Cheat Sheet / Getting started - mBot (more)


Bit More (7a/7b).

OK here’s another ‘Getting Started’ type doc. My son and I have been playing with this all weekend. Loads of fun, but I think some more documentation is needed. So maybe this will help. Take it with a big grain of salt. Here is what we learned on the weekend. Once assembled, and before connecting it to any computer or phone, test it first to make sure it’s assembled correct. Testing steps below, along with other notes.

Note: The Red/Green/Blue power up thing is part of the Demo firmware, it does this has it turns on. When you update your own firmware it will not do this. Although not a bad idea to put something like it in your code to know it loaded.

1) Power up test:
With the mBot sitting on a table top, power it on. You should see the
. as it powers up the two front left & right lights (LED1/2) will flash Red/Green/Blue then off.
. a RED power light in the middle on circuit board (PWR)- stays on.
. another RED light (very small) on the back of the range sensor - stays on.
. and finally, two tiny blue lights on either side of the line tracking sensor - stays on (when on table).
Note: If one or more of these lights is not lit, check the connections on port 2 & 3 and Check the batteries.

2) Test the Remote is working:
Put a battery in the remote, and make sure it’s working. The LED on the front should light up when a button is pressed – only you can’t see an IR light with your eyes. So turn on a digital camera (like on your phone), point it at the remote and confirm you can see that it lights up when a button is pressed. No light – check the battery.

3) Test the mBot using the Remote:
Mode A - Manual control:
. Press ‘A’ - Hear a beep, front lights go purple.
. press 1 (switch to slowest speed, easier to test)
. press < (left): Beep, LED1 (left) turns green, mBot turns left (right wheel turns).
. press > (right): Beep, LED2 (right) turns green, mBot turns right (left wheel turns).
. press ^ (forward): Beep, LED1/LED2 (left/right) turns green, mBot moves forward (both wheels turns).
. press v (backward): Beep, LED1/LED2 (left/right) turns red, mBot moves backwards (both wheels turns).

If any of these don’t work, check the motor connections and make sure the batteries are good. Maybe try pressing 9 (full power) and try all again with higher power level. If left/right turns in the wrong directions, the motor wires may be reversed. If one or both wheels are not turning maybe some wires is not plugged in, or battery to low.

Which is the left Motor? The ‘Left’ motor is the one installed under connectors 1 & 2. Both motors are the same. Once installed they become left and right. The left motor should be connected to the white power plug beside connector #1.

Mode B - Range checker:
Hold the mBot in the air and press B. wheels will turn. As you move your hand in front of the range sensor the wheels will change direction for a moment and then return to normal. If this does not occur, the range sensor may not be connected. Check it’s red power light (on back) is lit. Check it’s connected to port #3, only port 3 will work for the demo program and make sure snapped in on the back of sensor as well (Mine fell out on the back - a 15 minute puzzle)…

Mode C - Line follower:
Open the folded sheet with the giant number 8 one it. place the mBot right on top of a black line. Turn it on, and press C. The mBot should immediately start following the black line, adjusting its wheels to follow the line as it moves. If this does not happen, confirm there are two blue power lights on the tracking sensors. Ensure the tracking sensor is plugged into port #2.

4) Using Bluetooth / connecting:
Turn on the mbot, after 10 seconds you should see a slow flashing blue light on the mBot Bluetooth card. Flashing means listening, but not connected. Solid means connected – to the app. In your phones bluetooth settings scan for ‘MakeBlock’ and connect (pair) to it. Once connected, the blue light on the mBot will continue flashing – don’t worry. Once the mBot app is up and running, and also connected to ‘MakeBlock’ – the blue light will go sold. You’re in, start playing. If no blue light, check it’s plugged into the main board correctly.

Note: My android toy sees both ‘MakeBlock’ and ‘MakeBlock_LE’ (the makeblock??). Only first ever works for me. The other has some password issue.

4a) Drivers - you do need them
Connecting mBot to either a PC or MAC requires ‘drivers’, without these installed the computer will have no idea what the connected device is. Installing drivers on a PC is relatively simple, you trust the driver software is not a virus and just install it. Seems the MAC trusts no one, including you and the driver software, so installing on a MAC is a bit more frustrating. The following link seems to offer a solution…not an easy one. Review comments from thirdlion.

5) Coding and Connect to your computer (windows):
First (before USB cable) download and install the custom MakeBlock version of sketch called mBlock (with mBot additions), and install the mBot USB drivers for windows. Then open mBlock on your computer, under the menu open “Connect—>SerialPorts” and Record the ports listed.

Now, turn on mBot and using the USB cable, connect the mBot to the computer. A blue light (near PWR) will flash several times as it connects. Then main lights will flash red/green/blue/off – ready. Now using mBlock, check the listed serial ports again. Select the newest one listed – again main lights will flash red/green/blue/off. mBlock connected. Lets play.

Note on mBot Power: Turned off and with just the USB cable connected it may look like mBot has power, but it dos not. That tiny green light only indicates the the USB connection. Until power is on (Red pwr light), the mBot will not send back a connection request. Turn it on, wait for the blue connection lights to start and finish flashing.

6) mBlock - ** Green Dot **:
Further notes: When using mBock, and ‘Robots’ is selected (under scripts) – look for a red or green dot in the robots menu. Green=mBot connected. Red=not connected – go back to ports to fix, turn on mBot power.

7) uploading your code to mBot:
Must be connected here, or nothing works. After you’ve written some code, you can ‘test’ it or ‘upload’ it to the mBot. To just test it, double click on the top most item of the program (mBot Program). It will highlight in yellow, and execute on the mBot. As you change the code you will see it affect the mBot. Once unplugged – all is normal – mBot will forget everything.

To actually install your new code ‘permanently’ into the mBot do the following. With green dot active (connected), right click over the top most item ‘mBot Program’. Select ‘Upload to arduino’ , the Arduino side bar will open (unless already open). On the Arduino side bar, again select ‘upload to arduino’. The mBlock code will be converted to ‘C’, compiled and transmitted to the mBot. Any ‘bad block’ error are usually because you have mBlock code segments that can’t be reached. Turn mBot off/on – code stays. The demo program is GONE!..oh noooo. Not to worry, ‘Connect—>RestoreDefaultProgram’ puts it back.

7a) Coding/Reading mBot Sensors:
Ok this may already be obviuse but here is a a bit of code reading the many mBot sensors and putting them on the screen. You can’t upload (via arduino) with a ‘Say’ block btw, as it only works on PC.
. Ultrasonic (range) sensor is in cm’s (so am I, Canadian). It has a range of 1-200 , a reading over 400 seems to mean too close to read.
. Line Follower has a range of 0-3, indicating which of the two little sensors can see reflected IR light. Where 0=neither, 1=Right, 2=Left and 3=both (binary).
. Timer (ok not a sensor) track elapse seconds from last reset.
. Light Sensor (I didn’t know it was ever there). Has a range of 0-999, with 0=dark. Another example below.
. Button Sensor (it’s the little green button on the front). You can read if it is ‘pressed’ or ‘released’.

Example. Does anyone know how to make a ‘newline’ in scratch. Playing with strings hard.

7b) The Light Sensor:
The mBot has a Light Sensor! I didn’t realize it was there. You can easily code some fun stuff to react the light level in the room. The sample code below make mBot turn on in the dark. In this case ‘dark’ is any value less than 50 (range between 0-999), it’s like freeze dance – when the light comes on he stops. Ok, I was using 800 here because I am scared of the dark. There is a great YouTube called ‘bedtime dancing mBot’ (something like that).

7c) The mBlock Rosetta Stone - the missing link :gift:
Finally, here is the link to a high res copy of the ebook all about mBlock, as written by MakeBlock. There are many references to it all over this site, but they either get 404’s or hit a low res unreadable copy. Seems ‘Trapsis’ (below) found a link to the good copy. Download it and print it, so the kids can read and write on it as they try and code. Maybe it will also finally explain how send/receive an mBot message works. Link:

8) Maker Time - How to make a hard shell top
Using a cheap zip-lock container (super thin, sold in 5s) you can build a hard shell top to keep the kids from ripping the circuit board apart every time they pick the mBot up. It’s a small square 32oz container, bottom measuring 4x4 inches. Slice it, cut out room for the wheels, range finder, usb port and on/off switch. Ends up looking like mBot got a bad wig with long side burns, and a pony tail. Find a way to secure it. I just used three tiny self tapping metal screws.

9) Neat ideas for mBot storage - post assembly:
Pull out the foam, put the toy back in the box sideways, eyes facing long wall. Now you’ve got lots of room, a 60/40 split for the mBot and all the bits. Cut a little divider (like an wide letter H letter) glue to top and bottom sides and its perfect (6 5/8w x 3 3/4h). Bit of hot glue and you’re done.


Very well written. I suggest making this a sticky mods?


Thanks. A few typo’s but not sure how to edit after the fact.


Locate “Reply” under your post. Go over to the left and you will see a pencil. This is your edit function.


I agree, excellent write up. Well done.


Hello I’m 12 years old here and

This post really confused me …

So much information that is not necessary for kids like me to know to program our mbot. Like this is okay but I don’t think it’s necessary to write things like what the arrows on the remote do… it’s pretty obvious.

Also it’s too much information that is too much to know. Like the LED. I mean sure there is LED on the board but why need to describe them?

I figured out how to run mbot in 15 minutes just by reading the mbot manual …


Sorry to confuse. You are correct it is a lot of info, but in this case that was the purpose. So just ignore what you don’t need, which may be everything. :grinning:

Although you and I had fun right away, from the posts it seems others were not so lucky. Bad parts, missing firmware, mistakes in assembly and other issues can easily derail the fun. So the point was to be very descriptive, in an effort it might help someone else figure out why it’s not working for them.

As an example: Those buttons on the remote, although obvious, they only do what you expect because the mBot demo firmware is installed. Wrong/Missing firmware and mBot ignores those buttons. The moment you upload your new mBlock code the remote stops working, unless you coded for the remote as well.

So now what, now that you got it working whats next? There are two extra ports. We’re thinking to make it a mini battle bot. Maybe to add a servo&claw and a better front wheel. We’ve already put a long black line (hockey tape) thoughtout the main floor.


I wish I had seen this before spending agonizing days in frustration. The drivers had to be updated and things got a bit more complex because I was using a Mac. I really liked your step-by-step approach and thank you very much for taking the time to write this. I hope mBlock people can make this part of their product documentation.I’d rather have more information than less so I don’t mind the length. Please keep us updated about your adventures. I learn much more from others who describe their experience than from those who just show off about having figured it in 15 minutes. Thank you again.


Great guide! It really helps get you off the ground and wheeling around! As part of getting started I would also suggest the excellent mBlock ebook the Makeblock team put together. A lot of links to the manual are broken but this page’s links work just fine:

Word of warning, the book was made for an earlier version of mBlock so it is best to ignore the first few setup pages and use the above instructions. After that though the book works fine.

Happy mBlocking!


Thank you John !
Cool you’re right a couple servous and maybe a camera can make a more interesting mbot !!!

You know my friend he has an mBot too and he (like most people I guess hates reading manuals) so I showed him your post and the post of @nemesis_c .

And he liked them both very much printed them out and stuck them on his wall.
He says thank you !


Thank you Trapsis!! I keep looking for a high res version I can actually read, or even links that work. You found it!


This is awesome! The last couple of months have been frustrating with this that I was contemplating selling it all and getting something different for the kids. This definitely gets us in the right direction and I hope the kids get excited about it again.

Thanks John! And thanks to everyone else that has posted bits and pieces that have also helped me out!


Just got the Mbot and could not have got started without this cheat sheet.
Thank you. Hoping for more info re loading a program to the bot - whta then as
nothing seems to happen???


My mbot does not light up after powering on. I checked the batteries and the ports as well. What am I doing wrong?


Hi Jyoti,

Is it possible for you to test with multimeter? Test the power got disconnected from the battery holder part or on the main board part.
Besides, you may use the rechargeable lithium battery have a check since it has different power interface on main board.
Sorry for the trouble caused and hope you can feedback further.


I am mostly suspecting a faulty wire from the battery pack. I found that out when I bought another kit on sale (1.0 version of mBot) and tried the other battery pack with this one. After a few test runs found the 1.0 mBot not working either. It seemed to hang and not respond to any commands, even resetting a few times did not help.

This was a gift for my 9 year old daughter and was a frustrating ordeal making these kits to work. She soon lost interest in the toy and if was just me trying to figure things out. I am returning both these kits to the store and will try this out at a later stage when both the product and my daughter is more mature to handle them.

Another feedback is to have a customer support or hotline setup, which should greatly help alleviate some anxiety and lost customers on both sides. It is a little disappointing that an almost $100 product does not have a customer support number.


Hi Jyoti,

Thanks for your feedback and suggestion. We have sent you an email, please kindly check it.



Are you still on this forum? I’ve got a couple of questions for you.




This is very helpful, especially the storage ideas. I usually have the mBot sitting on my desk or in a closet. Now, time to dig the box out of the recycling! :grin:


Very helpful…I’m playing with it with my son too.