iRobot Wi-Fi module


About a year ago I bought an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner because of the interesting experiences I had heard from my friends. I think iRobot is the number one brand of robot vacuum cleaners available, they sold more than 5 million cleaning robots all over the world. A while ago I discovered that iRobot had placed a mini-din connector behind a flap. After some research I found out that the serial specification of this connector has been published on the web by the iRobot company. It is possible to read out all of the sensor data and control all of the actuators! How cool is that! I thought it would be cool to be able to control the Roomba on my smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately there are no Roomba Wi-Fi adapters for sale. So I decided to build one myself, and here it is.

Easy 3 step installation!

The specifications for the 802.11 b/g module.

– Supply voltage 4.5 – 30V
– Supply current < 500mA
– Efficiency about 70%
– Power failure detect XC61C
– WiFi connect SoftAP mode
– Secure WiFi auth WEP-128, WPA-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES)
– Built in networking applications DHCP, UDP, DNS, ARP, ICMP, TCP, HTML client
– 802.11 power save and roaming functions
– ESD protection Transient protection on data lines

The module…
………. Uses a switching power supply located at the bottom of the board, this way there is no unnecessary production of heat and no unnecessary power drain from the battery!

………. Acts as a wireless tunnel between the iRobot and smart device, there is no additionally microcontroller on the board. Just open a TCIP/IP connection to the module and start transmitting messages as specified in the iRobot Roomba specification!

………. Uses a Micochip RN171 WiFi module, fully configurable! (you will need a logic level RX/TX device).

………. Transmits a UDP broadcast every 7 seconds. This way you can discover the module in your home network without having to enter the IP address manually!

More information
Please see these links:
– 3D Model pdf !!!
– iRobot SCI specification.
– Microchip RN171 configuration manual

What can you do with the module?
“Roomba SCI is a serial protocol that allows users to control a Roomba through its external serial port (Mini-DIN connector). The SCI includes commands to control all of Roomba’s actuators (motors, LEDs, and speaker) and also to request sensor data from all of Roomba’s sensors. Using the SCI, users can add functionality to the normal Roomba behavior or they can create completely new operating instructions for Roomba.”

Source: iRobot SCI specification
You can control your iRobot vacuum cleaner with your smartphone, tablet or computer from anywhere in the world*. With this module it is even possible to let the iRobot listen to your website! You will need an logic level RX/TX device for this to configure the RN171. You can use the USB +5V to supply power to the module.

You can use every iRobot App in the Appstore/Android market that makes a TCP/IP connection on the right port and uses the SCI specification. Or build your own application, as long as the platform can send/receive TCP/IP messages and receive UDP messages it will work.

*You will need to forward a port in your router to control the Wi/Fi module from outside your house.

OPEN hardware and software
The schematic and several software applications will be published, like:
– example.
– Xcode (iOS) example.
– RN171 configuration settings.

Now available on IndieGoGo:

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