Oh no, our Roamers are dead!


DSCF9355As you can see, our Roamers are in a sorry state. I tried to recharge the batteries today and they failed. New batteries cost £35 per roamer and unfortunately, I just don’t think it’s a worthwhile investment for us.

Can you:

  • Find out what the Roamers should do when they are working? (You could use the manuals in the box or online research). I would like a bit of detail in your explanation please- eg how would you use them in maths and computing?
  • Can you think of anything we could replace them with (at a similar cost) that would teach similar skills? Mrs Gooderick has asked to me to make a shopping list, so here’s our chance!

Once you have answered these questions I can give you a screwdriver and you can start dismantling the Roamers and make me a display of what’s inside them and what each of the parts (should!) do.

Your next Code Club Challenge:

In Scratch 2.0, make an on screen Roamer which does everything the real one does (except moving along a real floor!). We will use this to teach other children so make it good! You should be able to find an appropriate sprite somewhere.

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About nic schofield

I’m a primary schools computing technician, interested in teaching children, their teachers & their parents, about IoT, computational thinking and implications of technology on their lives and encouraging children to think critically about technology to influence change in the world.

16 thoughts on “Oh no, our Roamers are dead!

  1. Hi. Your blog came up on a Google search, as I have 2 Roamers which my son’s school has no further use for, mainly for the reasons you’ve given above. I run a Raspberry Pi Club after school and I asked if we could have the Roamers to hack.

    The main problem to me seems to be the batteries; I forgot they still made PP9s, let alone rechargeable ones! I can see why they’d cost so much. The processor is an old Z8, but from what I’m told they were good in their day!

    I was initially planning to just take out the electronics and stick a Pi (or Micro:bit) in there instead, which would allow it to be coded in Scratch or Python (or anything really). Having opened it, there is just so much air! I’m now thinking about just reusing the motors (which have positional feedback sensors attached) to build a new bot.

    Now that I’ve found your blog, I’ll be sure to follow your progress with these 🙂


    • Hi Darren,
      Thanks for your feedback!
      I will give the motors a thought – I dont know much about electronics or sensors but my colleague Tim, who is our Code Club programmer, knows more than me (about pretty much everything actually) so I’ll ask him. I think we actually threw all the parts away in the end but the children at least had great fun dismantling them. My next problem is all our Probots, which can not be programmed in anything post XP. Someone clever needs to hack them to work with other software! Newer ones work with more recent versions of Windows, but not ours 🙁
      Are you on Twitter? I am @nicscho


  2. So, you have a big box of rover bits. That looks like a pile of Really Interesting Goodies just waiting to be….. What?

    What can we make out of the bits? Humm…..


    • Good point Jim! They did mention that one of the parts looked like an Arduino they had at home…I only let them dismantle one in the end – just in case! Thanks for your comment.


  3. if you press forward 1 it will move 30 cm unless you have square brackets around the number(s) to set it to 1 cm if you press ‘p’then a number then a square bracket ‘[‘ then what you want then the last sq bracket ‘]’. when you press go once the enter ‘p1’ then go it shall do the procedure. if you press the music note then it will enable/disable sound. we could get a sphero £100 and control it with a ipad or we could have dash £115 cognitoys: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/522717158/cognitoys-internet-connected-smart-toys-that-learn


  4. The roamers have features that the bee-bots don’t. The bee-bots can only go forward, backwards and turn. The roamers can turn a selected amount of units same as forward and back. They can also play music and wait. In maths I think you can tell it to move 1 meter to teach measurements. I suggest dash and dot, for just dash it costs £115.86 and for both it costs £148.22.


  5. I think it is like a bee bot but with more buttons that are older. I think it could teach younger children angles. The difference is that one, it plays music, it is more free in maths because it has brackets, CM is where it clears its memory. S= Sensor.
    P= Procedure, R= Repeat W=Wait M=Stepper motor T= Two state output.


  6. In Maths, we could use this for angles as the roamer has 90 degree angles. In computing, you could use it for algorithms. We should buy more of the pro bots.


  7. I think that these Valiant Roamers were an earlier version of the BeeBot. They are bigger, but not more compact. It has more disperse control buttons, like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, whereas with the BeeBot, you have to press the forward or back button numerous times. It is far more mathematical than a BeeBot, because it has brackets and repeat and procedure, and finally, clear memory- all clearly labelled. Therefore, it would be easier to use for little children. It is unnecessarily big, though! When I looked inside, it was all structural plastic. You cant see where the front is, so all the instructions may be misinterpreted.

    Similar products are: Constructabot for 49.95 and Yo! Bot. It connects to an iPad.


  8. I think that under the Roamer I can see that there are wheels which probably are used for mobilizing. However, A Bee bot Can’t be programmed using equations where as a Rover can! I believe that a Rover could be used for maths with this advantage.I also happen to find they were easier to dismantle and to program though, this is not portable where as a bee bot is.


  9. I think the roamers are basically like bee-bots which you can use with algorithms.
    With the Roamer, you can press the buttons to show how many steps to move and then press forward, backward, left or right. They help children to work interdependently and use algorithms. The difference is that a roamer can have numbers which can tell you how many steps that the roamer wants to go; a bee-bot doesn’t.


  10. The Roamers are a worse, older, heavier beebots which in the state they are in now look like they were made in 1940. It’s unfortunately true! Like the bee bots, by pressing buttons you can direct them, but this is a more of a child’s activity toy and they can make noises and play music. The beebots are at a similar price and while looking nicer and newer the beebots do the exact same thing without the unneeded noises.


  11. In the manual is says that the Roamers can go forward,backward,Wait,turn left and right and also it can make sound


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