RobotGeek Pan and Tilt Kit

One of the projects I’ve been working on required a Pan and Tilt mechanism. Both pan and tilt controls are controlled by servo motors, which could be controlled by the Jetson. The RobotGeek Pan and Tilt Kit seemed to fit the bill, so I acquired one. Here’s a video of the unboxing, assembly and testing:

The video speaks for itself, you can look at the instructions on the Learn RobotGeek Web Page.

There are lots of things to like about the RobotGeek kit. There were extra parts, screws and nuts that come along with the kit. Nothing is worse than to drop one of those little screws or nuts and coming up one short during a build. The directions that were available on the website are clear.

One tip that I’ll give you is that you should use a real hex socket head screwdriver instead of the supplied allen key/ball driver wrenches. I used a Bondhus – 1.5mm ProHold Ball Tip Hex Screwdriver for the smaller M2 screw heads. The issue is that the M2 screws go into the plastic horns cutting their own grooves as they go, which requires more torque than the wrenches can provide.

For my build, I acquired a RobotGeek GeekDuino, which is an Arduino type clone. Also, I bought a RobotGeek Sensor Shield. You can use another Arduino as a substitute, I bought the GeekDuino for convenience. Running the Arduino software on the Jetson, (look here: NVIDIA Jetson TK1 with Arduino Uno for instructions on how to install the Arduino software package if need be), there are two programs that are available from the RobotGeek website. The first program is for centering the servos during the build. The second is a little test program which runs the mechanism through its paces, as seen at the end of the video.

The GeekDuino requires a mini-USB connector. This is the same connector that is used for the mini-USB port on the Jetson, so I just used that cable to connect it to the USB hub which the Jetson is also connected.

The servos require a fair amount of power; you’ll need to connect to a powered USB hub or have an external power supply handy for the GeekDuino.

All told, once you have all the parts, it takes an hour or so to put the kit together.

Here’s the bits I bought from Amazon:

RobotGeek ASM-RG-PANTILT Robot Geek Pan and Tilt Kit w/ Servos

RobotGeek KIT-RG-GEEKSHIELD Geekduino Sensor Shield Kit

I already had the Bondhus – 1.5mm ProHold Ball Tip Hex Screwdriver, if you’re considering buying one, you should probably get a full set as it’s a much cheaper route than just acquiring them one by one.

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