Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

The very latest news and updates for the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum, the Scooba Robotic Washer and the Dirt Dog workshop sweeper. All discussion and troubleshooting questions go here.

Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby George Jetson » September 5th, 2018, 9:27 pm

Hi All,
It’s been a minute or two since I was last on the Board... back in the day, Vic, Mike, Chris, and other long-time members were so good at helping get my trusty 560 dialed-in that I ran out of things to ask/hack and became just another occasional lurker.
That changed when my LPI battery died the other day. I figured after 11 years, 4 new generations, and numerous new manufacturers in the space that maybe something better had come along. Ironically, I'm perfectly happy with the 560's cleaning performance (I’m on a single level with 100% solid surfaces) and the only thing that even has me writing this post is the way the bronze bushings/bearings love to eat (and hoard) hair.
It is the single biggest driver for contemplating an upgrade, so I have a couple of questions for those that have direct experience with the 5XX/6XX, 7XX, and 8XX/9XX series robots:

1) Have the bushings/bearings on 7XX or 8XX/9XX series brushes finally solved (or at least dramatically mitigated) the hair-clogging problem?

2) Does the Gen 3 dust bin motor on the 8XX/9XX series truly provide a revolutionary step forward in terms of cleaning performance compared to previous gen robots?

3) What about the 9XX series’ camera/grid navigation? I’m perfectly comfortable with the old foraging strategy, but what Roomba owner doesn’t think they could improve their robot’s navigation scheme? Did Roomba get it right with the 900’s?

Anyway, appreciate the feedback in advance; it’s nice to be back and see some familiar avi’s. :cheers:
Dave

Rosie (Retired): Trusty 560 with numerous mods and hacks - Adopted 12/2007
Rosie 2.0: Bone stock 960 - Adopted 09/2018
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby vic7767 » September 6th, 2018, 12:52 am

Hey George, great to see a post from you. I've got both the 960 & 980 WiFi map making Roombas. iRobot has started lowering the prices on these two machines and suspicion is that a newer model is just around the corner. The extractor style brushes are great for those with pet hair as well as human hair. The vacuum motor on the 980 has two speeds one for flat floors and a higher almost screaming speed for carpet. Like you I don't mind the random pattern of the earlier Roombas but the 900s are unique in straight line cleaning.
Roomba and Neato Mods, come visit: http://www.vic7767.com/
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby RTC » September 6th, 2018, 8:07 am

1) Have the bushings/bearings on 7XX or 8XX/9XX series brushes finally solved (or at least dramatically mitigated) the hair-clogging problem?
The new extractors have "pockets" at both ends that collect hair, preventing well over 90% of it from wrapping around shafts or otherwise clogging the machine. Simply remove the endcaps of the extractors and pull out the rolls of hair in one piece to discard.

2) Does the Gen 3 dust bin motor on the 8XX/9XX series truly provide a revolutionary step forward in terms of cleaning performance compared to previous gen robots?
Having only had the 980 that is the only fan motor I have seen. I have encountered "stuck vacuum fan error" a few times when the dust bin may not have been solidly latched and came loose in cleaning, allowing the power contacts on the dust bin to slip off the contacts on the 980 that supply power and stopping the fan. Other than that it has worked great.

3) What about the 9XX series’ camera/grid navigation? I’m perfectly comfortable with the old foraging strategy, but what Roomba owner doesn’t think they could improve their robot’s navigation scheme? Did Roomba get it right with the 900’s?
Make sure there are lights on in all rooms it will be cleaning if you run the 980 at night or it rapidly gets disoriented and lost.

From my observations navigation has 3 modes.
  • area coverage - back and forth in long straight sections, seems to do twice perpendicular to each other
  • edge cleaning - "right hand" wall following in a slightly rocking motion (the side brush is on the right side of the 980)
  • traveling - rapid movement in mostly straight lines attempting to avoid mapped obsticals to go between areas, or return home at end of cleaning
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby George Jetson » September 7th, 2018, 12:08 am

Thanks Guys,
OK, so WWVD (What Would Vic Do :lol: ): drop $180.00 on a new, modded 7XX series CHM and Li-ion battery and still have an 11 yo bot with all original electrics/electronics, or apply that $180.00 to a new 8XX/9XX series machine with the more powerful vacuum motor? :think:
Dave

Rosie (Retired): Trusty 560 with numerous mods and hacks - Adopted 12/2007
Rosie 2.0: Bone stock 960 - Adopted 09/2018
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby vic7767 » September 7th, 2018, 9:02 am

Upgrade to one of the 900 models. They are way cheaper now that the i7 is coming.
Roomba and Neato Mods, come visit: http://www.vic7767.com/
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby George Jetson » September 8th, 2018, 5:49 pm

Thanks for your input Vic; always appreciated.
Dave

Rosie (Retired): Trusty 560 with numerous mods and hacks - Adopted 12/2007
Rosie 2.0: Bone stock 960 - Adopted 09/2018
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby vic7767 » September 8th, 2018, 11:08 pm

:cheers:
Roomba and Neato Mods, come visit: http://www.vic7767.com/
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Re: Long-Time Lurker, Not Quite First-Time Poster

Postby George Jetson » September 29th, 2018, 2:20 pm

Just wanted to close this thread by thanking everyone for their input (especially you Vic).
I picked-up a 960 and it's been quite a revelation: 16 missions and not a single strand of hair has found its way past the end caps and onto the brushes' metal spindles. With my 560, even the shortest job would find some hair underneath its bushings, wound around the ends of the brushes, and embedded in the bristles of the brush itself. Too long a run and you risked damage to the brushes or CHM itself due to excessive friction and heat build-up from the hair around the spindles. The plastic spindles on the gearbox-end of the 960's brushes do collect a little hair, but this is easily extracted and doesn't pose the same threat of damage to the bot that hair collected around the 560's bushings does. Incorporating the vacuum intake into the CHM really keeps debris out of the works much better than an intake incorporated into the dustbin. Seems I was on the right track in creating my own pseudo-AeroVac bin for the 560; it just wasn't effective/strong enough or close enough to the brushes to provide the same benefits as the 8XX/9XX/e-Series/i-Series design does. The time saved in maintenance alone is worth the price of admission. Too bad my 560 was such a tank and I couldn't bear parting with it until now. :clap:
Other advantages I'm seeing:

1) The 960 deals with the transition pieces between my tile and hardwood floors much more effectively than the 560 did. The 560 would often get stuck straddling a transition piece, follow it to the wall, and then - finding itself unable to turn - just repeatedly "bounce" off the wall attempting to turn for 30-60 seconds before finally activating its extraction protocol to free itself. So far the 960 has had no issues traversing these transition pieces. The added benefit is that I can let the 960 work a larger area, traversing the transitions, whereas I would section the house off into smaller areas for the 560 to avoid them.

2) The 960's grid navigation is more efficient than the 560's random foraging scheme with no apparent loss in cleaning effectiveness. I rarely left the 560 to determine when a room was clean, instead determining manually how much time to allot to each area (with 100% solid surfaces it's pretty easy to tell when the floor is clean). The 960 is cleaning a given area in 25% less time than my manually-determined time for the 560. The 960, with its 5x stronger vacuum motor, seems to be doing the same job in a single pass that the 560, with its weaker vacuum, did in multiple passes.

3) Wi-Fi connectivity is actually useful. My docking station is located under a bathroom vanity, utilizing unused space and keeping it out of view. When I needed to spot clean with the 560, I'd have to get on my hands and knees and pull it off the docking station. With the 960, I simply start the bot with the app and out she rolls. :dance:

4) The 960's pattern and spatial recognition via the cliff sensors is superior to that of the 560. The 960 will clean area rugs that the 560 would roll up on at first, and then try to back away from.

I think those are the major, functional advantages for me....now, what mods are folks finding useful for the 9XX Series? :D
Dave

Rosie (Retired): Trusty 560 with numerous mods and hacks - Adopted 12/2007
Rosie 2.0: Bone stock 960 - Adopted 09/2018
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