Sony Rolly (SEP-30BT/SEP-10BT) Partial Teardown

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Sony Rolly SEP-10BT

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.

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Battery Door – You may use a coin to open it if you don’t have a large flathead in front of you

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.

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The 6 green screws remove the plastic center shell. The 4 red screws on the right side remove the right side and the 4 red screws on the left remove the left side.

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.

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Underside of the Sony Rolly with the center shell removed. Note the two ribbon cables connecting either side of the device.

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.

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One side removed. The metal casing in the center is easily remove at this point. It is only being held in by tension.

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.

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The main board on the left (USB) side. I lifted the metal shield to avoid having to disconnect the fragile motor wires. Note the daughterboard disconnected and flipped on top. This is the component that contains the flash memory for the device.

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.

-Richard Grisafi

12 thoughts on “Sony Rolly (SEP-30BT/SEP-10BT) Partial Teardown”

  1. Hey there I know there actually no sell of this gadgets any more, but I.am actually trying to make one on my own, well in fact a home made sony rolly but I need some aditional information.
    Could you please send me more internal photos and the internal mechanisims. I would really apreciate.
    Thanks

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    1. Hi Loseph,

      Thanks for reading. Is there anything specific you want to see? I’m not too keen on taking the thing apart again when I know the rest of it works just fine. I took it apart because I had a feeling my flash chip was unseated or had a broken trace. I now feel it’s just corrupted and I have no way of programming it if I replace it. I’ll open it up if you have something you want to see if it’s for a good cause.
      I’d certainly love to hear about your plans to open source this thing. It was certainly a cool toy.

      -Rich

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      1. Thanks Richard, as a matter of act I.m interested in the gears parts.
        You know where the Shape rounded lock in the main unit assambling.
        I got some desing already but I would like to have a more detail picture of the motion mechanisims.
        I have propose to use an ic adruino to control the dance programing movements however I.m having troubles with the hardware parts.
        I.m lack of ideas but thanks to your pictures I got some great ideas on how to solve certain troubles.
        It would be very nace if you could help me with this proyect

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  2. They have an updated Version of the old software, they filled in the patches of the old software so it would work with newer versions of Windows, this might help the problem connecting your rolly to your computer. Hope this can help have a great day

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    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reading. I have the updated software but that wasn’t the problem. I’ve been meaning to write an update since I just purchased a broken Sony Rolly last week. I took the broken one apart to extract the flash chip. Sure enough I was right. The second I put the new chip into my old Rolly it was recognized by my PC again. Unfortunately now I seem to have a problem with the shoulder motor since I’m getting a red light when it tries to move. I haven’t had time to play with it but I think I’ll be able to fix it with the extra parts I have now.

      -Rich

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      1. You won’t believe this but found the next best thing next to the Sony rolly check out Google shopping and search icubot this looks just like the rolly and does all the same stuff and has all the same colors and and they have it in stock for $214

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  3. Would any of you out there know of any website that sells any accessories for the rolly, I’m trying to find some of the different colored arms for the rolly could you post a link to somebody who might be selling some thank you.

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    1. Hi Mike,

      I’ve been looking for parts myself. Although Sony maintains a list of parts stores all the Sony Rolly parts are listed as “Out of Stock”. I just purchased a broken Rolly last week to extract parts from it. As you can imagine it wasn’t cheap. Almost as much as it was when it was new and working. If you find anything please let me know.

      -Rich

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  4. I made this website http://www.sonyrolly.net

    If anyone want to join me in the creation of this website contact me on sonyrollynet@gmail.com. If you are owner of Sony Rolly and have any knowledge about:

    – creating motions for Sony Rolly,
    – creating video tutorials,
    – creating videos of Sony Rolly,
    – adding content to word press site,
    – writing articles about Sony Rolly and everything related to it.

    Also if you have any ideas how to improve this website or any other ideas that are related to Sony Rolly fell free to contact me.

    Like

    1. Hello azm,

      Just wanted to say thank you for providing all the Sony Rolly downloads. I’ve been to your site plenty of times before. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Thanks for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

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