Is there anything different between a iRobot Roomba and the Create? I want go start building my own turtlebot and playing with ROS but with the cost of all the parts I'm going to have to do it piece by piece. It's pretty easy to find cheap used Roombas.


Can you use a Roomba with ROS? Absolutely.

Can you use a Roomba with the existing turtlebot code? Most likely but it may depend on model of the Roomba since older models have a slightly different API. Of course even if there are API differences that haven't been accounted for it should not be too difficult to adjust the code to handle them.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Do you think it would be recommended for a beginner to start with a Roomba? Or is it going to complicate things too much. $\endgroup$ – JDD Dec 18 '12 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ A Roomba would be a fine choice IMHO. iRobot has always done a good job of making their equipment approachable to hobbyists so even if you use an older model it should not be terribly difficult. $\endgroup$ – DaemonMaker Dec 18 '12 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Here is a recent tutorial published by iRobot that will help! irobotweb.com/~/media/MainSite/PDFs/About/STEM/Create/… $\endgroup$ – Steve Jan 9 '17 at 15:46

Yes, there is a difference between the Create and an off-the-shelf Roomba. The Create doesn't have a vacuum motor or any of the cleaning brushes. And there is an empty payload bay where all of the cleaning stuff used to be. Additionally, the Create has an added microcontroller on it that you can push code onto.

But both the create and the Roomba let you control the robot directly over a serial interface. I think this API is the same between the Create and the 500 series Roomba. I am not sure about the 600 or 700 series Roombas, but i kind of doubt it changed.

  • $\begingroup$ Do I need the added micro that the create has to use it with ROS? I think all the ROS code for the turtle bot is kept on the onboard laptop and it just sends serial commands to the Roomba. I got used 560 series and just need to get a serial cable for it now. $\endgroup$ – JDD Dec 25 '12 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ No, you don't need the added micro in the "command module" to use the Create with ROS. The ROS interface uses the serial interface to the Roomba itself. $\endgroup$ – Ben May 26 '14 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ UPDATE: My above post talks about the old Create. The new Create 2 doesn't even come with a command module and is based on the Roomba 600. $\endgroup$ – Ben Apr 12 '15 at 1:42

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