Rio Riot Overhaul




About: I usually end up doing an instructable because I have to figure out how to do something myself. I just get pictures during the process, and if it works out, BOOM, an instructable!

*** As with all instructables, you are taking your item / health / whatever into your own hands. Be patient and careful and you will be successful ! ***

This is my second instructable.

I bought this player on the internet, hoping that a firmware upgrade and a new battery would solve the 'low battery' message problem.

It was a fight to install the new firmware (since you can't skip the warning message), and when the new battery was installed and charged the warning still wouldn't go away.

The only other major component was the HD, so I picked one online and viola ! It works !

I would recommend reading this entire instructable before starting the project. It's not that long, and could help you avoid breaking something that isn't easy to fix !

Step 1: Disassemble and Replace Battery

The Riot has 4 torx head screws holding it together. I found that a 2mm straight tip screwdriver works well in removing these screws.

After you take the screws out, gently lift the top cover off. The volume control is a single part that is easily removed by lifting it straight up, and the power button removal is the same.

Now gently remove the entire assembly, being careful to grab the battery (on the left side) as soon as possible to keep it from damaging the connector, or breaking a wire (don't let the battery dangle by the wire !)

Gently remove the battery plug from the connector and place it aside.

The battery is 3.7V, 1800mAh - there is more information in the battery.txt file in the download link below.

If you're just replacing the battery, do so, then put it all back together, paying special attention to the battery temp sensor. Be careful not to pinch the wires, or break the connections on the board, or the player will not work !

Here is a link for the Riot with battery recalibration information, firmware updates, manuals, etc.


Here is the Mediafire link: Rio Riot *** UPDATED/Checked 3/17/2019 ***

This link has the 1.25 firmware update, Rio Riot Manual, new battery information, battery calibration information, the readme for the 1.25 firmware update, and some PDF files that I pulled from the almost gone Rio website - and the RiotReader beta that lets you pull the drive and use it in Windows!

If you're just replacing the battery, you are finished with the hardware part. Now go to the link above and follow the directions on how to properly calibrate the battery.

If you are going to install the HD as well, head to the next step.

Step 2: Replacing the HD

*** Backstory and helpful information ***

I tried putting the original HD in a USB enclosure, and I would get a 'device I/O error'.

I know that windows won't directly read the HD, but it should at least see that it's there and offer to format it !

The original drive for this unit is a Fujitsu, made in Thailand.
Model: MHN2200AT
Part No:CA05456-B62300TW

I looked on the net for one of these drives and I found very few of them. Most of them were in the UK.

I decided to call Fujitsu and see if they could help, and WOW their technical support guy was really helpful (no joke here). I explained that this drive was getting hard to find, and wanted to know if any of the other models, particularly the MHR2020AT, would work.

He said that that drive should work fine, then he gave me a tip about getting a drive.

Look at the part number above, the part after the hyphen.

That is the number that shows if any vendor-specific items have been added to the drive.

Unless you can find that exact drive and part number, you have to get a drive with only 4 digits after the hyphen.

This indicates that it is a generic drive that should work with almost everything.

I found a MHR2020AT online and the part # was: CA06062-B022
This drive should work, according to the guy at Fujitsu.

I bought the drive and when it arrived it was broken. It did the same thing as the original drive. I tried it in the USB enclosure and got the same error as well. I think it wasn't packed good enough and was damaged in transit.

I returned the drive and had another shipped, and that one did the trick !
Now the player works great !

*** End of Backstory ! ***

The drive has 4 screws holding it to the bottom board. Gently remove the heat sensor taped to the top of the drive, then remove the screws. The drive pulls straight out.

The original drive had a piece of plastic glued to the bottom, which must be there to keep it from shorting out anything on the board it's mounted to.

I just cut out a rectangle of paper and put that under the drive.

My power connector was a little shaky, so I added a bit of solder to the three contacts to add some strength.

Then I reinstalled the drive, made sure the heat sensor was in place and not damaged or pinched, and reassembled the unit.

If you want to test the unit before it is fully assembled, that is fine too. You'll know right away if something is wrong. The unit won't clear the warning screen, and will keep restarting.

If that is the case make sure and check all the connections and wires for breaks.

You now have an overhauled Rio Riot !

Hook it up to the line in on your modified boombox and enjoy the music..
(Yes, that's a plug to go and check out my first instructable !)



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    22 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I am getting the cable in the mail tomorrow an hope to make a pinout for you guys. Tho I am having trouble with getting the music off of the hard drive. There is plenty of space on my computer to move the music an there isn't many specific instructions for the riot reader so I'm shooting in the dark. There are 33 albums of music I'd like to get back. Here are some photos of what's happening an the setup. Only one song is showing out of over 5,000 songs. I have a little converter so I can plug the small hard drive into a full sized ide connection on a desktop. The computer recognizes it but this is it in the pics. P. S I've tried it on Windows 2000, xp, Windows 7

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi BlueJaguar1999 - did you ever get the music off of it? I want to purchase a converter but i've only got Windows 7 atm.


    Reply 1 year ago

    It should work on XP, or at least it did for me - hope you have it working! And if you get the pinout, pop it up! Thanks!


    2 years ago


    I am in need of some assistance even tho this thread is old. I need help on First finding the Correct Voltage rating of the Batteries used in these Rio Riot's. I cannot find a Rating anywhere or a Replacement so id like to possibly Craft my own using another Type of battery or something with the Logic board on the battery. I have a Good Knowledge more advanced Electronics but this one has really stumped me due to lack of Information on these. Mine is stuck on rio Riot Battery Manager Setup. An i have no idea what to do. An as soon as i unplug it . It shuts off so it isn't charging. Any help would be greatly Appreciated thank you


    5 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Brendan,

    If you download the that I have linked in the instructable, there's a file in there (battery.txt) that has all the specs I could find about the battery.

    For a start, it's:
    1800mAh, 3.7V

    Good luck!


    Reply 2 years ago

    I was able to get the system to fully boot. The battery was not Changing due to what seems to be a faulty charging circuit so I was actually able to hard wire a USB cable on positive an negative on the battery through the relgulator board located at the top of the battery but directly connected to the battery but through the pcb on it. The voltage is just about right an isn't to much. I get about 4 hours out of a 2 hour charge off the USB port on my computer. Now one question I have now is that Rio reader beta program can read the contents off the hard drive from the riot when put into a pc? Like I can get the music off correct? Thank you


    Reply 2 years ago


    If you have your usb cable handy, would you post the pinout? I've moved and I cant find the cable!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. Thats a huge help. I'd like to help out with the pinout but my brother actually had lost the cable prior to giving me this player. I had just recently gotten it to actually boot! Weirdly the battery was holding a charge but I had to kinda give it a Jumpstart with another 3.7v battery an it started but it has to run on the charger for now due to the battery issue which hopefully will be fixed once I buy a USB cable for this an update the firmware. Because the battery is holding a charge an I'm testing it via multi meter


    2 years ago

    Welcome to 2017!

    Unlike some things on the internet, old instructables are still just as useful now as they were when they were written!

    I check in now and then to update things that may not be clear, and to reply to comments.

    Have fun finding, and repairing those Rio Riot's!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction


    No, I never got around to checking that - do you have a cable that you can test? If not I'll dig my cable out and see what I can do!

    I don"t know much about this stuff thats why I joind but I found a rioriot today at vthe thrift store for five dollars and it says the battery is done so is it worth buying and trying to replace the battery.

    Why not? If you like to tinker, it sounds like a good project! Hopefully it comes with the cable - if not, I bet you could find one on ebay or digging through cable bins at the thrift store! Good luck!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi TheRealAnubis how did you change the PCB on top of the battery to the replacement? Is there anything I need to watch for?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi mmaroni,

    I didn't change any of the PCB's - just the battery and the hard drive.

    If you are planning to swap out any of the PCB's, you have to be very careful with the flip up connectors - I usually use a wooden toothpick to flip them up, working from side to side until they open. These usually get brittle, so they are easy to break.

    The battery is just wedged in between the boards, not connected to anything except for the wires that go to the power connector.

    I hope that helps! Good luck!


    8 years ago on Introduction

     i am about  to change the hard drive but i really don't know if it going to support a bigger one (40gig or 80gig)!!!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Great !

    Let me know if it works.

    Also, these players seem to be touchy about the USB cable, so be careful when plugging and unplugging the cord from the player.  One of my Riots just stopped working after I unplugged the USB cable...