Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

News and information about the Neato XV-11 Robotic Vacuum. All discussion and troubleshooting questions go here.

Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby mfortuna » June 14th, 2012, 8:07 am

Yes, but I would charge at .5C max (in the case of a 2000mah battery that would be 1A). Note this is getting a bit off-topic for this thread. Further discussion should be moved to an appropriate or new thread.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 14th, 2012, 10:38 am

A separate "battery charger" thread is needed, but this is so important it should be mentioned that this fuse does not look the right device for a charger control, because it will cut off the current and stop charging -- protects but what good is that? You need a current limiting circuit of semiconductors, transistors or what not, chips made for that, which regulate the charging process. Just from theory, not an expert.
Polyfuse a special form of PPTC devices including thermistors, with different behavior. Thermistor maybe, not the fuse.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 17th, 2012, 5:32 pm

Hex Key Motor Coupling

RobotZone Micro Gear Motor 100 (reduction) 270 rpm
Servo-City - plastic cover separate from motor
http://www.servocity.com/html/270_rpm_micro_gearmotorblocks.html
also karlssonrobotics:
http://www.karlssonrobotics.com/cart/Micro-Gearmotor-270-RPM-6-12V/?gclid=CMuSueC5rr0CFYFQOgodaQQArw
-- while they last.

Best brush attachment using 3/32 hex key shaft, pops in and out.
couplercomplete.jpg
hex key side brush motor mounting

hexcoupler.jpg
hex key coupling detail

#4 1/4" spacers with 1" 4-40 screws to fit space for heads, one flat countersunk and one round head, filled 6-32 motor holes. (A drop of crazy glue will hold spacers on the motor for easier installation; otherwise takes a lot of fiddling to align).
Metal coupler required, inexpensive 4-40 taps need no wrench small holes in aluminum spacers (see important set screw note below).
Ready made steel adapter available ServoCity.com.
Best nut driver head was on mini 3" Hunter driver, with an existing round hole behind the hex section guiding 3/32 drill deepening [6/18/12 if unlisted ebay contact member william_b_noble for availability]. Hard tool steel requires Cobalt or better drill bit (3/32 same for 4-40 set screws).
Nut drivers slightly smaller than 3/16, need one or two layers of heavy duty transparent tape, depending on model, to fit with straight shaft alignment.
Rounding end of hex key hardened steel requires chucking in a Dremel high speed tool; also helps cutting off head without large hack saw.

bearing required
bearingmount.jpg
1/4" 3mm sealed ball bearing mounted with epoxy paste

A sealed ball bearing 1/4" OD 3x6x2.5mm, inexpensive, is mounted in the brush guard frame with epoxy paste addition to protect the fragile motor bearings from collision with the brush, floor transitions etc. Foam stuffing in the brush guard clip "U" can cover the side. [6/19/12 Heat shrink tubing covers the hex shaft between the bearing and brush, smoother less likely to trap fibers.] The VR modified brush guard appears to have a recess for the brush increasing floor clearance, besides factory made brush. On the XV there could be problems with floor transitions collisions, and the brush head should have a rounded bottom to ride up obstructions. Neato is pretty bouncy over obstructions, so could be ok.

receptacle vs shaft in brush
Best to mount nut driver on the motor, but interesting this shaft position allows the brush guard to be opened over a 3/8" protruding shaft, allowing the receptacle to be in the brush if wanted. Nut drivers are expensive tools compared to a few cents hex keys for shaft.
brushguardopening.jpg
brush guard opening over hex key shaft


set screw note [(expanded 6/18/12)
The coupler can slide up and down the D-shaft under force even when locked for rotation, and might need a notch in the motor shaft and the nut driver engaging the set screw, and maybe a third set screw on the opposite, curved shaft side for this (not possible on ready made steel adapter). Inserting the brush will push the coupling back into position, though. Pulling out the brush when tight may pull down the coupling against the case bottom or guard clip. Tiny set screws in steel or aluminum so thin cannot be over tightened, which might not work anyway on flat shaft side.
[6/18/12 -- drag on carpet caused the #10 spacer to slip down towards the motor and the nut driver to slip out of the spacer. Notch at least in the nut driver engaging set screws definitely required, and with even harder outside surface steel a cobalt bit didn't work, Dremel cutting wheel or filing needed.]

Wall-Following Motor Control

Specifications for the Sharp Corp wall and cliff sensor component show output is a voltage varied with distance but with a sharp peak at logic trigger level at the 5/8" wall following distance (data sheet at http://www.dema.net/pdf/sharp/GP2Y0A51SK0F_ED-08G027A.pdf). Neato does a full analog-to-digital conversion of the signal, reporting distance in millimeters, but it appears a standard logic gate would be triggered by the main distance (but not closer scraping). Theoretically then the side brush can be activated only when wall following with an extremely simple inexpensive circuit which will be tried shortly. This will render noise issues less for one thing, besides just fascinating.
wallsense.jpg
wall following sensor relay circuit (revised 7/2/12)

schematicWallMosfet.jpg
solid state version of wall following control


wallsensemosfet.jpg
assembled solid state wall following circuit, low power


A three wire PC fan cable spliced into the wall sensor cable in the top cover at the front, plugging into standard header strip on the hobby board next the motor, with the polyfuse, taps the sensor power and signal lines; when unused the female plug can safely remain.
The gate chip presents high impedance to the input which should not disturb Neato's circuits; will have to see. Power drain addition is minimal. Hasco 5v 500 ohm coil reed relay: http://www.hascorelays.com/reed_relays_700_series.asp
Even small relays for power line voltage have heavy contacts and bigger coils to match with higher tripping power; smaller signal control relays needed. Radio Shack's either too small or too big in current capacity but plenty on ebay.

Any alternative component suggestions would be welcome.
The chip number identifies function (inverter driver open collector here) and letters the implementation technology. 74LS06 lower power etc. The latest CMOS HC inconveniently surface mount only; others plug into sockets. This gate disconnects the output unless triggered connecting it to ground. When feeding other gate inputs a resistor is used to "pull up" the unconnected output to 5V, but there are no such further connections here so omitted.

Addendum: possible VR-100 side brush source
Chris-S reported in another thread a french language site of a German store selling VR-100 parts and vacuums:
http://www.mondial-shop.com/jec/component/option,com_virtuemart/page,shop.browse/category_id,44/Itemid,54/
Ships internationally but wanted 40 Euros to ship one 5.5 Euro brush to U.S. -- next day air? The large hex cavity in these brushes should allow gluing in a hex key shaft. [6/18/12 site fixed, VR-100 brush 5 Euro shipping, $14.95 total U.S. delivered (exchange rates of the moment)]
Last edited by glnc222 on March 26th, 2014, 2:43 pm, edited 21 times in total.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 18th, 2012, 2:09 am

Wall Sensor Electronic Data Collected

Finding a header strip fits neatly in the back of the wall sensor plug on the system board, a tap for testing with a logic probe and volt meter was easily made. For a wall to sense, the white cover of Steve Berry's latest "Columbus Affair" gives good results.

Power line is +5V.
When farther away than wall-following the sensor outputs a solid logic low at ground voltage.
As distance closes sensor output rises steadily to only 1.6V solid max, not pulsed, but below TTL logic high level around 2.4V -- not what the data sheet said or what is needed for the TTL chip proposed.
[6/21/12 7406 and 74LS06 TTL found to trip on 1.5V when tested, while 74HC06, 4049 CMOS needs higher voltage; so the original spec should work despite the data sheets.]


The wall sensor is operating when the Neato is off; it is never off, and expects to be on a charger. Even the USB is running when "off". The only thing off is the LCD interface. Don't be fooled by the blinking lights (or be hypnotized surreptitiously).
Last edited by glnc222 on June 21st, 2012, 4:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby chris-s » June 18th, 2012, 3:32 am

glnc222 wrote:Chris-S reported in another thread a french language site of a German store selling VR-100 parts and vacuums:
http://www.mondial-shop.com/jec/component/option,com_virtuemart/page,shop.browse/category_id,44/Itemid,54/
It is not really a German store. In fact, they have 2 social address. One in Germany, and one in France, near the german frontier. So they can buy Vorverk parts in Germany, and sell back from France because german store have no rights to sell Vorverk parts outside of Germany.

To stay in the subject, if I have understand clearly what you try to do, I don't think that stopping the lateral brush when the Neato is not following the wall is not a good idea. The brush could be damaged if the motor is stopped, on the carpets for example.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 18th, 2012, 4:04 am

Thanks for details on the store; I just skimmed the About US and saw Konnigsberg. So the Germans are still restricting distribution; that store suggested they might have changed.

I'm not sure what the difference is between a rotating brush hitting an obstacle and an unmoving brush hitting -- the rotating arms can hit stuff all the time, and flex. There is nothing pressing on the brush can do to the motor. The brush is rugged or it could not even work (unless you make it out of expensive fine arts brush material; amazing range of prices there). But the same question did occur to me, just because it is kind of odd to have a thing doing nothing most of the time. Cleaning the room edges only covers 1-2 per cent of the cleaned area anyway, but lots of people want that done.

I am next refining measurement of the RPM reduction seen on carpet with this motor, having just realized frame-by-frame editing view of digital movies does the same thing as a strobe light I thought needed. Add a visible white flag to one brush arm. Better brush might have less drag, this was just a quick hack brush to see if anything more was worthwhile. Next will need a brush-making-robot. Or cheaper shipping from that store. Just want one of those side brushes.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 18th, 2012, 4:44 pm

The brush could be damaged if the motor is stopped, on the carpets for example.


Come to think of it, cutting off away from walls prevents motor stalls from buried in too deep carpets, those problem throw rugs etc. The bottom clearance will make those more problematic, too, may not be suitable some places.
Too bad we can't make the brush retract inside the unit, with tiny camera lens motors...
Maybe clarify what you are thinking of with the carpet, may be missing something (like lots of things these days).
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby chris-s » June 18th, 2012, 5:02 pm

I think that it will damage the hairs of the brush
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 18th, 2012, 6:20 pm

Brush hair damage with motor off -- interesting. So spinning the brush sort of smooths out the brush continuously, random hits can bend it up. The vacuum is moving along smoothly, though. The crummy polyester test brush bristles certainly get bent out of shape all over, kind of having a bad hair day. May be able to get some experience over time to evaluate. Nothing wrong with leaving out an unnecessary addition. Am curious if can be done, though. Much appreciate your supplying news of the Mondiale store, just what I needed.

coupling revision
Edited specifications above, holes/notch at least in the nut driver engaging set screws required. Poor engagement with the nut driver, the #10 spacer slipped down on the shaft and the nut driver pulled out, under drag on carpet. Not enough surface area for any glue to work much. [6/19/12 With even harder outside surface steel a cobalt bit didn't work, Dremel cutting wheel or filing needed.]
Last edited by glnc222 on June 19th, 2012, 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby redwine65 » June 18th, 2012, 9:10 pm

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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 19th, 2012, 2:52 am

The video referenced above was a main inspiration for adding the side brush to the XV, resolving a puzzle how the VR brush could work behind the front intake, in comparison to Roomba's architecture. The brush reaches the corner of the intake, enough to work. The XV test above was done to determine whether the motor found and XV architecture could support a similar function, with details always a question and the dimensions very small.

Video Check of RPM on Carpet
With white tape across the top of one brush arm a few seconds video viewed in Quicktime slowly shows about 5 revolutions per second or 300 RPM on low pile carpet (where it draws thirty per cent more current). Same found previously on the unloaded motor with more precise methods, and a bit higher than the nominal spec of 270 RPM for the 100 reduction ratio model in the lineup. What had appeared to be slow-down from drag on carpet apparently was slipping of the nut driver coupler under load, and fortunately that was discovered and fixed by notching the driver for the set screw (the motor shaft is D-shaped, avoiding this problem).

Wall Following Sensor Fix
If nothing else, inserting a 1.5V coin or AAA battery in series with the sensor 0.0-1.6V should shift the input for common logic gates to the 1.5-3.1V range to use them. The drain is so low the battery would run for years.
Parts arriving shortly.


Inquire publicly or privately of any details of construction and methods needed to make this addition to Neato XV's.

Full Room Performance Good
[6/19/12]
No problems found with floor transitions including 1.5" high bookcase molding, nor docking problems. Minimal extra noise on carpet. Vacuum power not cut off with suction -- done with RPM control only, so runs during return to base (then it can be heard, with the rest shut off). Wall following control will prevent this running unused. There may also be a way to cut off when the brush is removed, but have to see.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 22nd, 2012, 9:26 pm

Installed Wall-Following Control
The side brush motor runs whenever Neato is within 1.125 inches of a wall, compared to 5/8" wall following distance. The TTL/LSTTL family logic gate IC's trip at low enough voltages on the wall sensor output peaking at 1.6v, compared to the CMOS family not usable; also easier to find. [6/23/12 LS version preferred; TTL 7406 takes four times as much power.]
wallfollower.jpg
relay circuit for wall following at the side brush motor

Instead of splicing into the wall sensor cable, header pins plug into the back of the sensor plug on the main board. The relay board can be arranged with vacuum power connection pins for either running on the wall sensor or bypassing the relay, accessible through the brush guard clip hole in the case. See previous post for circuit schematic.
sensorplug.jpg
wall sensor plug piggyback plug tap for side brush

One effect is turning off the motor when docking, so not interfering with any close maneuvers to get good contact (though did not seem to matter in test runs; there did seem to be a little more wiggling than usual).

There seems little point to running a side brush away from walls where Neato cannot do overlap runs; the special case of wall barriers is what these brushes are for. There could be some gain from running throughout the peripheral phase of covering an area, but system software would be required for that refinement. There is some use of the brush when passing obstacles but again software would be needed, short of running continuously.


The final step will be adapting the VR-100 factory made brush for an equivalent feature on the XV models.

[6/24/12] brush insertion detection

Prof. R. Goldberg designed a way to disable the motor when the brush is not inserted. Electrical contact exists between the surface of the aluminum coupler and the outer case of the ball bearing when the hex key is inserted, at least with this bearing, not sure if ceramic balls or whether matters. A wire can be imbedded in the bearing mount and a spring steel wire scavenged from a small spring fastened in the motor mount spacers or on the motor to brush the coupler, providing a switch. This connection could be noisy and has not been checked when rotating.

The micro gear motor has a removable plastic cover on the top over the wire connections exposing end of the shaft; a pin through this could contact the shaft end without having to brush the larger coupler. Which wears less unknown. (actually some cover over the shaft, with some contact found around the edge -- could be made to work)

This switch could be used directly on the 15V motor power but might be better applied to a logic signal, if exposing the 15V circuit outside the Neato is an issue (though the shaft is covered by the brush when inserted, with shrink tubing over the hex key down to the bearing). The ground line of the 15V is a good choice, with any rotation interuption handled by motor momentum, and no need to filter the signal for pure logic uses.

[6/26/12] For a logic level switch the output of the gate IC for the relay (with it's surge diode), can be fed through the shaft insertion switch. Output to the bearing puts that part either disconnected or at battery ground.
Previous discussion of using extra gates and resistors is deleted as irrelevant.

Switching off the motor by brush removal might be of use when deploying the vacuum in different rooms, some which present some problem to the brush, entanglements, deep carpets or what not.
Fairly optional.
Last edited by glnc222 on June 26th, 2012, 10:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby TeddyBear » June 26th, 2012, 11:56 am

glnc222 wrote:...
There seems little point to running a side brush away from walls where Neato cannot do overlap runs; the special case of wall barriers is what these brushes are for. There could be some gain from running throughout the peripheral phase of covering an area, but system software would be required for that refinement. There is some use of the brush when passing obstacles but again software would be needed, short of running continuously.
...


Hmm, makes some sense. Nevertheless, Yesterday I observed Neato circling around table legs, and thought out an argument against it. Due to displacement of wheels and brush/suction slot, robot leaves 1-2 inch uncleaned place around the leg. Having side brush rotating during such circle will solve the issue, moving debris to the slot. However, during the leg circle wall censor will not report a close wall, so your side brush will be still.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 26th, 2012, 12:48 pm

Vorwerk runs their side brush continuously, and the wall following is experimental. Certainly difficult to build without printed circuit boards, still debugging some component problems. Some elaborations are possible for obstacles if the contact bumpers are also tied in: put in a 555 timer and run the side brush 30 seconds after any contact, for example. Starts to emulate software complications. Probably best to leave out this complication. It's just interesting to see if possible.

Estimated side brush power consumption as much as 5 per cent of available battery power reducing run-time accordingly. Neato runs on 2-3 amps, difficult to get an exact measure, side brush around 100ma. CPU around 100ma, main brush 500ma, vacuum around 1 amp. Wheels unknown. Runs around an hour on 6400 mah battery, all a bit imprecise.
Last edited by glnc222 on June 29th, 2012, 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » June 27th, 2012, 12:28 am

motor shaft switch fitting
The motor shaft is accessible for electrical contact through the front bushing.
motorcontact.jpg
hole too deep, penetrates sheet metal to moving shaft

motorcontact2.jpg
sheet metal around shaft bushing for contact


Other side of switch is outside of the ball bearing for the hex shaft.

Best use of shaft contact switch is ground side of the 15V motor supply: no filtering needed, momentum fixes interruptions. Bearing on ground leaves motor line inaccessible inside case when shaft is out. Tested rotating applying probes to d-shaft directly, rough ride. Bearing is under the brush guard as well.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » July 2nd, 2012, 9:32 pm

circuit revisions -- technical
Wall following relay circuit required revision, adding a pull-down resistor to the sensor input for compatibility with logic IC inputs, and dropping the usual power line capacitor as unnecessary this case, besides requiring heat-sinking when soldering to avoid damage. The wall sensor output does not sink current the same as logic chips and by itself will not pull the gate input to ground; it works correctly with the commonly used pull-down resistor method (see Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pull_up_resistor). The LS version IC was found to use only 1/4 the power of the oldest TTL generation so is preferred at 7ma load (compare to 12ma for each wall and cliff sensor). The original diagram has been edited and is linked again here:
Image

The ball bearing contact between the inner and outer surface proved accidental, not reliable enough for making the shaft switch connection. A separate contact brush on the shaft would be required.

The wall sensor does conform to the data sheet: being recessed, the highest 2v+ output voltage is observed only when the sensor is covered flush; it remains at 1.6v at wall following distance. The data sheet gives no values for output signal currents, just voltage.

[7/12/12] A 1430 5-pin voltage comparator chip will also driver the relay and can be adjusted with resistors for any distance to trigger the motor. Of interest with no other application of the inverter with more pins to wire.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » July 7th, 2012, 2:18 am

No Extraction on Carpet

One level teaspoon filter grind coffee (Neato Mountain blend specially grown for testing vacuums), near wall on low pile carpet. Test side brush same as previous hard floor test with full extraction.
Virtually no extraction on carpet, just a few stray grains in the bin; brush just pushed material more into the carpet. Carpet hangs onto stuff.
I'd seriously doubt a VR-100 would do any different with this sort of thing. Took a Dyson crevice tool to remove it.
You need to suck it up instead of trying to push it around, all the sweeper brush does.
This carpet does angle down to the wall slightly at the edge, not enough to matter I think.
Attachments
carpetbefore2.jpg
1 level teaspoon coffee on carpet for side brush test
carpetafter2.jpg
coffee remains after Neato side brush pass
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby chris-s » July 8th, 2012, 7:06 am

I think the problem should be the same with the VR100
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » July 18th, 2012, 7:35 pm

VR-100 Side Brush on XV model
Mondial-Shop.com France delivered a VR-100 side brush to the U.S., with some delay. Mail itself can take 2-3 weeks from France. Stock was exhausted for two weeks before shipment was possible. Yet it has been unusual to deliver any VR-100 products to the U.S.; perhaps production has finally expanded. This is the only merchant supplying these items outside of Europe I've encountered. Thanks to chris-s for reporting this store.

VR-100 Side Brush Dimensions (English; actually made to Metric sizes):
Width 2 5/8"
Hub Diameter 25/32"
Hub thickness 1/2" (9/32 base, 7/32 stem)
Socket size M3 to M3.5 (only M3 available to check; fits M6 hex key slightly loose). calipered 7/32" same as M3 nut. Size between M3 and M4, too big, were not available in hardware store. M3 still locks in, though loose.
Socket depth 11/32"
Fine bristles bundle tightly in 3/32" circle

Includes a strong magnet disk, probably Neodymium, attaching to steel shafts. Penny a piece from China, principal rare earth magnet source.

VRbrushtop2.jpg
VR-100 Side Brush (with English measurements; see text for larger print)

VRbrushbottom.jpg
VR-100 Side Brush bottom view -- recessed magnet


Adapting this brush to the XV hex key coupling needs only attaching M3 hex nuts to the 3/32 key shaft. M3 nuts press fit with little pressure, breaking threads to spin; crazy glue or epoxy holds tight. Wrap with tape for a tighter fit.

VRadapter.jpg
VR-to-XV hex shaft adapter: M3 hex nut on 3/32 key


XV Usage Issues

1. Flat -- the VR brush is flat requiring the hub resting on the floor to work (the magnet at least is recessed). Question whether a good idea on varnished hard floors. A bit of epoxy could press the bristles down it would seem, and the base exclusive of stem is thin enough.

2. Too narrow -- the VR coupling may be a bit closer to the outside edge of the Neato; the XV shaft is centered 15/16" inside. With 5/8" to the wall, a 3 1/8" brush would be needed, and the VR brush is 1/2" short (1/4" from the wall).

3. Too thick -- the XV brush guard allows 3/8" clearance to the floor, while with stem the VR brush is 1/2"; the stem can be cut back. The VR has a modified brush guard with a recess for the side brush. There is empty space under the XV guard, but not at the clip hole where the shaft exits.

4. Attachment -- seems easy with an adapter shaft possible using M3 hex nuts on the 3/32" hex key shaft, instead of permanently inserting a shaft into the brush. The shaft as well as the brush must be pulled out to open the brush guard, easy enough.

hand made brush results -- polyester not useful
Bristles from a polyester paint brush proved to bend easily and lack spring; the brush tends to crumple underneath the hub with fairly little use, on carpets (which might snag the bristles more). Nylon bristles preferred.
Test shows not much point in using side brushes on carpet, but a good addition on hard floors.

motor slide switch
Will be trying a three-position slide switch positioned over the guard clip hole for motor control, with selections for Off, On, and Wall Following. Access through the hole with a screw driver, the brush shaft, or what not. Bracket attached to side of the micro gear motor. A small optical sensor useful with the shaft is inexpensive, but those things take a lot of power for the light, and would not offer as many options.
Last edited by glnc222 on July 20th, 2012, 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's

Postby glnc222 » July 18th, 2012, 10:24 pm

VR brush width note
Looking back at the pics of the VR-100 brush attachment, it does not look closer to the outside edge than the XV mount. The VR brush is too narrow to reach the wall on a VR-100 the way Neato follows walls at 5/8" away.
The XV shaft is centered in the frame around the clip hole, which looks aligned with the VR position just half an inch forward here:
Image

If used on XV nothing on the VR is lost, but a custom made brush will work better.
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