Setup / Teardown

The purpose of this document is to specify in detail the steps required to setup and tear-down the SelfieBot robot.

* Note: It’s possible to prepare the robot entirely before it’s wheeled into the venue- if that’s possible this a preferable approach.  If not then prepare it after wheeling it in, but be aware that this is less desirable.  Moving the robot under battery power will drain it, so if that’s a concern then it’s ok to prepare, test, and then power it down to wheel it in manually.  Then all that needs to be done is power on the motors and printer and you should be good to go.


  1. Load In

    1. Configuration and checklist:

      1. The robot should look like this: (pic of headless robot)

      2. Remove the front shell- grasp the shell at the top with both hands, placing your thumbs over the wooden top piece.  This will give you the leverage to remove the shell.  It is held in place with powerful magnets so it will be challenging to remove but once its  clear it will come away easily.  Watch your fingers as the shell moves past the aluminium shell.

      3. Before moving the robot into the venue, check the following:

        1. The inverter switch is OFF.  If you hear the inverter make a noise when you push the robot check the switch is OFF.

        2. The power strip switch is OFF.

        3. The Raspberry Pi is secure inside the robot.

        4. The router is secure via velcro to the frame.

      4. There should be a printer in a wheeled case. (pic)

      5. There should be a battery with a handle. (pic)

      6. There should be a light ring and servo mount in a bag. (pic)

      7. There should be a digital camera (pic)

      8. Replace the shell before wheeling the robot into the venue.  Wherever possible do not remove the shell and reveal ‘behind the curtain’.

    2. The robot may be wheeled into the venue without power by slowly pushing it.  Grab it by the ‘neck’ and this will also you to steer it.  Be careful of transitioning between spaces- e.g over bumps and in-between smooth carpet and floors.  Push it slowly as it has a fair amount of inertia once it gets moving.

    3. The printer may be wheeled in using its case and handle.

    4. The battery may be carried in by the handle.

    5. If appropriate (i.e. there is a smooth run to inside the event venue, you can set the robot up  (see below) and simply push/power the entire unit in in one piece.

  2. Setup

    1. Power Preparation

      1. Ensure the inverter is OFF

      2. Slide the battery into the lower bay (pic)

      3. Connect the battery terminals.  Use the Anderson connector to connect it.  Check the battery is 12.4V (on front display)  (At least 12.3V)

    2. Software Stack

      1. Connect the router to the Raspberry Pi with the ethernet cable.

      2. Turn on the router.  Wait until it has fully started up.  Check it has a good 4G signal- if not you will need to reposition the robot and be aware of areas of poor reception and remember to avoid them.  (At least avoid taking photos)

      3. Ensure the Raspberry Pi is connected to the motor board via a Cat(?) cable.  This provides it with power (and provides a serial link to the motor driver board).  It should ideally already be securely installed and fastened.

    3. Power - 12V

      1. Check again that the router is on and connected properly.  There is a small button underneath on the motor board that you’ll need to hold down (up!) for a second or two.  Look at the Raspberry Pi- it should show a single LED flashing at seemingly random intervals.  NOTE- if you see the LED flashing at regular intervals (4 times and then a pause) then the Pi is having trouble talking to the Internet.  Double-check the ethernet connection and ensure that the router is on and has a good signal.

    4. Head Installation

      1. Install the light ring by first feeding through the camera’s USB cable, light ring power, and audio cable through its middle.  Then slide it over the robot’s neck.

      2. Install the servo mount in the same way as the light ring by feeding through the cables.  Slide the bottom of the servo mount inside the light ring,

      3. Connect the light ring power.  Make sure the inverter is off because if it is on, the light ring power cable will be live (12V) and will spark against the aluminium neck, frightening you and damaging the battery.

      4. Slide the iPad into the servo mount, so that its audio jack is on the right hand side.

      5. Plug in the audio cable.

      6. Switch on the iPad and launch the SelfieBot app.   Don’t test it just yet.

      7. Install the camera to the right of the iPad by clicking it into the shoe that is on the servo mount.

      8. Ensure the camera is in AUTO mode and power it up.  The screen may say ‘USB connecting’

    5. Power - 240V Devices

      1. Turn on the inverter.

      2. Check that the light ring is working by turning it on.  Then turn it off.

      3. Unpack the printer from its case.

      4. Reach underneath the printer and unlatch the sliding tray

      5. Slide the tray out and locate the blue release lever on the left.  Use it to access the paper off-cut tray and empty out any offcuts.  Also check there are no offcuts in the printer.

      6. Slide the ribbon media tray out and check there are no jams or other irregularities.

      7. Slide the ribbon media tray back in and replace the paper offcuts tray.  Close the sliding tray.

      8. Find the power cord and printer cable within the robot and carefully bring them outside the robot to the front of the robot.  Ensure the printer is OFF.   Plug the power cord and printer cable into the printer

      9. Plug them into the printer.

      10. Lift the printer onto the top of the top tray and slide it in.  It is fairly heavy so if needed do this with two people.  If you need to do it yourself employ correct lifting procedures.

      11. Ensure the printer power cable and USB cable are not pinched at any point

      12. Turn on the printer (and before this the power strip if need be).  Check there are no error lights on the front of the printer.

    6. Stack Test

      1. Use your phone to connect to selfiebot.local.  If you’re using and Android device you’ll need to connect to the IP address of the Raspberry Pi.  To do this, ensure that your Android is on the router’s network (It will be called selfiebot-something, or Melbiebot, etc.)  Once connected go to m.home and log in using admin for the login and selfiebot123# for the password.  From there look at LAN clients and click through to the selfiebot client.  From there you will see the IP address.  It will be

      2. Once you go to selfie.local you should see a simple screen saying {result:true} 

      3. Go to selfie.local/remote and you should see this page (pic)

      4. Test the motors are working by driving the robot forward for a short period of time

      5. Test the robot can turn by using the rotation buttons.

      6. Test the robot can say phrases.

      7. Press the camera button - the SLR camera should click (and the lens should be extended)

      8. Now test the entire experience:

        1. Turn the light ring on (optional)

        2. Wake the iPad if it’s not on already.  Launch the selfiebot app if it’s not running already.

        3. Select the event using the small - symbol at the bottom left of the iPad screen

        4. Quit the app by double pressing the home button and swiping up on it

        5. Relaunch the app.

        6. Use the app to take a photo- tap to continue, take my photo now, etc.

        7. Ensure it was the SLR camera that took the photo- you’ll be able to tell; the difference in quality is easy to spot.  If you’re unsure, place your hand over (not on) the iPad camera and if the photo is of your hand, then see ‘troubleshooting: SLR camera doesn’t take photo)

        8. Ensure the correct branding appears on the image on the iPad

        9. Email or SMS the photo to yourself.

        10. Print the photo (It takes 17 seconds after you tap ‘print’)

        11. Check that the correct branding appears on the print.

        12. Verify that you were sent the photo.  Do another test (no need to print) and use the other deliver method (for e.g. SMS if you used email the first time)


  1. Power Down

    1. Show’s Over

      1. Turn off the light ring

      2. Turn off the iPad

      3. Turn off the camera

    2. Devices off

      1. Prevent arcing by powering down in the correct sequence:

        1. Remove the front shell

        2. Switch off the router by pressing the power button once to show the display and then pressing and holding the power button until you see ‘shutting down’ - this takes longer than you might expect.

        3. Switch off the printer

        4. Switch off the power board if it has a switch

        5. Switch off the inverter

        6. Unplug the battery

  2. Load-Out

    1. Remove the printer and unplug its power and USB connections.  

    2. Remove the paper offcuts from the tray as mentioned in the setup step.

    3. If needed, make a note of how much media is left- paper and ribbon

    4. Pack the printer into the case

    5. Remove the battery

    6. Replace the front shell

    7. Remove the camera from the servo mount

    8. Remove the camera from the servo mount

    9. Unplug the light ring power

    10. Remove the servo mount

    11. Remove the light ring

    12. Place the light ring in the bag

    13. Place the servo mount in the bag

    14. Convey the robot, printer, batter(ies) and bag to your transport.