IRobot Virtual Wall Top Button




So I'm annoyed that the big button looking thing on the top of the iRobot Virtual Wall is not the power button. It looks like it should be, but it's just not. So I've got to go in and add a switch to the top of the virtual wall.

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Step 1: Remove the Top Half

Get the gray lid off, and take all four of the screws out from the top.

Once the screws are out (keep them organized: they are different sizes), the white shell will slide off the battery casing and electronics. Watch that you don't catch the power cables which inexplicably cross the circuit board. Already at this point, I've found a number of unusual design decisions that I'm really hoping won't show up in the Roomba itself.

Step 2: Exploring Time!

The circuit board can pull off the bosses, but be careful, because those stupid power cables cross over the board trying to lock it in place. As you can see in the second picture, you could also pull off the power button and range switch sub-board. I do like that they went ahead and put the mini-plug between the sub- and main- board. It makes playing with the board and measuring the component values much easier.

I'm hoping to later take the component values and find out how to make one of these for myself.

Step 3: Serious Business Time

Alright. Enough exploring. I tried to find one of the cool little foil momentary switches that the virtual wall uses as a power button, but failed. I did find these at Radio Shack, even though it's monstrous and ugly.

Second picture shows the stuff I gathered:
-Mini SPST Momentary push switch
-heat shrink tubing
-electrical tape
-light gauge braided wiring
-wire strippers
-needle nose
-sharp knife

Step 4: Dremel

Cut out the top cap and the virtual wall cover itself to the size of the switch. I found that my switch was too long to fasten between the virtual wall cover and the circuit boards, so if I want to fasten the nut onto anything, it will have to be the top cap.

I love this bit for my Dremel. It cuts really clean holes in the plastic items that I've messed with before. Just don't poke it into your hand, because that really hurts.

Step 5: Wiring

So I guess that you're really supposed to use some solder to ensure a good connection, especially for the momentary switch, but I'm not nearly that fancy. Maybe later.

Cut into the power button's lines (white/black) and tap your new button in parallel with the first. Make sure your new lines are long enough to get the cover back over top of the wall, but not so long as to bunch up or pinch when the cover is in place.

I used a spot of packing tape to keep those previously mentioned board crossing lines out of the way of catching on the switch terminals.

Step 6: Sweet, It Worked.

Yeah, so it's nothing special for anyone who's got even minor instructable experience, but even the simplest of modifications can make an item much better.

I went ahead and put the fastening nut on top of the cap as it made everything much more stable and even added a not-too-bad trim look. Now I can turn the wall on and off with the toe of my shoe, a long stick, or whatever comes to hand. The switch seems to have a good level of responsiveness and I haven't noticed any problems with the function of the wall.

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    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Have you seen this, pretty cool creation.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    What's the part number of that Dremel bit? Looks like one I'd like to add to my collection.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    then add a power button!


    10 years ago on Step 6

    realy good, i dont know if yours have a power button, but the model i use haven't got it, just have to remove the bateries to turn it off


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great work, my Roomba's virtual wall doesn't have a power button at all! it senses the robot then it powers on if it comes across the beams.
    Any one knows how to convert this from sensing to a regular power button? because I want to use it with iRobot Scooba but it won't power on.
    My VW can be found here.

    Thanks again for the instructions.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You should get a blog. And post this there.

    It's not really an Instructible per-se.
    It's nice to know what's inside of stuff, but your picture angles don't really show every detail(they all seem to be from the same general angle)

    And there's no real instructions beyond "Remove screws from here and here"

    P.S. You never explained how to make the button go on top.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    K, I finally got around to putting up the rest of the instructable. More to your liking, now? Have you made any mods to your virtual walls that would be worth showing?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Much better, I must say. I give you kudos for doing such a good remake. I don't have a roomba let alone a virtual wall, so no, I don't have any mods worth showing


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I must have accidentally clicked publish before I really intended to. I've still got a bit of info to add on to this guy, but I generally agree, this hasn't really turn out to be as instructableish as I thought it might. If I get the power button on top, I'll republish it.