Neato Mods for Utility & Repairs -- List of Threads

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Neato Mods for Utility & Repairs -- List of Threads

Postby glnc222 » October 2nd, 2012, 7:35 pm

Please post questions or comments in a new or existing thread which will become indexed here. This thread is for links to other threads where topics can be discussed at length and all gathered here for reference.

List of Mods For Utility Cleaning (contra robotics generally)
repair links at end (apologies for any missed. will edit in additions as needed, please notify)

Owner's Manual Omission -- Red Charging Indicator Light

The ring light or power light normally shows orange or green, blinking or steady, for status of the system and battery charging. The manual omits mentioning the red light. Red indicates a severely discharged battery with insufficient voltage to operate the system. This can sometimes be caused by the vacuum being stopped in an error condition while unattended and left several hours with the system draining the battery. Unlike some brands of robots, the Neato does not shut down automatically (which allows time to release the robot from traps when it does happen to be attended). Unless there is a hardware defect the red light will change to orange in due course of charging the battery.

Scheduling Two Runs in One Day (missing in software) Set clock time to place midnight around the time to clean, and schedule just before midnight and after, onto the following day.

Run time on LCD warranty screen

Simple Mods:

Charging Contacts Shorted by Metal Furniture and Wall Bases
Foam pads on the rear can prevent this problem.

Botvac Connected Squeegee too hard, noisy
Some units reported noisy on hard wood floors from unusually stiff (defective?) squeegee strip scraping. DIY with tape.

Botvac Carbon Fiber Textured Bin Cover, Scratch Resistant

Botvac brush conversion of blade to bristles

BotVac stuck bumper switch fixing
Note latest model Botvac-D 2015 has different fittings, caps on the switches instead of the faulty paddles.
(supposedly improved at factory, but early packed units may have stuck bumper switches from packaging depressing the bumper; it may be easily repaired)

Magstrip note -- common stick-on magnetic material cannot replace Neato magnetic boundary marker strips. The strips are magnetized with opposite poles on the top and bottom for the Hall Effect field sensors. Common materials are labeled "multi-pole" and have alternating poles across the surface (which might be better for gripping metal). Tests confirm common material is not useful for Neato.

Securing Magstrips to Hard Floors -- 3M Command Adhesive Velcro
--on carpets sewing pins can be pushed through the tape and carpet, through the backing.

Protecting Pet Bowls -- Mag Strips too risky
Water bowls present a risk of damage to the Neato beyond interfering with cleaning. The Mag strip is not always reliable. When bowls are against a wall, Neato can back over the strip. The sensor is in the front. The better approach is a tray with short raised sides engaging the bumper, rubber based bowls etc.

Brush Belt Debris Blocking (XV model)

Dust Bin Closure fix (not the switch -- keeping closed)

Swiffer etc. Pads On The Bottom
Commercial version mounting kit

Tissue paper, cloth pre-filters to extend filter life
neato HEPA filter DIY mod v1
(also contact for custom HEPA filters ready made)

Custom HEPA Filters
Member VIC7767 has supplied for some years custom made HEPA mods to the original Neato filter for users preferring the highest degree of filtration. Testimonials to their quality are posted under varied topics by satisfied customers.

Washable Filters
"Dyson Filter In Neato?" and others:

furnace filter material
"Electronic Filter Monitoring"

Soft bumper cover for furniture protection. "Bumper Guard?"
in leather

Turret Dust Cover when parked "The Deli Solution"

Softening rear rollers for hard floors (prevent scratching and noise)
"No more clack, clack, clack...."
fancier crafted version "Neato rear guide wheel mod"
Using silicone beads

For running on deep pile or slick carpet carpet ("slider" addition): (best at end of thread -- simple cardboard)
Earlier development: thread "Disappointing result on new carpet - with video"

Dark Carpet Pattern Colors Triggering Cliff Sensors

Raising bumper height for furniture "bumper mod question"

Lowering bumper bottom for scandinavian furniture, tubular legs etc.
Bumper Lowering Mod
Previous experiments "XV-11 bumper design and climbing"
A 3D printer code file for the part courtesy member SubZero

Thread "Overhead pinch trap"
youtube video

Thread "Static side brush for Neato"

Thread "Charger Adjustable Bracing Mod"

Botvac Dock Sliding On Carpet

Reducing beater noise on hard floors: Thread "Neato brush noise"
Another approach: felt vane replacement (youtube only):

Related: replacing bristles with solid vanes on the combination helical pet brush, for noise but different action than bristles, less brush cleaning. Pet Brush Bar Mod
Bristles in vane brush

"Under Furniture Charging Tray" in thread "Luxury Vacuum Furniture"

Redirect Botvac exhaust upwards
Simple tape redirects exhaust upwards. Youtube video

Timing Cleaning Runs
No thread yet, but suggestion: a motion detecting webcam pointed at the dock. Presumably time stamped recording. Lots of software free and commercial. Some webcams might be WiFi equipped requiring no extra PC. Radio Shack note
There is also a GetLifeStatLog command over USB which might have info, but not clear yet, and more cumbersome to set up without WiFi in the Neato. Suggestion courtesy member shirgal.

Remotely Launching Neato -- more trick than mod:
Start Neato with remote access to a PC by taping the USB cable to the charger, and using a tool like GoToMyPC or equivalent to remotely issue USB commands with a terminal emulator such as hyperterminal. The trick is Neato demands the cable be unplugged to allow motion. This can be done by letting the PC go into sleep mode which shuts off peripherals, or using Microsoft's detailed device control utility DevCon:
(courtesy member A4refillpad]
[edit] Not needed Botvac which eliminated the pull-the-plug demand.
The plug falls out as Neato moves out to clean, either with the Clean command (issued twice, same as pressing the button), or scheduling. Note older AMD machines cannot access Neato's obsolete USB protocol, and an Intel based machine seems required -- some fault in the system board drivers from ATI and Nvidia.

Floor height transitions, thresholds etc., too steep to climb: floor molding ramps needed. Thread "overcoming heightenings"
Also see below crafted Wheel Traction Enhancement.

Protecting Carpet Edges (also height transitions)
Page 2 in thread "XV-21 Blocked by Area Rugs"

Tilt Reduction Mod limiting back/front tilt causing traps.

Polished Reflective Surfaces (not limited to actual mirrors)
Analysis only: appears to Neato as empty space since no lidar return, beam deflected, so Neato endlessly tries to enter the space. Neato might recognize a mag strip as a barrier instead. The bumper strikes alone do not appear sufficient for Neato's software to map the barrier. (no Mod for this)

Filter Condition Checking Tab
Cardboard strip raised by exhaust only when air flow sufficient. Section in crafted electronic "Air Flow Display Mod"

Tire Traction Enhancement
A rubber band method besides crafting replacement wheels below is discussed in Requires sewing; untested.
Botvac Wheel Tread Replacement

Crafted Mods:

Improving Botvac Mag Strip Sensing
For mag strips under carpet
and sensor IC

Botvac Brush Bearing Mod For Durability-- suggestion only, not complete
Also "Neato Brush Ball Bearing Hair Fix"
The Improved "D" model bushing mount

Using 2015 Botvac-D improved mounting on original Botvac (best except for warranty)

Lithium Ion Replacement Batteries
One solution found in lengthy investigation: internal version and external (battery compartment)
LiFePo4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery construction (2000 cycle life): (don't work, too small capacity)

Botvac LiFePo4 Lithium DIY Battery
With possible application to XV as well.

AA Size NiMh batery packs (24 cells) -- claiming longer life
-- cycling tests did not support sufficient life; drain rate too high this size cell even in parallel pairs. Long life in light use.

Note regarding non-oem batteries voiding warranty

Ball bearing brush mount: Thread "Beater brush bushing mod"
[7/6/13 new Signature model Neato includes ball bearings instead of older bushings, so relevant only to older models]

Adding A Rotating Side Brush to Neato XV's thread:
Excellent side-brush demo on real dust using BotVac

Adding a Bluetooth transceiver (old system boards only)
Hacking forum "Bluetooth and Neato" thread

USB interface and WiFi (new and old systems)
Thread neato xv-21 serial port wifi
member's work in progress
Another installation
also with link to hacking section
Neato XV Omega 2+
Neato XV with TL-WR703N router

Botvac WiFi addition
More Botvac WiFI, ESP286 complete
XV model with Omega2 micro Linux server

"Worn Battery Indicator Light" Battery and Filter monitor circuit
(see related "Neato with a Voltage Monitor"

Charging contacts extension: thread: XV-11 docking and charging problem solved
A simpler contact improvement: thread "charge bar mod *pics*

Optical Boundary Marking (alternative to mag strips) additional background info in "Adapting Roomba Virtual Walls?"

Additional heat sinks for odd system board glitches

Dock-Based Run Length Clock

Vertical pressure sensing on the front bumper: section within "bumper mod question"

Dust Bin Switch Fix
[edit: turns out insufficient to jumper closed the switch because after some time Neato demands the bin be emptied, and requires an off-on sequence. See thread below.]
When the rubber button pressed by the dust bin ceases to indicate properly, the wires on the contact board can be shorted with a 2.2Kohm resistor to permanently close the switch. (Industry has odd favorite component values 22, 47, etc. instead of even numbers.) Remember not to run without the bin and filter.
Another cleaning contact repair

Alternative Dust Bin for Roomba 880 Filters -- 3D Print
Printer file

Filter Airflow Display -- LED's in Vent Slot
Replaces the complex "Battery and Filter Monitor" with memory and timers in "Worn Battery Indicator Light". The battery part is replaced by the "Dock Based Run Length Clock" above.

Battery Maintenance Tool -- Precision Discharger
Discharging to improve NiMh batteries,"Battery Improved -- Max Discharge"
The battery can be discharged by running the blower fan over usb without the following circuit. Commercial smart chargers also listed there. The fan is normally run at 90 % and around1 amp but will draw 50 % more and be much louder putting 100 in the command speed parameter. This technique depends on Neato's over-discharge protection features which automatically stop.

Not a bot mod but an accessory useful in some problems with batteries, a circuit to fully discharge the battery automatically without damaging over-discharge is shown on page 5 of long thread "Battery Run-Times?" Since not installed in the bot can be assembled on solderless breadboard.

Wheel Traction Enhancement
Mouse Pad rubber seemed to work, but requires removing existing tread.
"Neato Tire Traction"
Traction also enhanced by climbing mods below.

Enhanced Climbing Mods
Brush guard front (not constructed yet):
Narrow plate across front of the brush providing a longer and wider lifting lever instead of thin ribs to lift over soft obstacles better.

Suspension addition:
Tension spring addition to shift weight from front to wheels climbing. See page 4 rubber band addition. Additional discussion elsewhere in thread. "XV-21 Blocked by Area Rug"

Neato Battery Cable Connector
XV models Molex 03-06-2042 Digi-Key, Mouser distributors. See
Botvac models 3mm Pitch 6 pin AMP TE Micro-Mate-N-Lok 1445022-6, Digi-Key part no. A30262-ND

Battery Disconnect Switch for older models lacking the dust bin switch in newer models

3D Printer Files for Making Parts
XV series drive wheel
XV series wheel tread
Deep pile carpet tread
XV bumper lowering extension (2 file zip, left & right halves)
Bottom clip for attaching Swiffer pads, sold on Amazon, Ebay
-- Swiffer thread
-see 3D Printer thread General Chit-Chat (Off Topic) site section on printers.
Alternative Dirt Bin for Roomba 880 filters

LCD Language Selection
When incorrectly set change using positions in the menus shown in the User Guide page reproduced here

Neato Reset Procedure
Member reported customer service advice: Open the dust bin and turn the battery off (on oldest models unplug), then park it in the docking station. Then open the dust bin and turn the unit back on (while docked).
-- used to clear various problems, not charging etc. A charging cycle will occur when the battery is reconnected, to calibrate again.

Neato Firmware Updating
November 2015 Neato Robotics suspended the online firmware updating website page. There were never any updates for Botvac firmware very new to begin with.
Russian programmers had previously captured the firmware files. Instructions for offline firmware updating in thread "Firmware 3.4"
Risks of damaging the unit are present when not used correctly with expertise. There is little of significance in updates beyond v3.1 introducing the "corner cleaver" improved corner handling behavior. Russian firmware files supplied are only for the newer, v64 "Binky" system board, and are incompatible with the older v113 "Cruz" boards from several years ago, with different cpu. For the oldest v113 boards with side charging jack Vorwerk's updating system can be used Files were also used with the Neato Robotics Upgrader Rev113 boards are incompatible with firmware beyond v3.1 adding "corner cleaver" behavior. The Botvac is even on a different OS, commercial linux variant QNX instead of in-house mods to linux. No Botvac updates were ever released and only addition of WiFi communication on the late 2015 "Connected" model involves changes.

For old online updating (website suspended Nov. 2015):
Problems updating the firmware are covered in thread "Neato Upgrade Fails" Additional info in v3.4 thread In Windows PC's, a log file for the upgrade process can be found in file NeatoUpgrader.log, in folder C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\NeatoUpgrader\Logs\NeatoUpgrader.log.
(Some offline updating files are posted for experts, but beware old Rev113 system boards -- units with side charging plugs -- will be damaged if any version beyond 3.1 is loaded, not compatible.)

reverting to the prior software version
To temporarily revert back to the previous firmware on your neato hold down the "back" and "start" button together for a few seconds. This will last until you next restart your robot (for old Rev113 boards). In rev64 boards press the left bumper corner to the center direction (both micro switches -- front and side -- should be pressed) instead of BACK button. It might take 30 seconds for reboot. (not clear whether works in v3.4, whether board or software version was at issue).

Battery Connector Problems -- Discharged Battery Illusion
Connector Molex 03-06-2042 Digi-Key, Mouser distributors. See

Erroneous "Unplug USB" msg -- Dirt in Jack

Defective Charging Jack switch (old models) -- Unplug msg.

Stuck Wheel Message
thread "Stuck Wheel Message, but doesn't seem to be caused by wheel"

Wall and Cliff Sensor Replacement
(failure causing symptoms such as going in circles from sensing phantom walls)
Complete Neato part often available on ebay.
Active component Sharp GP2Y0A51SK0F (Digi-Key part# 425-2854-ND)
Data Sheet
cable connectors JST: sensor end ZH series 1.5mm Digi-Key part# 455-1160-ND
, main board 2mm PH series Digi-Key part# 455-1126-ND

Lidar Motor Repair/Replacement
(and lidar mounting adjustment from F_Robot)
Cheaper motor
"My Vision Was Blocked..."
"XV-11 Lidar Issues"

Lidar drive belt -- O-ring 85x2mm nitrile NBR with 70 hardness. Ebay and Aliexpress. Check details:
--appears to be OD as standard DIN3771 for Vorwerk has 82 and 88 ID's, not 85. See post.

Lidar Spin Bearing Replacement
A sealed bearing replacement is available at

Lidar Slip Ring (turret commutator) Replacement

Lidar Test Instrument "LIDAR RPM and PWM reports" (also has replacement lidars)
Also Arduino DIY lidar interface
And Raspberry Pi interface

Lidar Internal Electronics
Spin sensor alignment
More Lidar repair, internals

Lidar lens focus adjustment, near-sighted

Vacuum Fan Repair
-- shorted fan one cause of "need to reset" error. XV series fan info

System Board Repair -- Charging System Components -- Dim,Dead Mode Fix, Charger Stuck
Capacitor C10 "Wake Up Neato From Dead Mode"
Video for this repair (commentary in Russian?)
(replacing surface mount capacitors

XV Docking Failure, Stuck in Charging Mode
Diode D14 "Neato XV Signature got stuck in charging mode"
Possibly related to stopping in front of dock, false dock detection.

System Board Charging Circuit issues -- partial schematic
improved drawing

Botvac Board Component Repair for Battery Issue
Surface mount IC replacement with hot air soldering equipment.

Dock Circuit Board Capacitor Replacement

XV Circuit Boards Component Info Reference
xv11 hacking wiki

USB Programming Manual
and posted here at top of main page
(USB requires the Neato Robotics driver installed as the first step in updating firmware on the company website; see links in
Botvac note: commands GetLifeStatLog and GetSysLog do not exist in botvac. Caution with XV v3.4 as, not checked. Terminal emulators: hyperterminal, RealTerm, TeraTerm, Putty, etc.

USB Drivers for Neato and Botvac
links in

BotVac Disassembly (video)
thread "How To Disassemble A Neato Botvac" courtesy Vic7767

Botvac "D" model brush bushing mount

BotVac stuck bumper switch fixing
(supposedly improved at factory, but early packed units may have stuck bumper switches from packaging depressing the bumper; it may be easily repaired)

Bumper Switch Repair & Replacement
Plunger cap style tactile switch 12 x 12 x 7.3 mm. Botvac has separate boards and cables for each switch.
Post for parts
Repairing the tact switch itself
Replacing tact switch assembly (French)
Botvac bumper repair video

XV LCD Panel Button Switches

XV LCD Display Constructed With Inexpensive Parts
For skilled technicians and engineers.

Botvac Side Brush Belt
"Botvac Side Brush Drive Belt"

XV Disassembly Procedures and Precautions
with links to tear down and instructional videos
including long detailed video with lidar disassembly

Diagnostic Info Program for USB
Neato Control program displays lidar scan graphically and other sensors. Courtesy member heX.
and earlier
(requires the Neato Robotics driver for USB connection; see above, USB manual)
Revised 12/1/2014 for Botvac and file language improvements.
Manual port number entry must be "COMxx" not "xx" (shown in Windows "Devices and Printers" or Device Manager in Control Panel). Always close program before disconnecting cable (keep Test Mode off...)
French language file posted over there

Alternative interface software in Python for Linux and Windows

Spare Parts

Tool Suggestions

Botvac disassembly needs long shank torx/star driver bits, T10 for the case, some others inside. Amazon
Enkay set
Outside of U.S. I think is on Aliexpress for cheaper shipping.
The security bits have holes in the center for a pin, work on regular as well.

Removing hair wound on the brush gear shaft: Swiss Army knife and multi-tool tiny scissors possibly useful.

Screw drivers: small palm size spins faster in hand than electrics; some case screws are tight and require a thick well fitting driver to avoid stripping heads. Screws into plastic must not be over-tight to avoid stripping threads.

Fine tipped needle nose pliers fit inside the screw slots for deep wells.
Last edited by glnc222 on January 26th, 2018, 8:18 pm, edited 87 times in total.
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Re: Neato Mods for Utility & Repairs -- List of Threads

Postby chris-s » April 16th, 2015, 2:26 pm

Hi !

Any tip/trick to avoid cleaning bearing or the botvac main brush every cycle ?
I have many hairs got stuck around axle, near the bearing.

My XV-15 was zero-maintenance.
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Re: Neato Mods for Utility & Repairs -- List of Threads

Postby glnc222 » April 19th, 2015, 4:55 pm

Botvac Brush Bearing Maintenance

now continued in its own thread Botvac Bearing Mod For Durability listed in the index above:

a new model Botvac-D announced May 2015 has a new type of brush mount which may solve the problem, though is incompatible with the original Botvac housing or brush guard.

Not much can be done except clean when the bin is emptied and listen for abnormal sounds when the brush starts to spin, maybe revealing the bearing has seized up. See comments
[edit] photo added to clarify mod below

Mod Suggestion
It appears the brush could be modified by inserting a steel pin shaft and use a bushing mounted in a rubber stopper slice same as the mod shown for adding ball bearings to the XV in the main index top of this thread.

Going further with a steel shaft: were a steel shaft to be inserted in place of the existing plastic end for the ball bearing, a bushing might be found to fit on the shaft over which the large ball bearing would fit, providing two sliding joints in concentric arrangement, so that when the ball bearing seizes up there is still a bushing mount operating. The regular Botvac bearing would then fit into the housing as usual. This is to prevent spinning the seized bearing inside the housing plastic causing damage. Size of a bushing outer diameter can be adjusted wrapping layers of duck tape around it among other ways. Incidentally steel pins of various kinds are in better hardware stores. There is also the flat part of wood screw shanks, so maybe screw into the end of the brush. These brushes are expensive so I am not eager to modify them with possibility of error. But I also do not have a pet problem...

[edit] The brush has a hollow end easily fitted with a 3mm or 1/8" shaft for available bushings. See links above.

Start a new thread or use the link above for further comments, to be indexed in the main list post here.
Last edited by glnc222 on May 28th, 2015, 3:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Neato Mods for Utility & Repairs -- List of Threads

Postby chris-s » April 21st, 2015, 12:03 pm

glnc222 wrote:Start a new thread or use the link above for further comments, to be indexed in the main list post here.
I let you start a new thread if you want, my english language is too poor :mrgreen:
About you mod suggestion, I'm afraid that I have not understand all what you suggest :(
Some pictures or video would be helpful :)
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