WowWee Tri-Bot Review


Let me kick off this review by saying that when I received the Tri-Bot, my heart was pounding with excitement and joy just like when I was a kid on Christmas, opening up my most anticipated presents. Even now as I type this article, I am still smiling... as all of you will when you pick one up for yourself.

Unboxing Tri-Bot

Here he sits in his box... check out that little grin on his face and those big, lovable eyes staring at you! He's wearing his sharp, all red suit with bits of grey and black to off set the color, his 3 omni-directional wheels are telling me to open him up and let him out of the box to move around and explore his new world.

Let's take a look at Tri-Bot's box before we crack him open!  You can see the front of the box pictured.

The rest of the back of the box is a picture of Tri-Bot showing he has LED eyes and mouth, pose-able arms and body, pop-top head, and animated eyebrows, along with an omni-directional base that enables rapid turns and hi-speed action, and finally, a remote with “Tilt Sensor“ control.

This is a really neat feature if you just need him to go forward, backwards, right and left. If you shake your remote, you’ll hear the ball bearing tilt sensor in there, so you won't need to worry about something being loose!

All right, it's time to remove the RS Tri-Bot from his cardboard home!


First on the top portion of the box, use a knife to cut the tape from the connection tabs, then remove the tabs and open the top lid.  The clear plastic is glued to the box, so slide your hand down the sides and release the glue, at which point the Tri-Bot should then slip right out of the box.

Once you have Tri-Bot out of his box, go ahead and remove the plastic covering that is glued to the inside box.

You’ll notice that the remote is in the upper left corner and the Tri-Bot is anchored down by wire straps. Next, let's remove the manual from the bottom side of the box and put it to the side.

Here is another wire strap that must be removed, so with a pair of wire snips you can remove all the tie downs.  (The locations of all the tie downs are pictured in the image gallery if you have trouble.)

Once this is done, you may remove Tri-Bot.


Now, you have a few more rubber bands that must be removed, these are hard to see at first, but when you spot them you can snip them off.

Also remove the neck support as well as shown here.

Powering Up Tri-Bot For The First Time

Now that we have him out of the box, let's add his batteries. First, install the remote's batteries; you can do this by removing the back battery cover and installing 3 AAA batteries.

Re-install the cover and press any button on the remote to ensure that the LED light comes on.

Next, let’s install the batteries into Tri-Bot. Lay him on his back, as the pickup handle and the back wheel will support him up.  Unscrew the battery plate as you did with the remote, and install your 8 x AA batteries as shown below.

Re-install the battery plate and set him on his wheels. Now the fun part: turning on your Tri-Bot! To turn him on, there is a black button behind his back omni-wheel, press this button down and he will pick a random phrase to say or move each time you turn him on.

To get started with him right away, try the "Demo" button on the remote. Also feel free to move his arms and waist in the position you want. You will hear a clicking noise when these items are moved, which is completely normal, so don't worry! 

The best way to enjoy the demo is by placing him in a wide open space so he has freedom to move about.  Also keep in mind that when he is in his demo mode, his sensors are disabled.


Using Tri-Bot's Remote & Function Overview

Let’s take a look at the remote then discuss what it can do. See photo below:

This diagram came from the Tri-Bot manual.  As you can see, it can perform many functions:

  • Turn Clockwise or Counter Clockwise
  • Move Freely using the Directional Keys
  • Stop Tri-Bot
  • Program Mode
  • Playback Mode
  • "Brain" Button to initiate Roaming Mode
  • Demo
  • Games: Play one of three games
  • Guard Mode
  • Alarm Mode: Programmable for 1 to 12 minutes
  • Tilt Mode: By tilting the remote, you can move Tri-Bot forward, back, left, and right

Tri-Bot's Game Mode

To activate Game Mode, do the following: 

1. Press the GAME button on the remote controller.

2. Tri-Bot will say the name of the games, pausing after each name.  To select the game you want, press the GAME button after he says the name.  If you do not select a game after he has said all of the names, he will exit Game Mode.

3. Once you have selected a game, Tri-Bot will explain the rules of the game to you, and begin!  To stop the game or to exit Game Mode, press STOP on the remote controller or press Tri-Bot’s head. These are the games you can play:

  • Pattern Game:  In the Pattern Game, Tri-Bot will drive out a pattern on the ground and then ask you to repeat the pattern by controlling him using the direction pad on the remote controller. Tri-Bot is equipped with lots of patterns for hours of fun!  This is more like a memory game... which is one that I really need :)
  • Maze Game: Tri-Bot will drive out the shape of the maze on the ground.  He will then ask you to drive him in the same pattern, using the remote controller.  You have a fixed amount of time to run through the maze correctly.  He makes comments as he goes to tell you whether or not you are moving in the correct direction.  Drive into a maze “wall” and he will “bump” off them harmlessly.  Tri-Bot has lots of mazes in his memory!  This one is a bit harder, at least for me, since the "mazes" get progressively harder as you move along.  As you become better at them, you'll have more and more fun.
  • Minefield Game:  Similar to the Maze Game, but with mines, Tri-Bot will drive out the shape of the minefield on the ground.  He will then ask you to drive him using the remote controller. You must follow the same pattern to avoid the mines!  If you are facing a mine, rs Tri-Bot will beep. If the mine is directly in front of him, he will beep more quickly. Turn away from the mine to find a clear path -- if he beeps slowly, or does not beep at all, you can move forward. If you hit a mine, rs Tri-Bot will blow his top!  He has plenty of minefields to test you!  This one is by far the best game he offers, in my opinion.  I love to see him blow his stack, it is so fun to watch... unless, of course, you are determined to navigate the minefield intact!

Note that it is important with all of these games to give Tri-Bot plenty of room to move around in.

Tri-Bot's Program Mode

In Program Mode you can program and store a sequence of up to 60 drive command program steps that Tri-Bot can play back on request.

Note that he cannot detect or avoid obstacles while he is in Program Mode. To enter Program Mode, do the following:

1. Press the Program button [ the button with the P and a circle on it ] . rs Tri-Bot will make a comment when he is ready to receive driving commands. 

2. Use the direction pad on the remote controller to direct Tri-Bot’s movements. He will store the length of the movement as a single program step. 

3. To add more program steps, repeat step 2. 

4. If you want to add a pause to the sequence, press the STOP button. The length of time you hold the button will be equal to the length of the pause. 

5. When you have finished, press the Playback button (the button with a P and an arrow on it)  Tri-Bot will exit Program Mode and play the program back to you.

6. To clear the program, enter Program Mode by pressing the Program button and press the Playback button , without entering any drive instructions. To playback the program at any time, press the Playback button. Rs Tri-Bot will not remember any stored programs once you turn him off. 

Note that Tri-Bot can only store one program at a time. If you store a new program, you will overwrite and delete the previously stored program. 

The Roam Free button is the button with the brain on it.  By pressing this button, this will give him the freedom that many of us enjoy but it is for 3 minutes only before he goes into standby mode.  If you want to stop him, press the stop button on the remote or tap down on his head to go into his standby mode.

Tri-Bot's Guard Mode

Let’s look at the Guard mode and see how this works.

To activate Guard Mode, do the following:

1. Press the GUARD button on the remote controller. 

2. Tri-Bot will ask you to “tap” his head. To do so, gently press his head in a vertical, downwards direction. He will then tell you that he is in Guard Mode. 

3. When he first enters Guard Mode he will perform a long range scan of his immediate environment in front of, and behind him.

4. If he detects any movements or new objects, he will sound an alarm. 

After about a half hour, he will exit Guard mode and await your command, and will report back to you if he detected any objects.  If he receives no commands, he will then enter Standby Mode.

Tri-Bot's Standby Mode

Tri-Bot is equipped with a Standby Mode. If you do not interact with him for approximately 10 minutes he will make a comment, and enter Standby Mode.  You can wake him up from standby by pressing his head.

Tri-Bot's Sleep Mode

If Tri-Bot is left for approximately 10 minutes more (that is approximately 20 minutes altogether) he will enter Sleep Mode, to conserve battery power.  Again, you can wake him from sleep by pressing his head.  It's best to power him down after each use.

Now lets look at the Alarm Mode, this mode if fun to wake the un-expecting as I will show you a video of my teen son that is a very hard sleeper, I know I’m bad but hey is all in good fun. Now lets find out how it works. 


Tri-Bot's Alarm Mode 

You can make Tri-Bot sound a pretty impressive alarm anytime you like.  It was particularly fun using it to wake up my teenage son, who is an incredibly hard sleeper!

To activate Alarm Mode, do the following: 

1. Press the ALARM button on the remote controller.

2. Tri-Bot will ask you to “tap” his head for the number of minutes you want to wait, before the alarm sounds. For instance, if you want the alarm to sound in two minutes, press his head twice.

3. Each time you press his head, rs Tri-Bot will confirm how many minutes he will wait before he sounds the alarm.  Once you are done, he'll start the countdown.

The best part is that you have to run and catch Tri-Bot to get him to be quiet, making it perfect to annoy your kids or family members when they're trying to catch some extra sleep :)

Fall Detection

If Tri-Bot falls over he will tell you.  His wheels will automatically stop spinning, but you will need to stand him back upright to get him going again. 

Homing Function

Tri-Bot has a homing function which allows him to follow you, or locate and move towards you. Be sure to give him time to locate you, before you start moving, if you want him to follow you. Press and hold the HOME button on the remote controller. Tri-Bot will look for you, and make comments as he goes. If he moves away from you, continue to press the HOME button as he scans the area and looks for you. If you release the HOME button, Tri-Bot thinks he has reached home, and will make another comment. Press the HOME button again if you want him to continue tracking you.

Other Helpful Hints For Tri-Bot

The Tri-Bot works better if it is ran an a smooth hard surface, but will run on carpet as well.  Using Tri-Bot on a carpeted surface may draw your battery power more quickly (since there is more drag when moving on carpet) so you may want to buy some rechargable batteries.  Of course, you'll be playing with your Tri-Bot so much, that you'll need them anyway!

Here is a diagram of the features that are on the Tri-Bot, including moving eyebrows, LED eyes, LED mouth, Tilt waist that is manually moved, Omni-directional wheel base, pose-able arms, IR sensors in front, IR sensors in back and the great “Pop-top” head and ears that really gives Tri-Bot its character.

Also, when moving him around, please use the hand strap on his back so you don’t damage him by accident.  Remember to have fun with him and please post your opinions and experiences with Tri-Bot on the forums here

Overall, the Tri-Bot is a fantastic robot companion that has brought me alot of smiles and good times, and I would recommend it highly.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's inside of Tri-Bot, and what cool hacks and modifications I can do... stay tuned!

Once again, thank you all for all your kind words in the community, and I look forward to posting my next installment for Tri-Bot! 

-  GWJax

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Grandlarseny37's picture

That video is hilarious!

Currahee's picture

nice review and video

GWJax's picture

Thanks Guys!!! I loved doing that video and one thing it made my son clean his room that day.. hehehehe

GWJax's picture

Thank you very much crmgghtr for your great comment..

GWJax's picture

Thanks for the great comment BG, The rsTri-Bot is $99.00 US and you can find him at Radio-Shack and I think Wall-Mart but I know for sure Radio-Shack because I have seen them there and also the mini-rsTri-Bot.


GWJax's picture

LOL thanks for the input but they really did the work and deserve it for the many man hours the put into it..


GWJax's picture

I don't know what brookstore is but if you need to order it from a cataloge then the price of shipping will over come the 9 bucks that you can just go to Radio Shack and pick one up and have it in your hands as you leave the store..

GWJax's picture

Yes he is alot of on going fun, if you like the Quad then you'll love the Tri-Bot... I would wait for x-mas for the bladestar but get the Tri-Bot as soon as you can ge it..

Marc123's picture

hi Jax,

Fantastic thorough review.
How would you rate the tri-bot against the spykee?

I am not sure which one I prefer...and then there is also the awesome Isobot

GWJax's picture

Well each bot has it's own functions the spykee I think is over priced and that why I don't have one so I really can not comment on that one. As of the Isobot he is a really cool humanoid but I think he's too small but yet can do alot with programming.

and thanks for the great comment on my article


Stephden's picture

GWJax, I need your help.

I'm new to robots and have been looking at the Tri-bot and Mr. Personality. They both have some neat features but I'm not sure which one would be more fun to have. I know Mr. P. is about three times as much as Tri-bot but I'm still confused.

Do you have any helpful suggestions??


GWJax's picture

Well the only thingI can tell you is what features appeal to you the most and what do you expect from your robot, The article I have given you tells you everything that the Tri-Bot can do. If this is enough and you would like to hack into it with some of my upcomming hacks then I would say get the Tr-Bot, but if the Video face and adding diffrent personalities into your robot is what you want then it will be Mr.P. if your budget can handle the 250-300 price range. Either way they are great to have but if you a hacker then I'd go the Tri-Bot way.
I hope some of this made sence to you but only you know what you want your bot to do and have.


GWJax's picture

BG only if the features appeal to you and you have the money for it to spare.


GWJax's picture

BG let me look into this with mine since it's still togeather. I'll get back to ya when I run some test..


Lepy's picture

Haha, the video was nice. The only thing is:

You said that the Tri-bot had to have his head tapped for him to shut off, but in the video he just stops.

otherwise, this was a good review, and Tri-bot sounds like a good replacement for my Roboquad :)

GWJax's picture

Yes that is correct Lepy the Tri-Bot will turn it self off if not touched. So this is a mistake in the manual and my Article thanks for pointing that out for us.. and Thank you for your kind words about the review..


jimc's picture

is it a problem having two of them operating close to each other?

jimc's picture

is it a problem to have two of them operating close together?

GWJax's picture

This is a good question, I would say yes to this because I can operate 2 RQ's and 2 V1's with their same remote as the remotes are interchangable with the same robots. But I can not confirm this because I only have 1 and it's almost completly apart for modding to it..


jimc's picture

what if they were two different types of wowwee robots?

GWJax's picture

If you have diffrent types of robots then no they won't colide with the diffrent remotes, Now if you want to control both or more WowWee robots at the same time as a skit or routine to mke them look like they are interacting togeather then make sure you get the RoboRemote which is really cool to use to control all your robots at the same time so make sure you check this remote out as well plus it's well worth the money $20 US.
If you have any other questions feel free to ask!!


jimc's picture

so i can get one kid a tribot and one a roboquad and they wont have problems with the remotes interfering?


GWJax's picture

Yes, that is correct jimc..


bob g's picture

Just bought one for son. tried kodak nimh rechargeable batteries tribot did not work tried duracell alkaline works fine what rechargeable batteries do you suggest p.s. kodak batteries were fully charged

GWJax's picture

Bob G, I use the cheap Chicago Electric NIMH at 1200 mAh from Harbor Freight and he works fine, the only thing I can say is that you have one or two bad batteries in the mix or when you charged up your batteries 4 at time unless you a very large recharger then you will charge the 8 batteries up at the same time you did not charge up the batteries all the way up, I always leave my batteries charging up over night and have a spare on hand when needed. If your charger has a testing unit on them check each battery to see if they are ok in which you should have 1.2 Volts and check the current as well on each battery. Try recharging again but use a different charger as well if you have another, you may have one or more problems with the battery charging stations in your charger as well. I have never had a problem with he Kodak batteries but the Energizer NIHM batteries are alot better in lasting longer at 2300 mAh that are said for use in digital cameras. Also if you go the route, buy the charger pack for them.

Hope your son is enjoying the Tri-Bot as much as I do. Let me know if you have any other problems with the Tri-Bot should you have them as I'm only a post away.


Pam's picture

My grandson just played with the new tribot from wowwee. It worked great for 30 minutes and now the wheels will not move at all. I shut if off and waited but still no movement. He does still talk and tell jokes. Is this a defect or is there anything I can do different.

GWJax's picture

Fresh batteries are always the first thing to do and the motors are the first to see the the problem when some of the batteries are drained. Make sure you have good batteries and not the cheap ones or you can get the NIMH 2500mAh rechargeables to cut down on the cost of going through alot of batteries. If this does not work let me know and we'll start digging deaper into what is causing the problem.


Pam's picture

I got alkaline enercell from Radio Shack and not very cheap batteries. 1.5 v on AAA and AA. They are new and just put them in and he played for 20 minutes...just dont understand how it works and just stops.

Pam's picture

this is brand new grandson just opened it tonight. We inserted batteries and it was so great..then stopped. Brand new batteries. I guess I can buy him better batteries, but if the rest of the robot works, with talking and all, then wouldn't that mean the batteries are okay?

GWJax's picture

The Radio Shack batteries do not pack a punch for what this robot needs, Get Energizer or Duracell batteries instead. This will correct your problem. Let me know after you have done this and we'll dig deeper.


GWJax's picture

Pam said:

this is brand new grandson just opened it tonight. We inserted batteries and it was so great..then stopped. Brand new batteries. I guess I can buy him better batteries, but if the rest of the robot works, with talking and all, then wouldn't that mean the batteries are okay?

No not at all Pam, the voice and the small motors in the head do no not draw alot of current from the batteries. The 3 larger motors in the wheels take most of the current draw from them and with weak batteries the motors can not kick start them selfs to move. With Radio Shack batteries getting at least 30 min of play time is good, you can leave them in the remote though.


Pam's picture

GWJax said: The Radio Shack batteries do not pack a punch for what this robot needs, Get Energizer or Duracell batteries instead. This will correct your problem. Let me know after you have done this and we'll dig deeper. Jax

Okay, I will try this.  Thanks...I will get those tomorrow. 

jois's picture

Just opened the tri-bot and will not power up at all. Remote seems to work (light comes on) but robot does nothing........put in 2 different sets of brand new batteries and nothing......

less's picture

Just bought a tribot the other day due to the fact it had goog reveiws and on sale at half off. we collect a varity of bots pleo, isobot, R2D2,the brain etc.
My question is should we keep the tribot for $60.00 or get a Mr. Personality that is on sale for 169.00 I know they are both similiar and different which due you recommend as the most for the buck and interesting over time?

Pam's picture

We had problems with the first Tribot and I am sending it back. I bought another one for my grandson and it is really great. He is 10 years old and figured out quickly how to use the remote. My husband said he could not believe all that it does. I dont know anything about Mr. Personality, but I do recommend the Tribot for 60.00.

Pam's picture

My husband said he could not believe that the Tribot was so cheap in price. We also spent $60.00. Anyway, we are thrilled with our purchase.

Currahee's picture

i want one

Peter Redmer's picture

Pam said:
My husband said he could not believe that the Tribot was so cheap in price. We also spent $60.00. Anyway, we are thrilled with our purchase.

Glad to hear that your Tribot is working great.  Happy holidays and make sure to post later about your experiences with the robot!

Adrian Lingard's picture

Just to let you know you can buy this online for $39.99 now at the following link.

Hope this helps someone.


Robosapien V10's picture

Ya, I have Tri-Bot and he's a blast. The only bad thing is he NEVER STOPS TALKING!

GWJax's picture

Yep Tri-Bot is a little kid that loves to talk......


Sue Ratio's picture

Worked for a few minutes. Grandson kept pushing the head. Now it does nothing. Can turn on and off my does not respond to any buttons on the remote. Even when I push on the demo mode I get nothing. What can do.

Deb's picture

I need a replacement part for Wowwee robot. How can I get the bottom battery door. I missed placed the door that holds the batteries in. I have the red three wheel one like in the video.

Thank you..

Deb's picture

I had the red robot like the one in the video. Wowwee Tri-wheel. I'm missing the red door on the bottom that holds the batteries in. I can I get one. Won't work without that door. Please Help!!

Thank you Deb

Deb's picture

I need a replacement part for the Wowwee red tri-wheel robot.Like the one in the video. What I need is the door that holds the batteries at the bottom of the robot...

BPJ's picture




Lady Royce's picture


I lost my manual to my Tri-bot and need to download the PDF file of it. BUT!! I forgot where to find it! Could someone be so kind as to point me in the proper direction where I may download the manual?

Thank you all for the help.
Lady Donna Royce