Rovio battery

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Rob
Rob's picture

Aeroworks said:
I have been using my Rovio for a few days now and the battery issue is driving me crazy. Ill dock it and it will charge for a little while, then it will go to roaming and kill itself. I have sat a heavy object ontop of rovio while charging to ensure the contacts are touching and i get the same result! what is the deal with this thing? I am contacting support about this today.

Please do call WowWee and tell us how that goes. I'm still waiting for someone to tell us the new fix progress that WowWee apparently found for this problem on 11/20 (based on feedback earlier in the thread).

Aeroworks
Aeroworks's picture

Well, i doubt it will be anytime soon. I submitted a ticket on day 1 of owning the rovio when the install software could not communicate with the rovio via usb. I have still yet to hear a response back to that question,which was Friday. I fixed the problem myself(or least got it to work somehow) by plugging and unplugging the usb cable a few times and cycling power to rovio.

litelnole
litelnole's picture

I ordered my rovio from sears - it too has a blue battery and will only charge to 3 bars. i only get a couple of minutes out of it! I can't seem to even learn to use it! I'm definitely emailing support on this. If anyone finds a solution, i can't wait to hear it!

- very disappointed.. :(

Aeroworks
Aeroworks's picture

Today my rovio stopped docking itself. It will not learn new home locations at all. Just drives off the charger and rotates then roams around aimlessly. I re flashed it and reset it. nothing is fixing it. I sent another ticket in but this time for the docking issue. I better get an rma for it. rovio docked flawlessly before today. I was amazed at how well it worked.

Rob
Rob's picture

Aeroworks said:
**Update**
I Did some testing and it seems it will only charge for 14 minutes before going to roaming mode. I would loginto rovio and press the back button to get it to charge. Then start the timer. 14 minutes later it will go back to roaming mode. I did this 4 times and each time about 14 minutes before it stopped charging. First glance you may think the battery is fully charged and it stoped because of this.. but i started on a completely dead battery (rovio shut itself down due to low battery). I wonder if this is a software problem.. seems like the battery is giving off false voltages and the rovio thinks its fully charged and disconnects. I wish they would release some kind of statement about it, as it is not even close to being an isolated problem.

Based on earlier discussions (probably a few weeks ago, or more) and current discussions, I have the following thoughts. It seems that most or all Rovios will go from "Docked" to "Roaming" (according to the feedback in the web browser) after a period of time, even though Rovio has not physically moved from the dock. My opinion is that, some Rovios either (a) continue to charge, even though it says Rovio is roaming, or (b) Rovio goes into roaming mode only when the battery is fully charged. This is how my Rovio seems to work, and it works fine for 1hr+. On the other hand, some Rovios (c) stop charging when they switch to roaming, or perhaps they (d) switch to roaming too soon (before it is fully charged). So the a/b situation results in a happy Rovio owner, and the c/d situation results in a Rovio that only goes for a short time before running out of juice.

Anyone want to weigh in?

Aeroworks
Aeroworks's picture

Based on earlier discussions (probably a few weeks ago, or more) and current discussions, I have the following thoughts. It seems that most or all Rovios will go from "Docked" to "Roaming" (according to the feedback in the web browser) after a period of time, even though Rovio has not physically moved from the dock. My opinion is that, some Rovios either (a) continue to charge, even though it says Rovio is roaming, or (b) Rovio goes into roaming mode only when the battery is fully charged. This is how my Rovio seems to work, and it works fine for 1hr+. On the other hand, some Rovios (c) stop charging when they switch to roaming, or perhaps they (d) switch to roaming too soon (before it is fully charged). So the a/b situation results in a happy Rovio owner, and the c/d situation results in a Rovio that only goes for a short time before running out of juice.
Anyone want to weigh in?

 

   What you are saying makes sense.  I sincerily hope for all our sake that something is done about it.  Once they iron out the first production bugs rovio should be a solid performer.  On a side not,  does your rovios motor seem like it's on the verge of dieing?  I used to build and run RC cars with electric motors and i can tell you.. whatever motor they are using is complete crap.  Has somone made scematics for rovio?  I would love to try and replace the motor with something better and quieter.

 

Rob
Rob's picture

Regarding my previous post: (a) definitely describes how my Rovio works. This
morning I find the browser interface says my Rovio is "roaming", even
though he has not moved from the base. It also says Rovio has 3 bars of
charge before I move him. But when I move Rovio forward (out of the base), the charge indicator creeps up to 5 bars
(fully charged) after about 25 seconds. This refreshes my memory that
this is indeed "normal" behavior for my Rovio (and many others have reported their Rovios work this way -- saying "roaming" even though they are docked and fully charged). So my strong suspicion
is, if your Rovio has the battery/charge issue, that your Rovio switches to "roaming" mode before he is fully charged, and/or he stops being charged once in "roaming" mode.

Many
in the past felt their battery/charge issues were due to Rovio
not staying physically connected to the dock. The evidence that supported this claims was (1) Rovio switched to "roaming" and (2) Rovio didn't have a decent charge. I suppose a bad physical connection could be
the problem in some cases, but the fact that many "proprerly" functioning
Rovios switch to "roaming" after some point makes this battery/charge problem really
difficult to diagnose, and likely something other than a problem with the physical connection.

Keep in mind, I have no special battery or
robotics knowledge (unlike many on this board), everything I'm saying
is based on reading a ton of posts here over the past 7 weeks, and playing with my own Rovio for about 5 weeks.

And so I ask again, has anyone received any substantive feedback from WowWee on this issue? A fix, an offer to replace your Rovio, some interesting information regarding the problem, anything?

(Note that the Thanksgiving holiday is only in the U.S., so WowWee should be available to help you through the holiday if your Rovio isn't working as it is supposed to).

AlphA
AlphA's picture

Hi all. IÂ’m away from home and bored so I thought IÂ’d kill some time sharing my experience with my new Rovio. I have had a more severe version of the batt/charger problem and managed to make things slightly better.

Got my Rovio last night. As soon as I put it on the charging station, it would pulse about 5 times, then lights-out. I tried reseating it, let it pulse and repeating when the lights went out. This didnÂ’t seems to help much. My multimeter read about 7VDC from the charging station and about 6.1VDC from the battery. I have no idea if that is normal.

If the Rovio was not near its charger when I turned it on, it would try to wonder around the room in pursuit of its charging station even thought I had yet to set the home location. I noticed that no matter where I put it, it would go to the same spot in my living room. I would have assumed that a home docking position was set at the factory during testing if it wasnÂ’t for the fact that this thing obviously was not tested since it DOESNÂ’T WORK! These tests were short lived as I only got a few seconds out of each run. ItÂ’s worth noting that the blue LEDs would dim as the motors were utilized indicating a very weak battery.

Now, take the following with a grain of salt because a lot of this could be coincidence: I hooked up the USB cable and had issues getting the driver to load (I’ll just blame my laptop for this), but oddly enough, with the usb plugged in, it would not shut itself off (lights-out). So, I let the Rovio chill on the charger for awhile. Then the LEDs cam on solid, as if it was fully charged and ready to rock. Unfortunately, when I took the Rovio out for a spin via the web interface, the battery immediately showed one bar and the Rovio shut down. So, it put it back on the charger and for a few hours I kept an eye on it, reseating at every time the LEDs came on solid to restart the charging process. Then I took it out for a spin. That run lasted nearly 2 minutes as I recall (a record thus far). And, the blue LEDs did not dim as the motors worked the wheels. Sweet, I’m making progress! I also noticed that the Rovio would sometimes shut down just as I disconnected as if to say “Oh, nothing wants to communicate with me anymore? Fine, I’m shutting down”. Quite possibly coincidence, but it did happen enough times to raise an eyebrow. Makes me wonder if wireless communication kept it from shutting down as USB communication seemed to do.

At this point I configged the networking so that it was on my LAN (I was connecting peer to peer ad-hoc up to this point). I noticed that it rarely shut down while on its base. Could it be the constant connection, or could it be due to the fact that IÂ’ve had it on the charger so many times that some of the charge is finally starting to stick? I really have no idea, but anything is worth considering at this point.

Then I upgraded the firmware to the latest stable version which resulted in slightly longer run times but still complete crap. Then I decided to throw the latest BETA firmware on there, which I did from work over the internet and I have to admit, that was pretty cool. Well, almost. It reset to its default IP in ad-hoc mode. So, I couldnÂ’t tell what happened until I got home. Let this be a warning to you all. DonÂ’t upgrade the firmware to beta remotely for you will have to set up the networking again which requires one to be within reasonable proximity to the Rovio (usb cable or ad-hoc).

Anyway, I got home, reseated it and let it “charge” until it told me it was full (solid LEDs). Time to drive it round again. This time, the batt level did not drop to 1 bar. In fact, I had 3! I drove it around for about 5 minutes before it said it was hungry AGAIN. After a few minutes, the Rovio was full again, so I ventured out again. 4 bars! I didn’t really notice any difference in the amount of run time, despite the fact that I started with 4 bars this time. On its way back to the station, it suddenly dropped off line and I had to power cycle via the power button. Then the Rovio was able to go home.
Also worth noting, the Rovio is able to navigate back into the charger just fine as long as the window blinds are closed. But, if sun light is hitting that sensor, forget about it. No surprise considering the amount of IR light the sun produces. Obviously, it overpowers Rovios “north star”.

Anyway, inspired by RovioÂ’s recent software crash, I send it home and decide to throw the latest STABLE version back on there. This time it did not erase my settings and the Rovio actually came back online. I am accessing it remotely now and the runs remain at about 5 minutes starting with 4 bars and thatÂ’s where IÂ’m at. IÂ’m very careful to dock it as soon as I see IÂ’m down to 1 bar because there have been times where the Rovio would shut down while trying to dock. So, how much run time are we supposed to be getting out of these Rovios anyway?

I canÂ’t really explain what is happening, but I believe my progress is certainly worth noting. Even thought my Rovios performance is still painfully, agonizingly, aggravatingly ATROCIOUS, I have managed to go from runs starting with 1 bar and lasting only a few second to runs that start with 4 bars and last about 5 minutes. If things donÂ’t get better, Rovio is going back to the store.

I hope this helps the boys and girls at Wowwee to diagnose and remedy this very serious and disappointing issue.

Rob
Rob's picture

Alpha, I just sneaking a browse at my computer during thanksgiving dinner. Didn't even read your whole message, but please make sure you charge your Rovio 10-14 hours for the initial charge. If it still doesn't work right, you have "the" problem. But most people on this board feel Rovio needs a very long initial charge.

AlphA
AlphA's picture

Hey Rob. Thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately, this may not be the answer for me. When I put the Rovio on the charger for the first time, it would start the charge cycle, then power down after a few seconds (all lighs on the Rovio turned off). I talked to a guy from Wowwee, and he agrees that this is not normal behavior. So, I really didn't have the opportunity to give my Rovio the initial 10-14 hour charge.

Since I've been away from home, my Rovio has been spending plenty of time sitting on the charger. Hopefully this will help. However, I'm no too optimistic because it thinks that it is done charging after only a few minutes. Then it just sits on the charger for hours and hours while signifying that the battery is full (5 bars and blue LEDs on solid). Then, when the Rovio leaves the charging station, the battery level quickly drops and I am down to 1 bar after only a few minutes.

Louis
Louis's picture

Just bought a Rovio and the battery will not take the charge. I am looking for a replacement battery locally. It looks like Rovio doesn't offer replacements.
I have read that many people have charging complaints. My Rovio just died and it doesn't take the charge any longer. Useless. I will send it back to Amazon if I don't get a fix withing the next few days.

Louis
Louis's picture

My Rovio just sits there on the charger, dead.

Rob
Rob's picture

Louis, if you haven't already, I would contact WowWee support. The problem could be the battery, but it could be something else.

AlphA
AlphA's picture

more great news! so I decided to set up the photo email since I can't really mobilize my rovio due to the charging issues. I entered my settings and as soon as I clicked the photo icon, my rovio drops off line. poof. gone! so, I google around to find that there is ANOTHER common and very serious issue with using the rovio with wrt53g wireless routers, which are very popular routers. apparently, trying to use the photo email feature on the rovio crashes the router, taking your entire home network off line! I am away from home and thanks to the rovio, my entire network, which consists of several servers hosting many services, has been taken off line. dead! thanks wowwee. this is getting RIDICULOUS! my old crappy web cam can handle photo email tasks better than a rovio. and you know what? I DIDN'T PAY $300 FOR MY OLD WEBCAM!
Perhaps wowwee should stick to making "robots" that just burp and fart to make simpletons chuckle.

I have had just about enough if rovio, mark tilden, wowwee and all of their FAIL!!!

Rudolph
Rudolph's picture

I had that issue with my router (wrt54g). A firmware upgrade to the router fixed it. Pretty sure that falls outside of wowwee's court.

AlphA
AlphA's picture

I can't argue with you, Rudolph. YouÂ’re right. But, I can't help but to think about all of the things I have connected to my router, and all of the different ways I have utilized my router and nothing has ever caused it to crash before.

So, okay, IÂ’ll let the router crash slide. But, the other issues are, without a doubt, unacceptable. We all paid far too much to deal with such serious issues. I understand that many companies rush to release products before the holiday season. And when they do, the product is usually less than perfect. But, when we pay a significant chunk of change for something that is so gimped that it isnÂ’t even useable, that is simply shameful. What if I had bought someone rovio as a gift, just to have them feel disappointed when they realize that they can not even enjoy it on Christmas day. I imagine that such a scenario will be quite prevalent this season, wherever the rovio is involved.

jearl
jearl's picture

I received my Rovio yesterday from RadioShack.com. I'm experiencing the same battery issues (only lasts 5 minutes, even after overnight charging).

One thing they don't address clearly: should I leave the switch turned ON for it to charge? That seems silly, as it can't possibly charge properly that way - all those blue LEDs must draw a lot of current, not to mention the camera & WiFi that stays powered on the whole time.

Seems it would charge better if you parked it, then turned it off. But it appears to NOT charge when the switch on the Rovio is OFF.

I'm off to email their customer service now.

Rob
Rob's picture

jearl said:
I received my Rovio yesterday from RadioShack.com. I'm experiencing the same battery issues (only lasts 5 minutes, even after overnight charging).
One thing they don't address clearly: should I leave the switch turned ON for it to charge? That seems silly, as it can't possibly charge properly that way - all those blue LEDs must draw a lot of current, not to mention the camera & WiFi that stays powered on the whole time.
Seems it would charge better if you parked it, then turned it off. But it appears to NOT charge when the switch on the Rovio is OFF.
I'm off to email their customer service now.

Yes, silly as it seems, Rovio must be on to charge. Since it seems you did let it charge long enough (10-14 hours is what many on this board recommend for the inital charge), you may have (yet another) Rovio with the battery/charge issue... Or did you have your Rovio off while it was on the charger? If so, then you know what to do.

litelnole
litelnole's picture

Rudolph - glad i read your post about WRT54g firmware upgrade upon crashing.

Alpha - if i could keep my rovio on long enough to test the photo function i'll post my results. But i agree with your assessments. battery issues are crippling what i expected to be an amazing device. I'm not too far from returning until a stable version of the HARDWARE comes out...

Toyguy
Toyguy's picture

Just got my Rovio and I would echo all the same thoughts. After some careful testing and watching of results, I have to agree with the conclusion that, in my case at least, Rovio is going into Roaming mode while sitting on the dock and consequently not charging. Since it has to be on to charge, its systems are then running the battery down while it sits on the dock in Roam mode.

I charged the battery fully with my RC Car charger - that seemed to work fine and the battery was full, so I think that rules out a battery issue. With a charged battery, Rovio works fairly well. The camera response is really poor though, as noted, and will require much additional lighting to be of any use. I got photo email set up easily, and things work good internally on my LAN. So far, I have been unable to see any video remotely although Rovio responds to commands. This may be an issue with my firewall at work. I need to have a friend test it.

I've been unable to get it to do anything through my Motorola Q9c smartphone. I get the special mobile interface but nothing seems to function.

If I keep nudging the Rovio to keep the LEDs blinking and make sure it stays in Dock mode, it will eventually charge the battery sufficiently to run. I am convinced this is not a hardware problem with the battery or the dock or the robot. It looks and smells like a firmware problem.

The question becomes, do I want to be a $300 pay-WowWee beta tester? Or am I better off putting that money back in the bank, adding a couple hundred more to it and waiting for the iRobot ConnectR?

I bought mine at Radio Shack, so I have a couple weeks to decide. It would be in WowWee's best interest to figure this out quickly.

CanDoo
CanDoo's picture

I perosnally have already made the decision to return mine. I just don't have $300 to waste waiting for firmware updates and the fact MAYBE it will or won't get fixed. good luck to all of you.

dtype
dtype's picture

Given that this thread has been running since October 22 with numerous reports of this particular problem, Wowweee should have been all over it like a rash and fixed it by now. It's a great pity because Rovio is a great product with great potential but without a guaranteed fix this problem renders it unusable except as a toy. I'm afraid my Rovio is going back too.

Tadayuki
Tadayuki's picture

Hey guys. Looks like I may or maynot have a similar problem. I was wondering exactly what type of functions you guys are doing and how long the battery is lasting. I have been running my motors about 75% of the time and my Rovio lasts approximately 25 minutes. Would you guys consider this a defective Rovio as well? I'm sending a email to wowwee right now as well.

Rob
Rob's picture

Tadayuki said:
Hey guys. Looks like I may or maynot have a similar problem. I was wondering exactly what type of functions you guys are doing and how long the battery is lasting. I have been running my motors about 75% of the time and my Rovio lasts approximately 25 minutes. Would you guys consider this a defective Rovio as well? I'm sending a email to wowwee right now as well.

That performance doesn't sound so bad -- I don't have THE problem, and Rovio works for well over an hour. But in my testing, I am not moving him around nearly 75% of that hour. I think most people with THE problem get 5-15 minutes tops.

Tadayuki
Tadayuki's picture

Rob said:

Tadayuki said: Hey guys. Looks like I may or maynot have a similar problem. I was wondering exactly what type of functions you guys are doing and how long the battery is lasting. I have been running my motors about 75% of the time and my Rovio lasts approximately 25 minutes. Would you guys consider this a defective Rovio as well? I'm sending a email to wowwee right now as well.

That performance doesn't sound so bad -- I don't have THE problem, and Rovio works for well over an hour. But in my testing, I am not moving him around nearly 75% of that hour. I think most people with THE problem get 5-15 minutes tops.

Thanks for the reply Rob. Well I sent an email to wowwee now basically stating what I've stated here. I'm in the process of charging the battery seperatly right now and seeing how long that lasts. Overall though I'm very pleased with my Rovio's performance. I have noticed, like what others have said on this forum, that my Rovio seems to just pop out of the charge station on it's own(At least I think it's on it's own and not one of my friends controlling it and moving it out of the station) after it thinks it's charged.

Rob
Rob's picture

Tadayuki said: I have noticed, like what others have said on this forum, that my Rovio seems to just pop out of the charge station on it's own(At least I think it's on it's own and not one of my friends controlling it and moving it out of the station) after it thinks it's charged.

I'm one of the people who have that issue! But for me it's pretty concrete. It only happens when I close my Mac Firefox 3 browser window when I'm done using my Rovio. And it happens every time, on two Macs, from LAN or WAN. Needless to say, I no longer use Firefox to access my Rovio.

Any chance that's what's happening with you? It sure can mess with your perceived battery performance, if every time you think Rovio is in the charger, you close your browser window, and send him off his dock.

jearl
jearl's picture

I had THE problem (battery only lasted 5 minutes). I emailed Wowwie, got an email back after a few days which suggested that I need to let it charge for up to 48 hours. I've never heard of a device that had to be charged 48 hours before. Sounds more like they used an under-powered wall-wart for a charger.

I removed the battery and charged it externally with a power supply until it got warm to the touch. Then it lasted over an hour of constant driving around.

I've never experienced the bug where it pops out of the charger, but then, I don't use a MAC. I normally use IE or Firefox on Windows XP or Vista.

My plan is to return the unit - it doesn't drive over my small area carpets that are only 1/4 to 1/2" tall. It tends to get hung up.

The camera appears to need a LOT of light to work well. I'm guessing the camera has about 10 lux sensitivity. The single LED "light" is a joke. It does almost nothing, unless it is point-blank with the wall.

Tadayuki
Tadayuki's picture

jearl said:
I had THE problem (battery only lasted 5 minutes). I emailed Wowwie, got an email back after a few days which suggested that I need to let it charge for up to 48 hours. I've never heard of a device that had to be charged 48 hours before. Sounds more like they used an under-powered wall-wart for a charger.
I removed the battery and charged it externally with a power supply until it got warm to the touch. Then it lasted over an hour of constant driving around.
I've never experienced the bug where it pops out of the charger, but then, I don't use a MAC. I normally use IE or Firefox on Windows XP or Vista.
My plan is to return the unit - it doesn't drive over my small area carpets that are only 1/4 to 1/2" tall. It tends to get hung up.
The camera appears to need a LOT of light to work well. I'm guessing the camera has about 10 lux sensitivity. The single LED "light" is a joke. It does almost nothing, unless it is point-blank with the wall.

Thanks for the input Jearl. So I guess once this battery is fully charged it should be running around for about an hour of constant driving. Yes, I also think the single LED is a big joke, and thats going to be one of the first things I'll be modifing (Although that 16 LED mod that I've seen is a little over doing it I think...).

Aeroworks
Aeroworks's picture

I received some reply's to my battery issue from WowWee. here is what they told me to do about the battery problem.
--------------------------------------------------------
"please try running the rovio until it is completely dead then place it on the docking station for about 12 to 24 hours then try it again. The battery may just need a long deep charge cycle for its initial charge.

Please let me know how it goes!

Sincerely,
WowWee Customer Service "

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Obviously that did not work.. so i let them know and this is what i got back.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Would you be able to send me a copy of the receipt? I would like to see about getting this replaced for you!

you can either email me customersupport@wowwee.com or fax it to 514 344 1252.

Sincerely,
WowWee Customer Service"
----------------------------------------------------------------------

So, hopefully they will take my ebay receipt from "Sunset Toys" and get this replaced. hopefully before Christmas.

NanoTek
NanoTek's picture

Aeroworks said:
you can either email me customersupport@wowwee.com or fax it to 514 344 1252.

Sincerely,
WowWee Customer Service"

Here is the website:

http://www.wowwee.com/en/contact

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