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The purpose of this section is to provide tools for troubleshooting hardware, software, and networking issues with Baxter.

We recommend using the workflow below when troubleshooting an issue - in many cases others have come across the same questions!


In a majority of cases, an issue will fall within one of the three categories listed below.

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Networking

To troubleshoot an issue, start by browsing the debugging strategies section below or search the wiki for documentation concerning the problem.

Debugging Strategies

What to do when something is just not right? Here are some starter steps you can take when debugging Baxter, or just for when you want to inspect what's going on.


Start Here! - The Basic System Checks

Often times, an issue that a user is having may simply be from the robot software and/or the SDK software being either out of date or incompatible with each other. Follow the three steps below to make sure that your systems are compatible with each other.

Is the robot running the same version of software as your SDK workstation?

Are the robot and workstation running the latest available software release? (Today that would be the 1.0.0 software)

Is your workstation capable of working well with Baxter?

Commonly Reported Issues


Understanding the Problem

As a Research SDK user you are in a more free-form environment than standard Baxter customers, and often will be dealing with hardware, software, and environment configurations all at the same time. The first step in resolving your problem is determining what type of problem it could be. As previously mentioned, the majority of issues can be groups into one of the below categories. In each category we will try to help you determine what group your specific issue falls within and provide you with tools to help resolve.

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Networking



The first step is determining if you are facing a Hardware problem. Many hardware issues are fairly apparent that something physical is broken - if there's a crack in a screen or a ripped cable, there's little mystery left. Other issues may be internal or electrical and need a bit of investigation to discover.

Possible symptoms of a hardware failure:

Available tools to help you troubleshoot:

  • Robot Monitor - ROS package to display robot diagnostics.
  • Field Service Menu - Low level hardware tests that can be run on Baxter.
  • Export Logs - Rethink Robotics Support will require the log files from a customer with a potential hardware failure.

If you face a Hardware problem, you can always contact The Rethink Robotics Support team at and start working with them to further diagnose the issue, and possibly schedule a service call.

Software Issues

If your problem doesn't seem to be related to a physical component of the robot, then you'll need to figure out if the issue is in the Software - and furthermore, which Software. The three major players in the software system will be ROS, the Research SDK (both on-robot and on-development machine), and of course, your own code. ROS introspection features and the Topic/Service based communication help out to easily inspect what's going on when debugging your code. Useful tools include rviz and rxbag (rosbag).

Possible symptoms of a software failure:

Available tools to help you troubleshoot:

If you think you're having a software problem, checkout some of the other tools on the wiki and also the ROS documentation. If you've found a bug in the software, you can also see if it's in our GitHub tickting system, and if not, please add it! =)

Network & Environment Issues

If your problems seem to be dipping into the area of communication issues, there's a good chance that checking into your Network configuration and Environment settings is a very worthwhile step. ROS and various network setups sometimes take a bit of TLC. Thankfully there is a great little checklist you can run through over at the ROS wiki that will help you sort out many of the possible issues!

Possible symptoms of Newtwork issues:

Available tools to help you troubleshoot:


Still Stuck?

User Forum - The Baxter Research Robot Community Forum, hosted by Google Groups, is a great place to communicate with the Rethink Robotics Support team, as well as other Baxter Researchers. Post your question, and you'll get an answer, either from other community members, or the folks here at Rethink.

Rethink Robotics Support - Send a message with specific details about the problem you are experiencing as well as the troubleshooting steps that you have already taken if the wiki and forum have not resolved your issue.