Meet, Build, Test Your Kit : Basic Experimenter's Kit

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Contents:

About This Guide

In this lesson students will familiarize themselves with the content of the Basic Experimenter’s Kit. Students will use the components to build out the kit and test it to make sure they are ready to move on to the next lesson. This lesson will enable students to immediately engage in the physical aspect of computing.

Tip: If using this kit with subsequent groups of students you can either tear down the kit after the last lesson or keep the built kit and use the first part of this lesson to introduce the next group of students to the components and discuss the build.

Want to know more about wiring and mounting? Check out the Hardware Construction Reference and the Sensor Shield and Wiring Reference.

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RobotGeek Geekduino
You can program this microcontroller board controls your robot.
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RobotGeek Workbench
Workbenches are versatile platforms that allow for building modular projects quickly.
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RobotGeek Duino Mounting Plate
The Duino Mounting Plate attaches to the Geekduino so you can use it with the workbench.
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9G Servo Mounting Plate
This plate allows you to connect the 9G servo to the workbench.
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Rubber Bumpers - Large
These Rubber Bumpers can be attached to the bottom of your work bench for traction.
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RobotGeek Sensor Shield
The RobotGeek Sensor Shield fits on your Geekduino , making it easier to use.
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USB to Micro USB Cable
This Micro USB Cable is perfect for powering and programming the Geekduino board.
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RobotGeek 300mm 3-pin Sensor Cables
Color Coded Cables connect the Sensor Shield to Input and Output boards.
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Power Supply 6V 2A DC
This external power supply will allow you to power your kit even when youre away from your computer.
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RobotGeek Rotation Knob
The Rotation Knob is used to give your projects analog input.
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RobotGeek Pushbutton
The RobotGeek Pushbutton lets you give your projects input.
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RobotGeek LED Driver + LEDs
The RobotGeek LED Drive gives output in the form of light.
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FS90MG Micro Metal Gear Servo
The Servo can move to specific positions.
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Hex Keys
Use the large(M3) and small(M2) hex keys to tighten your bolts

The following hardware is required to build the kit. You may have received extra parts with your kit.

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Hex Nut
M2
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Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 6
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Hex Socket Head Bolt
M3 x 6
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Hex Standoff F/F
M3 x 10
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Hex Standoff F/F
M3 x 20

Geekduino

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  1. If your Geekduino has any foam on it, remove it at this time.
  2. The Geekduino has the option to run at 3.3V as well as the standard 5V. Before you attach the Sensor Shield, make sure your Geekduino's switches are set appropriately. Unless otherwise noted, these should be set to '5V' and 'AUTO'.
  3. The Micro USB cable plugs directly into the usb port on the Geekduino. When you plug the other end into your computer, a green light should turn on.

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Build Geekduino + Sensor Shield Stack

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The Geekduino uses a mounting plate to align 4 standoffs with the RobotGeek Workbench grid pattern.

  1. Use 4x M3*6mm Bolts to attach 4x 10mm Standoffs to the Geekduino Mounting Plate. The orientation of the plate is important! Make sure that the holes match up like in the pictures above..
  2. Attach 4x 10mm Standoffs to the top of the mounting plate by running 4x M3*6mm bolts from the bottom side.
  3. Line up the M3 mounting holes in the Geekduino board with the standoffs you just attached to the mounting plate, and affix using 3x M3*6mm Bolts. Note that there will be one standoff that doesn't get a bolt. This standoff adds stability to the stack without needing to be affixed.
  4. Now slot the bottom pins of the RobotGeek Sensor Shield into the terminals in the top of the Geekduino. Note how the boards seat evenly on top of each other, and the pins line up exactly. Be careful not to bend the pins.

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Jumpers/Power

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The RobotGeek Sensor Shield has power jumpers that can be moved between 5v and VIN. Your shield should come with the jumpers set to 5v

These jumpers are used to supply servos with power directly from an external power supply. However in our begining lessons' we're going to keep all of the power jumpers set to 5v Be warned, connecting Devices on Pins set to VIN can cause damage to the Devices if they are not designed to operate at higher voltages. Virtually all non-servo Devices are designed to run off of the 5V provided by a standard Arduino regulator. Pay attention to your jumpers to avoid damaging your Devices! If you're ever unsure, make sure to look out the wiring diaram to see what the power jumper setting is.

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LED Board

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The LED driver will turn on one of the 5 LEDs included in the bag. You get to choose which color you want to use.

The LED will easily plug into either of the two LED sockets. It matters which way you plug in the LED - the long leg should be on towards the 'RobotGeek' text. If you're not sure, take a look at the picture of the LED on the board - it shows the LED leg lengths, as well as what the inside of the LED looks like - just match your LED to the picture.

Don't worry if you plug in the LED the wrong way, it won't hurt the board (it just won't work).

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RobotGeek Sensors

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There is a wide and expanding variety of RobotGeek sensors. Each Sensor Board handles a single function, such as enabling you to use a button or drive an LED. Most RobotGeek Sensors take up the same footprint, and have the same mounting hole pattern, allowing them to be stacked and organized to make a clean layout with minimal planning. Getting your sensors ready to mount is easy.

Use 4x M3*6mm Bolts to attach 4x 10mm Standoffs to the Sensor.

Your sensor is now prepped for mounting. Make sure to put standoffs on your Button, Knob, and LED driver.

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Micro-Servo

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The Micro-Servo is a great way to learn about controlling PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) Servos on a tight budget. With horns that can be easily mounted and swapped, micro servos can be used for a wide variety of robotics projects.

  1. To mount your Micro-Servo, use 2x M3*6 Bolts to affix 2x 20mm F-F Standoffs to the Micro Servo Plate.
  2. Use 2x M2*8 Bolts and 2x M2 Nuts to attach the Micro Servo through the holes in the mounting Plate.
  3. Attach the horn of your choice using the small phillips head screws included with the Micro Servo, and it's ready to mount to your workbench!

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About RobotGeek Workbenches/Decks

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RobotGeek Workbenches currently come in three sizes, small, large, and double wide. There are also several workbench compatible plates included in our different robot kits. We'll be showing the sensors mounted to a small workbench, but you can mount your modules to any plate with a centimeter grid pattern.

When attaching the Rubber Feet to your Workbench, consider the position. Placing the feet at the edge will block the corner mounting holes. In most cases, 3 bolts is well enough to keep a piece in place, but if you like to keep things sturdy, it is advisable to place the feet slightly in, as shown, to allow for complete mounting all the way to the corner of the workbench.

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Module Placement

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Before we attach out components, its a good idea to lay out our module placement.

All of the RobotGeek components align to the centimeter grid pattern, so you can put your devices anywhere you want! You will probably move your sensors around throught the lessons, so there's no 'wrong' way to place the sensors right now.

The Geekduino + Sensor Shield Stack can be mounted anywhere on the workbench, though it is a good idea to keep in mind the power and USB connections at the back of the board. It is wise in general to place the stack with the connector edge facing off the workbench to allow easy access to these ports, and to prevent overlap with other sensors you may want to mount.

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Mounting to the workbench

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  • From the bottom of the workbench, use 4x M3*6mm Bolts to mount the sensor.
  • When you are mounting components, be careful to not bend any pins on the sensor shield.
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    The 3-Pin system (S/V/G)

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    The sensor shield on your Geekduino makes it easy to connect modules to the geekduino with our 3-pin sensor cables. The Sensor Shield has 22 3-pin ports - each port is labeled with a port number, and groups of parts are labeled let you know whether the pin is Analog, Digital, or PWM.

    At the top of the board, each column is labeled with the letters S-V-G. You will also see these letters in order on RobotGeek Input/Output devices.

    S - Signal refers to a Pin that data, or the signal will be carried on. This signal can be digital, analog, or PWM. This wire will be white in color as part of the standardized RobotGeek system, though some third party devices may use yellow and orange.

    V - Voltage (often signified with a + plus symbol) refers to the Pin that provides power to a component in your system.

    G - Ground (often signified with a – minus symbol) refers to a Pin that is necessary to power a component. Any component that is hooked to Voltage will eventually terminate to Ground. This wire is standardized black in color in the RobotGeek system.

    Make sure to check all of your connections before connecting to power - having cables plugged in backwards can cause modules to not work correctly.

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    Test Code

    Now we can hook up all of our I/O boards and load test code onto the Geekduinos to control everything. Click here for a copy of the code.
    Device Pin
    Pushbutton Digital Pin 2
    Rotational Knob Analog Pin 0
    LED Driver Digital Pin 13
    9G Servo Digital Pin 3
    diagram diagram

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