Overview: To control hardware Linkbots you need either to download and install Linkbot Labs software or download and install C-STEM Studio software, which includes Linkbot Labs. Section A below has instructions for Windows and MacOS machines, and Section B has instructions for Chromebooks. Tablets are not supported for hardware Linkbots
(1) Download and install the latest version of Linkbot Labs from the Barobo Downloads page at https://www.barobo.com/downloads. (Linkbot Labs is also included in the C-STEM Studio integrated software platform. More info here and download available here.)
(2) Launch RoboBlockly at www.roboblockly.com using a regular browser (Chrome is recommended).
(3) Connect the hardware Linkbot to the computer using either a micro USB cable or a wireless dongle, and then add the Linkbot’s ID (found on the Linkbot’s label, e.g., “ZG81”) using the Linkbot Labs sidebar on the left side at RoboBlockly, as shown in Figure 2 below. (Click on the “Linkbot Labs” arrow just below the RoboBlockly heading at the top left to open or close the sidebar, as circled in red in Figure 1.) Note that when first opening RoboBlockly it may take a few seconds for the Linkbot Labs arrow to appear.
Figure 1: RoboBlockly user interface with the Linkbot Labs sidebar closed. Click on the “Linkbot Labs” arrow, as circled in red in the image, to open the sidebar (or close the sidebar, if open).
Figure 2: RoboBlockly user interface with the Linkbot Labs sidebar open. Enter the ID for a Linkbot in the box (circled in red) and click the “Add” button.
Wndows/MacOS Instructions, continued:
(4) Drag a Linkbot instruction block such as driveDistance() to the Workspace area of RoboBlockly.
(5) Click “Run” or “Step” to move the virtual Linkbot on the grid and the hardware Linkbot at the same time.
(6) If the hardware Linkbot does not move, you may need to restart the Barobo Linkbot Service program by right-clicking on the “L” in the Windows task list at the bottom right of the screen (Figures 3 and 4 below) or clicking on the “L” in the Mac menu bar at the top of the screen (in the list of icons on the right side of the menu bar, Figure 5 below). Choose “Restart Linkbot Service” from the popup menu. (If the "L" is missing, restarting the computer should solve the problem, as the Linkbot Service is launched automatically when the computer starts. If you are using a Windows machine, an alternative to restarting is to double click the "LinkbotServiceManager.exe" program located at C:/Program Files (x86)/LinkbotLabs 2.1.x.)
Figure 3: Accessing the Linkbot Service “L” in the Windows task list.
Figure 4: The popup menu with Linkbot Service options (Windows interface).
Figure 5: The Linkbot Service “L” in the Mac menu bar (your list of icons will be different). A similar popup window as for Windows will appear when you click the L.
Windows/MacOS Instructions, continued:
(7) If you receive messages about firmware needing updating, see https://www.barobo.com/faq-troubleshooting for guidance.
Download and install the Linkbot IDE (Integrated Development Environment) extension for Chromebooks, available via the Barobo Downloads page at https://www.barobo.com/downloads:
Click the "Linkbot IDE" button and it will take you to the Chrome Store page for Linkbot IDE:
Click the "Add to Chrome" button. It will change to a "Launch app" button, as below. (If the button already says "Launch app," it means that LinkbotIDE has already been added to your Chrome browser. It's important to have the latest version, however, so you might want to remove the current version and add it again. See instructions on how to do this at the end below.)
Click that and the LinkbotIDE app window will appear:
Plug in the wireless dongle into a USB port on the Chromebook (if not already plugged in). After a few seconds (and some flashing messages) the "Dongle status" should change to connected:
Then open roboblockly.com in the browser and follow steps 2-5 in the instructions for Windows and Mac machines. If you receive messages about firmware needing updating, see https://www.barobo.com/faq-troubleshooting for guidance.
How to check for the latest version of Linkbot IDE on the Chromebook:
The way to check that you have the latest version is to open up the Chrome browser and then click the "three vertical dots" menu in the upper right corner. Select "More tools" in that menu, and then "Extensions" in the submenu that appears:
You should then see a list of apps and extensions that are installed on your Chromebook. Scroll down and find the one for "Linkbot IDE" and click the "Details" button. It will give you the version number and other information. If it's an old version, you can click the "Remove" button. Then go to the Downloads page and click the "Linkbot IDE" button in the Chromebook section. It should open another tab in the browser for Linkbot IDE with an "Add to Chromebook" button (assuming that you removed it). Click that and then (after some downloading) it should change to a "Launch app" button. Launch the app and after that things should work.