Mi Robot vacuum

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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » October 18th, 2016, 1:33 pm

Legs in that photo are grey not mirror finish chrome. I never had a problem with Neato's on aluminum square legs. The worst problems have been on round chrome legs on sofas. Still the bumper should detect. The sonar might give a softer contact.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » October 19th, 2016, 8:00 pm

Pretty good navigation through chair legs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w87dtftUCMc

The round shape with recessed intake is suitable for hard floors where the side brush works, but side brushes do little on wall to wall carpet, against a wall. Then front intake machines can have a problem fitting into closely spaced chair legs. Dyson has a center intake out to the edge, but does not clearly move in the way required to sweep the edges with it. With all the trade-offs in design, a low price can be a reasonable choice.

I have also had problems with side brushes breaking off against sharp corners of furniture.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » October 19th, 2016, 10:35 pm

Internet Required?

An issue for all WiFi robots is whether an internet connection is needed to communicate with the robot. e.g. Samsung's Smarthome app will not load without an internet connection, however it communicates with the robot just through the router. So how is the MI in this regard?
Last edited by glnc222 on December 1st, 2016, 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby akeilox » October 19th, 2016, 10:56 pm

I would say (somehow) required for Xiaomi, as firmware update notice said something like The update files are downloading by robot to not limit your smartphone storage.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby heavytrevy » October 20th, 2016, 12:43 am

glnc222 wrote:Internat Required?

An issue for all WiFi robots is whether an internet connection is needed to communicate with the robot. e.g. Samsung's Smarthome app will not load without an internet connection, however it communicates with the robot just through the router. So how is the MI in this regard?


Online or offline it dosent matter its thru the router.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » October 20th, 2016, 3:34 am

The issue is a little complicated by the way the smartphone apps are made. For example, the Samsung app covers all appliances in the home and simply does not open in Android without an internet connection, advising you so, even though the vacuum sub-app might not use the internet itself. Too many functions.
So it is simply a question whether you can open and run the Xiaomi app without an internet connection on the router (integrated router-modems might be hard to test). On a phone, of course, it may connect via telephone cell if the WiFi router has no internet connection, I am not sure how that would work.
I run my app on a WiFi tablet instead of a phone.

There is also the fact these apps control robots over the internet when the phone is not on the local network with the robot, remote launching etc. It is entirely possible dumb programming leaves out an option to operate only on the local network, and insists on all or nothing. This is just the sort of lack of attention to detail which can be encountered in application programming, in my experience (when I wrote such things, long ago in a galaxy far away...).
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby hellfi » November 25th, 2016, 1:52 pm

glnc222 wrote:
There is hope for firmware upgrades or hacks as a well hidden micro USB port revealed.

WiFi equipped robots update firmware over WiFi in other brands. USB just backup, or repair the WiFi.

I'm currently lacking the tools to really investigate, but Xiaomi "allowed" similar things with the little ants cam they sell. Fill the SD card with some .sh and it will execute it on reboot, enabling telnet etc.

My current ISP has obviously awful pairing to China, without a VPN I cannot even pair the robot with the app, as everything has to go via their servers. Updating via USB would be a lot better for me, the ~100 MB firmware update via WiFi/VPN might just never complete.
Also I'd like some insight into my devices, nmap says port 22 is open but filtered, direct access for scripting would also be neat in case the cloud goes down.
Communication with the servers seems to be only via SSL, maybe I'll look into that first.

/e there is no communication directly from the app to the robot after the WiFi configuration is done, even when they are in the same subnet both app and robot only talk to Xiaomi.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby Mekerz86 » November 26th, 2016, 2:21 pm

Long time lurker around here and I've recently replaced my Roomba 650 with one of these. I'm extremely impressed with the Xiaomi, especially with the mapping features. I think the only areas the Xiaomi doesn't win over the Roombas are agitation and the lack of dirt detect.


hellfi wrote:
glnc222 wrote:
There is hope for firmware upgrades or hacks as a well hidden micro USB port revealed.

WiFi equipped robots update firmware over WiFi in other brands. USB just backup, or repair the WiFi.

I'm currently lacking the tools to really investigate, but Xiaomi "allowed" similar things with the little ants cam they sell. Fill the SD card with some .sh and it will execute it on reboot, enabling telnet etc.

My current ISP has obviously awful pairing to China, without a VPN I cannot even pair the robot with the app, as everything has to go via their servers. Updating via USB would be a lot better for me, the ~100 MB firmware update via WiFi/VPN might just never complete.
Also I'd like some insight into my devices, nmap says port 22 is open but filtered, direct access for scripting would also be neat in case the cloud goes down.
Communication with the servers seems to be only via SSL, maybe I'll look into that first.

/e there is no communication directly from the app to the robot after the WiFi configuration is done, even when they are in the same subnet both app and robot only talk to Xiaomi.


I'm also trying to discover how the private API works so I don't have to use the Mi Home app and potentially get some home automation set up.

I can confirm your findings, it looks like the app and robot communicate via a server. I've used a MITM attack but can't single out the packets that are sending commands. Some/most of the traffic I've repeated end up returning a not authorised result from the server so there's some sort of authorisation going on.

Unfortunately I only have basic programming knowledge so I've struggled to identify key parts of the code in either the smali or jar files.

It does look as if the Mi Home app downloads a separate component as a plugin to control the robot too.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby ZTCB1 » November 28th, 2016, 5:22 am

I'm tinkering of joining the the robot cleaning age, I was looking forward to taking this step since from 2008, in those "dark ages" only roomba seemed to be the choice as most brands were just starting to show off their first models. At the time I also found it too expensive and didn't believe in it's actual cleaning performance. Now days there are a gazillion models out there, from simple dust swiping units at 35$ to full blown advanced units. To cut the story short a friend captured my attention showing me a Cyber Monday limited deal for this Xioami Mi Robot. What do you say, should I purchase it, is it a good product / deal. Also does this unit need a constant supply of parts like brushes, filters and so on ?

Thanks !
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » November 28th, 2016, 1:45 pm

Consider menus in Chinese only and reliance on a server in China with no on-vacuum display.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby ZTCB1 » November 29th, 2016, 5:45 am

Thanks glnc222, I've read that they may have a new working English app.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby hellfi » November 30th, 2016, 10:27 am

Hi Mekerz!
I used Charles proxy to capture the requests, also yes it is a separate app, auth is done via cookie I assume.
There is some documentation on the API (http://docs.api.xiaomi.com/fds/index.html) but the requests dont look http://imgur.com/a/AUDVF straightforward at all. The separate app can be found on your phone /data/data/com.xiaomi../files/ on android. I can also share it, if you want to dissect it..
Not sure if this is the right forum to discuss this further, but I dont know of any other ;)


ZTCB1, for the money its the best navigation you'll get, if you have more than 2 rooms it might be worth it. I wouldnt expect anything official translated, there are however ways to get some hacked together translated apps. Buy neato connected if you're after a robot that has a working app..
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » November 30th, 2016, 4:22 pm

There are always dealers in China and Korea shipping Asian market products to anyone who wants them. Some customers may prefer the higher level of service for products distributed in their country through regular retail channels. All a matter of taste and your location. This robot appears made for the Chinese market so far, but the company does engage in global distribution of smartphones. Could be just a matter of time. A little too new for the western holiday shopping season this year. It takes some investment and logistics. Look for whether they exhibit at the big U.S. electronics show in January soon.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby Mekerz86 » December 1st, 2016, 7:51 am

hellfi wrote:Hi Mekerz!
I used Charles proxy to capture the requests, also yes it is a separate app, auth is done via cookie I assume.
There is some documentation on the API (http://docs.api.xiaomi.com/fds/index.html) but the requests dont look http://imgur.com/a/AUDVF straightforward at all. The separate app can be found on your phone /data/data/com.xiaomi../files/ on android. I can also share it, if you want to dissect it..
Not sure if this is the right forum to discuss this further, but I dont know of any other ;)


MITMProxy is pretty much Charles, but is completely free (so no annoying reloads like Charles) but is command line rather than having the nice GUI that Charles has.

Unfortunately there is a lot of noise coming from the Xiaomi Mi Home app and it doesn't look straight forward as you say; I'm hoping someone who owns this bot and knows more than me about HTTP request & networking will want to reverse engineer the API.

My confusion lies with what fields need sending to the server (ServiceToken, rc4_hash_, Signature & nonce) and how are they generated. Think this is way above my ability.

ZTCB1 wrote:I'm tinkering of joining the the robot cleaning age, I was looking forward to taking this step since from 2008, in those "dark ages" only roomba seemed to be the choice as most brands were just starting to show off their first models. At the time I also found it too expensive and didn't believe in it's actual cleaning performance. Now days there are a gazillion models out there, from simple dust swiping units at 35$ to full blown advanced units. To cut the story short a friend captured my attention showing me a Cyber Monday limited deal for this Xioami Mi Robot. What do you say, should I purchase it, is it a good product / deal. Also does this unit need a constant supply of parts like brushes, filters and so on ?

Thanks !


I came from a Roomba 650, and the Xiaomi has incredible navigation in comparison and is therefore so much more efficient (to be expected, the 650 obviously has no mapping functionality). I would say the Xiaomi brush setup isn't as effective as the dual brush setup on Roombas though, therefore the agitation of debris isn't as good on medium to long pile carpet.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby ZTCB1 » December 1st, 2016, 8:46 am

So the device itself is good, but as other Xiomi products the app is "cra*p". I had some poor experience with the Mi Band Pulse, it took them ~4 months after release to put up a working app, until then I had to use beta Chinese community translated app... I'll wait a bit more, maybe they will do a price drop again in December or January... :)
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby hellfi » December 1st, 2016, 2:12 pm

It's not exactly like that.. But, if you don't speak Chinese and don't live in China the app/device isn't meant for you right now, which comes with drawbacks.
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby Sevift » December 2nd, 2016, 10:50 am

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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby jesi » December 4th, 2016, 4:20 pm

I wish that someone test this against Botvac D5 Connected...
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby glnc222 » December 6th, 2016, 7:04 pm

Mi Disassembly Video Internal Construction
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FlZgIHOodM&feature=youtu.be
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Re: Mi Robot vacuum

Postby Mekerz86 » December 7th, 2016, 6:03 pm

ZTCB1 wrote:So the device itself is good, but as other Xiomi products the app is "cra*p". I had some poor experience with the Mi Band Pulse, it took them ~4 months after release to put up a working app, until then I had to use beta Chinese community translated app... I'll wait a bit more, maybe they will do a price drop again in December or January... :)


To be fair, the application is actually pretty good in terms of it being reliable and working well. It's a little bit of an overkill app as it's a all-in-one control application for all of Xiaomi's products.

Thankfully, I've discovered a way of getting the English translated version of vacuum plugin onto my device WITHOUT root. It was pretty simple actually and I can't believe I didn't think of this way before.

Below are the steps:
  • Use adb backup to backup the com.xiaomi.smarthome package (you need adb drivers for Windows, or Android File Transfer for Mac)
  • Download the translated plugin from the video here - Credit goes to the author of the video
  • Use Android Backup Extractor to extract the adb backup
  • Once you've unpacked the .tar file inside the .ab file, replace the apps/com.xiaomi.smarthome/f/plugin/install/mpk/134/4674.apk with the one downloaded in step 2
  • Re-tar the /apps directory
  • Use Android Backup Extractor to pack the tar back to .ab format
  • Use adb restore

There's a guide to use Android Backup Extractor here, although it's based on using Cygwin on Windows (I used a mac to do mine).

Probably best to un-tick "Download plugins when on WiFi" within the profile section of the app, otherwise the translated one will be overwritten if a new plugin version is released.
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