I want to use IR sensors to detect whether my dustbin is full but I want to protect it from outside dust. I am planning to use the IR sensors on Roomba.

  1. How are they working despite a plastic wall?
  2. Also, what is the range of the sensor?
  3. Can they detect obstacle at about 25 cm?
  4. Why is there a wall between the IR sensors?
  5. Is there a reason they are positioned at certain angle?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you clarify your question a bit? Because the Roomba cliff sensors are mounted underneath the robot and only point down. They get activated when that part of the robot physically hangs over the edge of a cliff. The robot also has some infrared proximity sensors in the bumper (aka the light bumper) which can detect objects in front of the robot. But these are not cliff sensors, and cannot detect "negative obstacles" like cliffs. Perhaps you should narrow your question and be more specific with your terminology. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Jul 8, 2015 at 18:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also, it seems like you are talking about 2 different things here. Are you planning on removing the cliff or bumper IR sensors from the Roomba and moving them to point into the bin? Or are you asking about the obstacle detection capabilities of the light bumper? $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Jul 9, 2015 at 1:56

2 Answers 2


You should just use a Roomba 700 or 800 series robot. These come with a bin full sensor already. And the Open Interface spec works on Roomba versions 500, 600, 700, and 800.


What Ben said. All Roombas including and following the 700 series have bin-full sensors that use an IR emitter and sensor that goes across the mouth of the bin.

To provide a little more detail, research a material's 'IR Transparency'. Most clear plastics and glasses are transparent to infrared, but not all. Even some opaque plastics are IR transparent, and this can make your life a little easier by making sure the light picked up by the sensor is only the IR you're shooting at it. You'll need to double check whichever materials you wish to use, and make sure that the IR beam can penetrate.

  1. Should be able to penetrate just find, as long as you pick the right material
  2. 25cm shouldn't be an issue, but check the specs of the sensor and verify it against the log output from the roomba
  3. Dido
  4. Mostly to protect the sensor from debris
  5. Mostly for mechanical reasons. It's at that angle in the 800 series roomba to make it easier to insert and remove the bin with one hand

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