The ideal vacuum (XV-11 vs Trilobite ZA2)

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The ideal vacuum (XV-11 vs Trilobite ZA2)

Postby u3b3rg33k » January 23rd, 2013, 3:53 pm

I've owned trilobites for a good while. the object avoidance is second to none (STILL! after all this time). I now own an XV-11 as well, and I feel like comparing the two.

Trilobite:
Pros:
*round (doesn't get stuck in corners, can turn around anywhere)
*heavy / well balanced (suspension doesn't cause it to climb up stuff / negates roller hop)
*silicone wiper seems to last a long time, and doesn't fill with hair too fast
*beater bar has helical slots (no "beating" noise)
*can "see" everything. I mean everything - it avoids plastic bags, (beverage) glasses, boot trays, etc.
*very effective dirt pickup
*HUGE dustbin (for a robot vacuum)
*Knows how tall it is (it can "see" if it has clearance to go under stuff)
*won't fall down even the most devious of edges (I have a carpet that ends 2" before the stair, it won't fall over it)
*very "refined" movement - appears more graceful than frenetic - seems to know if it's not moving
*top shelf fringe / cord disentanglement logic.
*quiet drive system

Cons:
*no real nav, complex room layouts confuse it
*can get into areas that confuse it, and not leave
*sometimes runs into corners (sonar gets reflected away and it can't see them)
*dustbin sensor is rather useless
*no scheduler
*they don't make it anymore :(

XV-11
Pros:
*Obviously, the navigation. it can do the entire first floor (5 "rooms"/areas), without much stupidity
*time/power efficiency - also thanks to SLAM
*good cleaning power (sucks up fur like nobodies business)
*support! (both software & service)

Cons:
*Has no idea how tall it is, can't figure out object bases (like 90% of floor lamps)
*climbs it's butt up stuff (and can scratch stuff with the charging contacts)
*the turret needs a proximity sensor (it likes to whack into stuff that's just taller than the laser port)
*falls down the more devious edges (I have a high-pile carpet that ends 2" before the stair, it sees the little drop, keeps going, then sees the stair drop, attempts to stop, and because of the suspension (& physics), stopping causes the tail to lift a bit, and over it goes)
*doesn't know when the dustbin is full (I have two dogs and a cat - I usually start it, then empty it after the first 10 minutes as it is already full) and will continue to run for a full hour with dirt packed roller (yes, It is scheduled to run 7x a week).
*non-helical beater bar makes noise, causes front end "bounce" on certain surfaces. (yes this was basically addressed with the pet version)
*fringe logic still needs some work - mine has damaged it's toothed drive belt (shaved off a few teeth)
*overall situational awareness (as it appears to a human observer)


Overall the neato is a fantastic product, both for it's cleaning power, and it's ability to clean large, complex areas. If I could gift some of the ZA2's abilities to it, it'd be virtually perfect.

I might was well list those here.
So what is the ideal vacuum? In my opinion, a trilobite ZA2 (for the refined design/construction, movement and object awareness), plus neato's laser SLAM, efficient nav/pattern & scheduler. (this could probably be managed within a reasonable physical container)

if you wanted an beefier / industrial version (I wouldn't mind), add a karcher style base, and cyclone filtration (it's getting bigger and power hungrier now).

if you wanted to go really nuts (yes please), add wifi and a kinect camera to the above, & offload the processing to a networked computer. Of course at this point it's now the size of a robot lawnmower, but I can dream, can't I?
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Re: The ideal vacuum (XV-11 vs Trilobite ZA2)

Postby vespaman » March 30th, 2013, 2:49 am

Thank you for that comparison!
It was a good read, being so detailed. I am still on the Trilobite train, since I like the robustness and endurance. In fact, I bought 2 used units to support more rooms just a month ago. I never understood why the dust bins are so small on most newer robots.

Note: the ZA2 has week schedule, but maybe you meant something more advanced? The ZA1 only had day schedule afaik.
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Re: The ideal vacuum (XV-11 vs Trilobite ZA2)

Postby eqwalker » July 10th, 2013, 4:32 pm

I have to agree. Currently I still have my ZA2 (champagne) and 3 ZA1's (red) along with 2 XV-11's. I simply love the Trilobite's "graceful" movements and just the overall build quality that it engenders. In the Trilobite is there room for improvement? Yes. Currently the only place that I have found filters for it is through "totalvac.com". I have found batteries for them through this forum so I am able to keep them alive. I have a couple of rooms that have very thick medium pile carpet that is an issue for the XV-11's. The XV-11's have to struggle just to move around on the carpet but the Trilobite just purrs right along which I assume is due to it's larger diameter wheels and center of weight. I am aware of the sliders that some have mentioned on here to stick to the bottom of the XV's to make it easier for them to move, but hey, the Trilobites do great on it so I just leave the thick carpet to them. The only issue I have with the Trilobite is that the filters don't catch the real fine dust and it gets through to the internals of the bot, which is right on top of the circuit board, and get's fine dust all over the electronics and front bumper micro switches. If only there was a HEPA filter for the Trilobite.........
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Re: The ideal vacuum (XV-11 vs Trilobite ZA2)

Postby robocleaner » July 10th, 2013, 7:00 pm

eqwalker wrote:If only there was a HEPA filter for the Trilobite.........

I'm not sure a HEPA filter would really improve matters: The Samsung Navibot has a true HEPA filter, yet the volume of dust inside my Navibot seems to be far greater than the amount of dust inside my Trilobite without a HEPA filter (not forgetting also that the air-flow through the Navibot is far less than the air flowing through the Trilobite). The core problem with both these robots really is the lack of an external exhaust.

Also, in my experience with my proper HEPA-equipped Dyson (rather than these faux HEPA filters of robotic cleaners) is that the pores are deliberately so small to catch fine particulate that they block really easily, thus reducing suction very quickly indeed... and cleaning HEPA/Allergy filters with a vacuum cleaner (as suggested by some on the Neato forum) is IMO also a nonsense since that opens the pores and the filter then ceases to function properly as a true HEPA filter.

If you are an allergy sufferer and really do need the benefit of true HEPA filters, the only option is to replace them very frequently. Dyson have commented extensively on this, also pointing out the false economy of trying to clean a HEPA by any method without reducing it's effectiveness.

Personally, I think the existing layered Trilobite filters are one of the best (from a practical compromise standpoint) of any robotic cleaner I've yet seen, although as you say they are becoming impossible to find!
2 x Karcher RC3000 (2005 & 2012), Trilobite ZA1 (2005), Navibot 8855 (2010)
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