Roomba-bashing for bot parts

Robotics

Dino, of Dinofab, has been getting cheap Roombas off of eBay (as low as $20) and using their parts to make other bots, like this “RoverBot” above.

I found the motors in the Roomba to be very user friendly. The have a belt driven planetary gear reduction transmission that provides very high torque and they can be driven directly from the H-bridge that is already on the Roomba main board. Each assembly has a wheel sensor but it tends to drift in it’s accuracy due to the belt drive slipping slightly.

I recently built a four wheeled rover robot with a rocker bogie suspension, a PING sensor and an Arduino microcontroller. I mounted four of the Roomba motor assemblies on the suspension arms, two on each side. They were then connected to the mainboard at the factory plug. In doing this I burdened the circuit with double the normal load because I was using two motors per side. The power transistors seem to handle this just fine however and I noticed no heat buildup in them.

The Arduino microcontroller I installed is programmed to send a PWM (pulse-width modulation) signal to the switch on the transistor on the H-bridge of the main board, which is powered by the Roomba battery pack. The PING sensor is mounted to the front of the chassis for navigation. Here’s the prototype in action.

Hardware Hacking The Roomba – To Build You Own Robot

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Tagged

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

ADVERTISEMENT

Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).

FEEDBACK