Mar 262009

Paul Bouchier has kindly spent time and updated the Java RoombaComm library. Not only did he add support for the newer 5xx series Roombas, but he fixed a lot of bugs, added new features, made things work easier under Windows, and generally cleaned up the mess of code I had created.

Check out the Changelog for a list of the changes. And try out the new version of RoombaComm!

  3 Responses to “New RoombaComm 0.96”

  1. This book has been very frustrating to me. What you say in the book is not verbatim what you do. Example; ” Download the RoombaComm software package from and
    find the RoombaCommTest directory.”

    There is no test directory. Double click the appropriate RoombaCommTest option for your OS. There is NOTHING that will run. I am running Xp SP2 Windows. I don’t know how to run a java program. It needs to be explained a little clearer, or you can put a disclaimer in the front of the book saying that this book is only for experienced Java Programmers and those who are well versed in Linux. I started in computers in 1971 and micros in ’75, so I know a little bit about the subject. But, we skip around too much. When I just get trying to understand what is going on, you change the subject to another way of doing it before you explain it thoroughly.

    I have noticed that outside of that, the book is well written and you have spend a heck of a lot of time on it. Kudos to you. But, I just want to get my ArdunioMega to control my roomba. That’s all. I have NEVER been able to get the GUI for roombacommtest to run. This may be easy for you, but I need a little bit more explaination. I download the software from the site and some of the steps are needed to be more explained.

    Thanks for letting me bend your ear and vent some of my frustrations. I hope I haven’t offened you.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. Hi Mel,

    I’m sorry you’re having problems getting stuff to run. I had to remove the RoombaCommTest executable originally referenced on page 60 of the book because it was unreliable and causing more questions than if it wasn’t there. Apologies for the confusion. That must have been frustrating.

    RoombaCommTest still exists however. If you go to the RoombaComm page here:
    you can download the built roombacomm software package:
    (I just added this link to the page, so if you didn’t see it before, don’t worry)

    Unzip that and you have a “roombacomm” directory with a batch file called “roombacommtest.bat”. Double-click that to start up RoombaCommTest.

    The batch file is more clunky but at least it should work.

    Now if you don’t have Java installed on your system (rare, but happens), the you’ll need to download it. Go to click on the big “download” button and it’ll download a small “jxpinstall.exe” program. Run it to start installing Java. It will ask if you want to install a Yahoo toolbar, say “no” to this unless you really want it. When the Java installer finishes, you can double-click the “roombacommtest.bat” again and it should work.

    Now if you want to start creating your own Java programs on your PC, you’ll need to install the Java JDK. This includes the “javac” compiler program. You get the JDK from:
    Click on the download button for “JDK 6” under “Java SE Development Kit”.

    Once you get the JDK installed, there’s a “README” and “” file in the “roombacomm” directory for more info on getting stuff working (and also the book, of course).

    While the book is designed for novice hackers (those with a little programming knowledge but who aren’t software engineers), I did have to make some assumptions on the readership skill-level. Java isn’t my favorite language, it is known by a great many people and is cross-platform enough to be widely deployed. So the book assumes a basic understanding of the basics of Java programming and the Java development process. On pages 96-97, there is a sidebar about the basics of how to get the roombacomm software compiled and running, but it definitely assumes the reader has other Java programmer resources at his or her disposal and it doesn’t try to be a Java tutorial.

    Thank you for taking time to write in. I’m not offended, just a little embarrassed that the book isn’t as clear as I would have liked. If you have any more questions, let me know.

  3. Hello. I built the Roomba serial interface tether as you’ve explained in your book. Echo test worked well. And I pluged the Roomba serial interface tether into the Roomba. I double click RoombaCommTest option and I select the correct port. However, I see in the display ” No Roomba. :( Is it turned on? ” How we can solve this problem? Please help me. Thank you.

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