Getting Started


Modbot provides a family of robots that are delivered pre-configured for their Customers’ needs. Below is a sample of some of the Robots that Modbot offers.

The robot is delivered with a Master Controller control unit. This unit connects via a power and a control cable to the Robot and can be interacted with using the Composer webpage, accessed via the Customer’s web browser. The Master Controller physical interfaces and setup directions are described below. Composer is described in a separate document. The Master Controller is shown below.

Safety First

The Modbot family of robots consist of powerful physical components that have the potential to collide with and damage the human body and other objects. Modbot has gone to great lengths to detect unexpected resistances and to stop movements quickly. However, many movements and resistances are consistent with the Customer’s instructions and hence will not cause the robot to stop. Always be aware of the robot movements and its reach and proceed accordingly.

The Robot is fully assembled when it is delivered. Before being put in use it must be mounted to a secure structure. In addition all cables must be connected before power is applied to the Master Controller.

Mounting the Robot

The Base of the robot has an 80mm square hole pattern consistent with the 80/20 T-slot Building System ( The Base without the attached Robot is shown below. (Note that the Base is shipped connected to the Robot and must not be removed from it.) The Base is typically mounted using four M8 machine screws.

Connecting the Robot

The rear of the Base contains two connectors, an RJ45 female ethernet connector and a male XT60 power connector. These are used to connect the Base to the Master Controller. The rear of the Base is shown below.

After the Robot and Master Controller have been securely mounted (refer to Master Controller/Dimensions and Mounting below), connect the RJ45 connector on the Base to the RJ45 connector on the right rear of the Master Controller using the provided Ethernet cable. (Note: there are two RJ45 connectors on the Master Controller, make sure to use the one on the right, furthest from the AC connector.)

After the Robot and Master Controller have been securely mounted, connect the XT60 connector on the Base to the XT60 connector on the rear of the Master Controller using the provided male to female XT60 cable.

Connecting the Tool

The last Straight of the Arm may consist of the Modbot End of Arm Tool, EOAT, shown below. The EOAT has an illuminated button on one side and an 8-pin connector for providing Digital IO and power to the Tool on the other.

The face of the EOAT (below) conforms to the ISO 9409-1-50-4-M6 standard, compatible with most tools.

The button on the front of the EOAT is used to interact with the robot. As a default the button is used to aid in programming Robot joint positions but may be configured by the Customer to provide input for other functions. Surrounding the button is a three-color LED. This also may be configured by the Customer to provide visual feedback.

On the back side of the EOAT is a Lumberg RSMEDG 8 connector. This connector provides power and control to an attached Tool. The Digital Output signals are controlled via the Modbot API and the Digital Input signals may be read via the API. The pinout of the connector is shown below.

1 Unused  
2 Unused  
3 Digital Input 9 Default configuration includes 22 kOhm Pulldown to GND.
(Factory can also configure with 22 kOhm Pullup to 24V or
leave floating. Specify when ordering)
4 Digital Input 8
5 24V, 1.7A power  
6 Digital Output 9 Default configuration is Push/Pull (PNP and NPN).
(Factory can also configure as Open Source (PNP) or
Open Drain (NPN). Specify when ordering)
7 Digital Output 8
8 GND  

Master Controller

The Master Controller can be mounted to an 80/20 modular system using the mounting holes shown in the drawings below.

To mount the Master Controller insert an M8 machine screw into the through-hole next to the CPU LED and tighten loosely. Turn the key fully counter-clockwise and remove it from the switch. Slide the lid forward exposing the through-hole on the rear deck. Insert an M8 machine screw through this hole and tighten until the Master Controller is secured. Slide the lid back and tighten the front screw completely. Reinsert the key into the switch.

Accessing the Rear Panel

The key discourages access to the connector panel while power is on. When the key is in its switch the lid restricts access to the rear panel. Unrestricted access to the rear panel can only be accomplished by removing the key and sliding the lid to the front. Do not remove the key without turning off power as described in Turning Off Master Controller Power.


Power to the system is controlled by the keyed switch, the illuminated button, and the Emergency Stop terminal block.

Connect the Robot and the Master Controller as described in Connecting the Robot above. Plug the AC cord into the IEC320C13 power connector on the rear of the Master Controller and plug the other end into the wall.

  1. Turning On Master Controller Power
    Turn the key clockwise until it stops. The illuminated button should stay off until the CPU has fully booted at which time it will turn white. A solid white illuminated button also indicates that there is no power to the Robot.If there is a problem the illuminated button will flash red instead of becoming solid white. The number of times it flashes indicates the nature of the problem. <TODO(andrew)>
  2. Turning Off Master Controller Power
    To turn power off to the Master Controller, first turn off power to the Robot as described below. Then press and hold the illuminated button for two seconds. The CPU will begin the shutdown process. It can take up to one minute for all of the CPU shutdown functions to complete. Do not turn the key during this time. Once a minute has passed you may turn the key counter-clockwise and then remove it in order to slide the lid to the front and access the rear panel.
  3. Turning On Robot Power
    To turn power on to the Robot press the illuminated button one time. The button should turn green within a second indicating that the Robot is powered on.
  4. Turning Off Robot Power
    To turn power off to the Robot press the illuminated button one time. The button should turn white within a second indicating that the Robot is powered off.

Lights & Indicators

Status Indication is provided via LED lighting on the top face of the Master Controller. See the table below for status indicators and definitions:

Indicator Description States
PWR Mains AC Power Status. GREEN: AC Active.
OFF: AC off.
CPU Processing Unit Power Status. GREEN: Processor Active.
OFF: Processor Shutdown.
RBT Robot DC Power Status. GREEN: 48VDC Robot DC Power Active.
OFF: Robot DC Power off.
HMI Ring Human Machine Interface Button LED Ring provides multiple feedback items. OFF: CPU Off or Bad State.
WHITE: Ready.
GREEN: Operating.
FLASHING RED: Emergency Stop Detected / Fault.
FLASHING BLUE: Adhoc WiFi Ready to Connect.

Emergency Stop

In addition to the keyed switch and the illuminated button, power to the Robot is also dependent on there being continuity between the connectors of the Emergency Stop terminal block on the rear of the Master Controller. The Master Controller is shipped with a jumper that makes this connection. The jumper can be replaced by a normally-closed button (such as a mushroom button) that connects across the terminal block connections.

To replace the jumper with a normally-closed button access the rear panel as described in the section, Accessing the Rear Panel. The set-screws on the top of the terminal block can now be accessed from above. Loosen the set-screws that are retaining the provided jumper and remove the jumper. Strip the insulation from the ends of the wires connected to the normally-closed button and insert them into the terminal block ports. Tighten the screws. Slide the lid to the rear of the Master Controller and insert the key into the switch.


  • The combined resistance of the added wire and switch must not exceed 150 ohms.
  • There is a 24 Volt potential across the ports of the terminal block.

Initial Setup and Networking

There are two network interfaces available on the Master Controller, Ethernet via the RJ45 on the left side of the rear panel, and WiFi.

The Ethernet interface is configured for DHCP by default.
The Ethernet interface can be further configured, eg. to a static IP, by an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network provided by the Master Controller.

To enable the ad-hoc Wi-Fi network, press and hold the illuminated Master Controller button for 3 to 8 seconds.
Note: holding the button for a period shorter than 3 seconds will toggle power to the robot, while holding the button for longer than 8 seconds will turn the Master Controller off.

The default SSID and password for the ad-hoc Wi-Fi network are:
– SSID: Modbot-Master-Controller
– password: MakeSafeTheRobot

The ad-hoc Wi-Fi network will expire after 30 seconds without any user connected to it.

Once connected to the ad-hoc Wi-fi network, the Ethernet interface can be configured by accessing the network configuration webpage at https://<Master Controller name>.local. The Master Controller name is provided on a nameplate attached to the Master Controller enclosure.
For the Master Controller in the image below the webpage could be accessed at https://tiktok.local.

The network configuration webpage can be used to view and modify the following parameters:

  • Ethernet Interface:
    • DHCP (default)
      • If an IP has been assigned to the Master Controller, it will be shown here
    • Static IP
      • IP address
      • Subnet
      • Etc.
    • disabled
  • WiFi Interface:
    • Not yet implemented

Note: There are currently two wired Ethernet interfaces and one wireless interface.
One of these two Ethernet interfaces is used by the Brain controller software to communicate with the Servos, and should not be reconfigured or used by other applications.
The other is free to use.
Of the network interfaces listed
– an interface beginning with enp0s is the Ethernet network interface reserved for Brain-Servo communication,
– an interface beginning with enxa is is the auxiliary Ethernet network interface available for use,
– an interface beginning with wlp is the wifi network interface used for the ad-hoc Wi-Fi- configuration network and configurable for custom use as well.

In the example above, the network interface enxa0cec9d0392a is the auxiliary Ethernet interface, and can be configured with a static IP if desired.

Once the network has been established the Robot may be controlled through the webpage, https://<Master Controller name>.local/composer. Refer to the Composer documentation for further information.

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