Rovio battery

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Pascal31
Pascal31's picture

Hello everybody,

i've just received my rovio from US (I am in France).

Reading theses very interesting forum, i tried to find something about battery issues...Indeed, i've noticed that i could not use my rovio more than 15 minutes even after a full charge :

Nb : Full charge is difficult to reach since after 30 minutes, Rovio says that it is fully charged...hum hum.

What can i do? Changing AC/DC adapter? Changing battery?

I keep on reading the forums in order to find the best solution.

Thank you

Rob
Rob's picture

Pascal31, did you give it a good long (12 hr +) initial charge? That was an idea posted as a possible solution right when Rovio first started shipping.

Pascal31
Pascal31's picture

Hi,
yes i tried, but after 30 minutes/1 hour, the rovio stops the charging.
So i only poweroff then poweron and it starts again charging.

I think that the rovio "charge" indicator is only base on an internal count...and not real information about battery : so, it says "Full Charged" even if it is not.

Can someone confirm that the rovio stops itself in charging like previously described? In that case could wowwee change the "full charge" indication and keep on charging all the time?

Thank you.

chris75
chris75's picture

Same (even worse) issue for me as I've to reboost battery with an external charger so Rovio starts fully charged and works for several hours ( a few redockings) to a day before it is unable to dock recharge as battery is alway charge a bit lower than previous charge cycle when redocked. No way it can work for days without a reboost.

So, I opened mine and hooked a scope to see what's causing this , since battery is ok (btw support sent me a replacement batt/power was better but not solved).

Apparently CPU/Cams/etc... drain 500 mA (not moving) and another hundreds mA goes in the dock.
When docked, Rovio may direct dock power power via a FET Transistor (apparently) through an inductance then a 1 W / 0.5 ohm resistor then a diode to battery + wire , so battery will recharge.
Rate of charge is controlled by cyclic switching on/off the FET, full charge cycle is off for fraction of sec (0.1-0.06) and on (charging) for 1 sec repeating. off time is increased, on time is decreased at end of charge .

Power block is rated 8V, I measured 7.70 at connection inside Rovio (Dock induce significant load), then it goes through the resistor another 0.4V lost , then through the diode another 0.176V, finally battery can get 250ma max under 7V approx this is a bit low but should work. May be a 9V power supply would help.

I wrote a script to get charge/batt level via API and charge cycle looks weird, Rovio charge at max level first (200) then quickly reduces to 80 which is apparently too low to compensate for CPU/etc.. drain. I guess depending on battery/power some user have badly charged, slowly discharging Rovios.

I updated my script to do a dock/redock when charge / level are in danger zone and it last a lot longer. Rovio charges at full rate when just docked until it has indication of battery level (a few secs to a mn).

From this i imagine a few (combined) issues:
* Power block is too weak
* Charging program is not tracking correctly battery level vs charge
* Not having battery decoupled from Rovio CPU etc when charging is a problem as voltage is moving due to Rovio activity. End of charge is detected by a fraction of Volt surge of NIMH. This could be a power card design flaw so harder to fix.

I'll get a 9V power to see if I get better result, doubt it will solve completely though. (tried a powerfull 8V was slightly better ).

Real fix is probably to change charging program (firmware) to have some learning mode so a initial complete charge / discharge will tell Rovio right level/charge to apply for a cycle.
Current implementation probably works for specific power/battery pack specs (good ones) hence the various level of problems i've seen on the forum.

Hope wowwee will issue a new FW with smarter charge control.
I'll hack more into mine to see if anything can be done to improve things.

Chris.

Pascal31
Pascal31's picture

Hello Chris75,
Thank you to share your discoveries about theses battery issues...

what about the AC/DC adapter included in the rovio pack?

My adapter is 50hZ and 60Hz auto-adaptative, My rovio dock (and attached beacon) is 60Hz from USA (sticker on it) but in france we are in 50Hz...

I guess this difference may have a consequence on the charging cycle? (Heat?, bad charging?...)

Electronician, what do you think about this? (I am not...but i ask for professionnal advise.)

Thank you in advance.

chris75
chris75's picture

Don't think it makes any difference, adapter is a switching power supply so it is very tolerant on voltage/HZ on input.
Important characteristic is how much amps it can provide and how well it can maintain output voltage under load (equivalent internal resistance).

Judging at voltage measured and the sharp whistle I hear when Rovio is docked the adapter provided may be too weak.

Chris

Asaad
Asaad's picture

Hello from Canada

I have the same problem... So what is the solution ?

chris75
chris75's picture

Contact wowwee support they may send you replacement adapter/battery.
This may fix your issue or at least improve autonomy.

I've not heard from them after i tested replacement battery (didn't fix issue).
I pinged them again but no response.

Still waiting for support feedback and investigating on my own.
Chris

Asaad
Asaad's picture

Hi

They send me replacement battery and replacement adapter
2 months of waiting for each ! Wow :-(

Did not fix the issue...

Charlie1138
Charlie1138's picture

I just got my Rovio from MacMAll. I charged it and was ready to Rovio and with great enthusiasm and many attempts and research lasting hours, I could not get it to work!!!

I seem to have hit the Trifecta. Every issue you read about in the posts I am experiencing with this worthless toy. I am thoroughly disappointed with the support on this device. Hard to find phone number that when you do get it and call all you get is a voice mail telling you to send an email because they are only open 9am to 5pm, Monday – Friday no weekends or Holidays. Thanks for pointing that out on your voice mail team. Way to keep up the customer satisfaction.

I have submitted a request to support via the myrovio.com website in the support section. I do not expect a return call anytime soon as the confirmation page clearly states they should get back to you in two business days and “if you do not hear back from them in 5 business days, you can….” Yes that is a quote.

So today the race begins. If they call me back and fix my issues before I can box this thing up and send it back, I will gladly sing there praises in this and anywhere I can. If they do not, I will gladly sing their demise so that I can spare others the frustration that could come with this purchase.
There are other devices that I am testing out there that do the similar thing. I will post them if I am unable to get this thing working, then we can all go with the one that works.

chris75
chris75's picture

After checking internal Rovio voltages with slightly more than 8V to check everything wouldn't go into a big smoke, I replaced the adapter by a 9V / 3 Amps adapter.
Things are now a lot better, Rovio has not switched off so far (>1Day) and was able to kick a new charge on dock while battery was very low.
Before that, it tried to charge at max rate but failed to kick voltage up fast enough and shut down itself every time.

I'm still stressing the Rovio to check for any problem, but it looks good so far.

This hack surely voids the warranty so try only if you know enough about these things. If you are not comfortable, send it back and ask for one with good battery/adapter, may be newer model have better ones (not sure).

FYI:
I Used a multi-voltage 36W swithing power supply ( HQ POWER from amplus).
I set Voltage to 9V (up to 3amps allowed for this voltage).
I cut old adapter (dock side) plug and connected to new adapter (not available from the set provided with HQ Power).
Be cautious to not invert polarity (+ is inside plug , ground is outside) check serigraphy / voltage with meter to make sure.

Chris

farice
farice's picture

the same thing is happening to me, my warranty expired and i'm trying to find somewhere to buy one!

chris75
chris75's picture

More powerfull adapter is not a 100% fix, there are still times the Rovio let battery goes down too much and shut itself off.
Undocking/redocking starts a new charge cycle and things are ok for a bit.

I looked at internal boards, looks like there is a power board with a chip controlling charge/levels. Main Rovio board is just controlling on/off and getting level notification. Looks like the charger/power board has something wrong.

Chris

denodan
denodan's picture

I got a new Rovio, after my orginal one went. My new Rovio has a battery that only lasts 5 mins and a faulty power supply. I used the battery from my old Rovio and works fine now, and used the other power supply from my broken Rovio as the power supply from my new Rovio was also faulty.

My Battery and power supply is going to be replaced.

Carey
Carey's picture

This seems to be a common theme for Rovio, battery/power supply issues. So just for the record, I as well have power issues with my new Rovio.

I ordered mine direct from the WooWee Online Store. I charged it for several hours as the supplied information suggested. It wouldn't hold a charge for even 2 minutes. So I charged it for 24 hours. Still wouldn't hold a charge for more than 2 minutes.

I read all the complaints about batteries and power supplies on this forum (numerous) and sent a complaint to customer service. A day later I got a reply asking for my mailing address so they could send me a new power supply. Sounded like great service. After almost 2 weeks the request is still pending authorization with customer service and not shipped to me.

I tested the factory power supply and only a few mA are coming from the power unit. So I went out and purchased my own 9 Vdc 2.5A power supply. After a single charge period that issue seems to be resolved. Obviously the battery is now getting enough power to charge the battery.

However, since day one the setup program will crash at numerous points while using the USB cable. I had to set it up using the WiFi adhoc option. Even then and using the newest firmware, it does not work consistently with WPA2. It only seems to work with no encryption or passwords on an Open wireless network.

My conclusion is the Rovio is of extremely poor electronic design and programming. And considering all the similar complaints on this forum, I'm not the only one with a defective Rovio, or settling for less functionality than was expected. Luckly it's a cheap toy robot, and not a huge waste of cash.

My recommendation to anyone that hasn't purchased one yet is not to bother. It's not worth the time! Other WooWee products are good (I have 3 others) they totally dropped the ball on this one!

Carey
Carey's picture

This seems to be a common theme for Rovio, battery/power supply issues. So just for the record, I as well have power issues with my new Rovio.

I ordered mine direct from the WooWee Online Store. I charged it for several hours as the supplied information suggested. It wouldn't hold a charge for even 2 minutes. So I charged it for 24 hours. Still wouldn't hold a charge for more than 2 minutes.

I read all the complaints about batteries and power supplies on this forum (numerous) and sent a complaint to customer service. A day later I got a reply asking for my mailing address so they could send me a new power supply. Sounded like great service. After almost 2 weeks the request is still pending authorization with customer service and not shipped to me.

I tested the factory power supply and only a few mA are coming from the power unit. So I went out and purchased my own 9 Vdc 2.5A power supply. After a single charge period that issue seems to be resolved. Obviously the battery is now getting enough power to charge the battery.

However, since day one the setup program will crash at numerous points while using the USB cable. I had to set it up using the WiFi adhoc option. Even then and using the newest firmware, it does not work consistently with WPA2. It only seems to work with no encryption or passwords on an Open wireless network.

My conclusion is the Rovio is of extremely poor electronic design and programming. And considering all the similar complaints on this forum, I'm not the only one with a defective Rovio, or settling for less functionality than was expected. Luckly it's a cheap toy robot, and not a huge waste of cash.

My recommendation to anyone that hasn't purchased one yet is not to bother. It's not worth the time! Other WooWee products are good (I have 3 others) they totally dropped the ball on this one!

holdendp
holdendp's picture

I just got mine. After charging for 2 hours it drives for 2 minutes. I can't believe they've let this go on this long. I'm just flabbergasted.

Carey
Carey's picture

It's been well over a month and I still haven't received my replacement power pack. Customer service won't even reply to the warranty ticket anymore about it. I wish you better luck than I've had with the exact same problem. If you bought it local and can take it back, I would. WowWee is unlikely to look after the issue based on my experience and reading about other people's complaints.

Rob
Rob's picture

holdendp said:
I just got mine. After charging for 2 hours it drives for 2 minutes. I can't believe they've let this go on this long. I'm just flabbergasted.

Do you first charge 12 hours +, it seems to work much better than the 2 hours WowWee recommends. Many people have found that to be the case.

OMega
OMega's picture

If you take apart the docking-station, it actually shows 9volt should be going out to the Rovio.

Jak R4bbit
Jak R4bbit's picture

I just received Rovio as a birthday gift and I'm having the same problems that everyone else is with the battery.

My girlfriend bought it used and I was reliving days as a child while opening it up. After finding out that it won't work with Windows 7 x64, I frowned and used my old laptop to set it up instead. I had used a friends Rovio in the past and had a smooth experience and no battery problems.

I haven't used Rovio much as we've just moved and have been spending most of my time getting Rovio setup with a DNS and whatnot. This morning I had my first remote experience with the Rovio, and after charging for well over 24 hours, I got about 5 minutes of use before the Rovio attempted to return to the dock. It didn't make it.

I am a gadget geek and love tinkering with RC electric and nitro cars, but I am far from an electronics pro. I can't find an "official" battery pack replacement for the Rovio, but a couple of battery packs made by HPI look like they would work. However, the connector will have to be changed and buying a $45 battery pack with the possibility of screwing it up isn't very exciting. This is something I have no experience with.

Do I have any other options here? I doubt any returns/exchanges would be honored since Rovio was bought used. What do you all suggest? I enjoy this gadget and would love to get it working properly.

cowboyctx
cowboyctx's picture

Here is one possible work-around.

I had the same charging problem with my Rovio where it did not want to stay on the dock and charge. When I wrote Rovio Commander I wrote a sub routine to back the Rovio up every x number of minutes. It has work for my Rovio. This feature is in the Options tab and is called Charge Mode On. Some people think this could cause the battery to over charge, but I have been using it for over 6 months and my Rovio still works the same. The only draw back is the Rovio Commander has to stay running on your computer.

use at you own risk.

b0ne
b0ne's picture

I'm not as tech savvy when it comes to batteries and power management, but having the same low battery issues, should a power adapter such as this: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3875404# work for the Rovio?

WowWee just sent me the following response when inquiring about my (and many others it seems) power issues:

"You can purchase a new adapter for your rovio for $25 USD. Please send an International Money Order or Cashier's Check made out to WowWee Canada Inc. (we aren't set up to take credit cards) to the following address:

Please send to:
ATTN: Maral
WowWee Canada Inc.
3500 De Maisonneuve Blvd., West
2 Place Alexis Nihon, Suite 800
Westmount, Qc
H3Z 3C1
Canada

Please include with your payment a detailed note explaining the part you need with it's color, as well as the production code, your full name, telephone number where you can be reached, and shipping address.

Sincerely,
WowWee Customer Service "

At this point I'd prefer to buy it from Radio Shack v. WowWee. Thanks in advance for any help.

quine9
quine9's picture

b0ne said:
I'm not as tech savvy when it comes to batteries and power management, but having the same low battery issues, should a power adapter such as this: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3875404# work for the Rovio?
WowWee just sent me the following response when inquiring about my (and many others it seems) power issues:
"You can purchase a new adapter for your rovio for $25 USD. Please send an International Money Order or Cashier's Check made out to WowWee Canada Inc. (we aren't set up to take credit cards) to the following address:
Please send to:
ATTN: Maral
WowWee Canada Inc.
3500 De Maisonneuve Blvd., West
2 Place Alexis Nihon, Suite 800
Westmount, Qc
H3Z 3C1
Canada
Please include with your payment a detailed note explaining the part you need with it's color, as well as the production code, your full name, telephone number where you can be reached, and shipping address.
Sincerely,
WowWee Customer Service "
At this point I'd prefer to buy it from Radio Shack v. WowWee. Thanks in advance for any help.

Did the radio shack adapter work? I have the same problem

b0ne
b0ne's picture

quine9 said:

b0ne said: I'm not as tech savvy when it comes to batteries and power management, but having the same low battery issues, should a power adapter such as this: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3875404# work for the Rovio? WowWee just sent me the following response when inquiring about my (and many others it seems) power issues: "You can purchase a new adapter for your rovio for $25 USD. Please send an International Money Order or Cashier's Check made out to WowWee Canada Inc. (we aren't set up to take credit cards) to the following address: Please send to: ATTN: Maral WowWee Canada Inc. 3500 De Maisonneuve Blvd., West 2 Place Alexis Nihon, Suite 800 Westmount, Qc H3Z 3C1 Canada Please include with your payment a detailed note explaining the part you need with it's color, as well as the production code, your full name, telephone number where you can be reached, and shipping address. Sincerely, WowWee Customer Service " At this point I'd prefer to buy it from Radio Shack v. WowWee. Thanks in advance for any help.

Did the radio shack adapter work? I have the same problem

I haven't pulled the trigger yet as I'm waiting to see if someone might be able to confirm that the adapter is OK to purchase / test out on the Rovio. I'll be sure to post my findings.

holdendp
holdendp's picture

Don't tell Wowee, I don't want to void my warranty, but the RadioShack 6-12VDC 2500mA power adapter when set to 9V worked like a charm. $40 though, what a gyp. I don't care, now I love the Rovio EXCEPT the camera is ridiculously dim.

Has anyone tried replacing their camera?

b0ne
b0ne's picture

Thanks holdendp. I'm going to purchase the adapter today.

professorpg
professorpg's picture

Has anyone tried replacing the battery pack with a LiPo pack?

chris75
chris75's picture

LiPo requires different charge mode than current NiMH and needs to be shut down if voltage drops below some level or there is a risk it would be badly damaged , it could even overheat and burn.
So power/charging board needs to be replaced etc... looks quite difficult and risky to do.

Chris

b0ne
b0ne's picture

Just as a follow up, I purchased the above Radio Shack charger. It seemed to extend the Robot's life the first few time I charged it but now I'm back to square one. I just let the robot leave the charger and within 1 minute I was warned that the Rovio was low on battery and would I like to return it to the dock. I said yes but within 10 seconds it died. I'm not sure what else to try.

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