Neato going in circles, no error codes

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Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby axe » June 23rd, 2015, 7:12 pm

Hi everyone,

Our Neato XV-11 has run great for 3 1/2 years but is now acting up. It will drive out to the middle of the room (as usual) and do its rotating scan (as usual) but it then seems to enter into spot cleaning mode, e.g. it drives in a 3-ft circle then drives within the circle. It will then do that a second time about 3 feet away, after which it returns to its dock.

I checked it out with Neato Control and the sensors seem fine. It isn't throwing any error messages either! I'm out of ideas - any suggestions? :cheers:
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby vic7767 » June 23rd, 2015, 7:19 pm

How old are your Neato battery packs ? What is the stored battery voltage using NeatoControl when the Neato does this ?
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby axe » June 23rd, 2015, 7:31 pm

vic7767 wrote:How old are your Neato battery packs ? What is the stored battery voltage using NeatoControl when the Neato does this ?

Thanks for the quick reply! We replaced the battery packs about 6 months ago (and it has been working great since, up to now)

The battery voltage in mV flips between BatteryVoltageInmV=16041 and BatteryVoltageInmV=16068
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby vic7767 » June 23rd, 2015, 7:36 pm

axe wrote:I checked it out with Neato Control and the sensors seem fine.
I forgot to ask if you ran the Lidar image test ?
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby axe » June 23rd, 2015, 7:38 pm

vic7767 wrote:I forgot to ask if you ran the Lidar image test ?

I used the "Scan LDS" function and it picks up surrounding surfaces, if that's what you mean... The LIDAR does spin.
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby vic7767 » June 23rd, 2015, 8:27 pm

I really don't have an experience beyond what I've already asked you about your Neato. You might consider removing both packs for about 10 minutes then replace them, go through the charging step and then try a run.
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby glnc222 » June 23rd, 2015, 10:16 pm

Moving in tight circles is sometimes a result of a faulty or covered over wall sensor. It keeps moving away from a supposed wall. Perhaps it does not begin responding to the sensor until it has moved away from the base, unknown.
The sensor should be checked with Neato Control moving a hand in and out in front of the lens.
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby axe » June 24th, 2015, 5:37 pm

glnc222 wrote:Moving in tight circles is sometimes a result of a faulty or covered over wall sensor. It keeps moving away from a supposed wall. Perhaps it does not begin responding to the sensor until it has moved away from the base, unknown.
The sensor should be checked with Neato Control moving a hand in and out in front of the lens.

Which reading in NeatoControl should I be looking at? I see WallSensorInMM=-24 and moving my hand in front of it does nothing.
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby glnc222 » June 24th, 2015, 7:39 pm

You have found the right line labeled for wall sensor. The negative reading is typical of a broken sensor.
They are not too expensive on ebay if available. The operating component is also available sometimes in stock at Digi-Key industrial distributor, supporting small personal orders.
Note Neato Control reports different numbers whether Test Mode is turned on or off, the actual voltage from the sensor I think. What counts is whether it responds to being covered up or exposed, something moving in and out over two inches.

The sensor can be checked with a volt meter to distinguish whether the sensor itself, the cable, or the cpu is at fault, but it is usually the sensor. red wire 5v power, black ground, yellow output 1-3v variable. The LED can be seen with a digital camera. It just measures intensity of reflections with a simple photo transistor, with a little processor for refinement, pulsing etc.

Neato Wall sensor part from Sharp: GP2Y0A51SK0F
Digikey part# 425-2854-ND http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/GP2Y0A51SK0F/425-2854-ND/4103863?WT.z_cid=ref_octopart_dkc_buynow&site=us
(Digi-Key's system works best when an account is registered, to record addresses)

Advice on disassembling Neato's in the Mods & Repairs list main page. (now adding the sensor info above)
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby axe » June 25th, 2015, 6:18 pm

A $400 "thank you" to all - the wall sensor was the issue! I cracked the Neato open, unplugged the wall sensor cable, and it works great. So well, in fact, that I wonder why it has a wall sensor in the first place.
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Re: Neato going in circles, no error codes

Postby glnc222 » June 25th, 2015, 6:30 pm

You can swap a cliff sensor with the wall sensor, same part -- if you do not have cliffs...
I suspect some navigation is not fully functional without the sensor. It is used to follow walls and detect whether there is room to maneuver to the side. Maybe the lidar compensates. The software details are private.

If disconnecting a sensor reads long distance, doing that to the cliff sensors would seem to indicate a cliff.
I once replaced one of those with a resistor divider across the power lines as temporary repair, feeding a fixed voltage into the input. Use a couple hundred K ohms and minimize current. Measure the normal voltage on the floor and duplicate that.
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