This is Lesson # 1 in the
This guide will refer to the RobotGeek Geekduino, the microcontroller that will ship with RobotGeek Robot Kits. If you are using one of our Kits with another Arduino-Compatible controller, like the Arduino Uno, Seeeduino, etc, follow the setup guide from that particular manufacturer. You can then skip steps 1 and 2 on this guide, and go straight to Setting up the RobotGeek Tools and Libraries
The RobotGeek Geekduino is an Arduino-Compatible micrcocontroller. Based of the Arduino Duemilanove with ATmega 328, the Geekduino will run the same code as standard Arduino boards like the Arduino Uno.
The Geekduino has the added features of 2 additional analog input pins, 5/3.3 v power switch, auto/manual reset switch, a micro USB connection and a low profile power jack.
In this guide you will learn how to setup and program your Geekduino. Many RobotGeek assembly guides will require you to program your Geekduino as a part of setup, so it is important that you can program your Geekduino before you start assembly.
Before you can build and use your RobotGeek Kit, you will need to be able to load programs onto your Geekduino board. These programs are called 'sketches'. To load these sketches onto your board you will use the Arduino Integrated Developer Environment (IDE). To install the Arduino IDE do the following:
- Download theArduino IDE 1.0.6
- Unzip/Install the Arduino IDE on your computer
- Run the Arduino IDE to create the Arduino folders
- Close the Arduino IDE to get ready for the Tools and Library installation
The RobotGeek Kits do not currently support the Arduino 1.5/1.6 IDE. We are investigating upgrades for 1.6
If you have any problems with this setup, the official Arduino website has a great "Getting Started with Arduino" guide for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
NOTE: If you are using a Geekduino or Seeeduino V3 you will select "Arduino Duemilanove w/ ATmega 328" when you select your board.
Now you will need to install FTDI drivers. These drivers will allow you to communicate with your Geekduino via the USB port. Some modern Operating Systems either have these drivers or can automatically find them. If you don't have the drivers or you are unsure, you can find the FTDI drivers here, and a guide to installing them here. You will be installing the VCP drivers onto your system. you do not need to install the D2XX drivers mentioned in the guide.
Note: Windows users can download the the drivers and install them through the windows hardware wizard, or click on the 'setup executable' link automate the process.
If you are using Arduino Uno, the drivers should have been setup in step 1.
The RobotGeek Tools and Libraries Download offers a variety of sketches and libraries for working with RobotGeek Robot Kits. First download the Tools and Libraries ZIP file. In this .zip file, there will be two folders
- libraries-this folder contains libraries that will add functionality to your Arduino.
- RobotGeek Sketches-this folder contains behavioral code for robots, as well as tools for testing.
To install these files you will move these 2 folders into your 'Arduino' user folder. This is NOT the folder where the Arduino IDE itself is located. The location of this folder will be different based on your operating system.
Where '~' represents the path to your user account.
When you are done, your file path should look like this. (Click on folders to expand them)
To check if installation was successful, open the Arduino IDE again and open
File -> Sketchbook -> RobotGeek sketches -> Tests -> libraryTest
If you do not see
RobotGeek sketches under
Sketchbook then you have not installed the files correctly.
Once you have the
libraryTest sketch open, click on the 'Verify' Button (the green check in the upper left). This will attempt to compile the sketch. If all of the software is installed properly you will see a 'Done Compiling' below the editor. If you get any errors, the
library files have not been placed properly.
If you have not already, connect your Geekduino to your computer using a USB Micro Cable. This is also a good time to make sure the Geekduino's switches are set correctly. The VCC Switch should be set to
5v and the Reset Switch should be set to
If your board is getting power from the USB connection properly, the green power LED (next to the reset switch labeled PWR) will turn on.
Now that your Geekduino is hooked up to your computer, you will need to pick the correct board from the boards menu. Select the proper board by going to:
Tools -> Board -> Arduino Duemilanove w/ ATmega 328
Now pick the correct serial port. Go to
Tools -> Serial Port
and pick the serial port for the Geekduino
- If you have multiple serial ports and you are not sure which one is the Geekduino, unplug the FTDI device from the computer, then re-open the Serial Port menu. The serial port that has disappeared is the serial port with the Geekduino attached.
- Mac and Linux users may have 2 ports - one marked 'cu.' and one marked 'tty.' Either will work.
Once you have the board and serial port set, you can open the 'Blink' Sketch
File -> Examples -> 01.Basics ->Blink
Click on the 'Verify' Button (the green check in the upper left). If all of the software is installed properly you will see a 'Done Compiling' below the editor.
Now click on the 'Upload' button (the green arrow button next to the verify button). This will compile the sketch, and then load it onto the Geekduino. If the hardware is connected properly you will see the red TX/RX LEDs flicker on the Geekduino while the Arduino IDE displays an 'Uploading' message. When the Arduino IDE displays 'Done Uploading' the green user LED should blink on and off in a 1 second interval.
If you see any red text or error messages, then the sketch has not been loaded properly. Make sure you have installed the FTDI drivers, chosen the correct board and serial port, and that your USB connection os secure.Congratulations, you just programmed your Geekduino! Go back to the Getting Started Guide for your kit to proceed.
This is Lesson # 1 in the RobotGeek 101 Course.