Handle of Scooba Tank ???

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Handle of Scooba Tank ???

Postby sys12345 » November 5th, 2007, 10:07 pm

I've been using my Scooba 350 daily for < 3 months. Just this morning, as i pushed down on the handle to release the tank from my Scooba, the front right side of the handle popped up from the body of the tank. Upon closer inspection (looking from the rear side of the handle), i noticed the grey piece beneath the handle has snapped at the extreme right side. Now my handle will not stay flush with the body when at rest. I can still close and open the tank fine but i'm quite disappointed by how fragile the plastic is :( It could be due to the stress placed whenever i carry the full tank of water by the handle each time. A word of caution to Scooba users: May be wise NOT to hold the tank by the handle, use yr hands to support the body instead.
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Scooba Handles

Postby bobnielson » November 5th, 2007, 11:11 pm

ALL the scooba handles (it is not really a handle iRobot told me) are NOT for taking any weight or in doing anything other than unlocking the tank for filling or emptying. Mine broke also and they sent me a new tank with the caution of NOT thinking what looks like a handle is really only a latch.
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Re: Scooba Handles

Postby geekgranny » November 6th, 2007, 2:19 pm

bobnielson wrote:ALL the scooba handles (it is not really a handle iRobot told me) are NOT for taking any weight or in doing anything other than unlocking the tank for filling or emptying. Mine broke also and they sent me a new tank with the caution of NOT thinking what looks like a handle is really only a latch.


Does iRobot caution against this in their manual or quick start guide anywhere or any stickers on the Scooba? If they don't they certainly SHOULD :!: :!: :!: :!:

On just about everything in my existence, what looks like a handle actually is a handle :!: :!: :!: :!:

I haven't had any break but I rarely ever carry a fully assembled and filled Scooba anywhere, rather placing them on the floor, assembling, and then putting the filled tank on to Scooba right before starting a mission. AND although I ususally do take off the tank when mission finished and carry just the tank to the sink for flushing or refilling I have, occasionally carried the whole Scooba, after running it's last mission, to the sink to do a good pre storage cleaning. It is only natural to do this, iRobot. :x


But the other day, for the first time ever and I don't know why I did it, I actually put all the parts on Scooba on a counter, put the filled tank on Scooba, and then moved it on to floor using the "handle". I'll bet a lot of people do this. I certainly won't be doing it this way again. In addition, only one of my Scoobas has the plastic "handle". It looked too flimsy from the very start to support the filled tank, let alone the whole Scooba with filled tank.

BUT... what looks like a handle is usually always a handle :roll: :!: :!: :!:

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Postby sys12345 » November 6th, 2007, 7:37 pm

I dont recall ever seeing a warning about not using the latch as a handle from the manual. Instinctively, something that looks like a handle will be used as such. I find it convenient to carry the tank by the handle and slot it into the catch. Well, i wouldnt have done that if i had known that it'll break the handle in the process! :shock:
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Postby geekgranny » November 6th, 2007, 8:26 pm

sys12345 wrote:instinctively, something that looks like a handle will be used as such.


I so agree.

I have come across a few things that clearly warn not to use so and so as a handle, and usually always have an obvious sticker near the place, but I don't recall, either, any warnings on any of my Scoobas.

In the past few weeks, one arrived late last week, I've purchased two Factory remanufactured Scoobas that are packaged with all the plastic, padding, stickers, etc. as a new Scooba (heck the reman's essentially are new anyway) and I don't recall seeing any warning.

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handle

Postby bobnielson » November 6th, 2007, 9:15 pm

If you look at the latch it has dots where you should PUSH the latch in to release the tank. When you then pull (very gently) on the latch the tank will pull away. The body has the actual HANDLE and is right in front to the battery. It really is just a grip going around the body of the scooba. The tank latch release is just that - if you try to handle a full scooba using the latch you will eventually break it and the latch mechinism and wouldn't be able to use that tank anymore because it wouldn't latch to the body. When I move the scooba to the loaction I want it to work the body is in one hand and the tank is in the other. It is just as heavy when it has completed a mission and I take it back to the sink in 2 pieces also. Just a word to the wise!!
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Postby sys12345 » November 6th, 2007, 9:56 pm

I am just wondering, wouldnt it be better for Scooba to be equipped with a robust latch cum handle? As of now, the Scooba body does not have grips to allow it to be easily carried about. Separating the tank and body seems cumbersome as there are times when a full tank can clean more than 1 area. In addition, its also easier to hold the scooba and/or tank by the latch for cleaning as well. Its also more secure to hold by the latch instead of using yr hands to grip the body of Scooba, which may slip and there goes Scooba and/or the tank!
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One more time

Postby bobnielson » November 6th, 2007, 10:57 pm

If you seperate the tank and body you should be able to carry the tank by the latch without breaking the latch. The grip for the body is acutally convient to hold. The handle is under the VW sensor and is easy to grip even when wet. I NEVER let dampness or water near the battery and even take the battery out when cleaning the underneath. For those who live with scooba and its design problems it is worth it.
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Postby geekgranny » November 7th, 2007, 2:19 am

Well I was going to bed but just had to put in a word.

I certainly don't want to live without Scoobas. :shock: And all of mine are the best "hired help" I've ever had in addition to being the CHEAPEST.

I just think iRobot could be a little more informative to people about the Scooba's frailties. I'd venture to say a lot of people are not as observant and caring to their 'bots as we members are. I can't imagine what is is like to have only one and then have to suspend regular use of it waiting for a spare part. :shock:

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Re: Scooba Handles

Postby debugger » November 7th, 2007, 3:14 am

geekgranny wrote:On just about everything in my existence, what looks like a handle actually is a handle :!: :!: :!: :!:


There's also a clue in the Manual where it calls it a "Handle and Tank release"

So the Handle is definitely a Handle and why shouldn't we use it as such?

I definitely do!
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Postby Nanci » November 7th, 2007, 7:57 am

It took me a while to figure out that Roomba's handle was a handle. So now they've designed the Scooba to have a latch which very much resembles Roomba's handle- how could they expect us to not think that it _was_ a handle?

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Postby sys12345 » November 7th, 2007, 10:01 am

I'm really wondering whats going on here. Have they designed the latch to double up as a handle in the first place and after encountering a no. of broken 'latches', decided that the 'handle' should be only used as a latch instead?! :?
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Postby Gordon » November 7th, 2007, 4:24 pm

sys12345 wrote:I'm really wondering whats going on here. Have they designed the latch to double up as a handle in the first place and after encountering a no. of broken 'latches', decided that the 'handle' should be only used as a latch instead?! :?
In my opinion, *that* is exactly what happened! I have believed, from the get-go (Jan 2006) that the designers intended for a loaded Scooba to be lifted and transported from sink to work area, and back, by use of that "Handle".

If not to improve finger-grip for such toting, there would have been no other need for the designer to allow the Handle to move *outward* from its relaxed position! The latching, and latch-release operations would have worked fine without the outward movement.

Now I want to get into estimating the strength of the plastic portion of a Scooba-5900's Handle-support.

INSERT 071108: THE FOLLOWING BREAKING FORCE ESTIMATES ARE INVALID. PLS REFER TO THIS LATER POST TO LEARN WHY.

I can't speak about all the Scooba models that have plastic Latch/Handles, so I must talk to the Scooba-5900--the Flagship of the Fleet! ;-)

Scooba 5900 was built using a metal casting for the Handle part, while Latch-parts are plastic as in all Scoobas. The metal handle is also fitted with steel hinge-pins (I imagine the plastic Handles also have steel pivot-pins).

CORRECTION INSERTED: ITEMS CALLED "BEARINGS" ARE NOT BEARINGS, THEY ARE SHAFT-MOUNTS, SINCE THE HANDLE ROTATES ABOUT ITS AXLE-SHAFTS.

But, like every other Scooba model, the Handle is mounted in a plastic casting. That is where the hinge-bearings are; and that is where lifting forces get reacted into the Tank structure. I believe the RHS-bearing structure is what split apart, in your 350.

Here's a picture of the RHS-bearing, with a 3mm-diameter hinge-pin protruding through it (I'm talking about the hollow, cylindrical portion just left of top-center):
Image
I have made some quick measurements of that cylinder's diameter and length, which then allow computation of a cross-sectional area that must sustain the weight of a fully-loaded Scooba. I also deduce the plastic material to be PVC (simply on the facts the it dissolves in acetone, and cuts like rigid-PVC [we can't afford high-science here, folks :-)]). Upon googling for "tensile strength of PVC", I found a range of breaking strengths going from 5900psi to 7500psi.

Choosing the low value, to be conservative, I divide it by the cross-sectional area (0.09in^2) to get 522 pounds. IOW, if all the assumptions & calcs are OK, one could slowly lift a 500# weight via the Scooba-Handle and its plastic hinge-bearings.

So, let us now divide that 522# by the weight of a loaded Scooba. To avoid filling and weighing my 5900, I'm going to use the 17# shipping wt as equivalent. That division, 522# / 17# yields a Load-Margin-Factor of 31; which suggests there should be no problem at all in moving a loaded Scooba around via its Handle. I should mention that manufacturing defects, such as voids and inclusions of foreign material into highly stressed zones, can rapidly reduce that high margin.

However, the proviso to safe-handling is, movements must be done *smoothly*, i.e., no jerking, like while exercising you hoist the 400# bar-bell weights from floor to over head! Any *impact* loading of the hinge-parts will apply much larger forces to the hinge-bearings. Similar impact forces can result if you are in the habit of releasing the Tank by rapidly depressing the Latch Handle to its limit stop.

As I said above, I don't know the details about the all-plastic Latch-Handle, but I don't fear breakage of my 5900's Handle parts--so long as I hoist Scooba by applying a smoothly increasing lift force.

EDIT OF 071108: THIS CONCLUSION SHOULD BE LESS BOLD, FOR THE REASON PRESENTED IN THIS LATER POST.
Last edited by Gordon on November 9th, 2007, 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Still Broke

Postby bobnielson » November 7th, 2007, 5:57 pm

There is not other way to say this - the latch is very tender and is likely to break off if you use it as a HANDLE with a fully load scooba. My 5900 tank latch broke off up where the plastic is formed to hold the little stud. If you lift and heft a fully load scooba by the latch you can just feel how flimsy and tender it is. I have a 380 now and it is made just like the 5900. It wouldn't matter so much but the latch HAS to be in working order to have the tank sit on the body. To have a none working scooba for the 2-3 weeks it take iRobot to replace the tank it is not an option around here.
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Postby geekgranny » November 7th, 2007, 6:24 pm

Great info/work Gordon. It surely gave me some things to think about.

I haven't had one break yet, knock on wood. I do, though, handle/treat my Scoobas, and all parts, with a very gentle touch and hand. Just from the feel of them in my hands and the way the moving parts feel the Scooba feels, as compared to many other appliances I own and use, as my non-rugged laptops feel compared to my rugged laptops.

Handle glass enough and you can literally feel which is more prone to breakage; expensive, flashed (layered) hand made glass being one of the least stable. It actually quivers and sings to you when you handle it; somewhat more "dancing" around of the molecules. When I began working with it I am so glad someone took the time and made the effort to inform me about its characteristics (and frailties). It is similar with appliances and many other things.

But there are, of course, limits to what precautions we must use when handling and using our Scoobas (and other appliances) and I think it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep its consumers well informed. Perhaps iRobot should send out product notices to consumers who have registered their products. I don't think they ever did that with the battery over charging issues. I certainly didn't receive any notices for any of mine even after repeated warranty replacement batteries were sent to me at iRobot's expense.

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Re: Still Broke

Postby Gordon » November 7th, 2007, 7:16 pm

bobnielson wrote:... If you lift and heft a fully load scooba by the latch you can just feel how flimsy and tender it is. ...
My most recent memory of how that feels is within the recent two hours, and I had no such sensation as 'flimsyness'; but, I would like to relate an important transfer of the *point-of-lifting-force* feeling to the forum. I think it is important, because lifting force is almost totally removed from the Handle's hinge by that transfer.

With Scooba fully loaded for a cleaning run, I slipped three fingers under the Handle and elevated Scooba's front end. As the lift angle increased, I could feel finger tips moving toward the Handle-hinge axis. Then, after Scooba's tail left the counter-top, I could feel Scooba's full weight against my finger-tips.

It was not until I read your reply that I went back to view the scrap-Tank from which I had pulled off its Handle & Latch Assembly that I could be certain of what my fingers were pushing on as I carried Scooba to its work area. Here's a photo showing what structure they press against (sans Latch & Handle bits):
Image
To clarify, my finger-tips are bearing against the Tank's structure, not against the Handle.

Hence, the main loading on the Handle occurs while Scooba is being tipped upward to lift it off a counter-top; and that loading could be shown to be a fraction of the total.

Granted, Scooba-users that have *long* finger-nails, may not be comfortable as they try to support Scooba that way. I expect they must allow the Handle's lower edge to bear against the first-joints of four fingers, therefore, their Scooba's Handle will be more subject to failure. :-(

...It wouldn't matter so much but the latch HAS to be in working order to have the tank sit on the body....
Well, I can now say (now that I have a removed Handle & Latch Assembly), the Latch components will hold down the Tank just fine even though the Handle is no where in sight. A flat-blade screwdriver could be used as a release-pry-bar. IOW, the assembly does not *have* to be in full working order to make use of the Tank (while a replacement is on the way).:-)

Cheers...
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So What!

Postby bobnielson » November 7th, 2007, 9:26 pm

Gordon - you are splitting hairs here. Most people will not put their fingers all the way into get hold of the main tank body. Ladies or even guys with long finger nails won't! When you lift on the tank your fingers stay out where there is leverage. If you encourage the lifting of a full loaded scooba then you HAVE to tell others to push their fingers ALL the way past the latch and put pressure on the tank body. Then if your fingers are the least bit wet they will slide off on to the latch. You only showed the tank in the picture and NOT the tank latch. Enough is enough.
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Postby vic7767 » November 7th, 2007, 10:18 pm

OK, I've got 5 of these 5900 models. I use the tank release handle to pick them up when full of cleaning solution and also use it to retrieve them off of the floor when full of dirty solution. I also transport them by holding the sides instead of the handle sometimes. Never have experienced a mechanical failure on this particular model. I think the cost reduction efforts of IRobot engineering on the 350 and 380 units may have created a mechanical stress failure caused by the design change. It would seem that if you have the sturdy 5900 model, you can continue to mistreat it like I do but if you have the new improved models you will need to modify your treatment of mechanical handling to avoid further stress and eventual failure of the plastic tank latch. The attached picture demonstrates my handling technique
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Postby vic7767 » November 7th, 2007, 10:26 pm

OK
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Postby sys12345 » November 7th, 2007, 10:33 pm

I think it may be a different breakage part for mine from whats mentioned above. I have attached a pic of my Scooba handle :
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