Assembling and Wiring Your Robot

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The wiring and assembly is pretty easy, and there is very little soldering required. You'll need a soldering iron and solder, diagonal cutters, a small screwdriver, and it wouldn't hurt to grab some pliers. You will also need a 9V battery, 4 x AA batteries and a USB cable to upload code to the Arduino 101 board.

First, you'll assemble the robot chassis. All the parts needed for this are inside the brown box with the 'Custom Black 2WD Robot + extra layer' sticker on it. 

Motors and Wheels and Tires

To start, take the two motors, four long screws, four nuts, and two black panels.

Screw the two black panels onto the motors. 

The metal panels go on the side with the red and black wires coming out.

Have the hex nuts on the metal panel side so they don't interfere with the wheel!

The metal panels go on the side with the red and black wires coming out.

Have the hex nuts on the metal panel side so they don't interfere with the wheel!

To make space for the 9V battery pack later, trim the excess off of the inner motor wheel shaft on each motor. Grab some diagonal cutters (scissors or a hobby knife will work in a pinch) and trim off about half the length of the motor wheel shaft that is on the same side as the black plate you affixed.

Take the two wheels, rubber treads, and 2x small screws found in the same bag as the wheels.

Put the rubber treads on the wheels. This is a lot of fun!

 

 

Fit the wheels onto the white knob on the motors, they will snap nicely onto the oval center.

Attach the wheels into place with the tiny screws

Lower Chassis

Take one of the black chassis layers.  All three layers are identical.

Align it on your table as shown on the left. Note that the panel is not symmetrical - look on the left to see that rectangle cut out? Make sure it's aligned as you see here!

 

Attach two of the brass standoffs onto the black chassis layer.

 

The standoffs should be screwed into the second set of holes from the outer edge - meaning the two interior holes.

Turn over the plate

Attach the white free-wheel into the exterior hole closest to the rectangular opening.

The white free-wheel should be on the opposite side of the chassis of the standoff.

Turn over the plate again

Take your assembled wheels and fit them into the chassis layer.

There are 2 slots on the black panels that you attached to your motor that should fit perfectly into the chassis layer.

The metal front of the motor will be pointing toward the side of the chassis where you placed your white freewheel

Prepare the Battery Boxes

For this step, you will need the AA battery box, 4 x AA batteries, the 9V battery box, a 9V battery the screwdriver, a sheet of 4 rubber bumpers, and double-stick foam tape.

First, open each battery box, grab out the screw, insert your batteries, and then screw the boxes shut. Oh, and make sure you have the boxes switched to the off position. Now, take the 4 rubber bumpers and place them as shown in the picture below. Notice how the one bumper on the left side is not in the upper left corner. Important: don't throw away the leftover piece of bumper material, we are going to use that on the next step.

Do not discard the leftover piece of bumper material.

Flip the battery box over and place the scrap piece of the bumper material in the middle. This will help hold the battery box nice and tight between the top and middle plate of your robot.

Add the 9V Battery Box to the Chassis

Check to see that the 9V box fits between the motors -- trim more of the inner shafts if needed.

Cut a small strip of double stick tape and press it onto the side of the battery box with the 9V switch.

Place the battery box back in between the motors and stick it to the chassis

Middle Chassis Layer

Place the middle chassis layer onto robot, making sure to fit the motor tabs into the slots of the layer, then screw in the two brass standoffs.

Take a look at the image below and install the brass stand-offs in the same positions. You can insert the stand-off screws through the middle plate and hand tighten the stand-offs while putting a bit of pressure on the screw with your finger. Or, as a tip, you can screw in the stand-off screws with the flat end of the screwdriver, which can reach through the holes in the bottom plate.

Once you have the stand-offs in place as shown in the image above, let's place the battery box in the correct spot as shown in the image below.

Notice the battery box is lined up on the left side of the middle chassis plate. It should be just in-between the upper left stand-off and the lower left stand-off (not touching either). This will make sure the on-off switch lines up just right in the hole of the top plate. 

Mount the Arduino 101

Next you mount the Arduino 101 to the top chassis plate. Before doing so, note the orientation of the plate, the end with the "+" signs is the same as the other two plates, but the large rectangle cutout is flipped to opposite side compared to the bottom layer. This is to accommodate the AA battery box switch.

Use the black nylon screws and nuts to mount the Arduino 101 board to the top plate. Two of the Arduino mounting holes can be lined up with two of the plate holes and screwed in. You'll mount the other two screws on the Arduino only to use as "feet" to keep it from touching the board.

Follow the animated assembly diagram for the specific sequence of screws and nuts to use on each hole.

Screw in the two screws and four nuts that'll protrude from the top of the middle chassis layer as seen below, then place the layer on top of the AA battery box.

Screw the four brass standoffs into place with the small metal screws. 

Be sure to screw the two remaining black nylon screws into the Arduino 101 as seen here, placing a one nut below and one nut above the board in each case as seen in the animated diagram.

Place the Arduino 101 onto the top chassis layer, lining up the screws, then place the remaining nut onto the lower right screw to hold it in place. The upper left screw can't accommodate a nut due to the header row, but the screw will prevent the board from rotating.

Route the wires up through the chassis layers for connecting them later to the MotorShield.

Solder the MotorShield Headers

Now it's time to solder the stacking headers into the Motor Shield. These will be used to connect the MotorShield to the Arduino 101, while still allowing access to all pins for connecting other sensor and components later.

Solder the headers as seen below. You can follow this guide for more details.

Once the headers are soldered in place, place the shield onto the Arduino 101.

You will NOT use the power jumper that came with the MotorShield, so do not connect it.

For this next step, you will need a set of pliers. First, grab the long header pins that are attached together and break them into 2 sets of 2 header pins. Then, grab them in the pliers like shown here, and then slightly bend them so they look like the next picture.

Insert the two sets of bent headers into the female crimp cables from the motors, and then into the MotorShield terminals M1 & M2, then tighten the screws down on them.

Make sure the battery packs are both turned off, then plug the 9V barrel plug into the jack on the Arduino 101.

Then, insert the red wire from the AA battery pack into the + power terminal on the MotorShield, and the black wire into the GND power terminal on the MotorShield, screwing them both down securely.

It is fine to skip this next step for normal use. However, if you think you'll be adding medium to large hobby servos to your CurieBot at some point, you can prepare the Motor Shield for it now.

Servo Power

To prepare for moderate to heavy servo use, you'll want to have servos draw from the MotorShield power supply, not the supply of the Arduino 101, otherwise you may run into strange reset behavior when the Arduino power dips too low.

First, flip the MotorShield over and cut the power trace running to the servo power pin.

Then, solder a length of wire to the optional servo power pin (the "Opt. Servo" pin closest to the large capacitor and reset button") on the MotorShield that can be screwed into the + power terminal.

Finishing Touches

The CurieBot is nearly complete! To enable easy prototyping of small circuits (very small!) we've included a 4x4 baby breadboard. You can use the double stick tape to affix it to the board, or for a more permanent attachment, trim down the breadboard's four legs with some diagonal cutters and then solder its four metal tabs into the MotorShield's prototyping holes. 

Some kits may include an alternate breadboard as seen here.

Congratulations, you've built your robot! 

That's it for the first part of getting your robot assembled and wired. Now, let's get this robot moving! On to the code!

This guide was first published on Apr 01, 2017. It was last updated on Apr 01, 2017. This page (Assembling and Wiring Your Robot) was last updated on Nov 20, 2019.