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Do base stations switch off automatically?


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Seems like a simple question. 

If I switch off my computer and the vive headset but forget to switch off the base stations - what happens?

Do the base stations stay active indefinitely, wearing away the moving parts inside them?

Or, do they automatically switch off, just like the wands do? And if the base stations do, how long does it take before they switch off on their own?


@VibrantNebula @jagibson

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@Jakey - Sorry for the delayed reply, we're seeing the peak of our yearly inquires due to Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

  • The standby mode depends on your SteamVR settings - if you enable basestation power management within SteamVR's settings, when you shutdown the SteamVR compositor a bluetooth broadcast is sent out as part of the shutdown process. It's not a timeout thing like it is with the controllers - it's an actual command sent out by the compositor so while it's generally reliable, it sometimes can trip up if the compositor crashes or you hard reboot the PC without shutting down SteamVR.
    • Don't use this if you're using more than one HMD in the same space.
  • First go to SteamVR -> Settings -> Bluetooth and ensure it's enabled (you'll need to be using a linkbox for this to work). It may prompt you to install a driver. Next go to SteamVR -> Settings -> Basestation and click Power Management to access the correct interface page.
  • Yes - since the basestations are mechanical devices, if you leave them plugged in without power management enabled and they stay fully powered on and spinning - that uptime will count against the unit's lifespan. Each rotor in a basestation rotates over 200,000 times per hour so it's definitely recommended to either use bluetooth power management or unplug the devices when not in use to ensure the maximum lifespan.
  • You can definitive tell if a basestation's rotors are spinning and emitting data if you can see the faint circles from the 9 sync LEDs on 1.0 stations or the two laser sources on a 2.0 station (final two pics). You can use a smartphone camera to see the IR sources inside the station if you can't quite see it with the naked eye.






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@VibrantNebula Thanks for all that mate.  I followed all that and now my 2x 2.0 base stations turn off after exiting SteamVR.  I selected the power management option to turn off both lasers and motors.  After SteamVR shutdown they both emit a soft blue pulsating light.  Is that supposed to do this?  

When I restart SteamVR they seem to restart pretty quickly.  First a white light on each which I think says they see each other, and then they turn solid green and I can see the lasers, and they then work fine.

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@TomCgcmfc - I believe that's the current standby behavior. Valve has pushed quite a few updates to the base-stations in the last 45 days that I'm not personally familiarized with yet including a completely new behavior (v1.8.20 notes below). You can't use power management in places with more than 1 HMD and thus we need to keep power management disabled in-office or it wreaks havoc so I haven't tested the new behaviors firsthand.

I'm currently traveling abroad otherwise I would test at home to verify. As long as the rotors start and stop according to your usage - I'd imagine everything is working correctly.

The overall key with BT power management is that it's mediated by commands outputted by the compositor - if you abruptly stop the compositor (like a hard PC reboot) or it crashes - you may need to cycle SteamVR to re-sync everything.


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OK, I tried both base stations power management options.

Standby = turns off lasers only so it starts up faster, and

Sleep = turns off lasers and motors (which is my preference).

In both cases when you exit SteamVR the base stations emit a soft blue pulsating light (top middle).  My 2.0 base stations run so smooth I cannot really feel the motors running so I cannot tell for sure that Sleep actually turns them off or not.  However, in Standby mode SteamVR finds them much faster. 

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