Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram included.)

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Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram included.)

Postby carwashguy » January 24th, 2013, 12:23 pm

Here is the layout of my house:

Image

I'm getting a Roomba 780. I was wondering how I might get it to clean every room in my house automatically on a schedule. Will the two lighthouses that it comes with be enough? I've marked on the diagram two red circles where I think I should put them. If not, where, how many more should I get, and is it possible to use none at all with any success? I appreciate any insight you could give me at all.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby vic7767 » January 24th, 2013, 1:24 pm

A lot better answer might be provided if the room dimensions were known as well as where you plan to place the Roomba and homebase. Just a ballpark answer will be nope. Two LH/VWs may not be enough but more than three LH/VWs will require a much higher capacity battery than the OEM battery shipped with your Roomba.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby carwashguy » January 24th, 2013, 2:05 pm

Oh I'm sorry. Altogether it's about 1450 square feet living area.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby vic7767 » January 24th, 2013, 2:44 pm

You will probably have to do some experimental placement of the LH/VWs as well as the Homebase to see how much area can be cleaned during a single run. Some adjustments may be necessary to determine how much area can be completed depending on accessory and Roomba placement.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby carwashguy » January 25th, 2013, 11:10 am

I tried putting the lighthouses in the positions on the diagram. Do they need to be in the door frame, or can they be on the outside hugging the wall near the door frame? If they need to be inside the door frame, I don't think that will work for me since I need to be able to close my doors.

Anyway, I tried a few test runs. I started with a full charge. The first time, I placed the dock in the bottom right corner of A2. It cleaned the entire A section completely, and the lighthouses successfully stopped it from going into B or C. However, it docked before crossing over and cleaning either B or C. I checked the lighthouses to make sure, and they were both set on lighthouse mode (on the minimum strength, should I try increasing this?).

Next, I reset the Roomba, and tried putting the dock in the bottom left corner of C3. Once again, the lighthouse stopped it from crossing over to A, but it docked before cleaning any other section.

After that, I tried taking the batteries out of the lighthouse to see how it would do without them. It became clear after a while, that it would do a semi-good job of the whole house, but not nearly as thorough as it would if it had the lighthouses. Today I'm going to try taking the battery out of the Roomba and lighthouses, put them back in, and try again.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby viper001 » January 25th, 2013, 2:29 pm

Good luck with your experiments! I was right where you are now a year ago, with the exact same robot you are using. At one point I was up to about 5 lighthouses on my floor plan, roughly the same amount of square footage you are working with.

One tip I can offer on the lighthouses is to make sure you are aware that the beam that they send out to block a doorway (whether in virtual wall mode or lighthouse mode) will tend to "fan out" a little as it moves away from the device. You can control how far that beam goes with the range switch on the device, but I also found I had to slightly angle the lighthouse in toward the opening to keep from "bleeding" the blocking signal down the wall. That was because, like you are trying, I had to place my lighthouse on one side of the door jamb so I could still close the door in question without moving it.

But all that said I will 100% concur with Vic, I don't think you can get the 780 to clean all that you need it to on the factory battery. I know nothing about whether there are upgraded batteries or not, I ended up going with a robot from another company. But good luck and let us know what you come up with.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby carwashguy » January 25th, 2013, 6:09 pm

viper001 wrote:I don't think you can get the 780 to clean all that you need it to on the factory battery. I know nothing about whether there are upgraded batteries or not, I ended up going with a robot from another company. But good luck and let us know what you come up with.


What is the expected behavior should the Roomba run low on battery? Will it avoid cleaning past the lighthouses? Will it stop short and then search for the dock? Or, will it just go until the battery dies?

What robot did you finally settle on?
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby viper001 » January 26th, 2013, 1:22 pm

When the battery starts to run low the light on the top will go from green, then to amber, and finally to red right before it's completely dead. When the robot believes it is either low on battery, or it believes it has completed cleaning everything there is to clean (whether it as gone everywhere or not) the "dock" light will start to flash. At that point it is still cleaning, but it's basically activating any lighthouses it has traversed, or using them to help it navigate in an attempt to get back to the dock before it's battery is depleated.

Basically, you can pretty much plan on the Roomba not really going over all of your floor plan each time it goes out for a mission. And if you have large or complicated floor plan expect that it really will not ever make it to the far extremes away from your dock. Placing the dock in a more central location will help this, but it really is more of a random behavior device than a systematic approach to getting an entire floor plan on each mission. The areas it does go it will tend to go over the same area multple times though, so that could be considered a plus over other devices on the market.

I actually still have a Roomba 560 which is the first robot I ever bought, it cleans my low-traffic area and less "wall intensive" basement and it does a great job down there. But to answer your question I am using Neato XV-11s on my 1st and 2nd floors as I wanted robots that would clean everywhere at least once on each mission, and I'm generally really happy with those guys.
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Re: Will 2 lighthouses work for what I need? (Diagram includ

Postby carwashguy » February 7th, 2013, 3:33 pm

After much experimentation, I've concluded that Roomba (or "GLaDOS" as we've fondly named her) is not able to consistently and thoroughly clean my particular layout. Going to investigate other options.
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