SparkFun RedBot Kit

Welcome the SparkFun RedBot Kit, a robotic development platform capable of teaching two motor robotics and sensor integration! This kit comes with our RedBot Mainboard, the Magician Chassis, a handful of sensors, and everything required for assembly.

The RedBot Mainboard is a modular robotic development platform that works with the Arduino IDE. The RedBot is a motor driver and Ardiuno combination with various headers and connections, eliminating the need to stack multiple shields to get desired. By simply connecting a USB mini-B cable, you can program it in the Arduino IDE using our example code, or your own.

The Magician Chassis is an economical robot platform with a lot of versatility. It features two gearmotors with 65mm wheels and a caster. The chassis plates are cut from acrylic with a wide variety of mounting holes for sensors, controllers, power, etc. The chassis will require some basic assembly so make sure you have a screw driver ready!

Rounding out the group are three Line Follower Sensors and one Accelerometer Sensor. The Line Follower sensor gives your robot the ability to detect lines or nearby objects using infrared light. The Accelerometer sensor provides bump and motion detection by measuring acceleration forces on the x, y, and z axes.

The RedBot Kit won't be able to operate on Mars but it will definitely fuel your curiosity about robotics!

Note: This kit ships without batteries. You will need 4 AA batteries to get rollin'.

Note: The RedBot Assembly Guide found in the Documents section below also includes instructions on how to hook up Dagu's Wheel Encoder (not included).

Rev 02 * Quickstart Guide * RedBot Experiment Guide * GitHub (Example Code & Design Files) * Product Video

SparkFun RedBot Kit Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Robotics

This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.

1 Robotics

Skill Level: Noob - You will be required to put together a robotics kit. Necessary parts are included and steps will be easy to follow. You also might encounter basic robotics components like bearings, mounts, or other hardware and need a general idea of how it goes together.
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Core Skill: DIY

Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.


Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • DrFrog / about 10 years ago / 3

    I recently purchased one of your RedBot Kits, the following lists what was to be included and the quantity I received.

    1x RedBot Mainboard 1 - recieved 1x Magician Chassis 1 - set (upper and lower) 1x Accelerometer RedBot Sensor 1 - received 3x Line Follower RedBot Sensor 3 - received 10x F/F 6" Jumper Wire 10 - received 4x Sticky Tab 4 - received 2x 4-40 ¼" Phillips Screw (10 Pack) 2 (10 pack) - received 4x 4-40 1-¼" Flat Head Screw 4 - received 4x 4-40 Hex Nut 4 - received
    3x 4-40 1-½" Aluminum Hex Standoff 3 - received 4x 4-40 3/8" Metal Standoff 4 - received 6x 4-40 1" Metal Standoff 6 - received

    So everything is fine, or is it? Absolutely not!

    Now for the instructions for installation of the Line Followers (which is part of this kit). There is no hardware to do the installation. As per your assembly instructions we are to use the following parts, which by the way are shown in you on-line store description of the kit, which you should provide to me.

    3x 4-40 1" Phillips Screw 3x 4-40 ¼" Phillips Screw 6x 4-40 Nylon Standoffs

    Without these parts the line followers (which you advertise as part of the kit) can not be added.

    Now, on to the battery holder. None of these parts were included, which are need as per your instructions to attach holder to the chassis piece.

    2x M3*10 Flathead Screw 2x M3 Nuts

    I expect you to provide me with these also. Again these are shown in your on-line catalog ad for the kit.

    This is extremely disappointing to me because I had heard only good comments about SparkFun, apparently these comments were incorrect.

    So, the bottom line, how do we resolve this issue?

    I have also ordered, but not yet received the kits for the following items. I sincerely hope that the appropriate installation hardware is included.

    ROB-12567 RedBot Buzzer 1 $5.95 SEN-11999 RedBot Sensor - Mechanical Bumper 1 $4.95 SEN-12617 RedBot Sensor - Wheel Encoder 1 $9.95

    • Member #592511 / about 10 years ago * / 1

      I have the same problem. Can't seem to find

      3x 4-40 1" Phillips Screw 3x 4-40 ¼" Phillips Screw 6x 4-40 Nylon Standoffs 2x M3*10 Flathead Screw 2x M3 Nuts

      in my kit. Have you resolved your problem? Thanks DrFrog!

      • SFUptownMaker / about 10 years ago / 1

        Hmmm...did you buy it from us, or a distributor? If you bought it from us, those parts have been replaced by aluminum standoffs of a more appropriate length and short screws- we changed that a short time ago and the instructions may be lagging a little behind what you have. If you bought it from a distributor, it may be a packing error in an older kit. Do you have 1.5" aluminum hex standoffs, like in the picture above? If so, those are meant to replace the two nylon standoffs that were previously being screwed together.

        • Member #592511 / about 10 years ago / 1

          Thanks for the reply. I purchased the kit from you directly. I think I have 3 * 1.5'' aluminum hex standoffs, but I used two for the ball caster, since the assembly instruction shows a hex standoff for the ball caster, and those three are the only hex standoffs in the kit. If they are supposed to be used on line sensors, which should I use for the ball caster?

          Also, I'm missing 2x M3*10 Flathead Screw 2x M3 Nuts for the battery holder. None of the screws in the kit seem to fit the battery holder. Please advise.

          Thank you for your help. I'm frustrated at this moment.

          • SFUptownMaker / about 10 years ago / 2

            Hmmmm...your best bet at this point would be to contact tech support via e-mail or phone. They can help you figure out if you're missing something and if you are, get you a replacement part ASAP.

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

      Email and they should be able to help you out.

  • kraxner / about 10 years ago / 2

    Bought 2 RedBot kits today and I'm sitting here looking for the new instructions on how to assemble this bad boy with only (20) #4-40 screws when I'm looking at (13) standoffs that need screws in both ends. Right?

  • When it will be retured?

  • Member #677172 / about 9 years ago / 1

    I want to move the redbot using bluetooth. What do I buy ?

    • SFUptownMaker / about 9 years ago / 1

      The RedBot mainboard has a header that matches the XBee module footprint. We sell a couple of Bluetooth modules that also use that footprint (the RN42-XV and the RN41-XV). Either one of those will allow you to use Bluetooth with the RedBot.

  • Member #346327 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Have used different Arduino before so am familiar with platform. I am getting the same: avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00, message and can’t figure out why. Under ports, I see a valid connection with USB Serial Port(COM3). I cannot download to the board, get above message. Board type is set to Arduino UNO. Speed is 9600. D13 LED is blinking. XBEE Serial set for SW. NO output at serial monitor window. Removed sensors. Same issue. It doesn’t act like it is communicating at all. What should the driver file name read on COM3? I have tried the 1.0.6 and the 1.5.8 versions of the Arduino IDE. It won't talk at all.

  • Member #629830 / about 10 years ago / 1

    First of all thank you to anyone that helps!

    We (my son and I) are TOTALLY new to robotics and we are trying to make a robot follow a line. I have used google and found quite a bit of information. Of course I am posting because we have encountered a little issue.

    We have purchased RedBot Kit ( We have downloaded the arduino software and tested the robot with the BLINK code and it worked.

    We added the Redbot_ Arduino_Library and - Link from GithUb (both of these are referenced on this page under Documents - and the RedBotKit Libraries.

    We then opened Arduino software and Select Examples, RedBot, Demo it opens up the following CODE (See below). When I verify/Compile the code i get the following error - error: '[b]followNoCal' was not declared in this scope[/b]. Could some one please let me know what i am doing wrong?


    /*********************************************************************** RedBot Demo1

    Created 30 Jul 2013 by Mike Hord @ SparkFun Electronics.

    This code is beerware- feel free to make use of it, with or without attribution, in your own projects. If you find it helpful, buy me a beer the next time you see me at the local- or better yet, shop SparkFun!

    This is a simple line following demonstration using the RedBot.

    It uses three of the line detection sensors to follow the line, and the accelerometer to start the line following behavior.

    ***********************************************************************/ // Include the libraries. We make a provision for using the Xbee header // via software serial to report values, but that's not really used in // the code anywhere.

    include <RedBot.h>

    include <SoftwareSerial.h>

    // Instantiate the motor control class. This only needs to be done once // and indeed SHOULD only be done once! RedBotMotor motor;

    // Instantiate the sensors. Sensors can only be created for analog input // pins; the Xbee software serial uses pins A0 and A1 and the // accelerometer uses pins A4 and A5. RedBotSensor lSen = RedBotSensor(A2); RedBotSensor cSen = RedBotSensor(A3); RedBotSensor rSen = RedBotSensor(A6);

    // Instantiate the accelerometer. It can only be connected to pins A4 // and A5, since those are the I2C pins for this board. RedBotAccel xl;

    // Create a software serial connection. See the Arduino documentation // for more information about this. The pins used here are the hard // wired pins the Xbee header connects to. SoftwareSerial xbee(15, 14);

    void setup() { Serial.begin(57600); xbee.begin(57600);

    // Enable bump detection. Once a bump occurs, xl.checkBump() can be // used to detect it. We'll use that to start moving. xl.enableBump(); }

    // Variable used to wait on a bump before starting operation. boolean following = false;

    void loop() { // checkBump() checks a register in the accelerometer to see if a // bump has happened since the last time checkBump() was run. If // one HAS occurred (i.e., the user tapped the accelerometer), // start following the line! if (xl.checkBump() && following == false) following = true;

    if (following) { [b]followNoCal/b; } }

    • SFUptownMaker / about 10 years ago / 1

      Strange. There should be another file in that directory containing the followNoCal() function. It would seem that the Arduino IDE can't find that file.

      Here's a link to the file. You'll have to save that file to the Demo1 directory in the Examples file of the RedBot library. Once it's there, you should have some better luck.

  • Member #611647 / about 10 years ago / 1

    it is missing the nuts where are they

    • SFUptownMaker / about 10 years ago / 1

      As always, if something is wrong with your order, contact customer service immediately. We can get you replacement parts quickly, but only if you contact us directly!

  • Member #602968 / about 10 years ago * / 1

    So far I'm liking the product. However, the battery pack seems to be a dud. I have to wiggle the cord about to get the power to turn on, which means the RedBot will shut on and off intermittently. This wasn't a huge problem, but it meant that I had to go to Radioshack, pick up a battery pack (which does not have an attached barrel plug) and solder material to create another battery pack. I went with this kit precisely so I wouldn't have to fumble around with anything. So, for me at least, I was slightly dissapointed because of the battery pack. With that being said, I'm satisfied with everything else.

    Edit: SparkFun shipped me a new battery pack for free. I have one more comment: I think it would be awesome if future versions of this kit came with double (or more?) female jumper wires. There are only enough to use the provided hardware.

    • SFUptownMaker / about 10 years ago / 1

      If something like that happens again (or even now, still), definitely call tech support and they'll get you a replacement ASAP.

  • oronbz / about 10 years ago / 1

    Hi, what would you suggest adding to this kit in order to control this robot remotely?

    • It depends on how remotely you want to go, but the board is already designed to work well with XBees, so that is the easiest option. Check the recommended products tab above for a few different options.

  • Petiolaris / about 10 years ago / 1

    The kids and I have been working through the assembly of ROB-12697. Mounting the 1-1/2" aluminium standoffs on the line sensors means that the sensor itself hits the ground once mounted to the chassis.

    Is there a quick solution to this, or something we've missed? Or is it time to hack the standoffs?

    • Troy Lavigne / about 10 years ago * / 1

      I've used a piece of wire at the front of the robot. Thread it through the two layers and tighten to raise the sensors so they are approximately 1mm off of the floor. I've also used tape, but tape will stretch over time.

      Edit: I think the reason this is happening is because the magician chassis normally uses a 5th standoff, in the middle of the robot, to keep the two base layers from flexing. If you don't have a motor encoder, use a 5th standoff and you likely won't have the line sensors hit the ground.

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

      I have one built up on my desk and the sensor are very close to the desk, but not quite touching. One of the reasons for this is they are basically light sensors and it helps reduce ambient light. You can try shorter standoffs, but as long as the screws are in all the way you should be ok. If you are still having problems with the kit email

  • ArtSimMagic / about 10 years ago / 1

    Hmm, I'm a tad frustrated here. I bought this as a summer activity for my 12yo son, but he and I are sitting here scratching our heads on a Saturday morning - we can't figure out how to put this robot together. None of the links lead to instructions that use the parts we have in our kit (which match the list above, but not the picture at the top of the page). I'm at a loss as to what goes where...and what on earth are the "sticky tabs" for? Kind of surprised the product was changed without updating the instructions at the same time!

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

      Sorry, we're kind of in between versions and the guides aren't quite up to date with the hardware. The sticky tabs are for connecting the battery holder. Otherwise you should pretty much be able to follow the magician chassis instructions. If you have any other questions email and they should be able to help you out.

  • spig / about 10 years ago / 1

    I'm having a difficulty uploading the compiled sketch to the board. Any hints on the settings to use? I currently am using Arduino Mini w/ ATmega328. I'm using the same /dev/tty.usbserial that I've used for my other Arduino. Any ideas? The board's receive light just stays on and doesn't upload in minutes.

    • SFUptownMaker / about 10 years ago / 1

      Sounds like the power switch may be off, or damaged. Check the position and try pushing it to the "On" position, then see if it positively locks there. If not (and they can sometimes be damaged), you will probably need to contact tech support about a repair or replacement.

      • spig / about 10 years ago / 1

        The power light comes on when the USB cable is connected, and I can see it do a soft-reset before attempting an upload. It's just sort of strange that the receive light never stops and the upload in the arduino UI doesn't ever say it's uploaded.

  • RocketGuy / about 10 years ago / 1

    Arduino Library is 404.

    • MikeGrusin / about 10 years ago / 2

      The link is working for us; it may have just been a glitch in The Matrix. Refresh the page and let us know if you continue having problems.

      • RocketGuy / about 10 years ago / 1

        Yeah, working now, probably a case of server indigestion.

  • bkornele / about 10 years ago / 1

    Going like hot cakes I guess. Are you going to get more in-stock?

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 2

      But aren't nearly as tasty covered in maple syrup. It looks like we are waiting on more of the Magician Chassis to come in stock. We're working on it, but feel free to place a back order.

      • micah161 / about 10 years ago / 1

        2804 Magician Chasses in stock? I've got one on backorder but the "current plans to build 0 more units" makes me think I should find something else.

        • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

          Yeah... The new kits use a new version of the Magician Chassis we've updated number/type of screws to match the rest of the kit (the old kits ended up with a mix of metric and standard). I think we might have also added a different wheel encoder to work with the Redbot better. In other words the old Chassis is fine, but we need the new one for the kit. As for how many we "plan to build" that is basically a number from our system as to how many have been scheduled to be built. Because we don't have all the parts we need in stock we can't schedule any to be built. So we will make more once we get the chassis in.

Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

Based on 2 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

Great starter kit!

Awesome kit for someone new to robots and leaves a lot of room to expand and try new things

Excellent design for home made robotics

The best robot chassis in the market (unfortunately unavailable). We can add encoders, or custom PCB's to the chassis. Very beautiful, colorfull, simple and has affordable price.

I've build 2 robots on this kit. Arduino based and BBB based.

Unfortunately they do not provide open source schema files for laser cut. So i can not make my owm modification, or even make a copy (it is a minus, because now this kit is retired and unavailable for purchasing)

New "SparkFun RedBot Basic Kit (w/ Shadow Chassis)" is not so usefull. I wish developers will get back to previous design.