Greetings Robot Geeks!
Like many of you, I decided to grab a Rovio off eBay at a bargain price. What I didn't realize is that the reason many of them go so cheaply is that most of them are DOA!! Well not entirely, hence the purpose for this educational article. Hopefully, more folks won't sell their Rovio's in helpless dispair, but rather, will read this guide and realize that re-animating Rovio isn't as difficult as you think!
I got a "near new" Rovio for $125, I thought I practically stole it, that was until I had to spend hours in feverish sweat necromancing it back to life only to fail and fail again! As incredible as Rovio is, it's INCREDIBLY disappointing to get one home only to find out's it's "bricked", "Inop", "Dead", etc.
While some Rovios are hardware defective, I believe many of them ARE NOT. This is great news for the Rovio community who have all but given up on getting their Rovio's patroling again. From anecdote, the most common culprit amongst "bricked" Rovios seems to be firmware upgrade mishaps (we could cover the why's and how's, but I think this has been done ad nauseum here at Robo Community).
For those of you tempted to shell out $400-500 on a "New" Rovio, DON'T YOU DARE!! ;). Without further ado, let's jump into it.
This is a simple guide that should work in most cases where:
2. You install the Rovio setup software and follow exact instructions only to watch Win7 x64 install USB Mass Storage drivers.
3. You CANNOT see the WOWWEE_ROVIO SSID amongst your wireless networks.
4. You're so incredibly irritated, pissed, annoyed, you want to place your tri-wheeled buddy under your car's back tire, throw your car into reverse, and hit the accelerator with ferver and delightfully partake in the sweet sound of disintegration!
To some degree, what I have written below has been covered in the robocommunity.com forums. While some folks have performed successful Rovio resurrections, I have yet to see a clearly written and comprehensive guide written for the masses. This article aims to help the non-tech savvy to the tech savvy get their Rovios up and running.
AS WITH ANYTHING YOU'RE UNSURE ABOUT, PROCEED WITH CAUTION, USE THIS GUIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK. While I have taken great care to write this guide in such a way as to cater to all aptitudes and don't anticipate you will have any issues, please follow directions carefully and be patient!
Rovio Resurrection Guide:
***BEFORE BEGINNING - FULLY CHARGE YOUR ROVIO BATTERY***
DO NOT ATTEMPT THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES UNLESS YOUR ROVIO BATTERY IS FULLY CHARGED. IF YOU HAVE A BATTERY THAT ISN'T HEALTHY, BUY A NEW ONE BEFORE BEGINNING THIS GUIDE.
A. You're going to need to download Windows XP Mode (a free virtual machine version of Windows XP SP3). Even if you're not a hacker/tweaker (notice I didn't spell it tweeker, LOL ;-), no worries, this isn't painful at all to get up and running in Windows 7 x64. This process will also encompass installing Windows Virtual PC, YOU WILL NEED TO install Windows 7 SP1if it's not already installed.
B. Once your XP Mode VM is fully operational, FROM WITHIN THE VM, download a modern browser so navigating the wowwee.com website is discernable. I recommend FireFox.
C. Then browse here:
D. Download the following files WITHIN YOUR XP MODE VM:
a. 2.3 Rovio Installer
b. Rovio Firmware Updater
c. 5.00 (stable) firmware (you will be able to upgrade to firmware 5.3, for now use 5.00).
Note: You can save the firmware to your desktop if you want, IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE IN THE WOWWEE PROGRAM FILE DIRECTORY @ C:\Program Files\WowWee\Rovio\.
E. Install the 2.3 Rovio installer within your XP MODE VM DO NOT CONNECT ROVIO AT THIS POINT.
F. Install the Rovio Firmware Updater software.
G. At the top of your XP MODE VM, you will see a menu that reads "USB", THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT to the whole process working correctly. Take note of it now.
H. SHUT DOWN your XP MODE VM.
I. Start--> All Programs --> Windows Virtual PC: Windows Virtual PC
a. Click on your Windows XP MODE VM, you will see a menu for "settings" in Windows Explorer, CLICK IT.
b. Under "Integration Features", UNCHECK the "Drives that I plugin Later"check box. We want this UNCHECKED because WE DON'Twant to share our Rovio in anyway with Windows 7.
J. Start your Windows XP MODE VM.
K. Once the VM has loaded, we should now run the 2.3 installer software. THE ONLY REASON FOR DOING THIS AT THIS POINT IS TO MAKE YOUR ROVIO AVAILABLE TO YOUR WINDOWS XP MODE VM. IT'S A SAFE WAY OF ENSURING YOU FOLLOW PROPER USB ATTACHMENT TO YOUR PC. IF YOU ARE A POWER USER, YOU MAY ALTERNATIVELY:
Start--> All Programs --> WowWee --> Rovio --> Firmware Updater: Rovio Firmware Updater or C:\Program Files\WowWee\Rovio\Firmware Updater to execute the firmware updater ***ONCE ROVIO HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE TO YOUR WINDOWS XP MODE VM PER THE STEPS "A" AND "B" BELOW.***
a. When it becomes time to turn Rovio on, IT'S OK THAT ROVIO INSTALLS AS A USB MASS STORAGE DRIVER, EVEN IN WINDOWS XP MODE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THIS.
b. ***Critical*** In order for Windows XP MODE to be able to access Rovio, you must ATTACH the USB resource. REMEMBER THAT USB MENU AT THE TOP OF YOUR WINDOWS XP MODE VM I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT? Click on USB at the top of your Windows XP MODE VM and Click "attach". If it errors out on you, no worries, just connect your ROVIO to another USB port and make sure your "USB Mass Storage" device (a la Rovio by another name ;-) is again "Attached" to your Windows XP Mode VM.
L. At this point YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO ROVIO, THIS IS NORMAL.
a. Close the Rovio 2.3 Installer.
b. Start--> All Programs --> WowWee --> Rovio --> Firmware Updater: Rovio Firmware Updater or C:\Program Files\WowWee\Rovio\Firmware Updater to execute the firmware updater.
c. Remember, YOU MUST ENSURE YOU HAVE ATTACHED YOUR ROVIO TO YOUR WINDOWS XP MODE VM. Run the Rovio Firmware Updater, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY, select the path to the 5.00.bin firmware file.
d. Update your firmware. YES, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO UPDATE YOUR ROVIO'S FIRMWARE AND UNBRICK IT! The firmware upgrade actually kicks off even before you have installed the proper Rovio USB drivers.
***IMPORTANT***: The reason this bizarre method works is that inside your firmware updater folder, there are critical INF driver files that XP will use to replace the generic USB Mass Storage drivers. This will inturn kick off a driver wizard (accept defaults) that installs the proper Rovio USB drivers within Windows XP. These drivers ARE NOT x64 compatible so don't even think about doing this in Windows 7. Once complete, you will be prompted by the updater that your new Rovio 5.00 firmware has been successfully installed, you will be shocked to see your USB lights cycle from ORANGE to GREEN. Once this has occured, you will now have a working Rovio.
M. Now run the 2.3 Rovio Installer for real and follow instructions exactly. Again, I can't stress this enough, once the correct Rovio drivers have been installed, you will be able to click on the USB menu and see "Rovio 1.0 USB", MAKE SURE IT IS ATTACHED TO THE WINDOWS XP MODE VM.
You will now be able to upgrade Rovio to the 5.03 (stable) firmware without issue. Before performing the upgrade, MAKE SURE ROVIO 1.0 USB IS ATTACHED!!!
Let's keep this thread active and help get more Rovios back in action.