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How to get started with iRobot Roomba?

asked 2011-11-29 21:35:36 -0500

Yeu Wen gravatar image

updated 2015-05-22 11:38:28 -0500

I have just bought Roomba 530 as a vacuum cleaner until I realise it can be used as a personal robot for hobby and learning purposes. I have visited this page - ( ) - but the links under installation are not working. I am an absolute newbie in programming Roomba or any robots in general. Please point me to a step-by-step guide. Thank you.

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Anyone please fix this link by surrounding it with blanks.

jondo gravatar image jondo  ( 2015-05-22 06:53:40 -0500 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2011-12-04 04:39:21 -0500

Kevin gravatar image

Try this on how to get things set up.

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Thanks, Kevin. Obviously, I have not gone through the page in details. Can I ask if there is a utility to backup and restore the original installed software in the iRobot so that it can continue to function as a vacuum cleaner?
Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2011-12-04 08:14:04 -0500 )edit
You don't modify any roomba software. You just talk to it through a serial connection. You can either do it wirelessly (XBee, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc) or like [Turtlebot](, you just hook a laptop/netbook up to it via USB serial port.
Kevin gravatar image Kevin  ( 2011-12-04 13:32:43 -0500 )edit
That sounds great. Thank you. I will update back when I have attempted any or both of the above successfully or not.
Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2011-12-04 13:35:24 -0500 )edit
My iRobot Roomba 530 is being charged for the first time for 16 hours. In the meantime, reading the user manual from front to back does not tell me it has wifi or bluetooth or even usb port support. Have I missed something?
Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2011-12-05 23:06:12 -0500 )edit
yes you are missing something :) You have to hack it. There is a mini-DIN port which allows a TTL serial connection. To that you can hook up a serial to USB or serial to wifi or serial to whatever. Google it.
Kevin gravatar image Kevin  ( 2011-12-06 13:44:28 -0500 )edit

answered 2012-06-27 22:19:15 -0500

Crazyrobotman gravatar image


Everyone has to start somewhere, so no worries about being a beginner! There is a really good writeup on the roomba SCI here:

It goes into the where the physical location of the serial connector is as well as how to send basic commands down to it. The roomba initially was just a vacuum cleaner, but irobot now has the Icreate - which is essentially the same as the roomba except no vacuum.

Are you trying to use ROS specifically? It might be quicker to start out by using real-term and following the tutorial. If you have any direct questions feel free to post them up here & I'll try to get back to you on them.

Best, Ryan

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Thanks for posting this. Our hand-me-down-Roomba's charging circuit just died so I wanted to start hacking it. This will save me quite a bit of time figuring out the basics.

Chief_534 gravatar image Chief_534  ( 2013-10-27 16:43:22 -0500 )edit

answered 2013-01-12 17:51:42 -0500

I used the Roomba 500 series drivers on a Roomba 560 robot, details can be found here --

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answered 2012-04-17 13:38:15 -0500

Yeu Wen gravatar image

How do I know if my iRobot 530 has SCI (serial command interface) installed, as required by RooTooth?


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All 500's have it. The SCI port is underneath the top plate.

Kevin gravatar image Kevin  ( 2012-04-17 16:11:27 -0500 )edit

Thanks, Kevin. Strangely, the australian vendor of iRobot said RooTooth is not supported in 500 series. Do I simply pry open the top plate to access the port? RooTooch seems to come with a round plug, for which I dont seem to remember seeing a corresponding round receptor in iRobot. Thanks.

Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2012-04-17 16:31:21 -0500 )edit

ok ... then maybe I am wrong. I am going by what I have read and the one I have. Good luck!

Kevin gravatar image Kevin  ( 2012-04-17 16:36:32 -0500 )edit

I haven't worked with my Roomba 550 in a while, but take a look at the spec and this site for disassemble.

Kevin gravatar image Kevin  ( 2012-04-17 16:53:05 -0500 )edit

Look close once they pry off the top plate, you can see the round DIN7 connector in one of the pictures.

Kevin gravatar image Kevin  ( 2012-04-17 16:55:01 -0500 )edit

Sorry, Kevin. Can you point me to the pictures? I could not locate the DIN7 connector in the user manual.

Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2012-04-17 17:23:56 -0500 )edit

Ha, I found some pictures on this post -

Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2012-04-17 17:33:23 -0500 )edit

Sorry, Kevin. When I read your comment on DIN7 connector, I did not see your comments above which point me to a site with lots of pictures. Now I see the connector. Thank you so much for your help.

Yeu Wen gravatar image Yeu Wen  ( 2012-04-17 18:50:32 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2011-11-29 21:35:36 -0500

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Last updated: May 22 '15