Roombas! What a cool robot! They work quite well right up until the wheel encoder sensors get dirty, then they drive around in circles. Poor robot… then they get cast aside as being “glitched”.
You can find Roombas on ebay pretty cheap. They’re a great source of parts to build your own robots from. The motors have a lot of torque thanks to a well engineered planetary gear transmission and as mentioned, they even have wheel rotation encoders. The main board has two H-bridges that can be used by simply tapping into the switching transistors with a PWM signal from your favorite micro controller.
I first built a four wheeled rocker bogie suspension equipped rover robot last year and posted a video of it on www.dinofab.com. This week, I’ve revisited that robot and made a few mods. It now has an all aluminum chassis and two heim joints on the cross link of the suspension. I took this to Maker Faire North Carolina this weekend and it performed quite well.
So here’s this week’s hack video. Get on ebay and find yourself a Roomba to hack!
Keep On Hackin!