Hacking Roomba

Projects Repository

The book contains over a dozen projects. Below are a list of Roomba hacking projects that were either created before the book and more complex projects that build upon the techniques presented in the book.

Reviews of other hacking tools:


62 Comments so far

  1. Egomy November 7th, 2009 12:57 pm

    hi tod,

    it’s me again. i’ve actually succeeded in using the Roomba as a remote surveillance tool, attaching a netbook and webcam ontop of it. it was working until a while ago when it ran out of battery, i actually charged it and now it doesn’t seem to be detecting the roomba.

    when i ran roombaview, it says “connected. sensors invalid. unplugged?”
    any idea where the problem could lie?
    really need some help here, my project’s due on monday and this suddenly happens.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. todbot November 10th, 2009 11:00 am

    Hmm, I’m not quite sure. Perhaps it got set to a different baud rate? What version of Roomba do you have?

  3. Cordell April 1st, 2010 2:20 pm

    Hey there, great book, I picked it up about a year ago with this big project in mind. I wanted to connect a webcam and USB missile launcher to a wireless router and make an internet connected patrolling robot to shoot my cat when I’m in the office. However, I never even got started because of the limited choices in wireless routers out there with USB ports.

    i cannot find the one from the book the WRTSL54GS, after a year searching on ebay. So I tried buying an Asus WL-500gP but the wireless firmware doesn’t work once you install linux, there are tons of posts on this. You can replace the wireless board but I didn’t want that hassle.

    Do you know of anyone that has successfully hooked up Wireless Roombacam with a modern router? and if so I would love to know what version or model.

    Thanks, great book I can’t wait to get started.

  4. todbot April 1st, 2010 3:39 pm

    Hi Cordell,
    Yes, it’s unfortunate that Linksys discontinued the WRTSL54GS. But fortunately, Asus has been producing an even better router called the Asus WL-500gU, which I think is basically the same as the WL-500GP, but is fully functional.

    MightyOhm has written up a great set of articles on how to get the Asus WL-500gU working with a custom OpenWrt Linux distro and with serial drivers for things like Arduino and Roomba. He was building a WiFi Radio, but all the techniques he uses work great for adding a WRT-based Linux box to your Roomba.

  5. Dan Wolfson May 25th, 2010 1:17 pm

    I am brand new to this forum and to Roomba hacking so please forgive my ignorance. I have an older Roomba model 4275 that I want to use for a project for mobility-impaired elderly people. I want to adapt the return-to-charging-base system to work on a small electric cart. The user would press a button on the base station and the cart would drive itself over to the base station. Does anyone have experience doing this or know where to point me? Thanks!

  6. Enric June 29th, 2010 8:04 am

    Hi, I am a 23 years old guy from Barcelona. I have finished this year my electronics engineering and I have been working in the robotics department the whole year. My last task before leaving is prepare some exercices for the next years students using a Roomba.
    I would like to know what exactly the serial port sends to the roomba, just to try to do the same with a PIC or an FPGA, to be able to put a code into the roomba and not control it with the PC.
    Another great thing it is if there is someone using visual c++ instead of Java because we don’t do anything with Java.

    Thanks a lot!

  7. Petr Baudis July 8th, 2010 7:19 pm

    Hi! I realize that you probably elaborate on this in the book, unfortunately I was unable to find a seller shipping it to Europe (I’ll be glad for any tips).

    I want to control my Roomba 505 over WiFi, so I’m buying an Asus WL500Pv2 now – it seems that both the Roomba’s serial port and the router serial port have TTL RX/TX, so is it fine to just connect them directly without any middleman electronics? What should I do with the UCC/GND pins, just leave them unconnected?

    Thanks in advance!

  8. Petr Baudis July 9th, 2010 5:39 pm

    Hi! I’m sorry for the double posting; there is another question I have, how to power the router? It is supposed to take in 5V at up to 2A, is it safe to draw this from the Roomba battery (14.5V) using a DCDC voltage converter? AIUI, that would be putting 0.7A through the two miniDIM pins, not sure if that’s safe, and how well the battery will take it either. If one would use an extra battery to power the computer, what is the best choice?

  9. Petr Baudis July 10th, 2010 11:13 am

    Hi, final post from me for now! :) After some deliberation, I have decided to build a simple DCDC voltage converter from LM2596T-5V (using pretty much the example circuit on the datasheet front page). I hope it will work and not drain the battery too much in practice.

    I still have no clue on the question on connecting up the router and Roomba serial lines; some people put resistors on the RX/TX lines and I don’t understand why…

  10. Jeremy October 3rd, 2010 3:22 pm

    hi has anyone replaced the bump sensor on the romba with non-contact sensor, with out using a external microcontroller. I know the bump sensors use an optical interrupt switch which is mounted on the mainboard, i’m wondering if there is a way to modify that to work with a IR or ultrasonic sensor

    any input would be appreciated

    thanks Jeremy(P.s love the book way cool)

  11. luca June 3rd, 2011 3:33 am

    just bought a roomba (since a couple of weeks) and a rootooth.
    I’m starting to play with the opcodes.
    I’m not hw hacker at all and btw since the vacuum cleaner is new i need to stay on the “reverse hack” side of the force.
    Are there any wireless ip camera around that could work with batteries?
    Is there a way (a passtrough the serial port) that could drain enough power for a usb wireless webcamera?


  12. Ed Hughes February 3rd, 2013 8:04 pm

    Two 770’s and six 560’s
    The 770 has a better cleaning pattern. As far as parts all the 770 and 560 parts are the same (CHM, Wheel, bumper ect…)
    Can I hack into the 770 copy the cleaning program and load it into my 560’s?

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