How To Use Flashlight Mode To Fix Bricked Arduboys

If you’re having a problem uploading a new game to your Arduboy, you may be encountering a bootloader issue. Some games use so much memory that your Arduboy’s bootloader cannot correctly enter into the mode needed to reprogram. Luckily, the Arduboy has a built-in function to prevent this from stopping you from installing another game. It’s called flashlight mode.

To use flashlight mode to install another game:

  1. Turn off your Arduboy.
  2. Hold UP on the D-Pad.
  3. While still holding the D-Pad, turn on your Arduboy. You should see your Arduboy’s LED’s light up white.
  4. Release the UP button.
  5. Connect your Arduboy via USB and attempt to transfer the game, again.

Click the link below to see a video:

Games that can potentially require flashlight mode:
Arduboy Assistant


Note that flashlight mode may not be available in sketches that use their own custom libraries. It may have been removed to free up code space.

Team A.R.G. games don’t have it but they have a similar safe mode, which is activated by holding both the left button and the up button during power up. Safe mode doesn’t light the RGB LED. It just idles with a blank screen instead of starting the game.

Fortunately, it seems that so far all games that cause the upload problem that can be recovered using flashlight mode include it.

Maybe we should maintain a list of the games known to cause the problem, in this topic. For starters:


Additionally, because of the way that some LED’s were installed in a few Arduboys, the LED’s may not light up in flashlight mode, too!

Sweet idea! I’ll keep it up top in the original post and add to it as more come up.


I was just in the middle of typing a response to note that!

To compensate for this problem, flashlight mode in my Arduboy2 library (and also slated for the next version of the Arduboy library) also turns all the display’s pixels on, so Arduboys with the reversed LED will still get an indication.


What if flash light doesn’t work?

Cody, what do you mean? Are you unable to access flashlight mode? Or is flashlight mode not helping you flash over a new game?

What was the previous game that you have installed?

Also, congrats on getting your Arduboy in! I’m so happy!

Thanks @crait for the response. The problem is it doesn’t work as in it doesn’t turn on!

Your Arduboy is not turning on?

Yes it’s turning on fine but the flash light doesnt😞

Not all games include “Flashlight” mode. Which game do you have loaded? If it’s either the Blob Attack or Mystic Balloon game that’s been factory loaded into the Arduboy, it doesn’t include the flashlight feature. (None of the Team A.R.G. games do.)

Ok cool thanks I only have mystic balloon!:slightly_smiling_face:

@Cody17, You really should spend some effort reading through the posts in a topic before blindly asking a question or commenting. The very first reply in this topic was specifically posted to point out that not all games include the flashlight feature, and indicated that this includes Team A.R.G. games.


It’s a good idea for everyone to search before posting!


Alright, dumb question here: was this flashlight mode intended to be a flashlight? Or just to be used as a “safe mode” type thing.

Because if I can use my arduboy as a flashlight, that’d be so cool.

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It’s intended to be used as a “safe mode” but… in a totally dark room it does work! (It’s not very bright)

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I may make a flashlight sketch for arduboy for my own amusement sometime then. Could be a good way to get back into programming.


It was indeed intended to add a flashlight/torch feature to the Arduboy and still is. That’s the purpose @Dreamer3 added it for, and why the function is named flashlight(). The ability to use it to recover when you can’t upload new sketches under some circumstances is just a useful side effect.

If it was intended just for upload recovery, the function would have been named something more appropriate and it probably wouldn’t turn the RGB LED full intensity white, which is annoying for the purpose of an indicator (and the LED doesn’t even turn on for units with the LED reversed).

Besides, long before flashlight mode was added, there was already a “safe mode” implemented specifically to address the upload problem. You hold the UP and LEFT buttons during bootup. However, it’s only enabled for the Dev KIt units because it was believed that the reset button could be used for the production Arduboys. Then, when it turned out that flashlight mode could be used for the purpose, there was no reason to enable “safe mode” for the production Arduboy.

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Well there you have it

i downloaded evade 2 and the green light wont show up when i plug my arduboy in

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Evade 2 has a different procedure (watch the video):