Roomba Rave

| 02 Nov 2006 | Posts | 2,475 views

Following on to my previous post about one of the most practical technological marvel on the market in recent years, here is an update on my Roomba, from iRobot.

After several months of using Roomba, I find my floors spotlessly clean, both common areas and areas under furniture. For my usage pattern and nature of dirt, I have to empty and clean the dirt bin once a week. More often than the average vacuum cleaner, but worth the benefit of total floor coverage.

Be aware that although this robot is smaller than your average vacuum cleaner, it still has quite a noise level. Baby will find it a bit hard to fall asleep with Roomba wandering around. :) The cause is the powerful motor that creates the vacuum effect in the dirt bin at the back of the unit. Another source of noise is the motor of the side rotating brush. I’m figuring out a way to soften the noise there, but I suspect it will have to be a major overhaul of the motor or having to do without it.

Once I had an awful experience that started by someone in my household who carelessly rinsed the dirt bin with water. Don’t do that as the bin contains electronics and the motor for the vacuum function! As I was worried that the electronics would short circuit, I took apart the bin and tried to blow-dry the area using a hot blower. Not being careful enough, the plastic fan driven by the motor started to melt and distort. The fan couldn’t turn any more as it was warped. After much twisting and re-melting, I became more experienced in hot modelling and got it back mostly in shape.

There are several places on the underside of Roomba which you can try to oil to reduce friction. This can help prolong the shell life of the machine, keep dirt out, and lower operational noise. The easiest place to apply oil without using tools is at the two axles of the long brushes. They are the round white plastic pieces with square holes in them, shown in the photo on right.

After months of two sessions per day, the first thing that gave way on my Roomba is a section of the hinge that holds one of the two rubber wheels.
A chunk of the hinge cracked, but the wheel is still kept in place by the other side of the hinge. This was probably caused by the metal rail of my sliding glass doors. My machine must have been banging its right wheel in and out of the rail and stressed the structure of it. If you have such a place in your house, take note of it and think of ways to avoid it.

In case you are still undecided on whether you should get one, check out roboticvacuums.net for more reviews and information about Roomba. There is a good review on Roomba which I have been describing, and one on a fairly new model, Scooba. This fancy blue vacuum may just be on my wishlist as it can wash and vacuum hard floors. A little bucket contains the dirty water collected from the floor after washing. It would be so satisfying to see that dirty water!

Related post:

Cleaning The World, One Robot At A Time
http://glob.lokety.com/2006/05/cleaning-world-one-robot-at-time.html>

Links:

Reviews on Roomba
http://www.roboticvacuums.net/>

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