Palm Microbot Controller

The Microbot is a fairly old "arm"-type robot with 5 degrees of freedom. (Picture 1, Picture 2.) We have a few of them in the robotics lab at NJIT. The cool thing about these robots is that they have standard 25-pin serial ports on the back (one in, one as a pass-thru) that can accept text commands.

The Palm Microbot Controller that I wrote with PocketC works by sending these text commands through the Palm's serial port.


The Microbot accepts commands (in all CAPS) that start with the "@" sign. There are 7 commands that it accepts:

  2. (example: @STEP 88500, 100, 0, 0, 0, 0, 50 will move the base 100 to the left and open the gripper 50 half-steps at a speed of 88500)
  3. @RUN (runs a program stored in the Microbot's 1k of RAM - yes, it's very old.)
  4. @CLOSE (closes the gripper)
  5. @READ (reads the current positions of the stepper motors - @RESET resets them to 0.)
  6. @RESET
  7. @QDUMP (downloads the contents of the Microbots memory)
  8. @QWRITE (uploads a sequence of steps to the Microbot)


There are several options for download:
  1. Palm Microbot Controller - Standalone 57kb

  2. This version requires no other software and will work on its own.

  3. Palm Microbot Controller - PocketC PRC 18kb

  4. This version requires PocketC or PocketC Runtime. Download this one if you want an icon on the Palm and you already have PocketC.

  5. Palm Microbot Controller - PocketC PDB 17kb

  6. This version requires PocketC or PocketC Runtime, but must be run from within PocketC - there is no icon.

  7. Palm Microbot Controller - Source 10kb

  8. Here is all the source code for this project with some icons. Make all the changes you want... drop me an email if you do!



Connect the Palm to a computer and run a Terminal program (like Hyperterminal in Windows) and tap the buttons to see what commands they send out. Make sure to set the baud rate, etc., correctly!