Sorry Vic, I didn't notice which forum I was in as I jumped in from a link on the home page.
To actually provide an answer to the original poster, I also owned a 780 in the past and noticed the same behavior he described as far as the distance from base the robot would go out to. You can *somewhat* increase the range the robot will go with the use of lighthouses, but overall in a large floorplan I found if the 780 did manage to make it to the far side of the house, away from the dock, it was in that vicinity that i would usually find it with a dead battery.
With no lighthouses used at all the robot would make it a lot further, but this seemed to greatly increase the chances that it would die from battery starvation as it couldn't find it's way back from the far side of the house.
Since I was interested in a robot being able to clean my entire floorplan (and not just the couple of rooms near the charging base) I looked to a competitor for my cleaning needs.