arbotiX robocontroller

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The arbotiX robocontroller is an advanced control solution for small-to-medium size robots. It incorporates a powerful AVR microcontroller, XBEE wireless radio, dual motor drivers, and 3-pin servo-style headers for IO.

The arbotiX robocontroller is specifically designed to control robots built using Bioloid servos, although it is also a very high-end solution for powerful rovers. It is not intended to be a drop-in replacement for a CM-5, rather it is intended as a high level development tool for building more sophisticated robots.

See the user manual here.

robocontroller Specifications

  • 16MHz AVR microcontroller (ATMEGA644p).
  • 2 serial ports, 1 dedicated to Bioloid servo controller, the other to the XBEE radio
  • 32 I/O, 8 of which can function as analog inputs
  • Servo style 3-pin headers (gnd, vcc, signal) on all 8 analog inputs, and 8 of the digital IO
  • Dual 1A motor drivers, with combined motor/encoder header.
  • XBEE radio sold separately. A typical setup will require 2 XBEE radios and an XBEE explorer to be able to wirelessly control your robot from your computer.
  • This board requires either an FTDI cable or ISP. We recommend the Sparkfun FTDI breakout.
  • 2.8”x2.8” with mounting holes designed to match many Bioloid configurations.


The arbotiX can be used with the Arduino IDE. We've also released open source library and sample programs to help with controlling Dynamixel AX-12 servos:

BioloidController - this is a Bioloid bus library for use with the Arduino/Sanguino environment. It allows easy manipulation of poses, the storage of poses in FLASH, and full interaction with AX-12 servos.
PyPose - this is the stock pose & capture software. Written in Python, uses pySerial to communicate with an arbotiX board running the pypose sketch. After you have done pose and capture, PyPose can automatically create a C header file with the poses ready to load with the Bioloid Library.
Other Libraries - there are several other, smaller, libraries that have been made to make using the arbotiX extremely easy.

See more on using the arbotiX software

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I get one?
A: The arbotiX is distributed exclusively through Trossen Robotics.

Q: How does the arbotiX compare to the Arduino?
A: The arbotiX is compatible with the Sanguino, the big brother of the Arduino. It uses a larger chip, the ATMEGA644P, whose most important feature is the second serial port. This second serial port allows us to use one serial port for the XBEE radio, and the other for controlling our Bioloid servos.

Q: Can I run my Arduino code on the arbotiX?
A: Maybe. It would depend on what libraries you have used. The core libraries of the Arduino environment have been ported to the ATMEGA644P.

Q: Can I use my arbotiX code on my Arduino?
A: Most likely no. The bioloid library depends on the second serial port existing.

Q: Why not just get a Sanguino?
A: The arbotiX is specifically designed for robotics. If you're like us, you don't want to spend hours soldering together a controller on perfboard. The arbotiX makes connections to most hardware simple.

Q: Is this board plug and play?
A: No. While there are libraries and sample code to show how to implement a robot, you will have to do some programming to make the robot work. This is not a drop-in replacement for the CM-5 Bioloid controller, this is a board for people who want to go beyond the CM-5.

Q: Can the arbotiX control a multi-legged robot built of traditional PWM servos?
A: No. The arbotiX is designed for controlling AX-12 Bioloid servos. It can control 2 traditional PWM servos using the hardware servo library, however control of more than 2 will require coding on your part. Additionally, you will need to sort out a way to provide power to your servos, since the onboard regulator that powers the analog and digital I/O headers only outputs 1A.

Vanadium Labs LLC.
Copyright 2009