Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

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Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 8th, 2012, 3:59 am

I just moved to a new house. This one has laminate flooring and an area rug sitting on top.

The area rug seems to be a real challenge for Neato (mine is equipped with the new Pet Brush). It's not particularly plush, yet the rug fibres appear to be somewhat "slippery". Neato doesn't appear to be able to get much traction when running on this rug. The result is as if Neato is running through quicksand. Its track marks are evident on the rug as it tries to grab hold, but it's not successful at all. It runs just fine on every other surface, including "normal" wall-to-wall carpet, so I'm a bit stumped.

When I'm completely unpacked and can find my digital camera, I'll post a video on YouTube for comment....

Meanwhile, has anyone else experienced such behaviour?
Last edited by JEfromCanada on September 10th, 2012, 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 9th, 2012, 7:10 pm

I finally unpacked my digital camera and uploaded a video to YouTube. The video can be found at



Please, if you've had an opportunity to view the video, can you offer some advice on what I should be doing to get Neato to work on this carpet.

Thank you!
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 11th, 2012, 2:54 pm

It seems to sense a cliff at the edge of the carpet from it's thickness.

That carpet is on the border line of pile depth any of these light weight, low powered machines can run on. It appears to move most of the time but at the end appeared to bog down. Movement resistance I think is sensed somewhat like a bumper hit.

I do not believe there is anything that can be done to make Neato work on that carpet if it bogs down. The mechanics of all these things have fairly obvious limitations. They're not much different from an RC toy car. To work on such stuff they would have to have bigger wheels, more power etc. requiring a larger unit (toy trucks). Maybe if they used a belted track like a tank instead of wheels, though still needing more parts space. There is a trade-off between fitting sideways and vertically into tight spaces and room and power for equipment to run on difficult surfaces. Take your pick.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby pomonabill221 » September 11th, 2012, 5:06 pm

focus focus focus!!!!
It also looks like you have a dark problem as well as the "grain" of the carpet. There was a few points where it seemed to think it was approaching a cliff.
Strange that it is having a problem with the grain! Don't know if a roomba would have the same problem. Maybe the brush height is too low? (I am a roomba user, but these robots can have similar problems).
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby fore » September 11th, 2012, 5:46 pm

I think you possibly highlight a real problem Neato might have here (at least with the replacement pet brush). My VR100 slows down on rugs also but nowhere near the extent of your adapted Neato. My guess is that, as the wheels push, they rock the body forwards, which drives the main brush further into the pile, further rotating the body and slowing forward movement.

iRobot suspension works exactly the opposite of this, dragging the brush along, allowing the brush unit to easily retract if restricted.

My VR100 is designed with the "pet brush" from the outset, so it's possible that some fine tolerances are altered (e.g. main brush surround), but your Neato swap to the pet brush might cause Neato some extra problems in this particular "directional pile" case. Possible also that the Lithium batteries of the VR100 have the power draw to overcome such drag, power that the Neato's Ni-Mh's can't draw on. All hypothesis, but based on what I know and see.

P.S. These are not cliff problems; note he mentions hidden boundary strips in the video.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 11th, 2012, 9:39 pm

I reported the difference in weight pressure on the front and back somewhere here, about tilt control, using a postal scale to lift the front and back positioned off a table top. It's just a few ounces difference. It could be possible to lighten the front pressure by taping a flat steel piece, a mending plate from hardware, under the back end; iron is very heavy, lead not withstanding (one of those wrecking balls weighs tons, in not much space; no wonder car sheet metal is so thin). Curious if that would make any difference on that kind of carpet. The problem could be just the wheels sunk too deep -- which will worsen with weight.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 14th, 2012, 12:16 am

I have a theory of why this is happening...

The small plastic wheels near the front edge of the Neato are just tall enough to keep Neato skimming close to the ground on hard surfaces, and it also keeps Neato from "going aground" on carpet whose tufts are closely spaced. Because the carpet I have has "loosely spaced" tufts, I believe the wheels are actually getting buried under the carpet's fibres and running along the underlying base material of the carpet (almost like they were running on loose soil). Because of this, the front edge of the Neato is not being supported above the surface of the carpet, and the front edge of the Neato is making contact with the ground, causing significant drag and possibly even setting off the front bumper sensor (causing the backup of the unit).

The only long term solution, as pointed out by glnc222, is to find a way to "balance" the Neato's weight (front to back), so that the front side of the unit is not so heavy as to bury itself in the carpet.
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 14th, 2012, 1:24 pm

Had not noticed role of those front rollers; interesting observation. Maybe there's some redesign of those which would work better. Trouble is when adapted to run on that carpet, it may not work so well on other floors.

Even on low pile carpet, those little rollers likely sink in and it is basically skimming on the whole casing edge or brush guard ribs. The rollers may be just for hard floors, to keep the front edge from scraping.
There's some very slick plastic fittings making skids for furniture legs; what if stuck onto the edge on the roller line, to support over a wider area of fluffy textile?
Roomba's have a ball shaped castor wheel. That seems better given how the front must scrape when the front is swung back and forth when rotating the unit on the wheel axis.

This kind of thing could require numerous experiments. Sewing machines actually tie a sort of knot with some simple arrangement dependent on precise looping qualities of thread, taking a long time to discover. Auto suspension and tire subtleties... Just because this thing is a lightweight toy doesn't make it's design any simpler.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 14th, 2012, 3:11 pm

It's the "squeegee" strip like a knife edge straight across digging into the carpet causing the drag.
Rollers keep this from collapsing onto the floor when resting on the hard surface.

"magic slider" furniture glides 15/16" x 4", comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, cuts with scissors, rubber stick on back. Place behind the whole brush guard's convoluted bottom, surface level same as top of the rollers.
Just a possibility. If you have to lift the squeegee off the carpet, it's disabled on hard floors.
A softer, more flexible squeegee might not dig into carpets as much; it's pretty stiff stuff as made.
Adds to durability.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 14th, 2012, 5:17 pm

A sophisticated suspension could retract the squeegee on carpet by holding it at the wheel level while the front sinks below that into carpet, with the flat bottom forming a glider; the rollers keep it up on hard floors. Auto suspensions again... Simple mechanics but elaborate casing construction with joints. Not clear it would help in this case.
The squeegee is there to seal the vacuum intake at the back against the floor so the minimal suction available works on the brush instead of wasted out the back. Full size vacuum suction renders irrelevant.

addendum: simplest might be a hinged squeegee strip with a spring pressing forward into vertical position, which can be pressed flat backwards by the bottom, with the rollers, sinking down. Just a different brush guard, so practical.
The value can be easily tested by removing the existing squeegee, see how it runs on the carpet.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 15th, 2012, 1:24 am

glnc222 wrote:It's the "squeegee" strip like a knife edge straight across digging into the carpet causing the drag.
Rollers keep this from collapsing onto the floor when resting on the hard surface.


If it is the squeegee strip that is causing the drag, your suggestion about putting gliders onto the bottom of the unit might still be the solution. By spreading the weight of the unit across a broader area, I may be able to stop the "sinking" effect, thereby keeping the squeegee from making too much contact with the carpet (we still want some contact, in order to vacuum the carpet).

I have to be careful that the sliders don't become a gathering point for dust bunnies.
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 19th, 2012, 12:03 am

I have tried the slider solution and am satisfied that it is a good long-term fix. I used the "Magic Sliders" 60mm sliding disc with adhesive (available at the "As seen on TV" store, or through their website: http://www.magicsliders.com). I tried one disc at first, mounted centrally between the two battery access panels (basically overtop the "Neato" sticker). One disc immediately improved the performance on carpet, but not to the degree required. There was still sufficient drag to cause the unit to stop at times and back up on the carpet.

So, I added a second disc stuck to the first disc (to add some height), and this appears to have done the trick. While I haven't used an actual measuring gauge or micrometer, it does appear that this double-height slider still is sufficiently low to allow the squeegee to make minimal contact with the ground (i.e. sufficient to apply suction to clean the carpet, but not sufficient to cause it to get hung up).

The sliders glide effortlessly over the flooring and ceramic tile. It is adding some small amount of resistance to the unit when it tries to negotiate the flooring strips between rooms, but because it is a very smooth glider with curved surface, Neato is able to cross the barriers after "realigning" its angle of attack.

Here are some photos of the Neato after placing sliders on the bottom.

Neato-with-sliders.jpg
Shows how the sliders were placed in the center of the Neato, between the battery compartments. I could have done a better job with centering, but I didn't have a ruler.


Sliders-stacked.jpg
Here's a closer look at the two stacked sliders. I started with one slider, but it wasn't "high" enough, so I added a second. In case this arrangement is slightly too tall, I could have reduced the aggregate height by using glue instead of the enclosed two-sided tape pad to attach the pads.
Sliders-stacked.jpg (17.06 KiB) Viewed 12359 times


Stacked-sliders-with-squeegee-in-background.jpg
This view of the stacked sliders shows how the aggregate height of the sliders is just about even with the squeegee. I wasn't trying for perfection - just trying a proof of concept. I suppose I could have used a different size slider or a different manner of connecting the sliders to one another to reduce the overall height.
Stacked-sliders-with-squeegee-in-background.jpg (17.82 KiB) Viewed 12359 times



Finally, here is the video showing the Neato's performance on the troublesome carpet after making the mod. In the video, you will also see that the Neato continues to perform properly as it transitions to the laminate flooring.

Youtube video: http://youtu.be/LptWiXafm-8
Last edited by JEfromCanada on September 19th, 2012, 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 19th, 2012, 3:58 am

Really fascinating information. Thanks for all the detailed photos and going to the trouble to try out this possibility.

This is a real mod for thicker carpets and deeper pile carpet. This modification is the only time I've seen the surfaces Neato can handle expanded. It could have implications for the design of future cleaners, the bottom surface, if the makers are serious about such products being widely usable in homes. That sort of carpet looks quite popular, with patterns and all, and a nice thick type would seem more attractive to consumers.

There might be a role to attaching gliders with velcro, adjustable for different places. Also maybe a large clothing snap fastener in the center.

How do you insert the youtube video in posts as a picture with play button?
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 19th, 2012, 5:23 am

glnc222 wrote:How do you insert the youtube video in posts as a picture with play button?


When you create a YouTube video, one of the options you have is to EMBED the video on another page using their embed code.

Actually, when I posted the first video, I only posted the standard link (as in the second video). Someone with editing privileges on this board must have changed that standard link into the EMBED link.
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby pomonabill221 » September 19th, 2012, 3:10 pm

GREAT JOB! What a difference!
Just an observation in the video... what is it doing at about 50 seconds? It almost looks like it sees the dark "flowers" and gets confused? It doesn't seem to have a problem with the dark border though.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 19th, 2012, 3:45 pm

pomonabill221 wrote:GREAT JOB! What a difference!
Just an observation in the video... what is it doing at about 50 seconds? It almost looks like it sees the dark "flowers" and gets confused? It doesn't seem to have a problem with the dark border though.


I started the Neato at an arbitrary point in the room. Neato will usually do a first scan to try to locate the general centre of the room, and then it will go there and rescan. The point in the video where it pauses to do another scan is the "centre" of the room. It has nothing to do with the pattern on the carpet.
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby pomonabill221 » September 19th, 2012, 3:53 pm

OK I see. I know the neato's navigation is MUCH different than the roomba and that it tries to find the center of the room or where it is in a room, but have never actually seen how it does this.
I guess it was just coincidental that it paused over the dark flower.
Thanks for clearing that up!
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 21st, 2012, 9:15 pm

Most unexpected result is how small the lifter needs to be, just a disk in the center compared to a strip all the way across, important to case design. I can imagine a case bottom with a pull-out portion for use when needed on carpets, or even automatically extended when stuck, maybe on a rotating threaded shaft.
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby JEfromCanada » September 23rd, 2012, 12:18 am

glnc222 wrote:Most unexpected result is how small the lifter needs to be, just a disk in the center compared to a strip all the way across, important to case design. I can imagine a case bottom with a pull-out portion for use when needed on carpets, or even automatically extended when stuck, maybe on a rotating threaded shaft.


A strip all the way across would have added some stability. Right now, it behaves like the Neato has a single, centre wheel. If you press down on either side of the Neato, there appears to be some minimal "dip". If you look very carefully at the path travelled by the Neato, there is a small wobble in the path. The motors in each wheel, together with the navigation system, effectively correct for this wobble. It would have probably been better had I exactly positioned the discs in the centre of the unit (exactly equidistant from those small front wheels).
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: Disappointing result on new carpet - with video

Postby glnc222 » September 23rd, 2012, 3:06 am

Hadn't noticed the wobble -- interesting detail.

I get 4.4 sq in. area of the 60mm dia. disk. Two of the 15/16"x4" rectangles are 7.5 sq in., and would cover the battery compartments (attachable to those screws) -- probably extending too far back. They could also be placed across right behind the small front rollers, trimmed a bit to fit the center raised section of the brush guard plate. Even trim to the same area as the disk. It's all subtle effects. One advantage of the single center disk could be differences in carpet drag (or other obstacles -- one wheel on a higher surface than the other) at different spots is concentrated in the one spot compared to any twisting effect of differences between two sides (like needing a wheel alignment on the car). The wheels have a lever arm advantage over the center spot. Or the broader form could be more stable; only testing could tell. Same situation Edison was in respecting light bulb filaments.
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