Flashing a Razer Forge/Solstice Pod with Stock Razer Firmware

How to flash a Razer Forge or Mersive Solstice Pod back to Stock Android TV

Have a Forge that needs saving or heard about that crazy story where Razer sold all their overstock Forges to Mersive to make the Solstice Pod, reducing the Forge into a simple screen sharing cast device? Wanna take a stab at getting that cheap Solstice Pod on eBay to get a powerful Android TV Box that can (eventually) run Ouya Games?

Well look no further, as this guide will help you get it back up and running in no time! After much trial and error, we have been able to make a guide that will help you get a Razer Forge TV or Mersive Solstice Pod (Model RZ16-0128) back up and running with its Stock Firmware using Razer’s most recent Recovery Files!

TLDR, for the tech savvy

  1. Put the Forge into Fastboot by having the HDMI cable disconnected while powering on.
  2. Flash the Forge m-144 firmware recovery
  3. Profit!

Prerequisites

You’ll need this stuff to do the work:

  • TV/Monitor & HDMI Cable
  • Either a compatible Controller or USB Keyboard/Mouse to finish setup on the Forge/Pod after successful flashing
  • USB-A to USB-A cable (male to male)
    • Alternatively, if you have a computer that has USB-C, a USB-A to USB-C cable will suffice. We just need to plug one end to the Forge’s sole USB-A port and the other end to a machine running ADB/Fastboot
  • Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) - Extract the files to a folder and note that location - You can use linux/mac instead if preferred, but this guide is written with Windows in mind.
  • Forge Firmware m-144 - There was only 2 Firmware recovery files made by Razer, with the older one no longer working due to being too old and force rebooting as soon as you attempt to login to your Google Account, and also it doesn’t include the Razer Cortex Store (a rebranded Ouya Anywhere store). Use the m-144 version to get Android 6.0.1 and the Razer Cortex Store.

The trick to flashing the Forge/Pod, Headless Fastboot!

The Razer Forge TV/Solstice Pod is just like other android devices, where the typical way to get things flashed from some sort of recovery mechanism is to get access to Fastboot. However, unlike other android devices, the Forge doesn’t have any buttons on the device itself to get you into Fastboot mode with some sort of key combination or similar.

So how did Razer get around this? Simple! All you have to do to force any Razer Forge/Solstice Pod into Fastboot mode is to simply power it up without the HDMI cable connected! This will force the device into Fastboot mode, awaiting a command from Fastboot/ADB!

This also works for the Mersive Solstice Pod, as it doesn’t look like Razer or Mersive went out of their way to prevent the Fastboot mode from loading on the rebranded devices!

  1. Unplug everything from the device to ensure that no power is going to your Forge/Pod
  2. Connect one end of your USB cable to the Forge/Pod and the other to your computer
  3. Connect the Power Cable to your Forge/Pod (reminder, do NOT plug in your HDMI Cable)
  4. Check your computer to see if your Forge/Pod successfully connected using Fastboot. For windows, you should hear the USB Connect Chime and should also see the Forge/Pod connected as an ADB Interface device.

Setting up Drivers on Windows

If you didn’t hear the USB Connect Chime on Windows, you likely need to setup the Forge/Pod to be recognized as an ADB Interface device. If you go to Device Manager and see that the Forge/Pod is showing with an Exclamation Mark (!) on it, simply install the drivers from ADB as detailed by Google.

Flashing the Forge/Pod

  1. Open your Terminal/Command Prompt on your machine and type fastboot oem unlock this will ensure that your unlocked your bootloader so that the Recovery image can properly be flashed for either the Solstice Pod or Razer Forge.
  2. Extract the razer-forge-m_144.zip file somewhere on your computer. There will be another zip file inside of this zip that you will need.
  3. Run either flash-all.bat if you are on Windows, or flash-all.sh if on Linux or Mac.
  4. Wait for the recovery to finish flashing the entire image. Once you see it finish you can connect your HDMI Cable and it will boot into Android TV.

If you end up with an error at some point in the flashing, don’t worry, we can try something else :slight_smile: That flash-all file is rather simple and not at all complicated, its basically just performing one command, and that is fastboot -w update image-forge-m-144.zip.

If this is your first rodeo with flashing recovery files, all you need to do is make sure that your terminal window is located in the same directory as where the image file is located. If not, you can easily change the location by using the direct path of where your image file is located. Easiest way to do this on Windows 11 is to simply right-clicking on the image-forge-m-144.zip and selecting “Copy as Path”. From there, you can paste it into the terminal command so it looks something like this.

fastboot -w update "C:\Users\YourName\Downloads\razer-forge-m_144\image-forge-m-144.zip".

Troubleshooting when flashes go wrong

It’s hard to gauge exactly where things can go wrong in the flashing process, but they unfortunately do. In my testing, I encountered various errors and issues and while this list isn’t a definitive list of all of them, I wanted to highlight the common issues that I encountered.

  • Flash write failure
    • This error typically happens when Fastboot can’t seem to penetrate either the System Partition or the User Data Partition. Make sure that you have unlocked your bootloader to try and bypass this. It appears that even though we are using Recovery Images straight from Razer that are properly signed, the Signatures that are on the devices aren’t taking especially for Mersive Solstice Pods. Unlocking the bootloader with fastboot oem unlock seems to address this
  • Failed writing Userdata
    • This error seems to occur when the Data partition structure on the device isn’t using a normal scheme. What I found works is basically skipping this step! Basically, the command that controls this is the “-w” in the fastboot command. So the full command without this step is fastboot update "C:\Users\YourName\Downloads\razer-forge-m_144\image-forge-m-144.zip". It will likely finish flashing but since the existing Data partition is already in place with existing data, you will likely end up in a bootloop where it tries to keep your existing Data partition. Simply try flashing again with just wiping the data partition by performing just fastboot -w.
  • Flashing fails before even attempting to flash anything
    • The Forge/Pod is a rather old device now, and different versions of ADB may result in issues flashing. I found that the latest version of ADB was failing on my machine for some reason before it even got to flashing, or even the flashing the Data partition like earlier. Using an older version seems to have a different effect for some unknown reason. If you have the latest ADB, try using the one that’s older. I had success with ADB Version 1.0.31.

Resources

Forge TV Update - Razer Developer Portal (archive.org)
[RAZER FORGE TV] How To UnBrick a RAZER FORGE TV - YouTube

Thanks @Szeraax for the “Flash your Ouya” post, as I heavily copied the structure from it :smiley:

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