car Assembly

What you're working to build

Building the car takes about 45 minutes. After following these directions, you will have yourself some robot coolness that should look like this:

STEP 1: Unpacking Your Kit

In the GoPiGo3 Base Kit box you should find the following:

  • 2 Yellow Wheels
  • 2 Motors
  • 2 Motor Cables
  • GoPiGo3 Board (red)
  • 2 Metal Motor Brackets
  • 1 Metal Caster Wheel
  • 2 Large Acrylic Pieces (body and canopy)
  • 1 Battery Box
  • 1 Battery Cable
  • 1 Velcro Strap
  • 1 Small Screwdriver

You should have two small bags of hardware. One bag that contains:

  • (A) 6 Short Silver Posts
  • (B) 10 Mini Screws
  • (C) 6 Gold Posts

You should have one large bag of hardware that contains:

  • (D) 24 Short Screws
  • (E) 30 Washers
  • (F) 10 Nuts
  • (G) 6 Long Screws
  • (H) 6 Round Acrylic Spacers
  • (I) 3 Medium Silver Posts
  • (J) 6 Long Silver Posts

Part 2. Find the Acrylic Parts

The clear acrylic pieces of the GoPiGo3 may come in a protective covering. If yours shipped with this coating, you should be able to peel them off easily. Peel the protective coating away from the 2 large acrylic pieces. You may also want to peel the protective coating from the 2 small round acrylic spacers; they are in the large bag of hardware.

Part 3. Attach the Motor Brackets to the GoPiGo3 Acrylic Body

What you’ll need:

  • The GoPiGo3 body – The largest piece of acrylic in your kit.
  • 2 Metal Motor Brackets – These come labeled with a “L” and “R”, meaning Left and Right.
  • Hardware from the large bag – (D) 4 short screws, (E) 4 washers, and (F) 4 nuts.

You’ll assemble the brackets on the bottom, because they will hold motors which attach to the wheels, all on the underside of the GoPiGo3 robot.

Find the 4 holes labeled “1” on the acrylic body as shown in the picture below. These are the holes you will use to assemble the metal motor brackets.

Place washers on all four screws.

Insert two short screws (on each side) into the “1” holes through the acrylic body. The holes are tight, so you may need to screw the screws through the acrylic.

Match the metal brackets labeled “L” and “R” up with the “1” holes on the corresponding “R” and “L” etchings on the acrylic body.

Slide the metal brackets onto the screws. The half-moon of the brackets should be pointing towards the back of the GoPiGo3 body. Place your fingers on the screws to hold them in place, and turn the body upside down.

The metal bracket should be sticking up at you with the “R” and “L” stickers facing out and the half circle cut outs facing the back end, as shown in the picture below.

Place the nuts on the screws.

Tighten the screws until the washers flatten.

Part 4. Attach the short silver posts

In this step we will attach the short silver posts to the GoPiGo3 acrylic body.

What you’ll need:

Hardware from the small bag:

  • (B) 4 mini screws
  • (A) 4 short silver posts

Attach the posts:

Find the 4 holes that make a square in the middle of the acrylic. Two of these holes are labeled “2” on the acrylic body.

Place screws up through the acrylic body and attach four short silver posts (so they are sticking up towards you). Hand tighten the posts.

Part 5. Attach the 4 long posts to the GoPiGo3 acrylic body

What you’ll need:

  • Hardware from the large bag:
    • (D) 4 short screws
    • (E) 4 washers
    • (J) 4 long silver posts
  1. Slide the washers onto the screws.
  2. Find the four holes for the canopy supports. Two of them will be labeled “1” on the GoPiGo3 acrylic body. The other two are unmarked and are close to the edge of the body at the other end of the mid section.
  3. The board should be facing UP. Insert the screws (with washers on them) up through the bottom of the board and screw them into the metal posts.
  4. Screw the posts onto the body and tighten until the washers flatten.

Part 6. Connect the cables to the motors

  1. You will need: Two yellow motors with the encoders attached, and two red cables. Note that the motors come with the encoder circuit boards already attached. See the first picture below, your hardware should arrive like this.
  2. Prepare the 2 motors for the next step by attaching the two red motor cables to the motors. Insert the motor cable into the white female port on the motor. Bend the cable as shown in the picture below to make it easier when assembling in the next few steps. The cables will only go into the motor ports one way (they can not be put in backwards).

Part 7. Attach the motors to the motor brackets

What you’ll need:

  • Hardware from the large bag: (G) 4 long screws, (E) 4 washers, (F) 4 nuts.
  • Two motors and encoders from the previous part.

To attach the motors:

  1. Turn the GoPiGo3 over so the metal motor brackets are pointing up.
  2. Put the washers on the screws.
  3. Slide the long screws into the motors from the side where the wire is connected as shown in the picture.

Align the motors with the screws sticking through them up to the brackets with the motor wires in the middle. Slide the screws through the motors.

Attach the washers and then nuts to the screws, tighten until the washers flatten.

Slide the motor cable through the GoPiGo3 board in the rectangular slot (from the bottom up so they are coming out the top when you flip it over).

Part 8. Attach the caster wheel

What you’ll need:

  • Hardware from the large bag: (D) 4 short screws, (E) 4 washers, (I) 2 medium metal posts.
  • Caster Wheel

To attach the caster wheel:

Place a washer on each screw, and screw the two medium silver posts into the caster wheel. Tighten until the washers are flat.

There are two short oval holes in the back of the GoPiGo3 acrylic body. Screw the caster wheel into the GoPiGo3 acrylic body. Tighten the screws until the washers are flat.

Part 9. Attach the wheels to the motors

What you’ll need:

  • Hardware from the large bag: (H) 2 small round acrylic spacers
  • 2 wheels

Attach the wheels:

  1. Slide the two acrylic spacers onto the white plastic axles on the motors.
  2. Slide the two yellow wheels onto the axles of the motors.

Time Check: We Should Be About 25 minutes in...

Part 10. Prepare the Raspberry Pi (green board)

What you’ll need:

Prepare your Pi:

  1. Turn the Raspberry Pi upside down, so the metal pins coming out of the Raspberry Pi are pointing down.
  2. First, slide the SD Card into the slot on the bottom of the Raspberry Pi. Make sure it is in all the way. The SD Card will only fit in one orientation: see the picture below for the proper orientation in the Raspberry Pi.

Turn the Raspberry Pi facing up.

Part 11. Attach the Raspberry Pi to the GoPiGo3 acrylic body

What you’ll need:

To attach the Raspberry Pi to your robot:

  1. Line the Raspberry Pi up over the short silver posts sticking up out of the acrylic body. The pins on the Raspberry Pi should be pointing upwards (as shown in the picture), and the end with the SD card you inserted in the previous step should face towards the red motor cables.
  2. Screw the gold posts through the Raspberry Pi and into the short silver posts.

Attach a Raspberry Pi Camera

Connect the camera ribbon to the Raspberry Pi.

      • Find the camera port on the Raspberry Pi (labeld “camera”), and slide the plastic clamp up by pulling on the edges of the plastic port. Below the camera port is circled in blue on the Raspberry Pi.

Next, slide the ribbon into the camera port. The blue side of the ribbon should face towards the USB ports on the Pi, and the open metal strips should face towards the battery pack on the GoPiGo3.

Secure the ribbon by pushing down on the edges of the port to clamp the ribbon in place.

Part 12. Attach the GoPiGo3 board (red board) to the Raspberry Pi

What you’ll need:

  • GoPiGo3 Circuit Board – The red board.

(B) 4 mini screws – These are found in the small hardware bag.

Prepare the GoPiGo3 Board: Take the Protective Foam Off the Pins

Be sure to take the foam off of the pins on the GoPiGo3. The GoPiGo3 is shipped with foam on the GPIO pins to prevent them from being bent. Be sure to remove the foam before proceeding to use your GoPiGo3!

Attaching the GoPiGo:

  1. Slide camera cable into slender opening in GoPiGo Board

Line the black female port on the GoPiGo3 red board up to the Raspberry Pi pins sticking up, and slide the GoPiGo3 board onto the Raspberry Pi. Press down until the board slides on securely.

Use the 4 screws to secure the GoPiGo3 board to the Raspberry Pi (through the Pi board and screwed into the gold posts.

Part 13. Connect the motors to the GoPiGo3 board

  1. Connect the motor cables to the GoPiGo3 Board. Note that the cables can only be oriented in one direction. The connectors need to be pushed in fully.
  2. It is very important to ensure that the right motor is connected to the right motor port on the board, and the left motor to the left motor port on the board.

Attach the Distance Sensor

On the GoPiGo3 (red board), find the I2C port. There are two I2C ports on the GoPiGo3, and you can use either one.

Insert the sensor cable into the GoPiGo3 I2C port.

Insert the other end of the sensor cable into the port on the distance sensor.

Part 14. Attach the top acrylic canopy

What you’ll need:

  • Hardware from the large bag: (E) 4 washers, (D) 4 short screws
  • Acrylic canopy

Attach the top:

Place one washer on each screw.

Place the acrylic canopy on top of the four tall silver posts. There is a small slot cutout on the acrylic for a camera that should be towards the front of the GoPiGo, and the two battery pack slot cutouts should face towards the back.

Secure the acrylic canopy in place with the screws.

Part 15. Connect the battery pack

What you’ll need:

  • Battery Pack
  • Battery Pack Cable
  • Velcro Strap
  • 8 AA batteries

Connect the power:

  1. Place the 8 AA batteries into the battery pack.
  2. Thread the velcro strap through the battery strap cutouts on the GoPiGo3 acrylic body.

There are two locations you can put the battery pack — either in the very back near the caster wheel, or on the top canopy. The top canopy location provides more traction for use on carpets or slippery floors.

Place the battery cable in the black power port of the GoPiGo3 Board (next to the power button).

Secure the battery pack to the GoPiGo3 with the velcro as shown.

Connect the battery pack to the battery cable

Time Check: We should be at About ~40 minutes

Power Up the GoPiGo3

  • Before you begin, make sure you have fully charged batteries in your battery pack, and the battery pack is connected to the GoPiGo3.
  • Press the power button located on the GoPiGo (red board) located next to the battery cable jack.

Power LED Details:

With batteries only (no USB):

  • Off: Power LED is off.
  • Turning on (pressed power button, but Raspberry Pi isn’t booted yet): GoPiGo power LED flashes (color indicates battery voltage).
  • When GoPiGo is on (RPi is booted): Power LED solid (color indicates battery voltage).
  • Turn GoPiGo off (pressed power button, but Raspberry Pi isn’t fully shut down): Power LED flashes red, then turns off when Raspberry Pi is shut down.

*Regarding the color that indicates battery voltage, it will be red (low voltage), yellow (moderate voltage), or green (good voltage).

Gripper and Camera assembly

Leverage this video for guidance on assembling the grippers with these considerations:

  1. Rotate the Servo Spline counter clockwise until it can no longer turn. This will be the starting position for the gripper.
  2. The gripper needs to be assembled in the closed position to start.
  3. The servo wires should be facing the outside edge of the gripper.

Follow the directions below after you have assembled the Gripper by following the above video. This section uses a 3D printed part (link) to mount the camera and act as a spacer between the acrylic bottom plate and the gripper assembly.

Align Gripper holes....

with Camera Mount holes

by placing the camera mount on top of the gripper assembly mounting holes

Insert screws through the holes in the acrylic plate on the front of the kit.

Slide the camera mount and gripper onto the screws.

Flip the kit over and secure the screws using 2 small nuts.

Insert the ribbon cable into the camera with the colored band facing the front of the camera and the gold pins facing the camera board. Secure by gently pressing the clip down.

Insert the camera into the camera mount as shown.

Gently press the plastic back into place to cover the camera.

Here is a view of the completed assembly. Congratulations!

The Directions below are for metal camera brackets and spacers if the fixed camera mount above is not available.