Remotes

Help with Roku remotes and accessories, including pairing a remote, setting up TV power & volume control, using voice commands, power adapters, cables, headphones, and wireless speaker accessories.
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rocwhite
Level 8

Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

As you probably know from the large number of forum posts here and on Reddit, many Roku remotes drain battery very rapidly. A pair of fresh batteries can be used up in 1--2 weeks. In short, my latest interaction with Roku strongly suggests that they knew this and that many of these issues are due to hardware issues that cannot be fixed by software updates. If you have been putting up with it, then you would be out of luck when you discover that this is a hardware issue and are out of warranty.

This happened to us with a brand new remote when we bought our first Roku stick in 2019. We have run through packs and packs of batteries of different brands. Because of this, we actually switched to Fire TV sticks. Only recently we tried to use it again with a new TV and got reminded of the severity of the battery drain again. This time, we Googled and found many posts and tried the recommended step to update remote to the latest version (Settings > System > System Restart). This didn't resolve the issue for us so I contacted support. I initially thought this was a firmware issue and wanted to see if there are more information we can try. But very quickly and confidently, the agent concluded this is due to hardware and asked me to "simply purchase a new remote".

I'm going to shelf our streaming stick again. Just wishing that there were a similar recall practice like with cars when the manufacture discovers hardware issues with brand new devices...

[EDIT] Here are some suggestions I have found from the web:

1) The streaming stick is powered off, causing the remote to continuously search for the stick. A possible solution is to power Roku with a dedicated power adapter, rather than the USB port from the TV that would be turned off with the TV. This is suggested by Roku employee (e.g., here, here)

2) Supposedly, Roku has released a software update to fix this issue (Settings > System > System Restart; see the replies by Roku employee here, here).

3) If the above fail, it is likely a hardware issue. You are lucky if you are under warranty (see this Reddit).

4) If you have been putting off this like us and are now out of warranty, you are out of luck (see an example response on this forum).

5) If you have a Roku TV, then the company will blame the TV manufacturers. TCL apparently received a lot of such complaints (see here).

6 REPLIES 6
Andru123
Level 8

Re: Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

Wait, are you saying that newer remotes do not have that problem?

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makaiguy
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

A casual stroll thru this community will show that many people have a severe problem with battery life in their remotes. But there are also lots of people (myself included) that do not experience this problem. Is that due to some remotes being defective and others not, some Roku models being harder on remotes than others, or due to some other factor? I don't know.

I've only seen one external factor suggested that may affect this.

There is some evidence that one cause of battery drain for those with point-anywhere remotes that connect to the Roku via WiFi-direct (like the remotes for Streaming Stick models) can be use of a WiFi channel that is crowded by nearby routers using the same channel. It's been suggested that the remote has to work too hard constantly sorting through the information packets from other devices using the same channel such that it accelerates the battery drain. This is more likely to be a problem in the more heavily used 2.4 GHz wifi band than in the 5 GHz band.

If you have access to your router's setup, try configuring it to use a different WiFi channel to see if this helps the situation. If you are connecting in the crowded 2.4 GHz band, channels 1-11 are supported. Channels 1, 6, and 11 do not overlap each other and so give you the best chance at reducing congestion, so try each in succession, although depending on what channels your neighbors are using, other channels in the 1-11 range may work best. Also, reducing router bandwidth from 40 to 20 kHz may also reduce interference.

Note that optimum channel choice can be a moving target as neighbors bring new routers online in your vicinity, or reconfigure their routers to use different channels. I periodically use a wifi analyzer app on my smart phone that can show me which available wifi channels have the least congestion and I change the channel my router uses accordingly. I don't know if that explains my battery longevity (usually 3 months or more with fairly heavy use) but it's probably worth a try to see if it helps.

Please report back to let us know how you make out.

Roku Community Streaming Expert
I am not a Roku employee, only a user like you.  Please, no support questions via private message -- post them publicly to the Community where others may benefit as well.
If this post solves your problem please help others find this answer by clicking "Accept as Solution.".

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SCRAPS
Level 7

Re: Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

In the past few weeks, I have been experiencing a significant battery drain with one of my Roku Stick+ remotes. I don't play around when it comes to my batteries: I use Energizer brand. Its a 50/50 chance that my Roku remote will turn on (and the LG smart tv it's paired with). During a phone conversation with a long-time friend of mine, I found out I was not alone. For the past month, my Roku remote has been eating through my batteries every other day. The December 2022 update (and subsequent restart) did nothing to fix it. It has been a real pain in the wallet because quality batteries are not inexpensive. I'm not going to buy another Roku remote if this is a pre-existing hardware problem. Pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. This needs to be fixed by Roku without it costing the customers.

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rocwhite
Level 8

Re: Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

@Andru123 I didn't say it. Roku support did. But I don't really want to buy one to find out... I've also updated my original post to include some of the other information I found in case you're interested.

rocwhite
Level 8

Re: Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

@makaiguy 

This is one of the other things we have tried. Even if this were a reason for some of the affected users, it would be a really poor software and/or hardware design. The WiFi remote of our Fire TV Stick does not have this issue. I've updated my original post to include a few things that have been suggested.

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rocwhite
Level 8

Re: Remote battery drain is a known hardware issue!

@SCRAPSI agree that they should stand behind their product, but apparently they are not doing this proactively or even willing to rectify their error when contacted. See also the updates I added to my original post.