How to make the Brookstone App-Controlled Spy Tank Work 35


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.

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!

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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.


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35 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.

  • 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

      http://192.168.1.100

      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
    Thomo

  • 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

    Hi
    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

  • Konstantin

    Good info, but did not help me, because the BLUE LED on my TANK does not flash or solid on(I have YELLOW LED is ON only- power). How can I solve the problem with wifi net? Is it software or hardware within the tank? I try to reset it a few times, but no results. Any tips are welcome. Thanks

  • Jordi

    I have the same problem, blue light doesn’t appears and I can’t connect with the rover!
    How do you solve your problem?
    Thank you