[originally published 15 Feb 2006 in and edited by Phil Torrone] A week ago I got my OSMO//hacker Roomba firmware updater from iRobot. It worked like a charm, giving me a serial port to fully control the Roomba. An interface was needed however, since the crazy mini-DIN 7-pin on the Roomba is very unstandard. So the first attempt at a robust interface between a Roomba and a standard PC serial port is my Roomba Serial Interface.
Your Roomba 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 series serial number can be located easily, simply by removing the bin. With the bin removed, just turn Roomba over.
The Roomba Serial Connector It seems people are confused by the mini-DIN 7-pin connector, citing difficulties in obtaining that specific plug. It turns out that mini-DIN 8-pin plugs will mechanically mate with the 7-pin jacks, with the center key hole in the 7-pin female jack taking the middel pin of the 8-pin plug. Mac high-speed serial cables from the 1990’s work great for this, and I have a ton of those from all my misspent youth doing MIDI on a Mac. So chop up those old Mac serial cables! If you can’t find one, Jameco will. The PC Serial Connector Some computers have an RS-232 serial port. To hook this serial interface cable up to your Mac or other modern computer without an RS-232 port, use a Supported on all platforms and the choice of Mac hardware-hackers worldwide.
Step-by-Step Construction details The Roomba ROI is a serial interface protocol to let you control your Roomba, but the port on the Roomba doesn’t conform to RS232 standards. This board does the conversion. There are two boards shown here. The first version (larger, encased in lexan), and the second version (smaller, encased in a blue floss box). Circuit is simply a 7805 +5V voltage regulator and MAX232 RS-232 transceiver, appropriate capacitors to make it work and a ‘power on’ LED. Because everything needs an LED.
Flickr photo with notes. Below are parts lists from Jameco (and one from Radio Shack). Jameco doesn’t have the cheapest parts, but they do have an easy-to-use site, ship fast, and carry just about everything that a weekend electronics geek would need. If you want to really scrimp, shop at Digikey or Mouser, and you’ll probably save a few bucks on these parts. Parts Flickr photo with notes. Parts list (from Jameco): – 1 x ($3.29) – 1 x ($3.95) – 1 x ($0.27) – 1 x ($2.19) – 1 x ($0.20) – 1 x ($1.00 for 100) – 6 x ($1.20 for 10) And from Radio Shack: – 1 x ($1.79) Luckily I had all these parts in my part drawer, so the actual cost for me was zero. If you’ve ever done any little projects, you probably have some of these parts laying around too.
Tools needed Flickr photo with notes. Cutting the cable Strip off the big plastic cover, then strip off about 1/4″ from all the wires inside. Then do a continuity test on each wire to figure out which colored wire goes to which pin on the jack. Each cable I’ve done has had a different color-to-pin mapping.
Circuit diagram Larger version. Putting the components on the prototyping board Cut the prototyping board in two, since only half the space is needed.
Place the chip so it straddles the two big verticle bus lines, then start placing parts around it, using the connected pads to minimize the amount of wiring needed. Of course, a few wires are always needed. For that use snipped leads from parts. Also, create test points using snipped leads to check voltages. It’s really handy to have the vertical bus lines and the three pads joined.
This board is like the best thing Radio Shack sells.:) Wire up the cables as shown in the schematic and the pin-to-cable color diagram made for the particular cable, solder them down, and hot-glue the cables to the board for strain relief. Flickr photo with notes. Testing the voltage After all the parts are soldered, use the +9VDC wall wart power supply to power up the circuit, and check voltages. Midas Gen Crack Serial Winrar.
The LED should light up and +5VDC should be coming out of the regulator. The LED lighting up means the interface is getting voltage from the Roomba. The enclosure is a floss container. Consumer products have a lot of interesting plastic enclosure styles, and so cheap! This one was something like $2.49. A little time with the diagonal cutters and soldering iron allowed the board to fit.
Once it’s in the enclosure, hook up the +9VDC wall wart again and measure voltages on every pin on each cable, to make sure the circuit doesn’t fry the Roomba or the computer’s serial interface. Get the Software Now drive your Roomba around like a little tank and play music on it! Hi Great book. Itching to hack my Roombas. In my hurried enthusiasm, I rushed out and bought a Rootooth, and it won’t even pair with any of my computers or Droids.:( So, I rolled it back to square one to build a simple serial interface, procured the necessary parts, and now I am confused. I am a late-comer, so I read all the errata/comments, and I can’t believe nobody has these questions: -Pinout orientation for mini-din7/8 is well documented.
Pinout orientation for DB-9 not so much. Is it looking at the connector from the connection side or the wire side? -Discussion of parts in fig 3-6 references a 10uF cap not mentioned in the parts list nor the schematic.
Either way you use 6 caps, but which one is the 10uF? Does it even really matter? -The two 1.0uF caps connected to pins 2 and 6 appear to be polarized backwards (+ to – and vice versa).
I hear that electrolytics blow up when hooked up wrong. I’m no Electrical Engineer – am I misunderstanding something here? I agree that Radio Shack part no. 276-150 is the best thing they sell! 417 wonderful little holes.
Just to follow up on my comment: I did some research on the MAX232 chip and it turns out that the chip outputs +/- 8.5 V on pins 2 and 6 respectively. In this context, the schematic shows the negative Cap leads connecting to a “more negative” source.
Final Cut Pro 5 Rapidshare. My ignorance. As regards the 10uF cap – the data sheet (for my flavor max232) makes no mention of this, spec’ing 1.0uF caps, but allowing 0.1uF caps as acceptable.
I still can’t believe that I am the only person with these questions. Maybe I know just enough to be dangerous. Maybe other people are better at answering their questions before whining on the comment board. Thanks for humoring me, regards, Schlem •. I built the Roomba serial interface tether as you’ve explained in your book. Echo test worked well.
And I pluged the Roomba serial interface tether into the Roomba. I double click RoombaCommTest option and I select the correct port.
However, I see in the display ” No Roomba.:( Is it turned on? ” Also I have one warning: Warning: RXTX Version mismatch Jar version=RXTX-2.2pro1 native lib Version=RXTX-2.1-7 I installed Java my computer and Roomba model is 4150.
How we can solve this problem? Please help me. Thanks for quick reply, My Roomba model is 4150. But I don’t think the problem is the baud rate. I have one small favor to ask. Since I don’t have any experience on java programming, I couldn’t understand the explanations on roombacomm completely. I don’t even know what RXTX is.
If it isn’t much of a burden, can you tell me exactly which of the three files to download from your site and which application to use in order to control roomba from Windows xp pc and any other software I require to make it work? Thanks for your help, Mine •.
A 700 series Roomba Roomba is a series of sold. Introduced in September 2002, Roomba features a set of sensors that enable it to perform its tasks. For instance, the Roomba is able to change direction upon encountering obstacles, to detect dirty spots on the floor, and to sense steep drops to keep it from falling down stairs. The 900 series Roombas also feature a camera, which works in conjunction with onboard mapping and navigation software to systematically cover floor area.
Roomba uses two independently operating wheels that allow 360° turns in place. Additionally, it can adapt to perform other, more creative tasks, using an embedded computer in conjunction with the Roomba Open Interface. A selection of Roomba internal parts All Roomba models are disc-shaped, 34 cm (13') in diameter and less than 9 cm (3.5') high. A large contact-sensing mechanical bumper is mounted on the front half of the unit, with an omnidirectional sensor at its top front center.
A recessed carrying handle is fitted on the top of most units. As of 2016, there have been seven generations of Roomba units: The first-generation Original Series, the second-generation 400 and Discovery Series, the third-generation Professional and 500 Series, the fourth-generation 600 Series, the fifth-generation 700 Series, the sixth-generation 800 Series, and the seventh-generation 980 model. All models have a pair of brushes, rotating in opposite directions, to pick up debris from the floor. In most models, the brushes are followed by a vacuum, which directs the airflow through a narrow slit to increase its speed in order to collect fine dust. A horizontally mounted 'side spinner' brush on the right side of the unit sweeps against walls to reach debris not accessible by the main brushes and vacuum.
In the first generation of robots, the dirty air passes through the fan before reaching the filter, while later models use a fan-bypass vacuum. The Roomba is powered by a removable, which must be recharged from a wall power adapter. Newer second- and third-generation models have a self-charging homebase that the unit seeks out at the end of a cleaning session via infrared beacons. Charging on the homebase takes about three hours.
Four infrared 'cliff sensors' on the bottom of the Roomba prevent it from falling off ledges such as stairways or entering black carpet areas. Most second- and third-generation models have internal acoustic-based dirt sensors that allow them to detect particularly dirty spots and focus on those areas accordingly. Fourth-generation models have an optical sensor located in front of the vacuum bin, allowing detection of wider and smaller messes. Many second- and third-generation Roombas come packaged with infrared remote controls, allowing a human operator to 'drive' the robot to areas to be specially cleaned. Some higher-end 500, 700 and 800 series robots are compatible with Virtual Wall Lighthouses, which use radio signals to communicate. These more advanced accessories confine a Roomba to a fixed area to be cleaned, yet allow the robot to later proceed to the next space which needs to be cleaned.
There are several types of dust and debris collection bins for the 500 series robots. The standard vacuum bin incorporates a squeegee vacuum. The high-capacity sweeper bin does not include a vacuum, but has greater debris capacity. The Aerovac Bin directs suction airflow through the main brushes instead of using a squeegee, which is thought to keep the brushes cleaner. Operation [ ]. Long exposure photo showing path taken by a Roomba as it cleans All Roomba models can be operated by manually carrying them to the room to be cleaned and pressing a button.
Later models introduced several additional operating modes. 'Clean' mode is the normal cleaning program, starting in a spiral and then following a wall, until the room is determined to be clean. 'Spot' mode cleans a small area using an outward-then-inward spiral. 'Max' mode runs the standard cleaning algorithm until the battery is depleted. 'Dock' mode, introduced with the third generation, instructs the robot to seek a charging base for recharging.
The availability of the modes varies by model. The robot's bumper allows it to sense when it has bumped into an obstacle, after which it will reverse or change paths. The third- and fourth-generations, which move faster than previous models, have additional forward-looking infrared sensors to detect obstacles. These slow down the robot when nearing obstacles, to reduce its force of impact. This technology is also able to distinguish between soft and solid barriers. After enough time cleaning or as the battery runs down, the Roomba will either search for and dock with the base, or stop where it is.
The cleaning time depends on room size and, for models equipped with dirt sensors, volume of dirt. First-generation models must be told the room size, while second- and third-generation models estimate room size by measuring the longest straight-line run they can perform without bumping into an object.
When finished cleaning, or when the battery is nearly depleted, a second- or third-generation Roomba will try to return to a base if one is detected. A second-generation Roomba may also be used with a scheduler accessory, allowing cleaning to start at the time of day and on days of the week that the owner desires. Most 500 Series robots support scheduling through buttons on the unit itself, and higher-end models allow the use of a remote to program schedules. Early generation Roombas do not map out the rooms they are cleaning. Instead, iRobot developed a technology called iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology. Roombas rely on a few simple algorithms, such as spiral cleaning (spiraling), room crossing, wall-following and angle-changing after bumping into an object or wall. This design is based on MIT researcher and iRobot CTO ' philosophy that robots should be like insects, equipped with simple control mechanisms tuned to their environments.
The result is that although Roombas are effective at cleaning rooms, they take several times longer to do the job than a human would. The Roomba may cover some areas many times, and other areas only once or twice. The virtual wall accessories project beams, which the Roomba will not cross. The Roomba is not designed for deep-pile carpet. [ ] Also, the first- and second-generation Roombas can get stuck on rug tassels and electrical cords. [ ] The third-generation is able to reverse its brushes to escape entangled cords and tassels.
Additionally, all models are designed to be low enough to go under a bed or most other items of furniture. If at any time the unit senses that it has become stuck, no longer senses the floor beneath it, or it decides that it has worked its way into a narrow area from which it is unable to escape, it stops and sounds an error to help someone find it. Early models use only flashing lights to indicate specific problems, while later models use a to announce a problem and a suggested solution. Battery life [ ] Battery reliability is a frequently mentioned complaint on customer review websites. [ ] Battery replacements from iRobot cost a significant fraction of the purchase price of a new Roomba, though compatible third-party batteries are available at a lower price. The iRobot customer support website offers advice on maximizing battery performance and longevity. Models [ ] Original and 400 series [ ] Introduced in September 2002, the first-generation Roomba had three buttons for room size.
The first-generation units comprised the original silver-colored Roomba, the blue Roomba Pro, and the maroon Roomba Pro Elite. The later two models included additional accessories, but all three used the same core robot and cleaning system. The second-generation Roombas ('Discovery', later called 400 series) replaced their predecessors in July 2004, added a larger dust bin, improved software that calculates room size, dirt detection, and fast charging in the home base. Roomba budget models (Dirt Dog and Model 401) used a simplified interface (a single button) and lacked some of the software-controlled flexibility of other versions. They were less expensive models intended for first-time purchasers. The Roomba Dirt Dog contained sweeping brushes and a larger dust bin, but lacked the vacuum motor, using the space that would be required for the vacuum for additional dust bin volume. It was designed for a home shop or garage environment.
The Roomba Model 401 was similar but had a standard-size dust bin and vacuum system. The Dirt Dog was discontinued in 2010. 500 and 600 series [ ] The third-generation 500 series Roomba was introduced in August 2007 and featured a forward-looking infrared sensor to detect obstacles and reduce speed, a docking command button, improved mechanical components, smoother operation, and a modular design to facilitate part replacement. It also introduced customizable decorative face plates. The Roomba 530 included two virtual walls and a recharging dock. In August 2012, the 500 series was superseded by the 600 series, which added the aerovac bin and advanced cleaning head as standard features. In 2017 they released the 690, which has WiFi connectivity so it can be started with an app and various personal-assistant software.
700 series [ ] The 701 series, introduced in May 2011, though largely similar to the 500 and 600 series, included improvements of a more robust cleaning system, improved aerovac bin with filter, and improved battery life. Like the 500 series, the 700 series included robots with different technologies and accessories. The Roomba 760 was the simplest of the robots, and Roomba 790 was the second newest, with both scheduling and a large range of accessories including lighthouses, wireless command center, and extra brushes and filters. Besides these two models, Roomba 770 and 780 were available, with scheduling, dirtdetect, and full bin indicator.
800 series [ ] The 800 series, introduced in 2013, is similar to the 700 series and its predecessors, but contains updated technology. The aeroforce performance cleaning system, which is five times more powerful than older series, and the iRobot XLife battery are some of the new features. Roomba 880 is the best one compared to all 800 series models. And when Roomba 980 entered, the entire 800 series takes turn because of the wifi-connectivity option. The aeroforce system does away with the large rotating brush, but pulls air between two rubber rollers, thereby getting the vacuum suction closer to the floor. In 2017 iRobot released the 890 with WiFi connectivity that can be started with an app and various personal-assistant software. 900 series [ ] The Roomba 980 was released in September 2015, and contains a new (vSLAM) navigation system, which allows it to clean an entire level of a home more efficiently.
The 980 also features connectivity and an iPhone and Android app. As of March 29, 2017, 900 series users can receive detailed cleaning maps of their Roomba through the app. The maps show exact areas of clean and dirty spots in the home, allowing the Roomba to know where it needs to spend more time cleaning.
Of when the Roomba is finished cleaning is also a new feature. Integration to ’s Alexa was also announced, launching in spring 2017. Hacking and extending Roomba [ ]. A hacked Roomba drawing a -like pattern From the earliest models on, Roomba vacuum cleaning robots have been to extend their functionality.
The first adaptations were based on a microcontroller that was directly connected to the motor drivers and sensors. Versions manufactured after October 2005 contain an electronic and software interface that allows hackers to more easily control or modify behavior and remotely monitor its sensors. One early application was using the device to map a room. The native code for Roomba is written in a dialect of. Models with an interface (400 series since October 2007 plus 500 and 700 series) come with a Mini-DIN connector supporting a serial interface, which is electrically and physically incompatible with standard PC/Mac serial ports and cables. However, third-party adapters are available to access the Roomba's computer via,, or (PC/Mac serial).
Roombas pre-October 2005 upgraded with the OSMO hacker device allow monitoring many sensors and modifying the unit's behavior. The Roomba open interface (formerly Roomba serial command interface) allows programmers and roboticists to create their own enhancements. Several projects are described on Roomba hacking sites. In response to the growing interest of hackers in their product, the company developed the. In this model the vacuum cleaner motor is replaced by a 'cargo bay' for mounting devices like TV cameras, lasers and other robotic parts. It provides a greatly enhanced 25-pin interface providing both analog and digital bidirectional communication with the hosted device allowing use as the mobile base for completely new robots. Together with a computing platform like a netbook or handheld device with wireless networking, it can be remotely controlled through a network.
See also [ ]. Archived from on 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2013-11-24. Robot Reviews. Retrieved 18 September 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
Retrieved 2013-01-29. • ^ September 15, 2011, at the. IRobot Customer Care.
Retrieved 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2013-01-29. Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown () •. IRobot Customer Care.
Retrieved 2012-03-04. IRobot Customer Care. Retrieved 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2009-06-09. IRobot MediaKit.
Retrieved 1 July 2012. Retrieved 2017-11-20. • Leads Rating, January 04, 2017, by Jeremy Jauncey • 'Roomba 980.'
• McFarland, Matt (2017-03-15).. Retrieved 2017-03-29. Roomba Community. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
Archived from (PDF) on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-24. • Gerkey, Brian (2006-03-31).... Retrieved 2013-06-13. Archived from on 2006-07-11. Retrieved February 1, 2007. Archived from on January 15, 2007.
Retrieved 2013-11-25. IRobot Corporation. October 2005.
Archived from (PDF) on December 2, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
Retrieved 2015-09-07. Retrieved February 6, 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-04. External links [ ] Wikimedia Commons has media related to.
•, manufacturer and retailer of Roomba in the United States.