Roomba basics

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Roomba basics

Postby Rivertender » May 13th, 2017, 3:23 pm

Lots of models.

Bewildering features

Can you help me get a grip on this product line?

650 appears to be the best seller:

...does it have the same power as the models above it? If not, what model # starts the higher power?

...are the bells n whistles loaded onto the pricier models worth it? I didn t think I would have much use for the phone app feature.

....is the auto return to base and charge on the 650? If not what model starts that?


....are they all bagless?

.....I have tile floors but have read in reviews that the Roomba works good on them.....yes?

.....is tbere anything common to all the 700s 800s 900s?

Many thanks for all your help.
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Re: Roomba basics

Postby third_deg » May 13th, 2017, 7:56 pm

The 800 series and up models are the only ones that increase cleaning performance over lesser models.
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Re: Roomba basics

Postby glnc222 » May 13th, 2017, 10:15 pm

Roomba as well as other major brands are like museums still selling old models gradually improved over fifteen years now, with new ones. Advances have come with higher prices on more equipped models presenting a range of price points with different capabilities. Cleaning with light weight battery operated devices is not as easy as with regular vacuums, presenting a range of completeness in solving all the problems.

The original Roomba's navigated in random patterns to cover the floor over long periods with minimal suction, just sweeping, possible at low cost with minimal computing components. They are suitable for hard floors but not carpets with embedded dust, for which regular vacuums with high suction were made.

A problem with all the robots was contamination of the low cost construction and mechanisms with pet hair and fiber. A lot of tinkering and revisions took place over years to improve this, with better construction and more thorough design.

Major work was done (by your correspondent above third_deg, now starting a new company) with the 800 series creating higher power intake brushes and systems. They can clean carpets much more than before by some reports.

With the 900 series Roomba finally switched to the Neato Robotics strategy of guided, systematic pattern cleaning allowing more power to be supplied to suction with shorter driving time, accomplishing coverage in a single pass. Roomba and other brands leap frogged Neato's ten year old spinning lidar with the now practical solid state camera guidance.

The newer models now use longer lasting lithium batteries compared to the earlier models using NiMh batteries, thanks to advances in battery making. While long used in electronics, the higher power of appliance motor loads presented special demands. Portable power tools also went through a transition to lithium battery packs.

The latest addition is WiFi networking to allow expanded controls on smartphone displays.
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Re: Roomba basics

Postby hazelb » May 16th, 2017, 4:23 am

I'll try and answer some of your questions:

Yes higher numbered models are the more recently developed models. 500 series, then the 600 series came along, then 700, 800, 900 etc.

They all offered a slight design improvement over the last ( or that was the aim ), Could be light house enabled, scheduling, longer battery life etc.
Some of these features are good...some not, but the value of each feature is subjective and depends on the individual using it.

I run a 530 and 2 560's .
The 530 is now retired as I like the schedule feature of the 560... that works really well for me. I originally wanted the 560's for the light house feature, but after many experiments, I prefer to use them without light houses - just virtual walls. They may be old models, but they suit me.

wifi enabled on the 600 series means you can schedule the roomba from the app, rather then press buttons on the front of the roomba. Don't know what other features the app has.

As far as I know they all have removable dustbins and no bags,
They all return to a base to recharge - ( if they are supplied with a home base ). Only the 900 series will then go back out and complete it's cleaning mission. I find 1hrs cleaning on the first charge enough for my needs.

Blade ( a 560 ) runs downstairs 3 times a week on a schedlue and I just shut different doors if I want different areas cleaned each time. I zone off the cat food area and an area with lots of cables in it with virtual walls and that's it - easy!
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Roomba basics 2.0

Postby Rivertender » May 17th, 2017, 10:38 pm

Hey, thanks everyone for great info.

Thought you'd enjoy a Roomba Craig's List experience this past weekend: 400.00 for an 860 - never used. 100.00 off is borderline for me to take the risk of a non Roomba purveyor purchase. I arrived and the seller kept saying over and over how it was never used....made me uneasy. Box was opened. I need sealed for 400.00. I looked inside and components seemed wrapped OK, but slightly loosely. Then I saw a perforated hole in the packing clearly deigned to accommodate something, but the something wasn't there. I walked away with the seller saying, "That OK, I have another buyer coming." Looked on Craig's and it is still there. Additionally, there is the hazard of remanufactured Roombas being sold as new? I've pretty much decided to go full retail because the used prices for Roombas aren't different enough from full boat retail to take the risk because, apparently, these things sell briskly on Craig's.

OK.......new question:

It looks like I need to be in the 800 series because of the enhanced performance and because the 900 series has a colorfully creative price structure.

I saw the owner review of the 860 and 880 online. Very helpful.

My new question -

The 960 is supposed to go out an begin cleaning where it had left off before returning for a charge as I understand it. Sounds very cool, but all you folks without that feature seem pretty happy with your Roombas nevertheless. So, if that's the case that the lesser number models don't go to where they stopped cleaning the day before:
- then I need to pick the lesser number Roomba up and put it near where it left off from the last session?
- the lesser number Roomba will start fresh after being charged and just cover the area again, hopefully including the untreated/cleaned area that it didn't finish the day before?

The 860 and 880's appear to be about 500.00. It seemed incongruous, but the reviewer seemed to say that the 860 had a shorter life but more friendly battery (recharge time etc.) than the 880 with a lesser sophisticated battery? Maybe I misunderstood.

Appreciate any thoughts, for I am getting anxious to get started with a Roomba.

Many thanks again for your help already and for your patience with a rookies new questions.
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Re: Roomba basics

Postby hazelb » May 18th, 2017, 9:56 am

The 900 series roombas are significantly different from all the other roomba series in the way they navigate.

500, 600, 700, 800 are all 'random bumping bots'

They leave their home base and follow special algorithms giving a random movement pattern, they also change pattern when they meet obsticals or bump into walls, furniture. Yes, I know it sounds mad but they will just about manage to clean everywhere!
The thing that interrupts this is if they sense their battery is running low. They they will try to find the home base, dock and start charging again. If you have a large floor area, this may mean they haven't managed to clean every where. They have no idea of a map of a room layout or no memory of where they have cleaned ( well they are not supposed to - but owners have seen them do some seeming inteligent things when they have cleaned the house a few times ! :) )

When they go out to clean again, they once again clean randomly. This seems to mean that they may clean some areas more thoroughly than they did on the last outing. You can move the bot to another area to start if you want to, but I prefer to let mine start it's next scheduled mission from it's home base.

The 900 series is different. It 'maps' the area to be cleaned, then gets on with cleaning it. So if it has to clean a large area and the battery starts to get low it will return to the base, recharge then resume cleaning where it left off. It makes a map of the area to be cleaned with each cleaning mission so it will know where it has cleaned and where it hasn't.

The idea with roombas is that you run them regularly, (mine 3 to 4 times a week) they don't clean like traditional cleaners..their bins aren't big enough for that. The idea is they do a daily / every few days clean, keeping the floors looking good.

I get about 1 hrs battery life per charge. That's enough for the areas I want to clean. Anyway after an hour of Roombaing, I appreciate the peace and quiet as I'm usually at home when it's running.
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Re: Roomba basics 2.0

Postby flat5 » June 15th, 2017, 2:52 pm

Rivertender wrote:The 960 is supposed to go out an begin cleaning where it had left off before returning for a charge as I understand it. Sounds very cool, but all you folks without that feature seem pretty happy with your Roombas nevertheless.



I've owned a number of models starting with the very first one they offered. IMO, they've all been interesting and of some help, but ultimately disappointing - until the 960/980 came out. The reason is that the older models had no chance of cleaning the whole floor in a hands off fashion. You had to put it in a room at a time, arrange lighthouses or obstacles, then move it all to a new room, and repeat. Maybe if you had a small living space ( < 600 sq ft), this is not an issue. But I have a significantly larger space than that, and with all the manual shepherding of the robot, it wasn't really saving all that much time.

With the 960, this all changed. It cleans my entire downstairs, completely hands off, in about 3 hours, recharging once and then resuming in a pretty systematic way. it succeeds at this about 80-90% of the time. Other times it gets stuck on a nerf gun bullet my kids left under the sofa, or something like that. (and sometimes, it just gets "lost" for unknown reasons).

This is the first model that I think deserves the label of "robot".
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Re: Roomba basics

Postby piokrza » June 15th, 2017, 4:09 pm

Cleaning performance in case of 800's is even worse. I tested 870 in my home and 600/700's wins!
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