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Introduction Programming Instructions Teachers' Section Looking after your Roamer

The Roamer moves forward and back, turns left and right, waits and makes sounds. You teach the Roamer to do this by pressing keys on the top of its body. There is a key for each of these functions, and a set of number keys.

To enter an instruction press a key, followed by a number. This tells the Roamer how far to move, how much to turn, how long to wait or what sound to make.

There are three other function keys: Sense, Two-State Outputs and Stepper Motor.

There are two types of program, the GO Program and Procedures.

The GO Program is a list of instructions carried out when you press .

A Procedure is a list of instructions with a name. Once you have defined the list, its name (e.g. P1) is used like any other instruction. When you enter its name in the GO Program, the Roamer will carry out the whole procedure list.

The Roamer has two types of memory, GO Memory and Procedure Memory.

The Roamer will remember up to 59 instructions, and its powerful programming facilities enable it to carry out hundreds of actions.

When its memory is nearly full the Roamer will sound a warning, similar to the sound you hear when you press .

Instructions in the GO Memory are carried out when you press . If you add more instructions after executing the GO Program, they will be added to the GO Program and carried out the next time you press .

The Roamer waits for two seconds after you press before executing the GO Program.

Pressing clears the GO Memory and allows you to enter a new GO Program. It does not clear the Procedure Memory.

The first time you press a warning is sounded. Pressing a second time clears the GO Memory.

If you press by mistake, press another key, or wait 10 seconds. The Roamer will then carry on with its GO Memory intact.

If you press after you switch on the Roamer, it will carry out the Demonstration Program. This can be used to show beginners the basic Roamer functions.


Pressing or followed by a number from 1 to 99 tells the Roamer to move forward or back that number of units. (See UNITS OF DISTANCE AND TURN).

(These examples are illustrated in the style suggested on the programming sheet).

Pressing or followed by a number up to 999 turns the Roamer to the right (clockwise) or left (anticlockwise) that number of units. (See UNITS OF DISTANCE AND TURN).

Pressing followed by a number from 1 to 99 tells the Roamer to be still and quiet for that number of seconds.

The Roamer has a programmable sound facility. You need to specify how long each note will last (duration) and how high or low the note will be (pitch).

To play a note, press followed by a number from 1 to 8 for its duration, and another number from 1 to 13 for its pitch.

If you want a rest (silent note), enter 14 for the pitch.

When you switch the Roamer on it moves forward and back in units equal to its body length (30cm) and turns in angular units of 1 degree. You can change the units of distance and turn. This allows the teacher to set the most appropriate units for each teaching period.

Once the units are set, they remain unchanged until you redefine them, or switch the Roamer off. Clearing the GO Memory does not change the last unit setting.

To clarify which bracket opens and closes a list, [ and ] have been used instead of

Changing the Units of Distance

To change the unit of distance, press or followed by

Then press a number between 1 and 99. The number determines how many centimetres will be in each unit of distance.

Then press again.

The GO Program must be run before the change becomes effective.

Changing Units of Turn

To change the unit of turn, press or followed by

Then press a number from 1 and 999. This number determines how many degrees will be in each unit of turn.

Then press again.

The GO Program must be run before the change becomes effective.

Changing the tempo and octave

Roamer sounds may be played at one of five tempos and one of three octaves.

To change tempo or octave press then

Press a number between 1 and 5 for the tempo. 1 is fastest, 5 is slowest.

Press a number between 1 and 3 for the octave. 1 is lowest and 3 is highest.

Press again.

When you press , the Roamer starts with the tempo set at 3 and the octave set at 2.

Musical equivalents

When defining the pitch, 1 represents C, 2 represents C#, 3 represents D, etc., up a chromatic scale.

When defining the duration, 1 is equivalent to a semiquaver, 2 is equivalent to a quaver, 4 is equivalent to a crochet, etc.

Setting the tempo at 1 produces 170 beats per minute; 2, 3, 4 and 5 produce 140, 100, 80 and 60 respectively.

When you press a key, the Roamer makes a sound. If the instruction is valid the sound is positive. Invalid instructions produce a negative sound.

If the Roamer is carrying out a list of instructions and you want to stop it before it has finished, hold down any key until it completes the current instruction. This feature allows the children to stop the Roamer if it is not doing what they wanted it to do.

Pressing cancels the last instruction or part instruction from the GO Program.

Pressing , followed by a number up to 99, will make the Roamer repeat a following list of instructions, that number of times. The list must be enclosed in a "box" by placing before and after the list.

Repeat lists can contain other repeat lists. This is like putting one box inside another. You can place up to five "boxes" within "boxes" i.e., nest repeats 5 deep.

This program has a nest of repeats 2 deep.

A procedure is a list of instructions named P, plus a number from 1 to 99. The list is enclosed in brackets .

When keying in instructions in a procedure definition, sound cues for valid and invalid instructions are still made. However a different pitch is used to inform the programmer that the instructions are part of a procedure, not part of a GO Program.

Putting a Procedure Inside Another Procedure

A procedure can be part of another procedure.

Procedures can be nested to any depth - memory permitting.

To change a procedure, simply redefine it.

Erasing a Procedure

To erase a procedure from the Procedure Memory, enter and the procedure number, followed by and


1. A procedure cannot use itself

Roamer procedures are not recursive.

2. You can define only one procedure at a time

3. A procedure cannot include a procedure with a lower number

This means that Procedure 1 can call all other procedures, and Procedure 99 cannot call any.

  © 2004. Amethyst Consultancy Ltd.