How to make the Brookstone App-Controlled Spy Tank Work 57

UPDATE: Our son Mack died just a year after I wrote this original post. If you have found this post helpful perhaps you might considering giving a few dollars to the Mack Brady Soccer Fund established in his memory.

I hope this post helps and have fun!


Tomorrow is my son’s birthday and our his present is the Rover App-Controlled Spy Tank with Night Vision. You can now find this for $99.99 at Target, Amazon, and Brookstone itself. It is a great premise. From their promotional material:

Mission Possible.
Whether following friends and family, navigating the office or investigating the activities of your dog, it’s all possible with this audio/visual-enabled and photo-taking Rover. Its built-in microphone transmits sound back to your device in real time. So you can hear everything as it’s being said. The manually adjustable camera streams live video and takes still photos. Giving you total access to see what’s going on in other rooms. Even take pictures as proof. Low-light setting? No problem! The undetectable infrared night vision lets you see items in the dark. Mission. Accomplished.

It’s App-Controlled!
The Rover Spy Tank is App-Controlled by your iPod touch® (2nd, 3rd and 4th generation), iPhone® device, or iPad® tablet. It generates its own Wi-Fi wireless connection for your smart device (no frequency interference!). The impressive wireless range lets it travel up to 200 ft. unobstructed, up to 100 ft. around walls into other rooms. Navigate it with the on-screen driving arrows or use the G-Drive Mode that uses your device’s accelerometer like a steering wheel in your hand. To get started, simply download the Free App from the iTunes® App StoreSM.

Sadly, almost as soon as it was unwrapped and powered up deep disappointment set in. The problem was the iOS app (sorry, no Droid version). The software is poorly written and there is no documentation. Furthermore Brookstone offers no support (well, they were nice, but no one knew what was going on) and, to my great surprise, I could not find the answer on the intertubes. So here I offer the solution in the hopes of making new owners a little less despondent and likely to throw their lovely tank through a window.

The problem exhibits itself in this way. You launch the app and immediately receive the following error:  “Rover Connection Error Please Check Your Wi-Fi Connection.” You will receive this error even when you are on your own local Wi-Fi network. Why? Because contrary to impressions given in all the material I read, the tank is not on your wifi network, it creates its own!

Here are the steps to get it working.

  1. Turn the tank on FIRST and wait for the blue light to come on.
  2. In your iOS device go to Settings:Wi-Fi
  3. CHOOSE THE TANK’s WiFi – this is the key. The tank’s WiFi name will be a long series of letters and numbers, beginning with AC13.
  4. Now you can control the tank with your iOS device.

The fact that *nowhere* could I find this described on the intertubes was very frustrating and there was no help to be found on Brookstone’s site. Still, I hope this helps others because it is a fun device. Our cat is now petrified (she’ll get over it) and the “night vision” feature is fantastic. My only real negative (aside all the above) is that the camera, while it can move up and down you cannot control it remotely. It is also fairly poor quality and cannot, so far as I can tell, capture video. It can record a preset path that you can then have it follow. All in all, a fun toy that my son is currently enjoying immensely and I am no longer contemplating throwing out the window.

UPDATE: Nearly two years later this post still gets far more hits than any other here. Apparently people are still buying the tank! Be sure to read the comments for updates, particularly I note this one:

Jay Sulfridge

Be sure you have the correct app. There is more than 1 brookstone rover and the apps are not interchangeable. i would get the flashing blue

light, launch the app, but connection failed. Downloaded proper ap, and works like a charm.


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57 thoughts on “How to make the Brookstone App-Controlled Spy Tank Work

    • Christian Brady Post author

      If the blue LED does not come on, I am not sure what to say. It suggests to me that something is broken. It does take a while for the blue light to come on, almost 20 seconds on ours.

      Just to clarify, there are two separate lights rather than one light that changes color.

      • Neville

        The light on my Rover, Blue that is flashes I get no response from my controller Have Samsung Galaxy tab 3 I have app just about to give up no response from Brookstone Neville

      • Dennis Austin

        I had the same problem with my Rover 1.0 and was confused about the reason because all the batteries checked good on the initial test so I left the Rover on for about 10 minutes while searching for a reason then I noticed the orange light was off but the power button was still on. I installed fresh batteries and turned on the Rover again. This time the blue light came on and I was able to connect with the app running on an old iPhone and iPad with older versions of iOS. This app will not run on newer versions of iOS and Brookstone has not offered an update.

    • RoverHelp

      Don’t know if this thread is still active, but I have a rover here and I’ve tried everything, but in my settings when I try to connect to the rover it just says, “No internet connection” and the blue light keeps blinking.

      Any ideas?

  • Ells

    I get the ”Rover Connection Error Please Check Your Wi-Fi Connection” message and when I try again I get “User/password error, please check user/password and retry”…there’s not even anywhere to enter a password.

  • Christian Brady Post author

    I am not sure why comments are all out of order here… It was asked most recently (as of 11/12/12) if the iOS update could be the problem.

    I can report that we HAVE used it with the latest update, iOS 6.0.1.

    • Peter Sommerville

      Thanks Christian. One possibility eliminated.

      If I turn on my rover and wait until the blue light flashes, I can see it on both my iPhone and my iPad. I can connect via connection settings. But if I activate the app I get told “user/password error. Re-enter user/password and try again”. Of course there is nowhere to do this.

      Interestingly I can log onto the Rover’s internal web site via

      with user/password AC13/AC13

      but I can’t see anything there to help me. I am beginning so suspect there is a conflict with the internal settings of my Apple devices so I will start chasing rabbits down that hole!

  • Steve

    Hello All. I have an iPhone 4s and have found that if I set it to aerolane mode and just switch the WiFi back on I am able to select the Brookstone Rover as a connection in the WiFi and all works perfectly. I don’t know why this is as it worked without all that messing around on my iPhone4 & my Wife’s iPad 1

  • Debbie

    Rover worked initially and about week later stopped working. Won’t pick up rovers wi-fi, only get orange light, blue light wont come on anymore, tried new batteries, turned airplane mode on and deleted app and reinstalled, still nothing! Help!

  • Ethan Cook

    My rover Ipod connects to the rover and the camera works and all, but when I try to make it go forward it drops connection. The weird thing is that it was working for over 4 months before that. I have never damaged it in any way and always watch when some one else is using it.

  • neville

    have got Rover controlled spy tank switch it on blue light flashes, turn app on envelope comes up not connected, go into Wi-Fi and go to add connection I can’t find the ssid. I have tried every number the model etc it is becoming very frustrating

  • Jay Sulfridge

    Be sure you have the correct app. There is more than 1 brookstone rover and the apps are not interchangeable. i would get the flashing blue light, launch the app, but connection failed. Downloaded proper ap, and works like a charm.

  • amir

    I got this as a gift but I don’t have any iPhone or iPad. I have android and windows devices. Is it anyway that I use my bookstore?

  • Neville

    I have a Brookstone App-Controlled Tank and I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 I have the app on there it has the screen and controls but nothing happen I been trying to get it to work for ages I don’t want to buy a apple phone or tab where do you find the Wi-Fi number too I looked every where regards Neville

    • dancingeagle

      OK you are all going to really like this post. I bought the Tank on E-Bay for $1.75 and the shipping was included. I don’t have an i-phone or I-pad, I have a kindle fire reader. So I went to e-bay and looked for an i-pad. Found an i-pad 4th generation with 8gb and paid $7.50 for it including shipping. Total outlay was $9.50 . Went to apple app store and downloaded the application there are at least three different tanks on there so pick the one that looks like the one you have and download it. I was having that flashing problem also and noticed on my wi-fi settings a new connection that had the name tank in it so I picked that one. The error message “wi-fi not connected” went away and the tank worked just fine. Just look in your wi-fi-settings and you will see the connection and it has the name in it also. Turn off airplane mode and connect to the new wi-fi connection and it will work. However I did notice that in order to turn left you use the right button and to turn right you use the left button. Confusing. Also Not much in the power department either slow , like it says “Tank” camera is not something to write home about either quality is below par night vision is cool but that is about it the zoom works pretty good and there are some additional things the Tank will do but I was really not that impressed. I am an RC guy and have much higher expectations for remote control things. I bought this because of the FPV (First person view) Like I said I was and still am underwelmed. . But for $9.50 what can I say perhaps it will work better outside in the open. If the camera panned and tilted and the thing had more power I might be impressed but it does not. All in all it is not something I would buy for myself unless it had some major improvements but for a teen or child it is a pretty good toy. The best thing about this tank is that it sure had my dog going around in terrified circles for a while. He just had no clue what to make of it. Anyway my first venture into FPV and I expected more. I looked up the selling price and feel pretty lucky at what I ended up paying for the i-pad and tank it was less than 10 bucks not to shabby for wht I got. And that is about what I think it is worth. I think I will stick to my RC cars, boats ,and planes
      and drones they are much more fun and soon I will have some FPV gear to go with them. Anyway try the fix I mentioned and it should work just swell. Have some fun and scare the cat or the dog or bird or fish , maybe your wife or husband who knows. Would be much more fun with a speaker on it so you could say BOO on halloween. L8R

  • lee

    i just bought a used tank, I can hook up to it, the cam works, but as soon as I try to move it freezes, locks up and phone connects to another network. tank never moves. Any suggestions or should I throw it out the window?????

  • Jason

    I’ve downloaded the app to my iPhone 6 and connected the iPhone to rover but i just can’t get the camera to work. On the controller the wifi signal is white not blue and the rover’s blue light is flashing very quickly. I can move it, but not see anything. Can anyone help?

    • This app sucks, no support

      My advice is try to unload that tank on someone else. Good luck getting it to work on a 6… it barely worked on a 3G or 4S. App burns the hell out of battery if it does work and then locks up constantly. No fun for more than 30 seconds at a time before it locks up. Total waste of money, and I bought mine a few years ago for 1/2 off for $50, I still felt like I got ripped off.

  • Keena

    This is an order article, but I just purchased the Rover 2.0. It now looks different than the one in this post and it does record video. The instructions so include this information now. My son just opened this an early Christmas gift and we are all loving it! It is now $100 at Brookstone exclusively. I definitely recommend this product to any and everyone.

  • Princekyna DeJohnette

    I have the Rover 2.0 App-Controlled Wireless Spy Tank are there any updates to the app as it will no longer work with my tablet or phone. I am thinking it is a software conflict since the only change to both was the system updates.

  • Dan Geiger

    I have had an issue with getting it to connect, even though it shows up on my list of wifi sources. I finally figured out how to get it to connect in Windows 10. See my video to see how.

  • Eric B

    Thanks for the post! So sorry about Mark. Our hearts go out to you.

    I wanted to note that under iOS 10 the tank will be listed BELOW the wifi networks as wifi devices.