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folkers_5150

Why do firmware updates always break base stations?

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I've updated my Vive base stations when I first got it, and it worked completely fine. Ever since that first update in August of last year, updates NEVER work. There's always a new problem, hardware failure blinking lights that gets fixed when I roll back to original updates, the base station completely not turning on, etc. The worst part is that whenever I roll back, the tracking is terrible, constant grey screening. I can't stand it anymore. Why is it that NEW firmware updates completely break the product? Shouldn't the product keep improving with updates? I didn't expect this company to be like Apple with the whole killing the battery thing. I shouldn't have to buy new 2.0 base stations just to get the same tracking that I had when I first bought my Vive. 500 dollars going to waste because updates prevent sensors from working, what a load of B.S. Has anyone else experienced this problem before? Please let me know your solutions and stories.

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Firmware updates on my 2x 2.0 base stations went smoothly via SteamVR bluetooth.  Are you updating with bluetooth or wired?  Are both of your 1.0 base stations having a problem, or mainly just one?  Are you using a sync cable?  Always a possibility that one or both of your original base stations has worn out.  You can probably pick up spare 1.0's on Ebay for ~$80-100 each.  Maybe less if you bought in pairs.

Of course your first stop (which you have probably already done) is to read the online support manual(s) including their troubleshooter section.  Next, in case you have not done this, is to contact Vive support and ask them to help.  Also might be worth contacting Steam Support as well since the firmware itself comes from them (Valve).  Good luck.

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@folkers_5150: This is a notorius point of confusion in the Vive community. The general gist is:

  • The earlier basestation 1.0 firmware versions did not have self-diagnostics or error detection. A basestation with a broken laser or rotor will emit bad tracking data because it's unable to tell that somethings wrong nor is it able to report back to SteamVR compositor that something is wrong.
    • This is what you're experiencing when you roll back the firmware manually - you're reverting to a firmware version that is unable to detect that something is wrong so it blasts your playspace with invalid tracking data leading to tracking issues.
  • The firmware rollback procedure you described was initially shared by a Valve employee who later publicly stated they regretted sharing the procedure to do how much confusion and frustration it's caused within the community. You're not actually fixing anything with the rollback - you're just hiding the error messages and allow the station to spit out bad data.
  • Basestations are mechanical devices - each motor in a basestation spins at 3600 RPM (200,000+ per hour). They can wear down and break after extended usage cycles or through violent shocks.
    • The best way to maximize the lifespan of a basestation is to use basestation power management to turn off the stations when they're not in use.
  • If you're under warranty - you may be able to get a device repaired under warranty
  • If you have the original Vive, the 2.0 stations are not compatible with your HMD. Furthermore, 2.0 stations are mechanical devices and are subject to the same basic mechanical constraints as 1.0 stations.
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24 minutes ago, VibrantNebula said:

@folkers_5150: This is a notorius point of confusion in the Vive community. The general gist is:

  • The earlier basestation 1.0 firmware versions did not have self-diagnostics or error detection. A basestation with a broken laser or rotor will emit bad tracking data because it's unable to tell that somethings wrong nor is it able to report back to SteamVR compositor that something is wrong.
    • This is what you're experiencing when you roll back the firmware manually - you're reverting to a firmware version that is unable to detect that something is wrong so it blasts your playspace with invalid tracking data leading to tracking issues.
  • The firmware rollback procedure you described was initially shared by a Valve employee who later publicly stated they regretted sharing the procedure to do how much confusion and frustration it's caused within the community. You're not actually fixing anything with the rollback - you're just hiding the error messages and allow the station to spit out bad data.
  • Basestations are mechanical devices - each motor in a basestation spins at 3600 RPM (200,000+ per hour). They can wear down and break after extended usage cycles or through violent shocks.
    • The best way to maximize the lifespan of a basestation is to use basestation power management to turn off the stations when they're not in use.
  • If you're under warranty - you may be able to get a device repaired under warranty
  • If you have the original Vive, the 2.0 stations are not compatible with your HMD. Furthermore, 2.0 stations are mechanical devices and are subject to the same basic mechanical constraints as 1.0 stations.

This is actually a very good response. I've been so frustrated that nobody on any forums has mentioned this. Because of the coronavirus, my post office is being extremely weird. So I haven't been able to send them in. Because of this, I popped off the lens for my base station, to see if any of the cables got knocked loose because of vibrations. It also makes sense why one of my base stations would have broken, I don't unplug them after use. I'm done with the outdated 1.0 stations, so I think I'll just buy the 2.0 ones once I get the money to do so. My only question is, is there any way that they won't be compatible with my headset? I won't have to buy the Vive pro right? And seriously, thank you so much for that response, it cleared up a lot.

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33 minutes ago, TomCgcmfc said:

Firmware updates on my 2x 2.0 base stations went smoothly via SteamVR bluetooth.  Are you updating with bluetooth or wired?  Are both of your 1.0 base stations having a problem, or mainly just one?  Are you using a sync cable?  Always a possibility that one or both of your original base stations has worn out.  You can probably pick up spare 1.0's on Ebay for ~$80-100 each.  Maybe less if you bought in pairs.

Of course your first stop (which you have probably already done) is to read the online support manual(s) including their troubleshooter section.  Next, in case you have not done this, is to contact Vive support and ask them to help.  Also might be worth contacting Steam Support as well since the firmware itself comes from them (Valve).  Good luck.

I use the wired option, and I don't use a sync cable. I must've either lost it, or I never received one. It's only one base station that doesn't work. However, even after installing firmware on the working one, it still doesn't turn on. Like, all I wanna do is cut people up with a lightsaber lmfao, so much trouble for a task like that. And yes, I've contacted customer support for Vive many times, and they've never mentioned how rolling back updates doesn't work. They always just said to send it in, but I can't because of the coronavirus. Thanks for the help!

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6 minutes ago, folkers_5150 said:

This is actually a very good response. I've been so frustrated that nobody on any forums has mentioned this. Because of the coronavirus, my post office is being extremely weird. So I haven't been able to send them in. Because of this, I popped off the lens for my base station, to see if any of the cables got knocked loose because of vibrations. It also makes sense why one of my base stations would have broken, I don't unplug them after use. I'm done with the outdated 1.0 stations, so I think I'll just buy the 2.0 ones once I get the money to do so. My only question is, is there any way that they won't be compatible with my headset? I won't have to buy the Vive pro right? And seriously, thank you so much for that response, it cleared up a lot.

Actually nevermind, I read the last part more carefully. So I'm pretty much stuck with the 1.0 stations?

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@folkers_5150,  I've posted this a few times on various forum posts but I'm just one VR-nerd and it's a pretty common misconception. I'm not even on a hardware team at Vive - I just am just a VR fanboi.

One verification thing you can use is taking a photo of the stations with your phone. In a working station you'll see two dots that represent the laser aperture as in the example below. With a broken station, you'll commonly see only one of the dots.

Never buy base-stations used/secondhand. It's like buying a car with 200,000KM already on the odometer. There isn't a huge UX upgrade with 2.0 stations if you're an in-home user and only using 2 stations. I actually personally find 1.0 tracking to be more reliable in reflective environments. It's not like the tracking quality is vastly superior because it's newer tech.

If switching to 2.0 your options are effectively a Vive Cosmos HMD only upgrade (just announced last week), a Vive Pro, or a Valve Index. I know it's extra tough down in your region though due to all of the import weirdness.

image.png.40807467b7b2d5dbae36f6a6a184ae06.png

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@VibrantNebula, Haha I feel that, I'm a guy who programs and works with computer hardware all the time, so I don't know how I didn't catch that. I've heard about that phone trick, with the infrared lights and such. I'll have to try it out. And that's good to hear, saves me from buying a new headset (even though an index would be hella nice). Thanks for your help in deconstructing that misconception. I'll be sure to buy some 1.0 lighthouses when the paychecks come in 😉 

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