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“You can set R2-D2 going and test key functions using the buttons on his front as explained here, but for access to his advanced operations you will need to install his special app on a smartphone or tablet, then pair it with your droid. The section below gives a brief overview of the app, but fully detailed instructions are available online.”

This page is a synopsis of the last two pages of Issue 100 as well as online links that refer to the operation of R2-D2.

Front Panel Controls

The six Control Buttons on the front panel of R2-D2 each manually control a specific function:

They are numbered 1 to 6 (from top to bottom) and perform the following actions:

1Patrol Mode On/OffR2-D2 will start to explore his surroundings and automatically avoid obstacles
2Arms In/OutR2-D2 will retract/extend his spacecraft linkage arms
3Lightsaber Up/DownR2-D2 will extend or retract Luke's lightsaber hidden in his dome
4Pair Mode/Connect WiFiPlaces R2-D2 in pairing mode to connect directly to your smartphone/table or via a local wireless network (see below)
5Switch Connection ModeSwitches R2-D2's WiFi connection between Direct and Local (see below)
6Power On/OffTurns R2-D2 on and off

After setting the Main Switch to ON (the ‘I’ symbol), pressing Button 6 will turn R2-D2 on. He will jerk forward a bit, his red dome light will come on, and his dome rotates fully in both directions and then centers. After this, his purple and green dome lights come on and he will make a sound to indicate he is ready.

Buttons 1, 2, and 3 can be used right away to trigger those functions manually. However, Buttons 4 and 5 require the mobile application described in the next section.

NOTE: When using Patrol Mode, R2-D2 will sense walls and obstacles at about 40cm. His infrared foot sensors will also attempt to detect edges such as stairs and avoid them, but is less effective on dark floors. He may also have a hard time moving and stopping on slippery surfaces. When activating this mode in a new location, make sure his sensors are reacting in time.

To turn R2-D2 off, press Button 6 again, followed by setting the Main Switch to OFF (the ‘O’ symbol).

The Droid Control App

The advanced features of this R2-D2 model are controlled by a mobile application (app) from DeAgostini Publishing Italia S.p.A.

This application should be available for download from your usual app provider or by following the appropriate links below:


‘Build Your Own R2-D2’ on the Google Play Store – requires Android 4.4 or higher

UPDATE: It appears this app has since been removed from the Google Play Store. I did find the last version (April 2020 – 14.28 MB) of the application file (APK) online, but it must be installed manually and you agree to use it at your own risk: Build Your Own R2-D2 v1.1.21


‘R2-D2 droid control’ on the Apple App Store – requires iPhone 5S or later running iOS 11 or higher

Tutorials and User Guide

While the app includes basic information and tutorials to get you started, DeAgostini created an in-depth User Guide that fully describes using R2-D2 and the mobile application. This guide also contains all of the voice commands, LED display meanings, and information on weathering your R2-D2 unit. It can be found at:

Build Your Own R2-D2 User Guide

The information below is a brief explanation of what the app is capable of:

Using the Application

Once the app is connected to R2-D2, you will see a screen like this (exact graphics may vary):

Video Control

Using the Video Control allows you to use the R2-D2’s on-board camera to see what he sees and control his actions from his perspective. These controls include movement, head shake, dance, lightsaber, hologram, talk, arms, LCDs, and Patrol Mode. You can also take still pictures and video clips which will be stored in the Gallery section of your device.

Manual Control

Using the Manual Control allows you full control of R2-D2 directly. All of his sensors are disabled in this mode as it is expected that you will be directly watching his activities. Take care to not drive him into walls or over a drop where he might be damaged.

App Features

This section allows you to control R2-D2s settings such as facial and voice recognition, as well as mute him and power him down.

There is so much that your R2-D2 droid can do, so I recommend fully reading the User Guide to take full advantage of his capabilities.

I hope you enjoy R2-D2 as much as I do and I am proud to have this build in my collection!

8 thoughts on “CONTROLLING R2-D2”

    1. I provided a link to the latest Android APK file, but you would have to install it manually on your phone/tablet.

  1. is there any way to make the cameras work? Any time i attempt to use one i get a error code.
    frustrating it doesnt work after the buils.

  2. I’m having some trouble with the app on the Pic and video it always give me a error pop up can they get someone to make this work

  3. hi
    i have built the r2d2 but i have not been able to make it work through the app as i was outside the 3yrs so was hoping if someone can give me an ideal where i can get a new app for it .thank you

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