Avi's page for iRobot Roomba 5xx / 6xx / 7xx Gray CHM mod

How did I mod (modify) iRobot Roomba 7xx Gray Cleaning Head Module gearbox with bearings?

I my Roomba 560
(Well... I still do...)

This mod assumes that you already cleaned the gearbox (see this page)
and you wish to modify and improve your cleaning module.

With this modification dust and hair entering to the gearbox will be blocked.
Worn to the gearbox wheels, wheel holes and to brush hubs will be reduced dramatically as ball bearings will replace the plastic to plastic friction.

Doing this modification on time (when no serious damage was done to the plastic holes) will 'save' and extend Roomba Gray CHM life and will add many hours of smooth and quieter work.

This page describes Roomba 560 but it is the same for all 5xx 6xx 7xx series models that uses Green / Red / Gray CHM though procedure might be slightly different.
For the Red CHM mod details instructions go to this page.

This fix is ONLY for those with electronics and mechanical knowledge and skills.

This fix is NOT recommended by me
nor by iRobot and will void product warranty !
If you follow this fix, you do it on your own risk !


A. Preparing for the fix:

Suggested tools and materials:
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Old toothbrush or some other small cleaning brush
  • Lithium grease
  • Vacuum cleaner (to be use it in each step where you find dust and hair buildup. Be careful not to vacuum small parts as well.)
  • Electric screwdriver or drill
    (This will be used as a kind of lathe that holds the gear wheel in order to contract its diameter.)
  • 3.0mm drill
  • Fine tooth blade arc hand saw
  • Set of files, straight and round.
  • Screw and nuts 4-40 or M3 to retain the small gear wheel to the drill.
  • Step drill bits
    or any other tool that can help expand the housing holes diameter such as grinding stone, awl or a file.
  • Swivel burrs removal tool.
    (This is a great tool to help in expanding housing holes.)
  • Vise grips or a bit handle
    (This is to hold the drill bit etc. It is advised to expand the holes by hand and not with an electric drill to gain precise and more controlled process.)

  • 3 sealed ball bearings with the following dimensions:
    (in x out x thick, Metric system)
    - 6x10x3 mm (for motor gear)
    - 10x15x4 mm (for small beater brush gear)
    - 15x21x4 mm (for large bristle brush gear)

    To save you time, I have prepared a set of the 3 needed bearings that you can purchase now. Click the following Buy Now button to purchase.

Buy the bearing set now for just US$ 24.90

You'll receive:
- 3x bearings with listed size. (1x each)

* Rubber sealed type, best for dust blocking. (rubber color varies)
* Flanged 6x10x3 bearing for easy installation.
* FREE worldwide shipping included ! (Registered airmail)

CHM mod bearings 0


B. Disassembly of the robot and modding the gearbox
Note: since most of the screws are screwed to plastic bosses,
it is advised to use hand screwdriver for fine torque control.

1. Place the Roomba top down on a solid work surface
Remove the screw from the rotating side brush and gently pull it out
Avi's CHM mod 1

2. Remove the four screws holding the bottom plate and remove the plate
Avi's CHM mod 2

3. Take out the battery, lift it using the 2 plastic tabs.
Take out the dust bin.
Avi's CHM mod 3

4. Unscrew the CHM 4x screws and take it out by pulling it gently.
Avi's CHM mod 4

5. This is the complete CHM - "Cleaning Head Module"
* Arrow points to the gearbox side
Avi's CHM mod 5

6. Open the module top door/frame and take out the bristle brush and the beater brush.
Avi's CHM mod 6

7. This is the mating area where bristle brush and beater brush mate with the gearbox.
The gap between the gear wheels cylinder to the plastic housing is the area which this mod is dealing with.

Avi's CHM mod 7

8. Take apart the CHM module by first unscrewing 1x PCB screw and releasing the motor tension cable. See next images.
Avi's CHM mod 8

9. Take off the small round sticker that keeps the motor tension cable head.
Grab the head of the tension cable with a small pliers/tweezers, pull it up and
slide it through the cable slot to release it.
Avi's CHM mod 9

10. Disassemble the PCB by first unscrewing its single screw.
Next, release the cables from its hook
Now push the PCB down to release it from its slot.

Avi's CHM mod 10

11. Separate the Gray CHM module from the Blue external frame by first spreading its 'wings' (one after the other) and by rotating the CHM inner Gray case.
Be careful not to use excessive force.
* (Though the image shows the module prior of PCB/tension cable disassembly, you should perform this step AFTER you disassemble the above PCB/tension cable).
Avi's CHM mod 11

12. You now have access to the motor.
Unscrew the 2x screws of the motor bracket that holds the motor.
Avi's CHM mod 12

13. Pull the motor aside and temporary secure it with a tape.
Avi's CHM mod 13

14. Remove the gearbox subassembly by unscrewing its 4x screws.
Pay attention that one screw is shorter! This is important when you'll assemble it later on.
Avi's CHM mod 14

15. Pull the gearbox and separate it from the module.
Unscrew the 2x screws holding the gearbox cover plate and open it.
Avi's CHM mod 15

16. This shows the open gearbox with all its wheels assembled.
Avi's CHM mod 16

17. 3x wheels needs to be modified by adding bearings to the wheels.
The gearbox wheels openings of those 3x wheels needs to be expanded to fit the bearings .
Avi's CHM mod 17

18. Now contract the gear wheels cylinder diameter.
Modified diameter should meet the inner diameter of the relative bearing.
Mating should be tight.

Motor wheel needs to be contracted and on both beater and bristle wheels we need to first remove its external ring wall and then contract its diameter to meet the bearings.
Avi's CHM mod 17a

19. Diameter contraction is done here with the help of an electric screwdriver and a file.
First image shows the motor gear wheel which is held with a 4-40 screw
Second image shows the ring wall removal with an arc saw
Third image show drilling the bristle wheel in order to allow restrain it to the drill.

If possible, prefer using table drill or a lathe for perfect centering and alignment
Pay close attention not to file too much !
Check fitting to the bearing often till you reach needed diameter.
Don't file the gear wheel, just its mating cylinder diameter !
Make sure that file's flat surface is pointing towards the gear.

Motor wheel cylinder size fits bearing inner diameter of 6.0mm. Stop modifying at 6.3mm
Beater wheel cylinder size fits bearing inner diameter of 10.0mm. Stop modifying at 10.3mm
Bristle wheel cylinder size fits bearing inner diameter of 15.0mm. Stop modifying at 15.3mm
Avi's CHM mod 18
Avi's CHM mod 19
Avi's CHM mod 20

20. Now expand the case holes to meet the outer diameter of the bearing.
Do it by hand for better control and use any of the above mentioned tools.
If possible, prefer using table drill or a lathe for perfect centering and alignment

Mating should be tight. All mating holes diameters are expanded.
Check fitting to the bearing often till you reach needed diameter.

Hole size for motor wheel fits bearing outer diameter of 10.0mm. Stop modifying at 9.7mm
Hole size for beater wheel fits bearing outer diameter of 15.0mm. Stop modifying at 14.7mm
Hole size for bristle wheel fits bearing outer diameter of 21.0mm. Stop modifying at 20.7mm
Avi's CHM mod 21

21. When reaching needed diameter, insert the bearing with a little force.
Lubricate the gear wheels using Lithium grease, assemble the gear wheels and gearbox cover.

Here you can see the gearbox with the bearings installed.
If using a flanged bearing, the flange should be on the gearbox side.
Avi's CHM mod 22

22. Assemble the gearbox to the housing.
Slide the motor to its place and pay attention that its rod hex shape will mate with the gearbox wheel. Also pay attention to the motor position in the gray housing.
Avi's CHM mod 23

23. This is the assembled module from inside.
Avi's CHM mod 24

24. Test CHM. You can use a 9V battery or a power supply if you have one.
Connect + to the Red motor wire and - to the Black motor wire.
At 15-16VDC, current should be less than 0.5A
If you test it without the outer frame, hold the tension wire to allow it to work.
Avi's CHM mod 25

25. Assemble the CHM outer Blue frame.
Start with the PCB and pay attention to its direction in the slot of the outer Blue frame.
Avi's CHM mod 26

26. Return the tension wire round head to its place.
Attach the old / new small sticker to cover the tension wire head recess / slot.
Avi's CHM mod 27

C. Assembly - assemble all parts in reverse order to what is listed above
If you have completed the assembly and left without any screw,
hit the Clean button and check if your Roomba is working...

D. Voila - you now have a working iRobot Roomba with modded Gray CHM gearbox


Have fun and enjoy your Roomba.

Want to improve your Roomba with this mod? Buy Now the bearing set or,

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Last update: Apr 14, 2014

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