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Posted by in Build, PicoBorg - Build on October 18, 2017 . 0 Comments.

Want to be able to control your PicoBorg from another Raspberry Pi or computer, then you want RemoteKeyBorg!
RemoteKeyBorg is a pair of scripts that allow a Raspberry Pi with a PicoBorg to expose itself on the network and another to command it.

This example is intended to demonstrate using the keyboard left, up, and right keys to control a three wheel robot :)

The first thing to do then is to build a robot with two motorised wheels and a caster wheel (like you get on shopping trolleys) or a runner (a smooth surface intended to glide on another surface).
When connecting up the PicoBorg the connections should be:

  • Left motor connected to drive #1, wired +/+, -/-
  • Right motor connected to drive #4, wired +/-, -/+

The motors are wired differently since they are facing opposite directions, this will make them rotate the wheels the same way.

Now we need the scripts.
RemoteKeyBorg is a script that comes in two parts:

  • RemoteKeyBorgS.py (Server)
    This script runs on the Raspberry Pi with the PicoBorg and sets the PicoBorg drives when told to
    For remote control we suggest this Raspberry Pi is connected to the network using WiFi, so it is free of cables :)
  • RemoteKeyBorgC.py (Client)
    This script runs on the Raspberry Pi which is controlling the robot, it loads a blank window which responds to up, left and right
    This script can be run on any computer connected to the same network, running Python and pygame, but it needs a GUI available (no telnets I am afraid...)
    If testing this may even be run on the same Raspberry Pi, but that would defeat the point :)

There are a few variables in the scripts you may wish to set to change options:

  • broadcastIP in RemoteKeyBorgC.py, line 10
    IP address to send to (Raspberry Pi with the PicoBorg), may be a single machine (e.g. or a broadcast (e.g. where '255' is used to indicate that number is everybody
  • broadcastPort in RemoteKeyBorgC.py, line 11
    Number used to identify who gets network messages, if two copies of RemoteKeyBorg are used in the same network this should be changed to identify which copy is which
  • leftDrive in RemoteKeyBorgC.py, line 12
    Drive number for the left wheel, change this if your wiring does not match the example diagram
  • rightDrive in RemoteKeyBorgC.py, line 13
    Drive number for the right wheel, change this if your wiring does not match the example diagram
  • interval in RemoteKeyBorgC.py, line 14
    Delay between checking for keyboard updates, smaller numbers respond faster but will use more processor time
  • regularUpdate in RemoteKeyBorgC.py, line 15
    Set to True the script will send a command at every interval, set to False it will only send a command when a key changes
  • portListen in RemoteKeyBorgS.py, line 32
    If you change the port your RemoteKeyBorgC.py is using, change this to match

Here's the code, you can download the RemoteKeyBorgS script file as text here,
and you can download the RemoteKeyBorgC script file as text here.
Save the text files on your Raspberry Pis as RemoteKeyBorgS.py and RemoteKeyBorgC.py respectively.
Make the scripts executable using
chmod +x RemoteKeyBorg*.py
and run on the Raspberry Pi with the PicoBorg using
sudo ./RemoteKeyBorgS.py
and run on the commanding Raspberry Pi using


#!/usr/bin/env python
# coding: Latin-1

# Load library functions we want
import SocketServer
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

# Set which GPIO pins the drive outputs are connected to
DRIVE_1 = 4
DRIVE_2 = 18
DRIVE_3 = 8
DRIVE_4 = 7

# Set all of the drive pins as output pins

# Map of drives to pins
lDrives = [DRIVE_1, DRIVE_2, DRIVE_3, DRIVE_4]

# Function to set all drives off
def MotorOff():
    GPIO.output(DRIVE_1, GPIO.LOW)
    GPIO.output(DRIVE_2, GPIO.LOW)
    GPIO.output(DRIVE_3, GPIO.LOW)
    GPIO.output(DRIVE_4, GPIO.LOW)

# Settings for the RemoteKeyBorg server
portListen = 9038                       # What messages to listen for (LEDB on an LCD)

# Class used to handle UDP messages
class PicoBorgHandler(SocketServer.BaseRequestHandler):
    # Function called when a new message has been received
    def handle(self):
        global isRunning

        request, socket = self.request          # Read who spoke to us and what they said
        request = request.upper()               # Convert command to upper case
        driveCommands = request.split(',')      # Separate the command into individual drives
        if len(driveCommands) == 1:
            # Special commands
            if request == 'ALLOFF':
                # Turn all drives off
                print 'All drives off'
            elif request == 'EXIT':
                # Exit the program
                isRunning = False
                # Unknown command
                print 'Special command "%s" not recognised' % (request)
        elif len(driveCommands) == len(lDrives):
            # For each drive we check the command
            for driveNo in range(len(driveCommands)):
                command = driveCommands[driveNo]
                if command == 'ON':
                    # Set drive on
                    GPIO.output(lDrives[driveNo], GPIO.HIGH)
                elif command == 'OFF':
                    # Set drive off
                    GPIO.output(lDrives[driveNo], GPIO.LOW)
                elif command == 'X':
                    # No command for this drive
                    # Unknown command
                    print 'Drive %d command "%s" not recognised!' % (driveNo, command)
            # Did not get the right number of drive commands
            print 'Command "%s" did not have %d parts!' % (request, len(lDrives))

    global isRunning

    # Start by turning all drives off
    raw_input('You can now turn on the power, press ENTER to continue')
    # Setup the UDP listener
    remoteKeyBorgServer = SocketServer.UDPServer(('', portListen), PicoBorgHandler)
    # Loop until terminated remotely
    isRunning = True
    while isRunning:
    # Turn off the drives and release the GPIO pins
    print 'Finished'
    raw_input('Turn the power off now, press ENTER to continue')
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    # CTRL+C exit, turn off the drives and release the GPIO pins
    print 'Terminated'
    raw_input('Turn the power off now, press ENTER to continue')


#!/usr/bin/env python
# coding: Latin-1

# Load library functions we want
import socket
import time
import pygame

# Settings for the RemoteKeyBorg client
broadcastIP = ''           # IP address to send to, 255 in one or more positions is a broadcast / wild-card
broadcastPort = 9038                    # What message number to send with (LEDB on an LCD)
leftDrive = 1                           # Drive number for left motor
rightDrive = 4                          # Drive number for right motor
interval = 0.1                          # Time between keyboard updates in seconds, smaller responds faster but uses more processor time
regularUpdate = True                    # If True we send a command at a regular interval, if False we only send commands when keys are pressed or released

# Setup the connection for sending on
sender = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM, socket.IPPROTO_UDP)       # Create the socket
sender.setsockopt(socket.SOL_SOCKET, socket.SO_BROADCAST, 1)                        # Enable broadcasting (sending to many IPs based on wild-cards)
sender.bind(('', 0))                                                         # Set the IP and port number to use locally, IP means all connections and port 0 means assign a number for us (do not care)

# Setup pygame and key states
global hadEvent
global moveUp
global moveDown
global moveLeft
global moveRighte
global moveQuit
hadEvent = True
moveUp = False
moveDown = False
moveLeft = False
moveRight = False
moveQuit = False
screen = pygame.display.set_mode([300,300])
pygame.display.set_caption("RemoteKeyBorg - Press [ESC] to quit")

# Function to handle pygame events
def PygameHandler(events):
    # Variables accessible outside this function
    global hadEvent
    global moveUp
    global moveDown
    global moveLeft
    global moveRight
    global moveQuit
    # Handle each event individually
    for event in events:
        if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
            # User exit
            hadEvent = True
            moveQuit = True
        elif event.type == pygame.KEYDOWN:
            # A key has been pressed, see if it is one we want
            hadEvent = True
            if event.key == pygame.K_UP:
                moveUp = True
            elif event.key == pygame.K_DOWN:
                moveDown = True
            elif event.key == pygame.K_LEFT:
                moveLeft = True
            elif event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:
                moveRight = True
            elif event.key == pygame.K_ESCAPE:
                moveQuit = True
        elif event.type == pygame.KEYUP:
            # A key has been released, see if it is one we want
            hadEvent = True
            if event.key == pygame.K_UP:
                moveUp = False
            elif event.key == pygame.K_DOWN:
                moveDown = False
            elif event.key == pygame.K_LEFT:
                moveLeft = False
            elif event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:
                moveRight = False
            elif event.key == pygame.K_ESCAPE:
                moveQuit = False

    print 'Press [ESC] to quit'
    # Loop indefinitely
    while True:
        # Get the currently pressed keys on the keyboard
        if hadEvent or regularUpdate:
            # Keys have changed, generate the command list based on keys
            hadEvent = False
            driveCommands = ['X', 'X', 'X', 'X']                    # Default to do not change
            if moveQuit:
            elif moveLeft:
                driveCommands[leftDrive - 1] = 'OFF'
                driveCommands[rightDrive - 1] = 'ON'
            elif moveRight:
                driveCommands[leftDrive - 1] = 'ON'
                driveCommands[rightDrive - 1] = 'OFF'
            elif moveUp:
                driveCommands[leftDrive - 1] = 'ON'
                driveCommands[rightDrive - 1] = 'ON'
                # None of our expected keys, stop
                driveCommands[leftDrive - 1] = 'OFF'
                driveCommands[rightDrive - 1] = 'OFF'
            # Send the drive commands
            command = ''
            for driveCommand in driveCommands:
                command += driveCommand + ','
            command = command[:-1]                                  # Strip the trailing comma
            sender.sendto(command, (broadcastIP, broadcastPort))
        # Wait for the interval period
    # Inform the server to stop
    sender.sendto('ALLOFF', (broadcastIP, broadcastPort))
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    # CTRL+C exit, inform the server to stop
    sender.sendto('ALLOFF', (broadcastIP, broadcastPort))
Last update: November 05, 2017


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