|Forum topic by Adam D||posted 03-06-2012 04:02 AM||2667 views||0 times favorited||14 replies|
03-06-2012 04:02 AM
I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you guys my Roomba story. It started quite a few years ago when I bought one on Woot.com for a birthday present for my older brother. He had it for a few months and liked it, but one day came home and found it gnawing away at a lamp cord. ...this coupled with the fact that he watched our neighbors house burn down when he was a kid resulted in him giving it back to me :-/
So I tried it—I used it in my college apartment for a few years. Owning it put me in a different mindset in that I need to keep stuff off the floor. This includes wires, clothes, shoelaces, etc. I don’t consider this a negative—the house stays cleaner as a result. If I start to notice the carpet getting dirty, I don’t need to stop what I’m doing and vacuum—I can just hit a button and move on. If I want to keep it in just the living room, I turn on my “virtual walls” to keep it confined to just that room.
And then it broke. Time and time again, it broke. It would start spinning in circles, or moving backwards, or only run for 10 minutes, or countless other things. The first few times, I took it apart, vacuumed it, took some canned air to the sensors, contact cleaner to everything else, etc. I bought TWO “broken” spares off craigslist for $20. This gave me enough parts to last a lifetime. ...but I’d have to take it apart like, once a month! Forget that!
Any time it breaks now, I don’t take it apart. Almost all the problems you have with a Roomba can be resolved with the air compressor. Make sure you’re outside! Just spray it all over and watch the dust fly. This works great to clean out all the sensors (many are optical) and you’ll be good as new. The only exception is battery life—They usually only last about 1.5 years for me, and that’s with Roomba brand batteries. A new battery will run for about 2 hours before it quits, and slowly reduces down to an unusable 20 minutes over the course of its life. Save yourself the cash and get the knockoffs.
Eventually, I upgraded and bought a newer 500 series “for my roommate” ;-) for his birthday. The major difference is that it has “rug detection”—if it detects that its beaters stopped spinning (because it sucked up a rug or shoelace or whatever) it will spin backwards and try to get un-stuck. Works great.
This left the older 400 series for my woodshop. I couldn’t imagine cleaning my shop without it. I need to pick up all the big shavings/chips before I start it (it WILL choke on some pieces), but for the rest of the dust, it does a remarkable job. No, it doesn’t get EVERYTHING on EVERY run, but it does get it all eventually. It fits nicely under all of my tools—even my delta TS. I’m more apt to keep a clean shop if all I have to do is press a button.
Also, while I haven’t used the Roomba “Dirt Dog” that’s meant for shops, I’ve got my reservations. It gives you more “cargo space” (for lack of a better word) at the cost of the vacuum portion of it (it only has bristles—no vacuum). I never FILL my regular one. Also, it still doesn’t solve the choking issue—anyone who buys that thing thinking it’ll handle their shop debris will be red-faced when they see it choke on a single joining biscuit. I’d rather buy a 500 series than a dirt-dog, just for the rug detection so it’ll spit out the biscuit and move on.
If you’re on the edge, find a “broken” one on craigslist or ebay, buy a new battery for it ($30), take the air hose to it, and thank me when you’re done. If you’ve got the extra cash, the 500 series will give itself CPR if it chokes ;-)
-- Adam, Rochester NY