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Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 04:00 PM   #1
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Do you Scooba?

Ours, an early Mother's Day present, is making its trial run on the kitchen's tile floors. Next up are the dining room and the hallways.

It's $299 at Costco.com but your street price may be less. I've never seen so much packaging for such a small appliance but it arrived undamaged.

Ours came with a mostly-charged battery so it only needed an hour to get ready. It has its own special cleaning solution but the company actually says in several different parts of its literature that white vinegar works too. It spritzes on its cleaning mix, brushes it around, and sucks it up. (That's a nice change from a mop or a Swiffer that works with successively dirtier solution & cleaning surfaces.) Scooba does fine on dust, red dirt, small hairballs, & dried peas but it needs help with crusty puddles of dried spaghetti sauce. However it also seems to cover a lot of the floorspace more than once, so if it doesn't get the mess on its first pass it might come back for a second try. It won't clean the last quarter inch to the wall.

It revs up with a series of beeps reminiscent of the "Charge!" jingle. It spins around a couple times to start mapping the boundaries with its IR sensors and then randomly takes off. Its vacuum motor makes a blower noise about the volume of a Dustbuster. It's noisy enough to discourage you from sitting nearby, browsing a magazine & snacking on bonbons, looking up occasionally to nod approvingly. If you're that kind of person then you might want to leave the floors for your housecleaner (or your teenagers).

OTOH it's fun to watch, especially if you're a geeky engineer. I had to spend several months of my graduate degree programming best-path & least-path algorithms so I appreciate the pitfalls. iRobot claims that Scooba uses a combination of those and a couple others. It's clear that the designers had to keep starting over-- the machine doesn't obediently trundle back & forth but instead wanders around exploring & bumping into stuff. Scooba's worst nightmare is driving into a corner (under a cabinet's toekick) at a 45-degree angle and hooking the door on its top. However it eventually managed to extricate itself without its "I'm stuck!" beep. It doesn't pay any attention if you laugh at it.

It's best on flat sheet vinyl but it does OK on textured vinyl & ceramic tile. It tends to leave a quick-drying trail (probably to prove to its owner that it's been there) but it'll drip on tile's grout lines. It's not recommended for hardwood floors.

Whoops, it's done. 100 square feet in about 20 minutes. It plays a few excited tones and then whines at you to empty its tank. It picked up an impressive amount of dirt considering that the floor was mopped just a couple days ago. However it tends to choke on big hairballs and, like a vacuum's rotating brush, they get wrapped around its bristles. Everything can be taken apart for cleaning, though, and those with fearless electronics skills can hack to their heart's content.

I'd have no problem turning it loose, leaving the house to run errands, and checking back in an hour or two. The "virtual walls" do a fine job. Of course some owners are nervous about it escaping its room and drowning the carpets next door. If that was an issue then I'd block the exits with closed doors, pet gates, or furniture.

Pets may have to leave the area. Our bunny is not amused. He wants nothing to do with Scooba and doesn't like having his naptime interrupted.

I'll bet this critter rocks on garage floors... I think we'll add a late-model Roomba when we get bored with Scooba!
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 04:16 PM   #2
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Re: Do you Scooba?

No, I don't Scooba, but I do Roomba ( I talk to mine, his name is Robbie)...from the IRobot company - IRBT - they also make heavy duty upright robots for the military (in Afganistan & Iwreck and being trialed for guard duty on military bases!...enjoy!

IntoTheMystic had a thread on this with an eeriely same thread name http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=9530.0

IRobot & Boeing to collaborate.... http://crave.cnet.co.uk/gadgets/0,39...9289919,00.htm

and here's an r-gator unmanned vehicle... cool!
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: Do you Scooba?

I purchased a Roomba and a Scooba last year. I love my Roomba and use it about twice a week on all my tile floors. His name is Robbie. The scooba was a different story. I have never been to happy with the scooba. It left to much water on the floors and didn't seem to clean as well as I thought it should. I hope you are happier with yours. I bought one of the first roombas I saw, so maybe it's like cars, don't buy the first off the assembly line! After the warranty was up the battery went on the scooba and rather than spend $60 or so to replace it I opted to get a new mop! My roomba is still running on it's first battery.
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: Do you Scooba?

Oh man the Roomba red worked like a champ for about 14 months then would start go in a circle backup and stop dead. New Battery etc. I want to have a funeral for her!

But every month or so we charge up the battery put her together and hope she has awaken from her coma. But alas shegoes in a small circle, backs up and quits.

It really is sad. A member of the family is well in late stages of alzhiemers!!
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 05:43 PM   #5
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Re: Do you Scooba?

We have an original Roomba, but it lives in the garage now. It worked OK on hardwood floors, but would occasionally get tangled up in rug tassels or would otherwise need assistance.

Bottom line: "OK" performance is not good enough for a robotic appliance. It has to perform perfectly or it will eventually be replaced by a human-guided appliance. I wouldn't trust a water-squirting robotic appliance at the current level of technological sophistication. I'm sure it's a fun toy, though.
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 06:10 PM   #6
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Re: Do you Scooba?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy888
Oh man the Roomba red worked like a champ for about 14 months then would start go in a circle backup and stop dead. New Battery etc. I want to have a funeral for her!

But every month or so we charge up the battery put her together and hope she has awaken from her coma. But alas shegoes in a small circle, backs up and quits.

It really is sad. A member of the family is well in late stages of alzhiemers!!
Same thing, I loved mine and wish she would come back to life! I'm thinking of trying the one that is advertised as a shop-bot, that is just a sweeper--I think it might do better on the mounds of dog hair than the vacuum. Now we just we sweep, and we miss the happy Roomba sounds. Only wood floors in our house.

Sarah
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-25-2007, 07:02 PM   #7
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Re: Do you Scooba?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy888
Oh man the Roomba red worked like a champ for about 14 months then would start go in a circle backup and stop dead. New Battery etc. I want to have a funeral for her!

But every month or so we charge up the battery put her together and hope she has awaken from her coma. But alas shegoes in a small circle, backs up and quits.

It really is sad. A member of the family is well in late stages of alzhiemers!!
My Roomba did that within 7 months of getting it. I went to their web page and chatted with them, it was the quickest way, and they gave me an RMA. They do great on cat hair and litter.
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-26-2007, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: Do you Scooba?

Glad it works for someone.

I bought a scooba and hate it. Couldn't leave it becuase it keeps getting stuck.
Also, my floor area is too big for an effective cleaning, so I had to develop all these blockades to make a manageable area, it takes 2 hours to clean that small area, it is VERY LOUD, and you have to go behind it to get the corners, then I had to take it apart after each use to clean it before moving on to another area. All in all, taking longer than just mopping the *** floor myself.

Now it sits in my garage, no takers on Craigslist yet. For me, turned out to be a complete waste of $$.

However, the pets ignored it.
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-26-2007, 09:36 AM   #9
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Re: Do you Scooba?

Have a roomba and aside from it being interesting to follow and watch with a cup of coffee the first few times, I found it fair to middling in cleaning hard floors, it got caught on everything, and most homes have a throw rug or tassled rug or some other thing that it'd eat and cry about.

Gabe enjoys it as a toy. The batteries are good for about a year before they wont hold a charge again.

We decided to stick with the self propelled hoover upright, which is a LITTLE more work, but does a far faster, better job.
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Re: Do you Scooba?
Old 04-26-2007, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: Do you Scooba?

I have both and they haven't solved my cleaning problems. I'm still too lazy to run them!

There's a great message board here: http://www.roombareview.com/chat/

It's very helpful.
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