2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

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2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 23rd, 2018, 8:43 pm

We just bought a 2nd roomba. Its an 877 and the original is an 880. My plan was to divide the house in half with a single virtual wall so each one could do one half. I set them to run at different times today and the first roomba obeyed the virtual wall just fine, but the 2nd one (877) ignored it and ran it over lol. I thought this should be possible as long as both were not running? I set them 2 hours apart and my daughter who was home said the first one had quit long before the 2nd one started up. Was the virtual wall still associated to the first roomba?

Is there a trick to this?
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby ps0001 » July 23rd, 2018, 10:35 pm

What kind of virtual wall do you have? Does it look like this?
http://store.irobot.com/default/parts-a ... 69425.html

Or does it look like this?
http://store.irobot.com/default/parts-a ... 81002.html

Or does it look like the one in this FAQ?
https://homesupport.irobot.com/app/answ ... /a_id/7305

I believe the first two are always on, but the last one can be set to "auto" or "manual" mode. The manual mode is a lot like how the older virtual walls worked, where you turn them on with a button, and they turn themselves off after 135 minutes. I suspect you have a virtual wall that behaves like this and it's simply turning off between the times your Roombas are cleaning.

In virtual wall mode, the Roombas aren't really "paired" or "associated" with the unit; the bots are just looking for any IR signal that hits their RCON sensors. If they pick up a virtual wall signal, they'll turn around. You should be able to run them both at the same time.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 23rd, 2018, 11:00 pm

I have the 2nd one. Virtual wall/ light house. Im using it in virtual wall mode. If i turn one robot on the green light flashes on the wall immediately. If i turn the 2nd robot on it does not unless the other one is off. Ill have to run some more tests but i thought i remember somewhere that only one could work at a time.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby ps0001 » July 23rd, 2018, 11:36 pm

I've never owned one of those VWLH's, so hopefully someone who has experience with it will chime in. After taking a quick look at the 800 series owner's guide, I'm guessing these units need to be paired with a Roomba to be turned on and off, even in virtual wall mode. By my research, they can be a little finicky if dealing with more than one robot. I read it's often necessary to remove and reinstall the batteries from a VWLH if it had previously been paired with another Roomba.

My advice is to get one of the newer dual mode virtual walls. It doesn't have the lighthouse functionality, but it doesn't sound like you're using it anyway. They're $50 brand new, but you can often find them on eBay for $20 or less. They don't communicate by RF at all, so they don't pair to a specific robot. They just emit a constant signal that Roombas won't cross.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby a1robotrepair » July 24th, 2018, 8:29 am

Lighthouses only work with 1 Roomba at a time no mater which mode they are in.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 24th, 2018, 11:17 am

I'm wondering if there is a timer before the 1st robot stops associating with the VW. I did some tests last night and it seems like the robot "might" stay in contact with it until it fully charges and shuts down. I scheduled them to run several hours apart this time and will see what happens Wednesday when they run again.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby a1robotrepair » July 24th, 2018, 2:29 pm

Lighthouse Should disconnect RF packet soon after Roomba docks, 10 seconds I believe, and be ready for a new packet.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 24th, 2018, 3:50 pm

I got an answer from Roomba support which doesnt seem right at all, but heres the response.



Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, we will be more than happy to assist.

We are happy to learn that Roomba 880 is able to communicate with the virtual wall light and we will work together to ensue the Roomba 877 is able to do so as well.

You did mention the time frame of the both robots cleaning is two hours apart, which is enough time so that should not be an interference. What you will need to ensure is after using the Virtual wall light house with the Roomba 880 that it is paired with the 877 to ensure proper connection.

In order to have the light house paired with the Roomba 877, you will need to:
First place the robot on the charger and remove the battery from the light house.
Start the robot cleaning cycle, then reinstall the battery into the virtual wall light house and Place a Virtual Wall Light House within the doorway of the room you want Roomba to clean.
Please let us know if after performing the pairing steps Roomba 877 was able to obey the Light House.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby vic7767 » July 24th, 2018, 5:00 pm

I use different RF equipped Roombas with the same LH/VW accessories. iRobot basically told you what has to happen in order to pair your LH/VW.

I have LH/VWs that I modified with Lithium cells so that I can charge them from time to time using a Roomba power supply. As soon as the power supply is plugged into the LH/VW, the circuit is opened and it becomes unpaired from the Roomba it was paired with. After the LH/VW is charged and the charger unplugged then the LH/VW is unpaired powered up and will pair up with the first Rf equipped Roomba that becomes active by a cleaning run.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 24th, 2018, 5:16 pm

So you really have to cut power to the VW to make this work? Seems like a horrible design. We cant be the only people with multiple roombas can we?

Let me ask you this. I have 3 virtual walls, 2 of them are not in use. Can I pair one wall with each robot and just put them both in the same place to acomplish my goal? What would be the process? Turn one robot on with only 1 wall powered up and then vice versa? Will they keep their respective pairings at that point?
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby vic7767 » July 24th, 2018, 5:38 pm

The LH/VW will pair up with the first Roomba that handshakes with the RF Zigbee unit inside both the accessory and the Roomba. That handshake data should remain static within each Zigbee controller until power is removed. Therefore in theory, you should be able to configure each LH/VW with its own Roomba.

Then you will have a new title for the Subject line: 2 Roombas, 2 LH/VWs
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 24th, 2018, 5:49 pm

I could probably live with that if it works. If I had to rehandshake everytime a battery died in the VW that wouldnt be to bad. I can't believe they didnt think of this scenario when designing these things tho.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby vic7767 » July 24th, 2018, 5:54 pm

drunkpenguin wrote: If I had to rehandshake everytime a battery died in the VW that wouldn't be to bad.
Ya,and that's just the accessory side. There is also the Roomba side if the battery dies or is removed.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 24th, 2018, 6:08 pm

Well, I suppose I could get creative here. I could modify one of them to run off of a dc adapter instead of batteries. I could then plug it into a wemo with a schedule to turn off and back on before cleaning times. There is a plug nearby where I want the wall to be.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby vic7767 » July 24th, 2018, 6:24 pm

:cheers: Sounds like a plan.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 24th, 2018, 9:54 pm

Thank you vic for all your help! I confirmed tonight that if I power up 1 robot and 1 VW at a time I can pair each robot with 1 wall and put them side by side. This will allow me run both robots at the same time which is what I really wanted. I may still take them apart and hard wire the sensors so I don't have to mess with batteries, but at least now I understand how they work and can come up with a game plan.

Thanks again Vic, you explained it much better than the roomba support people. Although to their credit, after I sent them an email that I was disapointed with the design they tried to call me to help. Most companies won't do stuff like that so I do appreciate their effort!
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby leonicholson » July 25th, 2018, 2:13 pm

I use with https://homesupport.irobot.com/app/answ ... /a_id/7305
with one 595 in one area, two 595's in another - with all three running at the same time (when we go out).

There is one virtual wall between the the two areas and the robots do not cross over.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby ps0001 » July 25th, 2018, 3:43 pm

I agree with leonicholson, I think the simplest solution would be to get a non-lighthouse virtual wall.
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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby drunkpenguin » July 25th, 2018, 4:20 pm

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Re: 2 Roombas, 1 Virtual Wall?

Postby vic7767 » July 25th, 2018, 6:30 pm

Yes, that's a good one.
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