Setup the Software – Arduino

USB-2-0-Type-A-Male-to-Mini-B-MaleHere’s how to download, install & configure the programming software for the Arduino based ChickBot

There are three elements required here – the Arduino software, a cable and some communications software – please ensure you’ve got all three ready before moving on to programming.

FIRST: The Arduino IDE software runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and is free. Click here to go to the download page.

SECOND: You will need a USB cable – standard computer connector at one end (Type A Male) and the smaller connector (Mini Type B Male) – many people have one of these cables in their computer junk draw, they are readily available (try a friend, Amazon, eBay, local computer geek or supermarket). The ChickBot kit comes with a cable! The cable you are looking for looks like this:

THIRD: You will likely need some software to allow your Windows or Mac OS computer to talk via the USB cable to the Arduino. This software is called a driver. Many of the Arduino’s we source use the low cost CH340 interface chip. The driver for Windows can be downloaded here and the driver for Mac OS can be downloaded here.

After it’s all installed, there is a small amount of configuration to be done.

Here’s a step-by-step video of what to expect. Click the [] icon bottom right for a full screen view.

Configuring the software – this is shown in the video as well

  1. Before we can download your program to your ChickBot, we need to tell the software what sort of Arduino you are using and which USB port to use.
  2. Under the Tools menu, go down to ‘Board’ and select Arduino Nano in the side menu that appears.
  3. Again, from the Tools menu, go down to ‘Port’ and select the USB port. On Windows this will be COMx where x is a number like 3 or 4. On Mac OS X, it will refer to ‘wchusbserial’ or ‘usbserial’.
  4. The Processor entry on the Tools menu should be set to ATmega328 which is the more modern Nano chip and the Programmer should be set to ArduinoISP.
  5. You can then click the program button which will set the software to turning the english like commands in to code the microcontroller can understand, send it down the USB cable and set it running.

Some general getting started information for Windows can be found here and the Mac OS X getting started can be found here. The Arduino board to choose in step 7 is the Nano which has the LED on the left hand side at the other end from the USB connector. It is well worth going through this short setup tutorial.

The Integrated Development Environment (IDE) allows you to write programs in a language you understand, turn them into a language the Arduino central processing unit can understand and download it for you. Detailed information on using all the facilities of the IDE can be found here. You don’t need to read this yet, but it is well worth

A troubleshooting guide can be found here.

There is a wealth of information on all aspects of the Arduino in the foundations section that is here.

Once you’ve got the IDE talking to your ChickBot you can try out the starter programs in Program your ChickBot This will allow you to make alterations to existing programs or creating new ones from scratch. We also have The Vault with lots of code fragments and full programs for you to try out and experiment with.