Geekduino Getting Started Guide / Arduino Setup

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.

This guide covers Arduino IDE version 1.6.X+. If you are looking for a guide covering the older version 1.0.6 Arduino IDE, you can find it here.

Step 1: Setting up the Arduino Software

Arduino 1.6.X IDE Download

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 the Arduino IDE 1.6.X
  • 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

This guide was last tested with Arduino IDE Version 1.6.6.

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.

Step 2: Install the FTDI drivers

FTDI Drivers

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. You will need to restart your computer after installing the drivers.

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.

Mac Users on Mac OS 10.9 an 10.10 may need to take additional steps. We reccomend trying to install teh FTDI drivers, but if you have any problems to see page 9 and 22 (method 7.1) of this installation guide. Please contact us if you continue to have problems.

Step 3: Setting up the RobotGeek Tools and Libraries

RobotGeek Tools and Libraries

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.

If you're having trouble finding your 'Arduino' folder, open the Arduino IDE and open the 'Preferences' panel (File->Preferences). Here you will find a file path under 'Sketchbook location:'. This is the path to your 'Arduino' folder.

Windows XP

My Documents\Arduino\

Windows Vista/7




Where '~' represents the path to your user account.

If you already have a libraries folder, simply copy the contents of the RobotGeek libraries folder into the libraries folder in your Arduino folder.Your folder structure should look like the one shown above, along with your pre-installed files.

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.

Step 4: Programming Your Board

If you have not already done so, 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 AUTO. geekduinoMount0.jpg

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 or Diecimila

Now you will need to select the proper processor. The Geekduino uses an ATmega328 chip. Select it by going to:

Tools -> Processor -> ATmega328

Now pick the correct serial port. Go to:

 Tools -> 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.

There are some things worth considering in your preferences menu that we'll go over before you get started on your excited journey into the world of microprocessor powered electronics. Open up your preferences menu:

File -> Preferences

Now take a look at the settings tab:

Preferences -> Settings

There is a column of checkboxes. We recommend checking "Display line numbers" for easy debugging.


There is also a default setting, "Save when verifying or uploading". We recommend that you keep this checked. This will save your sketch automatically when you click on the Verify Button or the Upload Button .


Congratulations, you just programmed your Geekduino! Go back to the Getting Started Guide for your kit to proceed.

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