Setting Up Arduino UNO


The Arduino SDK is no longer being actively developed. We've left the links here for anyone who would like to continue to use it anyway.

Check out our Raspberry Pi Python SDK for all the latest RVR+/RVR features.

Already know what you're doing skip to the bottom of the page to access example projects, troubleshooting ideas, and the Arduino SDK. 

Getting Your Arduino Uno Ready to Roll

Download the IDE

Arduino has their own IDE (which you can download here) for working with their "C/C++esque" language. They have both a desktop version and a web version of their IDE, so you can work in whatever environment makes you feel most comfortable!

To learn more about Arduino's library and all the commands therein, check out their docs.

Download the SDK

Download the code from GitHub!

Then, you can jump into the Arduino IDE and go to Sketch > Include Library > Add Zip Library

This will add the package. Now add it to your project by navigating to Sketch > Include Library > Manage Libraries and searching for SpheroRVR

Creating RVR+/RVR Files

Any Arduino file that you'd like to use with your RVR+/RVR must start with

#include <SpheroRVR.h>

to bring in all of the SDK commands, and contain


in the setup function, in order to open the connection to RVR+/RVR.


Callbacks are one of the pillars of communicating with RVR+/RVR; they allow you to ask RVR+/RVR to send you information, instead of you just sending out commands to the RVR+/RVR. In cases where you are expecting a response from RVR+/RVR (like if you are using a callback), you'll need to use rvr.poll(); in your loop function; otherwise you won't hear anything back.

For some examples, check out the Power and System sections of our Arduino SDK page.


Controls make it easier for you to communicate with the RVR+/RVR using Arduino code by creating commands that already have references to some of the byte-level commands, so that you aren't having to dig through the code behind the scenes of the Sphero Arduino SDK. If you're curious about those, you can find them in the src directory of the zip file you download from our GitHub repo.

Bitmasks and Enums

You have to cast enums and bitmasks when you use them: eg. (1 << static_cast<uint8_t>(LEDs::rightHeadlightRed))

The 1 << before the casting is called "bit shifting" and is really only necessary for setting the LEDs, becuse the first parameter is like a bitmask, but acually uses an enum. You don't have to dig too deep into this "why", but we wanted to make a note so that you know this is something you need to do when working with the LEDs.

The type that you cast your enum or bitmask to will usually be uint8, but you can look at structs.h (in the src directory of the zip file you download from our GitHub repo)(for enums) or look at the parameter that uses the bitmask (for bitmasks) to find the type.

What Commands/Parameters to Use Bitmasks With

One of the nuances of using the Sphero SDK with Arduino is that there are some (bitmask) flags that need to be input into some of the commands:

Arduino Settings

If this is your first time using your Arduino with your RVR, you'll want to make sure that, in your Arduino IDE, you Choose Arduino/Genuino Uno as your Board and the USB port you are actually utilizing as your Port.

All Done!

When the file is ready, plug in your Arduino and click "Upload"!

Connecting to RVR+/RVR

To connect your Arduino to your RVR+/RVR, you just need to plug it into RVR's USB port, which will allow for the transfer of information, in addition to powering your Arduino. Unfortunately, because you'll be using the USB port on the RVR+/RVR to connect to the Arduino, you'll be unable to also physically connect your Arduino to your computer.

To alleviate this, Arduino's Software Serial Library allows you to connect your computer to the Arduino via an alternate cable while the RVR+/RVR is taking up the USB connection (though it can be a challenge to set up). If you are interested in implementing Arduino's SoftwareSerial library, jump over to our guide on the topic!