Hacking Roomba

Table of Contents


  • About Roomba and iRobot
  • Getting a Hackable Roomba

Part I: Interfacing

  • Interfacing Basics
  • Building a Roomba Serial interface tether
  • Building a Roomba Bluetooth interface
  • Driving the Roomba
  • Reading the Roomba’s Sensors

Part II: Fun Things to Do

  • Making RoombaView
  • Making a Roomba Sing
  • Creating Art with a Roomba
  • Using the Roomba as an Input Device

Part III: More Complex Interfacing

  • Connecting Your Roomba to the Net
  • Going Wireless with Wi-Fi
  • Giving the Roomba a New Brain and Senses
  • Putting Linux on a Roomba
  • RoombaCam: Giving the Roomba Eyes
  • Other Projects


  • Soldering and Safety Basics
  • Electrical Diagram Schematics

11 Comments so far

  1. Raymond J Ramirez November 19th, 2006 5:46 pm


    I ordered the book through Amazon.com. I wish to ask how much of the Roomba electrical diagrams and schematics are covered. Which Roomba models are covered?



  2. todbot November 19th, 2006 6:04 pm

    Hi Raymond,
    Thanks for ordering the book. The book is all about “reversible hacking” of the Roomba. That is, Roomba mods don’t void the warranty. This means the Roomba isn’t ever taken apart and the Roomba internals are only discussed for informational purposes.
    However, thanks to the Roomba Open Interface (ROI) port, one can read all the Roomba sensors and completely control the Roomba without opening it up. The ROI port is on all 3rd generation Roombas (those made in the last 1.5 years or so) Here and there in the book I do mention ways one could hack the internals of the Roomba, but that is not the book’s focus.

  3. Erik Vermeulen June 14th, 2007 3:19 pm

    Hi Tod,

    I was wondering: what is the difference between the book with the blue cover and the orange cover?

    Kind regards,

    Erik Vermeulen

  4. todbot June 14th, 2007 3:36 pm

    Hi Erik,
    It’s a series, gotta collect them all, like Pokemon. :)

    Okay, what really happened is that the publisher made a mistake and sent a pre-release blue cover as part of their press release.

    The actual book is orange, like this site. It’s been confusing people, but apparently it’s hard to get it changed.

  5. Erik Vermeulen June 15th, 2007 2:46 pm

    Hahahaha! Homer Simpson mode: “Must buy all colors…..”

    Thanks for your quick response.
    My colleague has a copy of your book and I really wanted to order a copy as well. His copy is orange but when I go to Amazon the book has a blue cover…

    I have no idea if this is the right place to add my compliments, but I’ll do it anyway. Within my company we’re doing two projects just for fun with the Roomba. We’re going to build some stuff on top of a iRobot Create by using an eBox2300, Windows Embedded CE and the .NET Compact framework. The second project will use a Freescale board with the .NET micro framework on it. We use the Roomba to compare the capabilities of the two frameworks.

    Your book really gave us a headstart with our project. The book is good and there’s humor too. I like that! Personally I didn’t like all chapters best (e.g. the chapter on spirograph) but the book covers so many topics on Roomba that not linking it is almost impossible. My compliments!

    Kinds regards,

    Erik Vermeulen

  6. iuk May 22nd, 2008 5:26 am

    Hi, are the things described in this book applicable to a Roomba 530?

  7. todbot May 22nd, 2008 9:31 am

    Hi iuk, If the Roomba was made on or after 2007, it should work. You might want to check out the RoombaReview.com hacking forum to see if others have hacked the 530.

  8. Hsiaochung June 18th, 2008 5:46 am

    I have a roomba 570
    I buy a rootooth bluetooth
    But i can not find the 7 pins min-d type hole to plug in on the surface of the roomba 570

    Finally, Ican find that connector beneath 570 faceplate

    Everytime i want to plug the rootooth
    I need to remove the faceplate , but under such situation
    I could not put the faceplate back
    I decide to drill a hole through the faceplate then i could plug the
    rootooth direct into the min-d without remove the faceplate
    or Anybody have another great idea to resolve the above problem

  9. […] already named him Roomba 5.  I love him with all my […]

  10. Jerry Adkins January 16th, 2012 10:03 pm

    I have a Roomba 400 series and would like to know if this book will be useful with this model. The unit has also quit functioning properly (starts/stops/backs up). The sofware fix sent by iRobotics did not help at all. So, was hoping to at least have some fun with this little guy.

  11. PhillipTheRoomba June 17th, 2012 4:09 pm

    I also have a roomba 400 and was also wondering if there was anything I could do with it.

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