Article by Richard Grisafi
So let’s just say that it’s 2008 and you’re standing in a Sony Store with $350 burning a hole in your pocket. You glance over and see someone playing with an MP3 player that’s dancing and moving around. You think about asking what it’s called but there’s no time. You immediately pull out your wallet to pay the inevitable $75-$100 that you think it costs and then you look at the price tag which is $299.99. (I believe it originally cost $399.99 but there’s no way they were getting that). So if you’re me, you just suck it up and pay anyway while shaking with excitement about all the fun you’re going to have with it.
I took the Sony Rolly home and played with it for a solid two hours. I put it in my jacket pocket and showed everyone who would watch it. I made it dance and play music and I even used its streaming feature from time to time. I want to say after about maybe four to five total hours of usage I had forgotten about it. I went to use it a few months later and it wouldn’t work. Just a blinking orange light is all I got when I tried to make it dance. I connected it to my computer and it asked if I wanted to format the flash drive. The software no longer recognized it. I searched all over for a solution to the problem however it seems that most people don’t share my enthusiasm and didn’t want to light $299 on fire for a
cheap thrill. Since I couldn’t find any information about how to disassemble it I figured I’d be the guinea pig and do it myself.
As usual this is based on my experience. Please be careful when working with electronics. I’m not responsible for any damage you may cause to yourself or your property. Obviously this will void your warranty however it’s probably long gone anyway since this product was discontinued several years ago.
So first of all you have to remove the battery cover. You should be able to figure it out by yourself but see below if not.
The battery can be easily removed and you will see a group of screws. The screws with a green circle must be removed first. When you remove the top two green screws the battery door will be released and it will be much easier to work on. You may then remove the bottom green screws an then the 2 center green screws. Pop out the USB cover, make sure it’s not caught and it will be relatively easy to remove the center shell.
With the plastic center shell removed the two halves are exposed. You may now remove all of the screws inside the red circles and pop off the ribbon cables by gently prying them with a pry tool or flathead screwdriver.
Here you can see that one side has been removed. Be EXTREMELY careful around the motor wires. They are very thin and fragile. I managed to not break any but they look fairly easy to break.
Since I had taken this apart before I wanted to examine the daughterboard located on the left side (Side with the USB receptacle). This board contains the flash chip which I believe is the part that failed. Who knows? Maybe I dropped this without noticing and the connection was loosened.
Once the metal casing in the center is removed you will see 4 obvious screws that must be removed (Forgot the picture). Once they are removed you will expose the main board on the left side. It was easy to pry off the daughterboard which made me assume that it wasn’t connected properly. When I replaced the daughterboard it was a noticeable click noise which means it likely made a good connection.
I attempted to tighten all other connections and reassembled the Sony Rolly (Same steps in reverse). One little trick to reassembly is that you should position the switch either in “On” or “Bluetooth” mode and then you can better align it with the case. I had some trouble aligning the plastic center case to the switch at first.
I charged the Rolly for a little while and I was greeted with the same error message when connecting it to my computer. Unfortunately, it looks like the flash card is likely corrupt. I attempted to view the raw drive in a hex editor and it was just gibberish. This is still able to stream music and both sides are able to light up. It’s able to control the motor and speaker which means the connection is likely good enough. I may take this apart again but I will likely just continue to use it as a Bluetooth speaker because that function still works just fine.
If you have any suggestions as to how to make this work I love to hear them. If not I hope I’ve helped you diagnose a problem with your Sony Rolly. I really miss it but when they appear on eBay they are going for well over $300. I simply can’t justify buying another one.
I’d love to hear your comments or suggestions and if I’ve helped you in any way feel free to say thanks.