Wake Neato up from dead mode

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

Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » February 5th, 2015, 10:23 am

I've ordered a few different types, including a 100 microfarad, 25 v (exact replacement for C10), and a 220 microfarad, 35 v cap. I think I'll start with using the 220/35 to replace the C10 and see what happens. I'll post my results once the new cap is installed.

One thing I am thinking about is connecting it all up without reassembly, to see what happens. Have no idea if this is possible, but will try once the new cap is in place.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Medtech » February 7th, 2015, 1:03 pm

pbastian I usually do, so I always have a free display, you can simply unscrew it from the top panel and put in the garbage bin compartment as in the photo, it is necessary to remove the spring from the wheels, otherwise the robot will be in an unstable position.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby mmm2000 » February 9th, 2015, 12:19 am

Has anybody replaced the capacitor and had 100% success for at least a week? I have the dim green issue as well, but I wake my robot up with the USB trick. Sometimes I have to reset it several times before it wakes up. If the robot gets stuck, or power is out for 5 minutes, then it goes back to the green dim light. :evil:

Also from what I remember, my robot always lost its clock setting and cleaning schedule settings every time when it got stuck and I was not around to "save" it. (Had my robot for about 2 years).

Is this something you guys have experienced?

Edit:
I have 3.2 software installed and I tried to update to 3.4, but it fails during the process, by going into the dim mode...
Last edited by mmm2000 on February 10th, 2015, 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » February 9th, 2015, 5:43 am

Engineers may skip this tutorial information.
The simple explanation for these mysteries, of course, is... swamp gas. Actually, it is a simple matter of power supply. On some PC's or smartphones with more components than robots, a separate clock IC acts as a peripheral device read as needed by the cpu. A small rechargeable battery may keep the clock going when the system is powered off. The simpler robot uses the cpu for the clock, and when it is shut down the clock stops so needs to be reset. The schedule memory is also not in a separate flash memory remaining permanent. If the bot is left off the charger a long time because stuck in unattended operation, the cpu may shut off when the battery reaches an abnormally low state of charge. The cpu consumes some power even when the motors are not running, continuing to drain the battery. This all depends on fine detail of the particular design of the system board, which is not public and so speculation.

The cpu freeze, dim mode etc., was explained as a temporary power supply weakness when the unit powers on, so that memory is not properly functioning, confusing the cpu. Connecting USB can restart the cpu with the power supply having had time to become more sufficient. How severe is the power supply defect will determine whether this can continue to work. Defects in the power supply components can cause any amount of havoc with the cpu operation. CPU's require very precise power supply voltages, with extra components just to tightly regulate the supply. If under warranty, these are clearly manufacturing defects covered by the most basic provision. Of course, defects are carefully designed to fail one microsecond after expiration of warranties, on advice of insurance company lawyers who after all, must have something to do.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » February 11th, 2015, 12:50 am

OK - replaced the C10 cap with an identical type (100 microfarad, 25 v) and reassembled. Partial assembly and test did not seem to work, so I bit the bullet and put it all back together. Pushed it up against charging station - no response. On a whim, I did the USB trick, with the robot connected to the charging station, and it woke up. Almost like hooking it up to one of those defibrillators - "CLEAR!" It is now charging, but also alternating to a "Thank you for emptying my dirt bin and cleaning my filter" message on the LCD. I do have a pulsing orange halo around the start button, and the LCD says it is charging. Will leave for 24+ hours and see what happens, and post again.

Medtech - I see in your picture that your LCD is displaying the same message mine is. Any thoughts on why mine alternates between this and the standard NEATO display? maybe I never noticed it before. I'll wait and see what happens when it runs the first time.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » February 12th, 2015, 5:20 pm

Update to my C10 cap replacement adventure...after putting in an exact replacement 25 v, 100 microfarad cap, it seemed to work, but I had trouble reviving it, and it kept saying it's dustbin wasn't in place. After an overnite charge, it was misbehaving again, and back to comatose mode.

Decided that my lousy soldering skills may have damaged the new cap, so I took out the first replacement cap and put in a 25v, 220 microfarad cap. From the beginning, robot behavior was better. Woke up right away - in fact, during assembly, kept telling me to put it on the ground. Encouraging! Still having the problem with the dustbin, though. And if I try to ask it to clean, it says it can't because the dustbin isn't inserted. I tried a shutdown with no help, and a battery reset doesn't help either.

I want to try a firmware reset. Will the Neato Firmware Updater just force an update, or does it only work when there is a new firmware available that is different from the installed version? Put another way, does anyone know how to force a firmware reset/redo? I don't know where this dustbin message would be coming from, unless the PCB board has been damaged by me messing with it. I checked the contact of the dustbin switch, and the routing of the cable back to the PCB, and it seemed all fine to me.

Thoughts or comments?
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby vic7767 » February 12th, 2015, 6:02 pm

pbastian wrote:I checked the contact of the dustbin switch, and the routing of the cable back to the PCB, and it seemed all fine to me.

Thoughts or comments?


Since you've check the bin contact all the way back to the cable connector going to the MCU, you will need to replace the main board.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » February 12th, 2015, 6:47 pm

Check with Vic7767.com for the finest replacement system boards.

I want to try a firmware reset.

This has become uncertain with expansion of the Neato website to handle multiple models but can be attempted.
Older bots prior to V3.4, or maybe 3.2, can be forced to load the back up prior version by holding down Start and Back keys simultaneously several seconds. This feature is missing on newer models. In this state it used to be the case the updating website would repeat downloading the newer version. However, the website has expanded to include manual registration of the software version in place to check if new updates are available, as well as serial number registration to check the board version. The oldest Neato's cannot be updated beyond v3.1 for hardware changes (when updating an old board tell it you have an even older v2...). The issue is whether you can get to the download page. One trick possible is if you get the URL of that page go to it directly instead of through the regular menus. Not clear what that would do. I do not have that URL. There is also an issue whether the new download system has gotten smarter and will check the present installed version through USB communication besides the back up and say you already have the latest. Customer Service might advise of some procedure but lately has advised against all firmware installations unless there is an error message on the LCD. Their advice on out of warranty units is pretty much buy a newer one.

Most hardware faults do not seem to have any cause in faulty firmware installation. Redoing the firmware is unlikely to fix any problem There can be corrupted memory which can be cleared by shutting down the system in the LCD menu several minutes.
Failures of input ports on the system board have been encountered in the past and require replacement of the system board. The Neato Control Program is the easiest way to check operation of the sensor inputs.
Power supply issues can affect all the sensors, leading to invalid signals sent to the cpu. This is also a system board defect if the battery is good.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » February 12th, 2015, 11:18 pm

Update - discovered I had the Dust Bin sensor cable in the wrong 2-prong plug on the main board. Switched it to the correct one (P9, I think), and now everything seems to be working normally again.

Will try running it tomorrow, but at the moment, it is behaving normally. To summarize, I replaced the C10 capacitor (100 microfarad, 25 V) with a 200 microfarad, 25 V capacitor.

I'll continue to post as the days and weeks go by. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby ag43 » February 13th, 2015, 3:22 am

UPDATE: 12 days since i've replaced the c10 capacitor with 35V 220uf and the dim green issue is solved completely. i've reinstalled firmware, unplugged the base charger from ac and did more scenerios that used to make the robot "go dim" before and now it's working fine.

BUT:
the run time between charges is now only 20-25 minutes when before it was around 45.
not sure if this is because the different capacitor spec, the other changes i've did (below) or if i've damaged some other part of the board while soldering (i don't think so).
the other changes i've did:
1. reinstalled firmware.
2. used the "new battery" option.
3. switched from silicon brush to pet and allergy brush.

i'll keep trying to find what's causing this problem and update here.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » February 13th, 2015, 3:38 am

Neato Robotics has remarked the Pet & Allergy brush increases load some and reduces run time, along with the Pet Filter with higher air flow and fan load. How much is not clear. There were many reports of shorter run time when the XV-21 Pet & Allergy model was introduced, and they said it was just the higher loads, nothing was amiss. It might pay to check the fuel guage parameter over USB to insure it is going close to 100 per cent when charging, in case the software has gotten confused as to the battery status. Supposedly New Battery selection will start the estimation over again, clear the model parameters. Best in a depleted state so it can monitor the charging. No telling what it does. Somehow it decides when to switch between orange and green light, according to fuel gauge. This can be modified over USB. Charging continues some even after the light turns solid green, which just means fuel enough for some sort of run but not the longest.

Addendum: If the battery was discharged in strange ways in "dim mode" the power management might have decided the capacity had deteriorated and imposed a lower run time limit to insure return to base. One of the parameters reset by New Battery option. Not accessible info in the software, unknown operations.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » February 13th, 2015, 1:13 pm

UPDATE - Day 1 following my C10 cap replacement with a 25v, 220 m-farad is going well. This morning, left the unit running in the house doing a clean. Not seeing any issues as of yet.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Brochetti » February 18th, 2015, 7:08 am

Did the C10 operation (replace with 220µF 35V) 14 days ago.... Still working without any faults!!!
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby klingenfelter » February 19th, 2015, 10:19 am

I thought I would jump on this thread to work my problem. Thanks to Lewiy I got the schematic. It seems that the charger module does not control charging current, (I jumped to a conclusion), but this is inside the Neato. I've been studying the schematic and it seems that the batteries are charged through one of two MOSFETS (Q12 or Q14) via control from U8 (pins 61 and 62) using either the charger module or jack from the module. I've found C10 (100uf electrolytic) on the PCB but cannot find it on the schematic. C10 has tell tail burn marks on the back side of the PCB (back from the mount side of C10). It seems to ohm out as a capacitor though.

I have several Russian Friends and plan to translate Lewiy's work for all, and remake the schematic.

Any help with C10 on the schema would be helpful, there is an unlabeled capacitor under R42, but does not seem to be a location that would cause a problem (I've not used the power jack for charging yet.

Anyway I need to read this whole post I think.

Thanks Keith
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Gordon » February 19th, 2015, 1:27 pm

klingenfelter wrote:... I've found C10 (100uf electrolytic) on the PCB but cannot find it on the schematic. ...
Keith, I happen to feel that C10 should not be considered as part of a charging power control schematic. C10 filters the 3.3V output of a voltage step-down regulator marked U4.
I have several Russian Friends and plan to translate Lewiy's work for all, and remake the schematic.
After Lewiy posted devilmike's schematic I was happy to see that work presented, yet I found understanding all that the diagram was telling to be a bit confounding. Thus, soon after its publication I felt compelled to re-draw devilmike's diagram to suit USA standards that had been drilled into me for more than 50 years.

I did the re-draw last October but have been holding off posting it. This (IMO) is not an appropriate thread for it. I will PM a copy to you. The schematic shows that raw (following a single Sh.-diode drop) battery voltage is sent to regulator U4. Details of the regulator circuit (including "C10") and its distribution of 3.3V to all its destinations belong on a system diagram.
..., there is an unlabeled capacitor under R42, but does not seem to be a location that would cause a problem (I've not used the power jack for charging yet. ...
Don't try powering that jack (J3) for the purpose of battery charging. It seems to have been re-purposed for testing only.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby klingenfelter » February 19th, 2015, 1:48 pm

Thanks Much saves me a great deal of time. And thanks for the info on the jack
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » February 19th, 2015, 2:31 pm

C10 was on the voltage regulator for the cpu and memory IC power supplies, not part of charging. A cpu power-on start up problem, poor regulation of chip supply voltage. Those IC's have run on some low voltage for efficiency many years in PC's etc. even configurable in some BIOS settings for different brand processor chips. Race for efficiency in mobile battery powered devices.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby ag43 » February 22nd, 2015, 4:38 am

UPDATE: after 3 weeks the robot has gone mad. it's working for 10 minutes, goes back to charge for 10 minutes and start working again. it also cleans only half of the house. i've ordered 20V 100uf capacitor and try to replace the 35V 220uf that i've installed. will update.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby mfortuna » February 22nd, 2015, 10:04 am

When my battery went bad my Neato often acted like yours. I could be wrong but I doubt it is the cap.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby ag43 » February 22nd, 2015, 10:05 am

I find it hard to believe that the battery went bad exactly when I replaced the capacitor.
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