LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robot Hangs During Firmware Upgrade

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot starting screen

One of my kids is taking a robotics class and wants to join a First LEGO League team this year, so I just bought LEGO‘s newest Mindstorms robot, the EV3.

Just like many other computerized devices, such as desktop PCs to iPhones, the EV3 can easily be “bricked” if a firmware upgrade does not work properly or is interrupted before it is completed.

Fortunately, all is not lost. Though I found conflicting instructions on how to handle this situation on various fora and FAQ pages, I found that the steps below worked very well.

In all likelihood, if your EV3 is bricked during a firmware upgrade, you’ll see the “Starting…” screen that should only appear briefly when booting.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot starting screen
EV3 starting screen

If the EV3 is stuck on this screen for more than 30 seconds or so, you should try the following steps.

  1. Remove a battery to turn off the device.
  2. Replace the battery. Your screen should remain blank. If not, pull all the batteries and wait 30 seconds before replacing them.
  3. Press the center and right buttons simultaneously, which should turn the EV3 on in update mode.
  4. Attempt the firmware update again, using the software installed on your PC or Mac.
The center and right buttons on the EV3 are circled.
EV3 showing center and right buttons

This worked for me, and I hope it works for you as well!