Out of the box, the CEENBoT has a software program (factory firmware) installed that instructs the robot to run in bump mode or remote control mode. When you write a new program (user firmware) and transfer it to the robot, this original program is erased and replaced by your new one.

One of our developers recognized that having more than one firmware image available would be useful when a robot is used in different ways. The developer created a set of software programs for both the robot and your computer that are used for programming and transfer firmware to a built-in memory chip already on the robot controller board.

Multiple Firmware Images On Board

The CEENBoT Utility Tool (CUT) and CEENBoT Bootloader allow for the factory firmware, TI Calculator firmware, and up to 8 of your own firmware programs to reside on your robot. Each time the robot restarts, it displays a menu of firmware you can use. Scroll to the firmware you want, press a button to load it, and the CEENBoT Bootloader will copy it from the on-board memory chip to the robot microcontroller. Reset or power the robot off and on, and you can select a different firmware. The factory firmware is always available in case you need to charge the battery.

Support for this new system is included in the newer versions of CEENBoT Commander. This means that CEENBoT Commander can install the CEENBoT Bootloader and transfer your programs to the robot using a new programming cable.

Getting Started with CEENBoT Utility Tool and CEENBoT Bootloader

The CUT / CEENBoT Bootloader system uses additional hardware and once the robot is set up to use the CEENBoT Bootloader, a different type of programming cable
Below are the components and guide needed to work with CUT and the bootloader.


  • A Cool Gear USB to serial cable USBGEAR, Part Number USBG-232MM. Please see the note below about substitutions for this cable.
  • A DB9 gender changer USBGEAR, Part Number 200448
  • 4 standoffs to raise the robotic controller above the wheels (#6x32, at least 3/8" tall). Various methods can lift the controller and keep it firmly attached to the robot.


CEENBoT Commander, the graphical programming software, now contains CUT and the CEENBoT Bootloader. Download and install the current version:


Instructions for setting your robot up to use CUT and the CEENBoT Bootloader are in:


Cable Substitutions

In the development of the CUT and CEENBoT Bootloader, we tried MANY different manufacturer's USB to serial cables, on both Mac and Windows computers. What we found was the inexpensive cables just do not work in this use. We installed many drivers on both computer types, we played with transfer speeds, and the end result was either unreliable or just did not work.

The cable recommended above uses a chip from a company called FTDI. It produces the voltages needed to transfer programs reliably, and has drivers for both Windows and OSX that work well.

If you decide to try a different cable, those made with a chip from Prolific are the most common, and they do not work. If you have access to a cable made with the FTDI part, you may be able to get it to work but we will not be able to help you in your efforts.