Neato Botvac LiDAR Repair Includes Juicy Pics And A Tool Hack

It seems second nature to us and it’s one of the ways we hackers are different from the larger population… sometimes we absolutely insist on buying something that is already broken. Which is where we join [Anton] as he reverse engineers, debugs, and repairs a broken Neato Botvac’s LiDAR system all in the name of having clean floors at a fraction of the cost.

Now keep your head on a swivel ’cause along the way [Anton] has the all-too familiar point in his repair where he puts the original project on hold while he makes a specialized tool he needs to finish the job. It’s hard to tell which is more impressive: turning a laptop webcam into a camera capable of clearly viewing bond wires and (wait for it!) where they are attached on the Silicon, or that he (yeah, we were making a comparison…member?) went straight back to solving the original problem. [Anton] did split this project into two separate blog posts, the first one is linked above and it’s not until the second post that he fixes the original problem. Perhaps there was a bit of scope creep, which was the reason for the separate blog entries? At any rate, [Anton] does a great job documenting the process along with what he calls some ‘juicy pictures’ and you can see a few of them after the break.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Neato hack (there’s pun in there somewhere, commenters below us will surely wipe the floor with it). LiDar on the other hand has been covered more recently in a Police LiDAR Tear Down and another post relating more directly to [Anton’s] repair.

4 thoughts on “Neato Botvac LiDAR Repair Includes Juicy Pics And A Tool Hack

  1. i dont think it is a safety switch since the roomba uses nicd battery.

    only lithium batteries can cause fires afaik.

    yes you could light a fire by sparking the battery in the presence of fuel of some sort or sparking steel wool

    but we dont hear of nicd/mh cells causing lithium type fires.

  2. This is a great repair story. But I felt the HAD summary was lacking a few important details.

    The purpose of the webcam hack was to remove the IR filter to if the LIDAR laser was functioning. Being able to readjust the focus to see bond wires was a cool side note but was not used in the repair of the robot.

    Spoiler Alert:
    He found that the problem was the laser driver circuit and was able to replace it with an identical part from a different model robot.
    I’m surprised that the conclusion was omitted from the summary. It felt incomplete.

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