain tension or other outer influences, it seems to complete 5-8 shifts into a particular direction and then freezes. After a short waiting period (some seconds) it continues to operate by user commands. Just for general interest, I will continue to play with it and try to recognize any patterns there may be to this. I won't be dismantling it as that goes above my know-how, but if anybody in Europe wants have a look at it, I would consider sending it over if we split the fees involved.

I'm the second owner and out of warranty. Already ordered a WifLi version to replace this, because I wanted a longer cage for future visits to the Alps. Although WifLi's seem to have been more prone to this issue, atleast I will have full warranty period to use & abuse it.


Nickldn
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:35 am

by Nickldn

izza wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:35 am
No reason you should get charged by a UK dealer to send back to SRAM as the latter pays the shop’s mailing costs.




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That's really interesting info, could you please let me know where you find this out and if you have any proof?

I've been charged £20 for postage back to SRAM and told by the dealer that mailing costs are not covered by SRAM.

Nickldn
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:35 am

by Nickldn

I have been assured by a trusted forum member that SRAM do pay for return postage for warranty repairs.

I spoke to SRAM about my derailleur yesterday and their customer service rep didn't confirm this was the case, so I wonder if it only applies to some dealers.

My derailleur has been away for over 2 weeks, SRAM has looked at it and confirmed it is faulty, but has not said why. I asked if it could perhaps be due to moisture ingress, or an impact, but no answer was provided. So another unexplained case of spontaneous etap rear derailleur death.

SRAM has refused to repair my derailleur, even though I offered to pay for it in full! Apparently it is company policy to not carry out any repairs to etap electronics and I just have to buy a new one. Something was said about electronics not being repairable and as added reassurance that this was in fact the norm I was given an example of Apple not repairing an ipad. Because an ipad is just like a derailleur isn't it?

I was also told SRAM won't repair its devices because some of them are sold second hand on ebay and so by implication it would somehow be unfair to owners who bought their devices new, or perhaps damage the SRAM brand if a repair service was provided.

As a final insult I was offered a 10% discount off the full RRP of a new etap derailleur. I mentioned etap derailleurs sell online (Wiggle, Sigma, etc.) with a larger discount, so the offer is somewhat disingenuous.

I think SRAM is sending a very confusing message to its loyal customers and is finding it very hard to justify their repairs policy. I wish they would stand behind their devices, especially when a known fault occurs.

I would welcome an intelligent response from Anja Lagemaat, their European boss.

What do you guys think?

sfo423
Posts: 584
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:12 pm
Location: San Francisco

by sfo423

Here is an interesting issue I have w/my rear der. The unit is only six months old so I'll likely warranty it after it starts to rain.

Intermittantly (maybe two or three times a 3-5 hr. ride) the rear stops shifting when I hit the paddle. If i hit both paddles and shift the front, it works. Then, after that, if I try the rear again, it works.

Same pattern to get the rear shifting again, every time.

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:00 am

by Morkai

sfo423 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:44 am
Intermittantly (maybe two or three times a 3-5 hr. ride) the rear stops shifting when I hit the paddle. If i hit both paddles and shift the front, it works. Then, after that, if I try the rear again, it works.
The same started happening recently to my 13 months old RD after 9.5k km :cry:

jever98
Posts: 901
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:02 pm
Location: Seattle

by jever98

Quick question on the serial number location - can people advise where it is on an Etap Wifli (non AXS)? Googling didn't help thus far.
----
No longer in the industry

Nickldn
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:35 am

by Nickldn

The serial number is engraved on the inside of the pulley cage, by the spindle for the outer pulley wheel.

Took me a while to find it too.

by Weenie


sfo423
Posts: 584
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:12 pm
Location: San Francisco

by sfo423

My rear der. finally crapped out. Tried all the tricks; sift front, hop rear wheel, etc but it was dead. Warrantly replacement on the way.

Does anyone know if this issue was limited to specific batch or year/time period of leaving factory? I'd hate to have this happen again with the replacement.

Also, when pairing the new rearm do I need to re-pair the front, or only the rear?

Should have stuck with Shimano.
Morkai wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:53 pm
sfo423 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:44 am
Intermittantly (maybe two or three times a 3-5 hr. ride) the rear stops shifting when I hit the paddle. If i hit both paddles and shift the front, it works. Then, after that, if I try the rear again, it works.
The same started happening recently to my 13 months old RD after 9.5k km :cry:

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