Desktop RoboTurret Getting Started

The Desktop RoboTurret is a Arduino based physical computing platform. This 2-Servo Robotic kit is a great introduction into the world of Arduino and robotics. The standard kit comes with a pushbutton and joystick for control, as well as a laser that can be mounted on the turret. Add-on kits allow control via a Wii nunchuk and vision tracking using a PC.

This guide will help you setup the hardware and software for the RobotGeek Desktop RoboTurret.

This guide will refer to the RobotGeek Geekduino, the microcontroller that will ship with most RoboTurrets. However this kit will also work with the Arduino Uno, or other Arduino variants.

RobotGeek 101

Before you get rolling on this guide, it is highly recommended that you go over the Hardware and Wiring primers from the RobotGeek 101 Learning Series. These guides will introduce you to the basics of working with the RobotGeek Sensor System.

RobotGeek Hardware Primer - RG 101 Lesson #2
RobotGeek Sensor Shield   Wiring Primer - RG 101 Lesson #3

We have set up a clear guide for absolute beginners to Arduino and the RobotGeek Sensor System that you may find helpful. If you're new to all of this, we recommend that you check out RobotGeek 101, so that you don't run into any confusion when we start speaking technically about things. RobotGeek 101 is a great place to start, and will get you accustomed to the terminology and concepts we will be using in this guide.

RobotGeek 101

Setting up the Arduino Software

Geekduino Getting Started Guide

If you have not already set up your Geekduino/ Arduino compatible board, please see the Geekduino Getting Started Guide. This guide will assist you in getting set up with the Arduino software as well as install libraries and test sketches for the Desktop RoboTurret.

Centering your Servos

RobotGeek Servo Setup

RobotGeek Servos can be set to specific positions, and must be 'centered' to ensure that the RoboTurret is assembled correctly. This guide will help you center your servos and install the horns. For the Desktop RobotTurret, you will need to also put an idler horn on one of your servos (the guide will show you how).

Jumpers and Power

RobotGeek servos must be powered by an external power supply like the 7v5A power supply included with your kit. If you have servos plugged in to the shield and do not have the external power supply plugged into your Geekduino you will see erratic behavior.

You will also need to adjust your shield to make sure the power is getting to the servos correctly. Make sure that you have both of the jumpers on the Sensor Shield set to Voltage In (VIN) If you would like more information about this, check out the Jumpers/Power section of the RobotGeek 101 learning series.



Assembly Guide.

This guide will show you how to build the basic Desktop RoboTurret. At the end of the assembly guide there are also several optional steps for the 3 available control options:

  • Joystick and Pushbutton Control (Parts for this comes with every kit)
  • Wii Nunchuk (Upgrade Kit)
  • Vision Tracking (Upgrade Kit)

Please keep in mind that the sample code is designed for one configuration at a time, and not for mixing control methods. However mixing control methods is possible if the user makes the proper code modifications.


Before you start using your RoboTurret, you should load the test sketch onto your RoboTurret. This sketch will run a few pre-programmed movements so that you can verify your turret has been assembled correctly. You can find the sketch here:

File -> Sketchbook -> RobotGeek sketches -> Tests -> libraryTest -> roboTurret3_test

Wiring for the Test is as follows:

Device Pin Type Pin #
Pan Servo Digital 10
Tilt Servo Digital 11
Laser Digital 2

Once loaded, the turret should begin to exhibit the following behavior:

  • Turn the laser on
  • Move both servos to the centered position
  • Move the Pan Servo from right to left, then left to right
  • Move the Tilt Servo Forward to back, then back to forward.
  • Turn the laser off/on two times.

Programing Your Robot's Behavior

Demo Code

Once you've setup all your robots components and run a successful test you are ready to get started programming behaviors into your robot! Return to the Demo Code to start programming!

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