HowTo Update Firmware

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How to update firmware on the first generation Vive development kit only. If you have a consumer Vive or a Vive Pre, do not use these instructions; update firmware by going to SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware.

Be sure to wait until device has been completely recognized by OS after plugging in and driver installed before attempting updates.

Controller Dongle

Note:You should be opted into the most recent SteamVR[beta] branch before upgrading firmware to ensure you are installing the most up-to-date image.
  • The tool will now update all dongles at once. It will also check and exit if the update is already applied.
  • Open a command prompt at the directory of your OpenVR Runtime. For example, C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\SteamVR\
  • Run this command:
tools\lighthouse\bin\win32\lighthouse_watchman_update.exe -d tools\lighthouse\firmware\vr_controller\watchman_dongle.bin
  • It automatically retries. If it is interrupted, or if it appears to be stuck you can re-run.
  • If it’s really stuck, re-plug the dongle and re-run. If it can’t complete the dongle might be in a bad state (aka bricked) and need to be replaced.

Pair a Dongle with a Controller

Note:Pairing is not affected by firmware upgrades. You only need this pairing process if you need to change which controllers are associated with which dongles.
  • Have only the target dongle connected to the computer.
  • Ensure you have fresh batteries in the controller and turn it on.
  • Hold the System Button (tiny black button) and than tap the Application Button (larger red button above it) on the controller. You do not need to hold the combination down for any length of time. If you hold the Steam Button down for a few seconds it will play a tone that is not related to pairing.
  • The dongle and the controller should now be paired. One of the gray controller circles in vrmonitor should turn yellow and eventually green.
  • If it does not, power cycle the controller and try again.

Controller Firmware

Note:This does not include the tracking part of the controller or "watchman" board. It will only update firmware on the controller itself.
Note:You should be opted into the most recent SteamVR[beta] branch before upgrading firmware to ensure you are installing the most up-to-date image.
  • Connect the controller over USB
  • Power on while pushing down on the trackpad (the trackpad click button) to get the drive "CRP DISABLD"
  • Delete the firmware.bin on the "CRP DISABLD" drive
  • Change the working directory to your SteamVR Runtime.
  • Understand which firmware you want to install from tools\lighthouse\firmware\vr_controller\
  • Drag the firmware image for your controller onto the CRP_DISABLD drive. That should be one of:
    • Developer Edition wireless controller: vcf_wired_controller_vrc_v2.bin
    • GDC-era wired controller: vcf_wired_controller_vrc.bin
  • Power cycle the controller
Note:If you repeat the process, you will see firmware.bin with a fixed size and fixed timestamp. That's okay.

If you want to update all of the controller firmware, please follow the steps from the section below (Headset and controller tracking) as well.

Controller Radio Firmware

Note:You should be opted into the most recent SteamVR[beta] branch before upgrading firmware to ensure you are installing the most up-to-date image.

Disconnect the headset before updating controller radio firmware. Connect each controller in wired mode, one at a time, and follow these instructions for each controller you wish to update.

  • Open a command prompt at: tools/lighthouse. For example, C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\SteamVR\tools\lighthouse
  • Run this command:
bin\win32\lighthouse_watchman_update.exe -r firmware\vr_controller\watchman_module.bin
  • If it is interrupted, or if it appears to be stuck, check the USB connection and re-run.
  • If it’s really stuck, power cycle the controller, plug it in again, and re-run.

Headset and controller tracking

Note:You should be opted into the most recent SteamVR[beta] branch before upgrading firmware to ensure you are installing the most up-to-date image.

For controllers, connect them in wired mode before following these instructions:

  1. Open a command prompt at: tools/lighthouse. For example, C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\SteamVR\tools\lighthouse
  2. Run this command:
bin\win32\lighthouse_watchman_update.exe -u firmware\lighthouse_rx_watchman

This will update the firmware on all attached watchman boards (if needed), which is the tracking component of HMDs and controllers. If the update fails, run it again and it should complete the second time. At the moment: Update may report some benign errors about rejecting image and invalid hardware revision even with successful update of watchman board.

Note:If you are updating all three devices (HMD and two controllers), make sure you see it update all three devices. If it can't see the devices you may need to move to another USB port (or try a powered hub). You can run the command again and ensure that it sees all three and says they are up-to-date.

Base Station Firmware Update

Note:Do not downgrade firmware versions on basestations.
  • Connect the base station over USB to a USB 2 port in your computer. A micro-usb cable is required.
  • Make sure that the cable is fully inserted in the plug of the base station. The housing might prevent the needed close connection
  • Power on while pushing the Mode button to get the drive "CRP DISABLD". This may require multiple attempts.
  • Find the 'lighthouse_tx' firmware directory in your OpenVR Runtime directory. For example: C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\SteamVR\tools\lighthouse\firmware\lighthouse_tx
  • Select the appropriate file, suitable for your basestation model. For those with the development edition "Robin" basestations, use lighthouse_tx_robin.bin
  • Delete the firmware.bin on the "CRP DISABLD" drive (you must do this, or the next step won't work)
  • Drag the ".bin" file onto the drive (or, copy + paste)
  • Power cycle the basestation to complete installation. USB is not required during reboot.
Note:If you repeat the process, you will see firmware.bin with a fixed size and fixed timestamp. That's okay.