Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » September 20th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Those are some good thoughts. Hopefully Vic can get us more information about this wi-fi/camera board.

I suspect that the camera board takes care of all the image processing, then hands the data off to the main STM32, which deals with mapping, routing, scheduling, etc. I believe the 900 had a similar configuration: there was a separate camera board connected by a 20-conductor ribbon cable. The i7's camera board seems to be connected by an 18-wire harness. To me, that suggests there's a similar volume and speed of data transfer going on in both robots.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby vic7767 » September 20th, 2018, 5:39 pm

No joy in checking for clues in the WiFi/Camera circuit board. However ran across two paddleboard connectors next to a black plastic tunnel with a rubber cap. I suspect either there was an option for some feature via a hardware plug-in board or they have decided not to introduce it.
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IMG_0590.JPG
Two paddleboard extensions on main board edge
IMG_0591.JPG
Some type of graphic image pressed on top of tunnel
IMG_0592.JPG
Inline tunnel with rubber cover removed.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » September 20th, 2018, 5:44 pm

vic7767 wrote:No joy in checking for clues in the WiFi/Camera circuit board.

There might be something really groundbreaking under those shields, but my gut tells me it's just a more highly integrated version of the 900 series' camera board. So far, I haven't seen any convincing evidence the i7 is significantly more powerful than the 980. I think there's a chance iRobot might port room-by-room cleaning backwards once they've gotten as much as they can out of the i7.

vic7767 wrote:However ran across two paddleboard connectors next to a black plastic tunnel with a rubber cap. I suspect either there was an option for some feature via a hardware plug-in board or they have decided not to introduce it.

I think it's for debugging and/or programming. The 900 series had the same thing, but the connector was on the camera board. You can also get to it by removing a rubber dust cap in the bin bay. See here (upper left).
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby jdong » September 20th, 2018, 7:04 pm

Aww thanks anyway, vic.

Last shot: Does the robot case or any of the manuals mention what FCC IDs it contains? Releasing a wifi and bluetooth connected robot without a paper trail of FCC filings seems unimaginable.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » September 20th, 2018, 7:26 pm

Good thinking! I found this FCC ID from another photo online: ZW9AXCY1.

Here's the "user manual" from the FCC's website. It says it has 2.4GHz, 5GHz and BLE transceivers, which might account for some of its bulk. It also says it contains these chips: APQ8009, PM8916, WCN3660B, which are a Qualcomm processor (like you suggested), a power management IC, and some kind of a dedicated wi-fi IC.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby mofan » September 20th, 2018, 7:55 pm

The APQ8009 is an entry level phone processor, the Snapdragon 212. Sounds like there might be some more serious hardware hidden in that robot after all.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby mofan » September 20th, 2018, 8:17 pm

Interesting. Anki's new robot, the Vector, also has the APQ8009. The Vector has some sophisticated AI for a $250 home robot.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby jdong » September 20th, 2018, 9:01 pm

Nicely found! Yeah, 4 Cortex A7 cores is pretty weak on the smartphone spectrum but still much more powerful than the Cortex-M’s.

Very interesting.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » September 20th, 2018, 10:18 pm

Maybe the AQP8009 accounts for the claim that the i7 has so much more processing power. The 980's camera board also had a few chips, including the NXP LP3220 (which contained a seriously old ARM926EJ-S core), a Winbond 128mb SDRAM chip, and what I think is a Lattice LCMXO2-640HC-4TG100C 640 LUT FPGA. The LPC3220 and LCMXO2 could be clocked up to 266MHz and 269MHz, respectively.

I still think the 980 can handle room-by-room cleaning. :-D
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby justflie » September 21st, 2018, 7:09 pm

Good news on the processor. The CEO had indicated i7 was a powerful platform and they intended to continue developing on top of it to utilize more of the processor headroom. Should be interesting to see where it goes over time and how long until they forget about it and move on to a newer model without backwards software compatibility.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » September 21st, 2018, 8:12 pm

justflie wrote:Good news on the processor. The CEO had indicated i7 was a powerful platform and they intended to continue developing on top of it to utilize more of the processor headroom. Should be interesting to see where it goes over time and how long until they forget about it and move on to a newer model without backwards software compatibility.

If history's any indication, I'd say about 2-3 years.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby vic7767 » October 3rd, 2018, 2:07 pm

Still looking for a USB or SCI port/access on this i7. Also discovered that the drive wheel modules on the i7 will fit earlier Roomba models 5XX - 9XX BUT, earlier model drive wheel modules will not fit into the i7.

IMG_0611.JPG
Black wheel module = i7, Blue wheel module = 5XX - 9XX models.


IMG_0612.JPG
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » October 3rd, 2018, 2:48 pm

Good find! I hope they eventually sell replacement parts for the i7, like these wheel modules. I suppose they'll wait until the i7's are old enough to actually need replacement parts, though--maybe about a year.

Also, I posted this elsewhere: the i7's rollers fit in a 980 with no permanent modifications needed.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby vic7767 » October 3rd, 2018, 4:12 pm

ps0001 wrote: I posted this elsewhere: the i7's rollers fit in a 980 with no permanent modifications needed.
Ya, I caught that post good to have in this thread also.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby vic7767 » October 3rd, 2018, 4:17 pm

Here's a pic of the underside of the WiFi, Bluetooth, camera board.
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WiFi,Bluetooth & Camera board
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby wat » October 4th, 2018, 12:36 am

ps0001 wrote:
vic7767 wrote:Like jdong said, this is hardly the huge leap in processing power iRobot advertised. I don't know how they figure it has "50x" as much processing power as the 980. Also, I don't know what specifically enables the i7 to "continuously [update] over the life of the product." Both microcontrollers have a DMA module, so maybe the i7 takes advantage of it and has external RAM, or maybe even an FPGA or something.


probably just offloading a lot of the analytics etc to the cloud + a sprinkle of marketing crap = 50x as much processing power
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby Brett » October 4th, 2018, 1:12 am

vic7767 wrote:... BUT, earlier model drive wheel modules will not fit into the i7 ...

Bahstids have done that on purpose so that you cannot use the freely available wheels out there to keep your new i7 running. BUT, folks silly enough to go to iRobot to get a new wheel unit for their older unit can still be placed over the barrel...

I hate it when companies do this sort of sh!t!

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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby gregj » October 4th, 2018, 7:12 am

So the whole 50x improvement claims smell like a marketing BS. Wouldn't expect more from iRobot. They are marketing "geniuses". Except, not.
Probably a narrative they created to drop support for 980s soon.

After all, they do military contracts, so they know how to manipulate the public very well.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby mofan » October 4th, 2018, 9:17 pm

gregj wrote:So the whole 50x improvement claims smell like a marketing BS. Wouldn't expect more from iRobot. They are marketing "geniuses". Except, not.
Probably a narrative they created to drop support for 980s soon.

After all, they do military contracts, so they know how to manipulate the public very well.


Not true at all. The spec sheet for the 980's cpu says that its theoretical performance is 1.2 DMips per mhz. The stm32 chip in the 980 is 72 mhz, so its peak theoretical performance is 90 dmips per second.

The Snapdragon 212 is a chip with four cortex a7 cores. Those cores can be clocked at up to 1300 mhz, and the cores can achieve 1.9 dmips per mhz. So if the roomba were clocked at its max speed and all four cores could operate at peak speed (which is not possible), its dmips score would be 9880. We know that multicore chips cannot fully utilize all four cores, and it is possible that the roomba runs at a lower clock speed to save battery, but even if you cut the above score in half, a dmips score of 4940 is still 55 times more processing power than the stm chip.
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Re: Under the hood of the Roomba i7+

Postby ps0001 » October 4th, 2018, 10:41 pm

mofan wrote:Not true at all. The spec sheet for the 980's cpu says that its theoretical performance is 1.2 DMips per mhz. The stm32 chip in the 980 is 72 mhz, so its peak theoretical performance is 90 dmips per second.

The Snapdragon 212 is a chip with four cortex a7 cores. Those cores can be clocked at up to 1300 mhz, and the cores can achieve 1.9 dmips per mhz. So if the roomba were clocked at its max speed and all four cores could operate at peak speed (which is not possible), its dmips score would be 9880. We know that multicore chips cannot fully utilize all four cores, and it is possible that the roomba runs at a lower clock speed to save battery, but even if you cut the above score in half, a dmips score of 4940 is still 55 times more processing power than the stm chip.

I'm not sure that's exactly a direct comparison (I think you're comparing the 980's main CPU to the i7's camera board CPU), but I agree that the i7 has significantly more total processing power than its predecessors. I wrote what wat and gregj are quoting before I knew what was inside the i7's camera/wi-fi board.
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