The iRobot Roomba is a great robotic device for hardware hackers and robot builders.
They can be found on Ebay for as little as $20 with and without batteries. The battery pack seems to be the main reason they get sold because most users just don’t want to bother replacing the battery, which costs about $45 on Ebay. Other items that cause problems are dirty wheel sensors, a siezed cleaning brush motor and an occasional broken drive belt. Most of these problems aren’t a concern to hardware hackers.
The The Roomba contains a variety of sensors, motors and raw hardware that can be disassembled and used to build other roving robot devices. I’ve used parts from Roomba in several hacks and I’d say that my favorite part are the motors. They 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.
Follow along with the video now and learn how to do a tear down on a Roomba vacuum robot. This video will guide you through all the steps to disassemble the Roombe for repairs or to simply salvage parts. There’s a few blooper moments at the beginning of this one that I left in for laughs! Enjoy!
Keep on hackin!