Device Troubleshooting

SurveyPocket logo
by Jorge Andrews

As the 2019 HSHC Observation Survey campaign begins, we at TCEC wanted to take a moment to provide some helpful tips for using your SurveyPocket app. Observations will be conducted using handheld devices, and although technology makes life and data collection easier, it is not automatic or trouble free.  We have some tips to help make your data collection run smoothly:

  • Check Wi-Fi Connection
  • Check for Updates
    • Update Operating System
    • Update SurveyPocket App
  • Check Device Keys and Passwords
  • Sync SurveyPocket
  • Common Issues
  • Helpline

Check Wi-Fi Connection:

Although data collection is possible with or without Wi-Fi, troubleshooting issues may require Wi-Fi.  Also, TCEC sent you information for setting up devices to the HSHC survey as well as syncing devices (which we’ll get to down the page).  Those steps require Wi-Fi. 

If your deivce shows an eternally revolving wheel or an error message or some other unknown problem, it is usually a Wi-Fi connection error.

To rectify this:

  1. Go to “Settings”
  2. Go to “Wi-Fi”
  3. Once in the Wi-Fi menu, shut the Wi-Fi off
  4. Once the Wi-Fi is off wait a few seconds (a 4 Mississippi is usually good enough)
  5. Turn the Wi-Fi back on.
  6. Now test the Wi-Fi connection by opening a web browser and visit a website (for example tobaccoeval.ucdavis.edu)
  7. If you are able to open the web page and browse, your Wi-Fi connection is live.
  8. Once you have confirmed the Wi-Fi is active, try accessing SurveyPocket once more.
  9. If these steps have not worked, and you are getting frustrated, put the device down, take a short break, maybe even a quick walk, and try again.
  10. If that fails, call the TCEC help line.

Wi-Fi connection is required for setting up devices BEFORE data collection begins.  Then Wi-fi connection is needed again to sync the app, which sends all data to the main HSHC account.

Check for Updates:

You may be thinking, “Oh, I used SurveyPocket last year for a project, my devices are probably good to go. Right?” Unfortunately, that is not that case. Data-Man would like to remind you that devices require periodic updates for both the operating system as well as the SurveyPocket app. It is important to charge your devices, turn them on, and check for updates. Updates are just a routine part of technology.

Update Operating System:

To update your operating system:

  1. Connect your device to Wi-Fi
  2. Go to “Settings”
  3. Go to “General”
  4. Go to “Software Update” (On Android devices, this is under “About Device”)
  5. If an update is available, the screen on the right will indicate “Update Available”.

If you have not used your Apple devices in a year or so, you may be required to update them using iTunes on your desktop. This requires Apple users to log on to their Apple iTunes accounts on their computer. Some LLAs may need to ask their IT department for assistance on this. Please remember TCEC does not have any way to log on to your iTunes accounts.

Android users may have an easier time on this, as most updates can be done using Wi-Fi on the device itself, though this process may take up to a few hours depending on the number of updates needed. This may require you to log in to your Google Play store account. Please keep in mind that TCEC does not have any way to log on to your Google Play store account, in some cases your LLA IT department may be able to help.

Update SurveyPocket:

To update the SurveyPocket app on an Apple device:

  1. Connect your device to Wi-Fi
  2. Open the Apple App Store.
  3. Select “Updates”
  4. If an update appears, select “Update”

To update SurveyPocket on an Android device:

  1. Connect your device to Wi-Fi
  2. Open the Google Play store.
  3. On the of the screen find the menu bars (three horizontal bars)
  4. From the menu select “My apps & games”
  5. If an update appears, select “Update”

Check Device Keys and Passwords:

Some savvy LLAs used SurveyPocket to collect data in the past.  But for this HSHC survey, you need to be sure you’re in the right account.  It should say “HSHC 2019 Survey".

If not, double check the user ID or device key and passwords.  Make sure they are entered correctly. 

Double-check the codes, if you have verified that the codes are correct, but the device is not cooperating contact TCEC to confirm the device keys and passwords, it is possible that a mismatch error has occurred.

In rare cases, the device disables the “Menu” button (three horizontal lines).  If this is the case with your device, you can delete the app and re-install it. 

Sync SurveyPocket:

If you have all you need, your app is ready to go you want to try your hand and synchronizing the device. It is very important that you synchronize devices often. The data is not complete until it is in the Survey Analytics server. Data stored on devices cannot be accessed, so until the devices are synchronized, any surveys stored on the device are deemed “incomplete.” If any damage or device loss occurs while data is stored on the device, that data is most likely lost forever. So please synchronize often!

To sync your devices, follow these steps:

  1. Connect to Wi-Fi
  2. Open SurveyPocket
  3. If surveys are stored on your device a small banner with numbers will appear to the right of the survey name
  4. Locate the sync icon in the bottom right (cycle symbol)
  5. Select the sync icon (Due to screen/finger interface being capricious, this may take more than one try and that is ok, we are all unique individuals and multiple syncing attempts is part of the human experience there is absolutely nothing wrong with your digit)
  6. A dialogue window will appear, asking to “Confirm Synchronize”
  7. Select “Yes”
  8. Watch as the SurveyPocket app communicates with the server
  9. Once the device is synchronized, the small banner with numbers will disappear

Five Common Issues from the Field:

Lastly, we collected the top 5 issues from the field, we have compiled that here, and some suggestions on how to defeat the field gremlins:

  1. Devices not being synced, and data not transferred to server
    • If data is not in the server during a check, 9 times out of 10 it is due to the device not being synced after data collection.
  2. Device batteries not fully charged causing it to shut off during data collection
    • Charge your devices a day or two before data collection, and always check them prior to starting data collection!
  3. Devices not being updated BEFORE going to the field, causing some technical issues with the app (both operating system and the app)
    • Always check for updates on the operating system and the SurveyPocket app a day or two before going to the field.
  4. Devices being lost or damaged prior to sync
    • To prevent this, we recommend syncing as often as possible.
    • It is a great idea to buy sturdy cases for the devices. A $30 case can save you a $300 device and a major headache.
  5. Store numbers not being entered correctly causing surveys to be “lost”
    • With good notes and communication, we can usually find these surveys and make the necessary corrections, record the data AND time that collection happened, as well as coder ID and store type.

Call the TCEC Helpline:

If you tried all of these trouble-shooting tips and you are still experiencing problems, just know that it is ok, these things happen. Take a moment to breathe and think about things that make you smile, maybe enjoy a nice cup of hot tea or take a walk to get some fresh air. Once you feel ready to take on your device troubles, give it one more try. If that does not work, contact the TCEC help desk at (530) 754-8929 and we can tackle the problem together. Remember, you are not alone, TCEC is here to help!

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