Rebuilding a Roomba Battery for Less

Inside the Roomba and Scooba and more, Cool mods, Repair and Upgrades - including the all new iRobot Create Kit. Let's void that warranty baby!

Postby NewRoombaInTown » November 14th, 2004, 8:23 pm

Buzz Lightyear wrote:Wow! Was that carpet or bare floorr?

Buzz


It was a majority carpeted floor in my basement. It had two separate runs. There was some minor down time between the runs due to getting stuck in some not-picked-up areas (my fault). But overall, this battery outlived MY original battery tremendously.
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I tried this approach too!

Postby guest battery rebuild » January 17th, 2005, 11:44 am

I tried this rebuild approach too, and ordered the batteries from the supplier suggested in the thread.

The hardest part was opening the old case. I used a small cutoff wheel on a dremel tool to grind some straight blade screwdriver slots over the triangle screws.

After about 10 minutes of soldering and repacking, I charged it up. I use the charger built into my original silver roomba - I don't have a rapid charger.

It worked great. The Roomba ran for ~ 3.5 "large room" cycles on my hardwood floors. My experience with other new factory roomba batteries is that it can barely go beyond 2 "large room" cycles.

I'm quite satisfied with this approach. Thanks for the link to the battery supplier.





NewRoombaInTown wrote:
Buzz Lightyear wrote:Wow! Was that carpet or bare floorr?

Buzz


It was a majority carpeted floor in my basement. It had two separate runs. There was some minor down time between the runs due to getting stuck in some not-picked-up areas (my fault). But overall, this battery outlived MY original battery tremendously.
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Re: Rebuilding a Roomba Battery for Less

Postby Paul_Rio_de_Janeiro » March 2nd, 2005, 12:24 pm

Great !!

I am planning to do the same with the 14,4V battery pack of my black&decker drill. Thanks for the know-how.

But I have one doubt/problem: how do I get around the professional electric "point-solding" to join the batteries...I am afraid that conventional "tin" solding wont hold, especially on one of the batteries that is attached to the terminal end points that fit into the drill...

Any suggestion ?

Thanks

Paul




New Roomba In Town wrote:I've been wondering whether it would be economical to just rebuild the battery pack, versus buying a new one. From the looks of it, all it takes is 12 NiMH cells, and from the looks of the case, it looks to be C-Size form factor. For less than $36, I can pick up 12 4500 mAh C cells. I can see iRobot has tried to prevent people from doing this by using TRIANGLE bits for their battery cases, but that's simple to get through.

I'm just curious to find out if anyone has tried it yet, and if so, how it worked out?

If not, I plan on doing this, and will keep you all posted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edit by RoombaReview
I have posted the pictures to the site. They are located at the following URL:

http://www.robotreviews.com/hack/battery.shtml

Craig
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Re: Rebuilding a Roomba Battery for Less

Postby NewRoombaInTown » March 2nd, 2005, 8:52 pm

Paul_Rio_de_Janeiro wrote:Great !!

I am planning to do the same with the 14,4V battery pack of my black&decker drill. Thanks for the know-how.

But I have one doubt/problem: how do I get around the professional electric "point-solding" to join the batteries...I am afraid that conventional "tin" solding wont hold, especially on one of the batteries that is attached to the terminal end points that fit into the drill...

Any suggestion ?

Thanks

Paul




New Roomba In Town wrote:I've been wondering whether it would be economical to just rebuild the battery pack, versus buying a new one. From the looks of it, all it takes is 12 NiMH cells, and from the looks of the case, it looks to be C-Size form factor. For less than $36, I can pick up 12 4500 mAh C cells. I can see iRobot has tried to prevent people from doing this by using TRIANGLE bits for their battery cases, but that's simple to get through.

I'm just curious to find out if anyone has tried it yet, and if so, how it worked out?

If not, I plan on doing this, and will keep you all posted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edit by RoombaReview
I have posted the pictures to the site. They are located at the following URL:

http://www.robotreviews.com/hack/battery.shtml

Craig


You don't. The batteries I bought were electric point soldered as well. This saved me time, and fit perfectly. Now, if you have a special packaging requirement (ie: Black and Decker battery in a different form factor), then I would suggest buying batteries with tabs. Then all you do is insert wire into the tab and solder (minimizing the risk to the battery itself). The tab is electrically point soldered to the post. Hope that helps. Again, batteryspace.com has these. Bye the way, if you find my information provided helpful, and would like to donate some money to goal of funding my daughters' college education, send a paypal payment to sisters2college@yahoo.com. Sorry for the shameless plug, but I'm trying my best to send them to college, and every little bit helps. :) Thanks!
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Giving it a try

Postby Hubert » April 4th, 2005, 11:10 am

Hi,
I am excited about this thread! Thanks to all the fiddlers for the valuable info.
I have had problems with two Roomba (original) batteries now, and I am not going to spend $50 on a new one every year.
I have bought a set of battery packs from BatterySpace, and I am trying to rebuild the battery now.
Opening wasn't too hard (used a Philips screwdriver for the triangle screws but damaged the heads somewhat, and had to pry off the cover, which was glued on).
The problem I see is that I am going to need some space for the rather thick wires from the new batteries. That's probably going to make it difficult to get the cover back on. There are no pictures about how you guys did that.
Any help would be appreciated.
THanks again.
Hubert
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My own experiences

Postby First Time Poster » April 4th, 2005, 3:48 pm

I have done the battery rebuild on an old dead roomba battery with very good results. My pro elite runs 100 minutes on a charge on floors that are 80% hardwood and 20% area rugs, compared with 80 minutes on the same floors with a brand new battery. It is definitely moving faster than it does with a brand new stock battery, but the extent is hard to quantify. It also has an easier time getting up on and running over the rugs, which are medium pile. However, it also has an increased propensity to get stuck when it runs into an obstacle and backs into a second obstacle, raising the rear end until it thinks it has been lifted. I believe the increased power makes it back up a little too strongly, increasing the frequency of this problem.

The recommended battery supplier (ebay store link on the previous page) charges a lot for shipping. Final cost was ~$30 which makes it not much cheaper than an actual roomba battery. It might be worth shopping around a bit more to make sure there isn't a better deal out there.

As the previous poster mentions, the tricky part is reconnecting everything and cramming it all back into the original case. The pictures do not show this, and the previous posters have not described their experiences. What I did was remove the tape holding down the wires, then cut them all to about an inch. I cut the old wires and the other circuit elements out of the original battery, leaving their wires as long as possible. The capacitor-looking thing was directly soldered to the battery, but some careful clipping with needle nose pliers freed its original wire lead from the solder well enough to make a new connection. Not being very good with a soldering iron, I instead used small splicing caps to connect the wires together in the same way they had been connected originally. I taped the thermistor to one of the cells in an approximation of its original location. I then stuffed the splicing caps down between the cells. After screwing it back on, the cover bulges only slightly, but it is barely noticeable and does not interfere with normal operation.

In summary, the critical thing was wire length. You should lay everything out and decide how it is all going to attach together before cutting any wires. Soldering would lead to a more compact structure and perhaps let the cover fit a little better, but small splicing caps work well enough, and were fast and easy. The whole process took perhaps 20 minutes.
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Battey capacity?

Postby JW2000 » April 21st, 2005, 9:16 pm

Does anyone know the capacity of the original battery?
JW2000
 

Also rebuilt a Roomba battery

Postby Guest » April 25th, 2005, 10:25 pm

I also ordered the batteries from battery space. I completely desoldered the supplied leads and used the leads from the Roomba battery. I used a snippet of 18 guage wire to tie the two cell banks together at the back end.

It's still a little tricky getting the cells, wires, and varistor back into the case but patience and perseverence will win out.

Runtime for my Roomba silver on medium pile carpet - I get around 75 minutes. I also bought one of the new APS Roomba batteries - it gets about 90 minutes. I'm guessing that the APS battery uses 3300 mAh batteries. I haven't tested yet on bare floors but I'm guessing that it'll be in the 2+ hour range.
Guest
 

Re: Rebuilding a Roomba Battery for Less

Postby emccarron » May 13th, 2005, 12:45 pm

"But I have one doubt/problem: how do I get around the professional electric "point-solding" to join the batteries...I am afraid that conventional "tin" solding wont hold, especially on one of the batteries that is attached to the terminal end points that fit into the drill..."

FWIW, having built many battery packs for combat robots (read: the now defunct Battlebots from TV...) with hand soldered battery packs, I can tell you from experience that its not a problem.

Rough up the ends of the cells with a dremel or some sandpaper, and use a big enough iron to get the end caps hot QUICKLY. If you take too long to heat the cell, it will ruin it. Hobby shops even sell pre-formed battery bars that can be used to link cells together.
emccarron
 

Re: Rebuilding a Roomba Battery for Less

Postby NewRoombaInTown » June 1st, 2005, 12:25 am

emccarron wrote:"But I have one doubt/problem: how do I get around the professional electric "point-solding" to join the batteries...I am afraid that conventional "tin" solding wont hold, especially on one of the batteries that is attached to the terminal end points that fit into the drill..."

FWIW, having built many battery packs for combat robots (read: the now defunct Battlebots from TV...) with hand soldered battery packs, I can tell you from experience that its not a problem.

Rough up the ends of the cells with a dremel or some sandpaper, and use a big enough iron to get the end caps hot QUICKLY. If you take too long to heat the cell, it will ruin it. Hobby shops even sell pre-formed battery bars that can be used to link cells together.


If you buy the batteries that I used in my example, you don't solder onto the cells. They have been point soldered for you already. You only have to deal with the wires extending from each 7.2 V pack. Obviously, all you need to do is place the two packs in series, put in the varistor and PTC, repack, and voila! Good to go.

As a sidenote, thank you to those who have provided to my kids' college funds. Our family appreciates your generosity. sisters2college@yahoo.com *NewRoombaInTown*
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battery replacement

Postby roomba newbee » June 16th, 2005, 12:47 am

You are all quite correct about the configuration of a roomba battery pack. Have you ever pried open a 9v battery? It is simply six 1.5v batteries wired together. Could be a cheap way to get AAAA batteries for some! Good advice on the hot soldering iron. the pro's use a sort of "welder" to attach the batteries together that costs about 4 G's. Too much heat will ruin the batteries. And of course, you can get higher amperage batteries if you look around for them. The solution of prewired battey packs seems to be the best one, unless you have a friend with the fancy little welder.

P.S. Anybody heard anything about a Roomba 2.1? Supposedly 20 improvements, but I don't know where one can be found.
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Postby THX-1138 » June 23rd, 2005, 9:41 pm

I get 2.5 Hr. on hard floor with original Disco batt.
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Postby vroomba » November 1st, 2005, 1:03 pm

Do you think this setup would work?

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?P ... ProdID=432

I have the originial Roomba and the battery has been dead for quite a while. Like to get one of the new Roomba but it's a little too expensive for the moment. So, I am trying to give my trusty old Roomba some new life.

Thanks,
Mark
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Postby LenS » November 12th, 2005, 1:43 am

vroomba wrote:Do you think this setup would work?

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?P ... ProdID=432

I have the originial Roomba and the battery has been dead for quite a while. Like to get one of the new Roomba but it's a little too expensive for the moment. So, I am trying to give my trusty old Roomba some new life.

Thanks,
Mark


The model you suggested is short a couple of volts and likely won't work.

You might try this one, 14.4VDC 5000mAh and packaged for the Roomba Yellow battery (I'll assume it will fit in the old black battery package as well). $39.95

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?P ... rodID=2238
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New Roomba In Town's Battery Mod's

Postby BobcatBob » November 12th, 2005, 10:05 pm

$weet idea and Great $olution. I did the same thing a few years ago to my video camera's battery back. I went down to Radio Shack and asked for the batteries. The guy there looked at me with a puzzled look and wanted to know what I was doing. I explained and he said he had never though of that.....Video Camera battery in excess of 70 bucks...replacement batteries around 12....a no brainer, plus it gave me an excuse to use my soldering iron....
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Postby BradMurray » November 26th, 2005, 1:30 pm

Why not try the following:

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?P ... ProdID=217

Plus two single batteries (http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1158) would give you 5000 mAh for the same price as the pre-packed option batteryspace offers for the same price. That should give a serious run-time. I just bought a replacement battery for my Discovery and will probably do this to rebuild my dead one.
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Postby gariadea » November 26th, 2005, 4:02 pm

Brad, that sounds great! My only questions are: Will the 12 "C" batteries fit in the yellow battery case? If not, the sub C are 3500 which is 500 higher I believe than the originals. And if the C do fit in the case, 5000 mah would probably give it at least 3.5 to 4 hours run time on MAX. So my other question is: Do you think the motor/s can handle the extended run times that you would use or would it be too much of a strain on them? Are there two motors? Just wondering.
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APS battery connections

Postby purge98 » December 16th, 2005, 10:30 am

Can one of you guys tell me the connections for the aps battery?

There seem to be three. 2 spade and one blob.

What do each of them connect to please?

I am going to try my super duper intelligent battery charger to see if I can get anymore charge into the battery.

Happy Xmas
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Postby rj5555 » December 16th, 2005, 10:56 am

the "blob" connection is the NTC temp. sensor.
The "spade" closed to the battery is negative, the other positive

(This would not have been very hard to find out yourself with a simple volt meter)
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Postby purge98 » December 16th, 2005, 11:23 am

Thanks rj5555

Merry Xmas to you.
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