inexpensive wifi for roomba

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inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby uphiearl » June 23rd, 2008, 1:10 am

Mikrotik.com has a linux based SBC with a serial port and 2 or 3 mini-pci slots for wifi radios. You can log into the SBC (Single Board Computer) via wifi as a client (Mikrotik in AP mode) or from your home wireless network (Mikrotik in client mode). The SBC is only $59 and a mini-pci radio $35 or so.

This works good here. I use an ethernet camera on the Ethernet port and the Roomba via the serial port with a level converter.

Now I can see AND control the Roomba from my home network or the internet if I give the SBC an outside address.

If there is enough interest, I will make a how to and videos.

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Postby MisterD » June 23rd, 2008, 4:17 am

COOL!
sounds good to me..
yes please, post videos and step-by-step guide.

thanks very much :lol:
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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby vic7767 » June 23rd, 2008, 12:27 pm

uphiearl wrote:
If there is enough interest, I will make a how to and videos.

Earl


Yes, that would be some good info for the forum, please post.
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Postby uphiearl » June 23rd, 2008, 9:11 pm

Ok, well first a Where to Buy
$57
Mikrotik Single Board Computer w/Mikrotik software
http://www.wisp-router.com/wri/itemdesc ... 3c&eq=&Tp=

$37
2.5 and 5 Ghz Mini Pci Radio card
http://www.wisp-router.com/wri/itemdesc ... M9&eq=&Tp=

$13
Antenna wire for radio to antenna (use RPSMA Antenna from wireless equipment)
http://www.wisp-router.com/wri/itemdesc ... E8&eq=&Tp=

$13
Antenna --->BUT REQUEST THE UFL (HIROSE) CONNECTOR<--- This way you dont need the antenna wire above.
http://www.wisp-router.com/wri/itemdesc ... CX&eq=&Tp=

OR

Free if ya have it
usa an antenna from a wireless router or access point with a RPSMA and the antenna wire above.

Thats the wireless hardware. You can also get the stuff from
http://www.wlanparts.com/

Then get an ethernet ip camera from Best Buy or your favorite outlet. (Not a web cam but an ethernet cam)

A level converter to connect the roomba or create to the Mikrotik SBC RS-232 port
Get from iRobot for about $19

Next post will be the hacking it together (The easy part)
:D
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Postby vic7767 » June 23rd, 2008, 9:17 pm

uphiearl, very thorough and helpful info for the gathering of the components, thanks
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Postby MisterD » June 24th, 2008, 5:26 am

Hey.

Thanks for the info so far.
However as I'm not in America, most of the items you have posted can't be delivered outside of US.

So, here is a list of places that you can get the same items from within Europe.

Please note that I can not guarantee compatability. I have tried to find suitable alternatives to the American versions, although the specifications match or are very similar, its up to the buyer to ensure compatability.

Here we go..

Single Board Computer :- http://linitx.com/viewproduct.php?prodid=11609
Cost :- ?33.61

Mini PCI Radio Card :- http://shop.ebay.co.uk/items/_W0QQ_nkwZ ... ZQQ_sopZ12
Cost :- From ?4.00

Mini PCI Antenna Wire :- http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_npmv ... ci+antenna
Cost :- From ?5

I have yet to find a reasonably priced IP Camera. Even on eBay they are quite expensive.

If you intend your Roomba to be running around one room, it may be cheaper to get a pan & tilt webcam and setup a webcam server on your PC or hosting provider. This way the world can see what its doing also.

If your Roomba is running around 2 or more rooms, may be cheaper to get several static webcams, a USB hub and USB extension cable and fix them in place.
This could also double up as a CCTV system.

Regards
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Postby uphiearl » June 24th, 2008, 6:52 pm

The object of this project is not only to see where the robot is going but to be able to control it from the network or web. A wireless web cam is great if your close but again, how to control it.
My goal is to have the roomba or create controlable from my network which spans a 30 MILE radius. I own my own wireless isp with about 100 customers.
Once this is achieved, giving the robot an outside public ip address is trivial.
But can you imagine a web full of people driving my robot inside a 30 mile circle ?
Anyway, my new create AND command module should be here at weeks end. 6-23-08 I bought it (won it) on e-bay with shipping for $85.25 !! Thats what quick bidding will do !
I also have an ASUS 2G surf sub-notebook that weighs less than 2 lbs and is about 9"x6" with a 7" vga screen. Runs windows xp and has usb ports and wireless. I thought of mounting it on the create and using it. One usb port for usb to serial for control, one usb port for a web cam.You can also get a model with a built in web cam. Oh, has built in mic also. You can use a webcam program for full 2 way audio and video on a highly mobile platform controllable via the internet ! Another ebay great snag. $270 with shipping.
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Postby Voelker » June 26th, 2008, 4:44 pm

for a cheaper way to get wifi on the roomba, you can use a fonera router which is available for less than 20$ on ebay, and which can run openWrt (linux). Some mod for the fonera can also be usefull (sd card, I2C...). I'll try to get my roomba running with the fonera.
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La Fonera

Postby Paul570 » August 20th, 2008, 10:14 pm

Voelker,
I also think about using La Fonera to control my Roomba.
Did you try already ?
Any results ?
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Postby Voelker » August 21st, 2008, 6:06 pm

I haven't tried yet, but i found that it is possible to disable the serial console on the Fonera to have a free serial port. So it should be possible to flash the fonera with openWrt with disabled console, and use the free serial port to control the roomba. The only difficult thing is that redBoot which is the fonera bootloader, uses the serial port, so we should use the a GPIO pin (linux driver is available) in order to signal that data are ok on the serial channel. I may try soon to get this workingbut i have several project running.
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Postby Paul570 » August 21st, 2008, 8:49 pm

OK. If you'll get any results please let us know !
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Postby Voelker » September 5th, 2008, 9:17 am

I have recompiled openwrt with option allowing to set the serial port speed, and i'am nom able to echo char on the serial line at 57600 bauds from a ssh session on the fonera. I should be soon able to communicate with the roomba over wifi. The only problem i have is that in order to put char on te serial line i use "echo hello > \dev\ttyS0", but i don't know how to transmitt decimal with "echo" in order to implements the sci commands. If anyone has an idea i'm open to any suggestion.
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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby jinlu8591 » December 3rd, 2008, 2:29 am

Hi,


I enjoyed the posting here. But I am waiting for the follow up from you on how to make the serial port of the openwrt-powered device available for controlling roomba. I understand you need to configure the only serial port such that the system message will not be directed to the serial port and you can send and receive char through it ....
Any advices and instruction on how to do it. Thanks a lot.
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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby mfortuna » December 3rd, 2008, 7:53 am

I just noticed this thread.

A recent Nuts&Volts article has a serial over Ethernet project. The first part covered Hardware. The second part is supposed to cover software. It can be done, there are a lot of terminal servers out there that do what you want. Maybe you have to use telnet?

As far as the much older question. echo $((x)) works fine. For example echo((128)) will send 128 to the device.

Mike
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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby mfortuna » December 4th, 2008, 9:27 am

Sorry, senior moment. Been a while since I used unix.

I'm not sure how to output decimal.

echo -e '\xnn' were nn is a two digit hex number will work. For example '\x80' is the same as sending 128.

You may want to supress newline so use echo -en

You can string multiple characters together. For example:

echo -en '\x4d\x49\x4b\x45'

will print out MIKE with no newline.

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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby Voelker » March 24th, 2009, 8:56 am

Hi all,

i have finally (after doing other things) written a C programm for the Fonera that allows me to send bytes over the serial port ... I just have on equestion, has anyone tried to connect a 3.3V serial device with the roomba sci port ? Do i need a level shifter or serial resistor would do the job ? I hope that the fonera 2.0 will be on available soon, so it might be possible to connect a webcam to it and stream video from the top of the roomba ...
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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby mfortuna » March 24th, 2009, 10:13 am

In the RX direction Irelative to roomba) you are probably OK. In the TX direction you could use a voltage divider to keep Vh below 3.3V.

There are 3.3V buffer chips that have 5V compatible inputs but I don't think you need one.
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Asus WL-520GU

Postby TechGuy » March 24th, 2009, 11:36 am

Asus WL-520GU wireless router with an USB port is another inexpensive hardware for the Roomba hack. It has everything needed to get started.



I purchased this router a few months ago (C$30 after MIR) and flash DD-WRT to run as a client bridge to serve as a wireless print server for the computer users upstairs.

After I purchased my used Scheduler last month, my plan is to remove the brush deck. Build a platform at the void to build myself an inexpensive "Create". I have not started yet. I have to play with the SCI first.

Pro:
1. It accepts DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato OS which are all Linux based. Configuration is done by browser. You may need to telnet to it if the function that you need does not have web UI.
2. It has a build in USB port. Cheap USB hub can be added to accept more than one USB devices.
3. Add a USB flash drive to store the your Roomba "hackware".
4. You have two options for the SCI communication:
4a. Buy a commercially available USB to Roomba device
4b. Internally, WL-520GU has a serial test point that can be used for SCI communication. It is TTL signals. It can be used to connect directly to SCI without RS232 level conversion. But I would add TTL driver to isolate the signal.
5. LAN webcam can be connected to one of 4 local LAN ports.

Con:
1. Need to know linux commands well if you are already know. Since the OS is optimized to run in small footprint, you need to use vi to edit file.
2. Setup development to cross-compile your Roomb "hackware"

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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby Voelker » March 24th, 2009, 12:50 pm

The fonera is very small, so it is much likely to fit in a tight space like the roomba dust bin. The fonera 2.0 (soon available) has the same size but add a USB host port (can used for webcam, bluetooth ...). The first fonera was very cheap (25€), and the fonera 2.0 shouldn't cost more than 50€. The main point on the fonera 2.0 is that it is gonna be "open" meaning you will not have to "hack" it to get a custom firmware running. The Asus WL-520GU seems interesting, but the 5 ethernet ports are a little too much for this use.
While googling for some code implementing the SCI command set, i found this http://hackingroomba.com/code/embedded-linux/. It seems that i will just have to compile and run this on my fonera to get the full command set instead of implementing my own. I jst need to solder a resistor to my RX line in order to not burn my fonera and is hould be done.
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Re: inexpensive wifi for roomba

Postby TechGuy » March 24th, 2009, 2:02 pm

Voelker wrote:The fonera is very small, so it is much likely to fit in a tight space like the roomba dust bin. The fonera 2.0 (soon available) has the same size but add a USB host port (can used for webcam, bluetooth ...). The first fonera was very cheap (25€), and the fonera 2.0 shouldn't cost more than 50€. The main point on the fonera 2.0 is that it is gonna be "open" meaning you will not have to "hack" it to get a custom firmware running. The Asus WL-520GU seems interesting, but the 5 ethernet ports are a little too much for this use.


My plan for my Scheduler is to remove the brush deck and the dust bin and restrofit it with a 7"x8" platform so that I can put my prototype on the platform similar to the "Create". By the time I finish with it, it will not do vacuum anymore.

WL-520GU is also open. You can put DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato in it. The good thing about using the open OS is that you can move it to another hardware platform with minor change. If I need the room in the future, I may buy a fonera 2 when it comes out. But for the time being, WL-520GU fits the application.

I will keep my eye on the fonera 2 and hoping to have a good sale similar to original fonera which is free for the asking.

Voelker wrote:While googling for some code implementing the SCI command set, i found this http://hackingroomba.com/code/embedded-linux/.

Thank for the great find on the roombacmd ipkg package. Replace the simpletest.c with you own code. I would add TCP or UDP front end to accept commands from PC, cellphone or pda etc over the wifi.

Telnet to the DD-WRT box as root and enter the following command to install the roombacmd package.

ipkg update
ipkg install roombacmd

Also install the jffs(Journalling Flash File System) package so that you can save the roombacmd in the flash memory without rebuilding the DD-WRT image with the Roomba hackware.
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