Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

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Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 4:24 pm

So got my Botvac yesterday and was waiting for some sealed bearings to show up. Today I swapped the bearing and put it on the charger. Before even trying to run it I was pressing on the front bumper and noticed it only clicked on one side. Nothing from the front or one side. So I pulled the bumper off and after some messing around I realized the little plastic tabs that are in front of each switch were bent inward just enough to keep the switch from returning outward and that 3 of the 4 switches were affected.

I took a paper-clip and cut it into strait lengths so I could use them as a cross bar under the end of the plastic tabs to pull it out ward. I put them under there for a while and it seems to have solved the problem.

When opening the box I noticed the Botvac can shift in the packaging and rest on the bumper or if the plastic is bunched up it will create a pressure point on the bot. Thus if stored at a warehouse in the right position the Botvac would apply its weight to the front bumper as long as it sat there thus bending those plastic tabs in and taking away their spring.

Seems like a really poor way to package something like this. May end up sending neato an email on this.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby vic7767 » August 27th, 2014, 5:13 pm

Guess we could call that a cost reduction engineering change. Less metal, more plastic.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 5:29 pm

I'm using the paper clip to hold the plastic tab out to try and bend it back out. So far it seems to be working. The plastic has formed a bit of a memory for the inward bend so I'm trying to remove that memory.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby vic7767 » August 27th, 2014, 5:39 pm

It's very possible that the plastic has become stressed and possibly a little heat (be careful) may help the plastic get back to its original position.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 5:40 pm

Here is a picture of the issue
uploadfromtaptalk1409175545797.jpg
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 5:41 pm

Actually thought of that. Used a hot pack made up of those blue beads. Seemed to help so I'll try that again
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby mfortuna » August 27th, 2014, 6:02 pm

It seems like a poor design if it is relying on the plastic to retain its shape after many uses. I know the bumper is not activated as much as a roomba, since the navigation system for the most part keeps the bot from bumping into anything.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 6:14 pm

There is a small spring that ride over the switch. It contacts the back of the tab in my picture.

The more I mess with it the more I think the issue with the side switches is related to one being too far out and that causes the other one to not be able to move back out after its move in. I put a little heat on the one that's too far out and it relaxed inward a little. That seemed to help the opposite side move back out to its static position.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby vic7767 » August 27th, 2014, 6:28 pm

As you've discovered, that outer bumper shell clips in place by friction only. Neutral position is controlled by the 4 vertical plastic tabs located just behind the 4 small bumps on the outer bumper shell. It they are deformed then the front bumper shell will be out of alignment and not bump correctly.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 6:31 pm

Or as in my case also with the tabs those bumps press in on to activate the switch under it. Basically if any one of 8 items is out off spec it throws everything off.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby glnc222 » August 27th, 2014, 10:25 pm

All they would have had to do is pack a cardboard spacer inside the bumper protecting the spring, they way printers get packed with all sorts of bits here and there for the delicate moving parts. But I guess you'd have to pull off the bumper to remove it, which is the forbidden disassembly. They've never seemed to be too on top of small details -- like types of bearings, brush blade materials, etc. There is some advantage in waiting for later production batches with little fixes here and there.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 27th, 2014, 10:28 pm

Gave it a quick run around the kitchen. Seemed to work fine. It thought it mapped a door that wasn't there but it was due to placement of things along the wall that confused it. All in all it seems fixed
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby lacain » August 30th, 2014, 11:39 am

Hi there. My neato also came with this defect. I would slowly cut path of each spring and checking the work and click. It is delicate, but with good scissors is easy. My botvac had two springs and two very bad. After cutting the two springs is situated two months working perfectly.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » August 30th, 2014, 12:05 pm

So I went to put my Botvac back in the box while I moved to our new house. While putting it in I noticed the part of the box that contacts across the front bumper pushes the entire front bumper in to the point that both switches are depressed. Horrible design with packaging. The front bumper is pressed in the entire time the bot is in the box. Needless to say I didn't put the bot in the box for the trip.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby dak » September 3rd, 2014, 9:12 am

I'm a total newbie with a day-old Botvac 85. The bumper seems to have only three micro switches based on the clicking I hear when moving it. I assume there are actually four, which means I have the same problem as you. I haven't studied the bumper closely yet, but can you tell me how to remove it? I can send it back of course, but would rather DIY if I can without voiding the warranty. Thanks.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby ASTMedic » September 3rd, 2014, 9:27 am

It just pulls off. With the bot facing me I hook a finger under one side and pull it. There are just little tabs that hold it on. You'll see the 4 switches when you get the bumper off. One one each side and 2 on the front.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby dak » September 3rd, 2014, 10:38 am

Thanks - a little tension + hair dryer and I now have 4 switches. Amazing how a small bit of under-engineering can undermine an otherwise advanced technology design. Time will tell... :-)
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby glnc222 » November 4th, 2014, 8:03 pm

Looks easy to fasten a rubber band or elastic cord to the sides and tucked behind that tab to pull on it. Could adjust the spring tension over a wide range. The tab only fails when stuck inwards.
Packaging I saw depresses the bumper just putting the bot in the molded tray, no weight involved. Supposedly fixed but no telling old stock.
My guess is the bumper is so thin packagers were not even aware it moves. Does not seem to affect all units or they would have done more already. It is like the old breaking plastic spring attachment on the early XV's.

The new case design looks very elegant to me in all sorts of ways.
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby glnc222 » November 5th, 2014, 3:31 pm

confirmed packaging fix

Replacement of original Botvac package fixed pressure on front bumper, cutting off front of molded tray. [edit] No braces inserted open bottom sides of bumper, which I would do. Can't have everything.
oldpacking.jpg
old Botvac packaging

newpacking.jpg
replacement BotVac package
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Re: Had to do surgery on my Botvac right out of the box

Postby glnc222 » November 27th, 2014, 10:12 pm

Vic7767 mentions heating to restore the original plastic position
A hair dryer can resolve that issue.

An alternative heat source might be an incandescent light bulb or halogen lamp, taping the tab into proper position and warming a while, see if stays put. (When lacking an essential personal feature warranting drying equipment.)
I've used a briefly applied flame to bend ABS plastic, but wouldn't want to subject a Neato to the uncertainties involved without prior experience. When warming the tab, a thick cardboard shield could be applied around it to keep the rest cool.
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