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Do you Roomba?
Old 06-14-2011, 07:20 PM   #1
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Do you Roomba?

Our son gave us a Roomba as a gift recently. What an amazing gadget to vacuum to house. Even gets under the bed!

What has been your Roomba experience?

The Roomba vacuums range in price from $200 to $600, with the 560 being a mid-range model at $349. This gives the 560 a nice selection of features including 1-4 room coverage, scheduling, and automatic self-charging with an included dock. The kit includes virtual walls, but unlike more expensive models does not include room-to-room navigation. To get you’ll need to pick up a $40 virtual wall lighthouse for the doorway between each room (three rooms means you need two lighthouses). And by the way, if you are a pet owner you’ll want to consider the 562 pet edition which includes the high-capacity bin for all of those cat-hair-tumbleweeds under your couch.
The out-of-box experience with the Roomba borders on amazing. You open the box, take it out, put the Roomba on the floor and press the only button that makes sense: Clean. After that the Roomba starts cleaning, just as if it knew your house/apartment/office inside out.
The clever little bot scans its surroundings as well as the cleanliness of the floor and starts running lines across your apartment, slowing down as it approaches objects. One sensor prevents it from slamming into your furniture and the front-mounted bump sensor let’s the bot know when it has hit something that won’t move. This bump sensor allows the Roomba to stop when it hits something low and solid (like the foot of a table) but also to go through bed skirts and other objects that look solid but aren’t. This means it can get under a couch, table, or bed so long as it has about four inches of clearance.

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Old 06-14-2011, 07:47 PM   #2
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Enjoyed it for a while but the following eventually won out to have them sidelined:
- noisy, i tend not to run it when i am around
- batteries, lose life over first 1/2 year. Replacements from irobot pricey, other options require soldering or splicing to old battery case (within my cpabilities but not for everyone)
- rarely found home docking station to recharge, some obstical inevetibly stymied it

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Old 06-14-2011, 07:49 PM   #3
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I love ours. My housemate was always poking me about vacuuming, so I bought him to do the task for me. I enjoy the robot care a lot more than actually pushing a vacuum about so...

Arvy (yeah we named him, diminutive for CDC-RV-1) works great, but he does have an unfortunate tendency to get stuck in a few places. Strategically placed books and chairs helps (he can get wedged under the dishwasher for instance), and keeping things tucked out of the way he might accidentally ingest like the corners of the bedskirt and my shoelaces is important. He really likes locking himself in Leyla's bathroom so we generally close the door to that when he is running so he doesn't trap himself inside.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:50 PM   #4
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We have had and used one for a couple years. Have replaced the batt. It saves wifey a lot of work which is a good thing...
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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How does it do with dog hair? We've killed many regular vacuums so curious how it handles hair.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:59 PM   #6
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We are dog and cat less for now so can't give an accurate response............
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
What has been your Roomba experience?
We're Scooba-qualified. Ours is named "Scoobie-doo", of course, and if we ever bought a Roomba then we'd name it "Shaggy". We use it weekly on our kitchen tile floor and every few weeks in our diningroom, livingroom, hallways, and bathrooms.

NiMH batteries only last a couple years. I've tried an aftermarket Li-Ion from a guy who was making them out of his workshop, but that one has faded a lot faster than I expected. It's easier to keep the Scooba charger plugged in (with the battery in the Scooba) and properly refreshed than to try to charge them on the portable brick charger. It uses additional vampire-load energy but it seems to prolong battery life.

There's a wealth of knowledge at READ FIRST! Roomba/Scooba Problematic issues/fixes. • Robot Reviews , and I'd check there before bothering iRobot for assistance or support.

Instead of buying iRobot's rebuild kits (a few years down the road, depending on your use) you might try looking on eBay and Craigslist. A cottage industry has sprung up there of parts that are usually cannibalized from earlier models or discarded ones.

There's also a bezillion YouTube videos of the cat who likes to ride on top of them...

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Old 06-14-2011, 08:24 PM   #8
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I got one in January 2007, and really loved it while it worked. Sadly, it did not keep working (seemed to lose its mind or something, and I certainly agree with the battery comments). I decided that iRobot, the company, just needed to refine their technology and will certainly consider buying another in the future. It's a great idea.

I could be off base on this, but I seem to recall hearing that iRobot was called in to help with the Japanese nuclear disaster. If true, I was glad for the technology.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:18 PM   #9
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I thought you were talking about the dance. But it was just a vacuum cleaner thingy. I mean - it's cool and all to clean the house....

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Old 06-14-2011, 10:13 PM   #10
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My sister-in-law loves het roomba, but I just can't see it. I get a certain satisfaction from vacuuming and seeing it all cleaned at once.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:19 PM   #11
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We have had one for about six months. My wife is in love with it. If she were forced to choose between the Roomba and me, she would choose the Roomba.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:57 PM   #12
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DW wanted one two years ago. I keep putting her off saying it was a waste of $$$ and I could do much better with a regular Kenmore Vac. (that I have had for 10 years and keep repairing). Women do eventually wear you down and she got her Roomba. It is a model specific for dog hair of which we seem to propagate in mass quantities with two dogs. It works OK. We (I) have to clean it after each use of it will start dragging dog hair around the kitchen floor . It works much better on the tile than on the carpet and tends to get stuck under the edge of the couch and beeps for help. I usually have find it and carry it back to the charger despite having several "light houses" to keep it from straying and to let it know where it is relative to the charger.

It works far better in the RV due to the smaller space and it really does seem to keep the place less "furry". It does take up a bit of floor space and I end up tripping over it so it usually gets tucked away until DW reminds me about it.

I really should program it to run every other day or so but I just don't seem to get around to it. Dragging out the canister vac. just seems like a more efficient way to clean the floors between major cleanings.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:19 AM   #13
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One major disappointment with the rumba, it destroys fringe on oriental carpets due to the way the tracks work. Also I agree the battery gets weaker over time. Note that in addition to a lighthouse a 2x6 makes a good barrier (virtual wall) for the rumba.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:10 AM   #14
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DW loves hers. When she first got it, she followed it around, just watching it work. Ours also has a name...a good British butler name: Rupert.

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Old 06-15-2011, 07:46 AM   #15
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We have used ours for 3 years or so, but not so much recently. They work quite well with dog hair (3 major shedders here), but you have to clean them out so often it becomes a difficult decision whether to Roomba or run the regular vacuum. It can be really excellent for turning on and leaving when you have something else to do. I think they work better on tile than carpet.

One word of caution regarding dogs. A couple of years ago old Charlie was on his last legs. He was 17 years old and we knew his time was getting short. One day we turned on the Roomba and went out in the garden to work while it handled the inside. Well, poor old Charlie got caught short with a major case of doggie diarrhea. When we came back into the reeking house, the Roomba had smeared it all over the room (big kitchen). After controlling our urge to vomit, we had to clean and sanitize not only the floor but the Roomba too. That was the last time we left the little robot unsupervised. Poor old Charlie has since moved on, but I suspect he's still laughing up there in doggie heaven.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:55 AM   #16
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We loved ours, but I grew tired of pulling the dog hair out of the wheels and eventually it lost the ability to recharge. I am thinking about getting one of the shop sweeper ones they offer, think it is called the Dirt Dog, as what I really need is a sweeper and not so much a vacuum. We have all hardwood floors and 5, count em, 5 dogs and 6 cats so hair is a cultural phenom in our house.

Great idea and it is so cool that it will vacuum while you do something else.
Poor Charlie and Poor Harley--that is gross!
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:06 PM   #17
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Tried it, it was fun to watch and did an ok job, but I definitely had the battery issue and it seemed I spent as much time prepping the room to make it easier for it to get around as I did just vacuuming, so it's sitting on a closet shelf until I get around to trying it one more time to verify that it really isn't working anymore before I toss it or see about junking it for parts.

This was a few years ago and maybe they have gotten better.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:34 PM   #18
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I have had a Scooba for several years and gone through one battery. Overall I am moderately satisfied with them, but I don't think they come close to their cleaning claims.

The biggest pro is the clean better than I do. The biggest con is that ain't saying much, and they darn things, get stuck, run out of water, or get stuck after only one room.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:21 PM   #19
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LOVE mine! Have one for each of our two homes, bought one for our daughter, MIL,and a shop vac for hubby. Going on 3 year and I swear by them for carpet. linoleum and hardwood. Shop vac doe the job but not quiet as well. We had a poddle and it was great for that. (not too much shedding)
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:37 AM   #20
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I had planned to buy a roomba but hired a house keeper instead.

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