How to use neato with suction off

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How to use neato with suction off

Postby andrew881 » January 31st, 2017, 3:52 am

I would like to use a wet pad under it but I'm scared that the suction of moisture could damage the unit. I have already used it and it worked fine but I'm worried that in the long term it would be damaged. If there was a way to put suction to 0 and back again to normal when necessary it would be much better. And that would let me to use how much water and detergent I want without limits.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby JEfromCanada » January 31st, 2017, 5:12 am

Are you just trying to save the cost of another robot? Even with suction off (assuming that was possible), how would you stop Neato from going onto carpeted areas (or do you not have carpets)? The iRobot Braava is designed for exactly what you're asking.
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: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » January 31st, 2017, 2:16 pm

I doubt a damp floor would damage it but a puddle will do so. A user knocking over a pet water bowl had damage (why I made a point of not relying on mag strips for those).

Experiments with filter suction (thread "electronic filter monitoring") showed the fan can operate with the intake blocked and even do so at lower power. The constant RPM fan control reduces load when there is no air to move. So while the fan cannot be turned off (the system monitors the fan or blockages), a piece of cardboard, paper or plastic can be placed over the filter to stop the intake. (As a consequence removing the filter increases air flow and the fan motor load substantially, and should be avoided.)

Investment in experiments is an unavoidable cost of making unusual uses of such equipment. For more certainty a mopping robot is the conventional apporach.

I heard iRobot obtained its camera navigation tech for the latest Roomba, finally emulating Neato, from its purchase of the Mint company now Braava product line.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby JEfromCanada » February 1st, 2017, 2:30 am

glnc222 wrote:I heard iRobot obtained its camera navigation tech for the latest Roomba, finally emulating Neato, from its purchase of the Mint company now Braava product line.


They definitely gained some IP from the Mint deal, but does the 980 require Northstar Cubes to navigate? If not, then the navigation process is completely different from Braava.
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: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » February 1st, 2017, 3:47 am

A different asset than the Mint system itself, something they had, maybe anticipating future designs. You never know what's cooking.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby andrew881 » February 10th, 2017, 10:58 pm

glnc222 wrote:I doubt a damp floor would damage it but a puddle will do so. A user knocking over a pet water bowl had damage (why I made a point of not relying on mag strips for those).

Experiments with filter suction (thread "electronic filter monitoring") showed the fan can operate with the intake blocked and even do so at lower power. The constant RPM fan control reduces load when there is no air to move. So while the fan cannot be turned off (the system monitors the fan or blockages), a piece of cardboard, paper or plastic can be placed over the filter to stop the intake. (As a consequence removing the filter increases air flow and the fan motor load substantially, and should be avoided.)

Investment in experiments is an unavoidable cost of making unusual uses of such equipment. For more certainty a mopping robot is the conventional apporach.

I heard iRobot obtained its camera navigation tech for the latest Roomba, finally emulating Neato, from its purchase of the Mint company now Braava product line.


Thanks. Firstly, i dont have carpets in my house. Also, I am trying to save the money of another robot. Also the idea of a single robot doing all alone is appealing. I have already tried with normal suction with a wet mop under it and it works well. Butility I am scared to ruin the robot.
So, is it so simple to reduce hugely the amount of suction of the fan? Simply to put some plastic over the filter? I think that plastic would not let air at all thus making air flow impossible. So basically the fan would shut off. Isn't this risky? Can I try? Has someone already tried?

I wonder why none has tried this before. It could be a very useful mod if tested as safe, considering how expensive are the irobots doing the mopping.If it worked you could have really the final product all in one with small expense.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » February 10th, 2017, 11:52 pm

In thread "electronic filter monitoring" I completely shut air flow with a cardboard piece over the filter in order to calibrate air flow measured by the fan current. The fan is different than in other vacuums being RPM controlled at a fixed rate by circuits in the fan. The cpu tells the fan what RPM to use over a PWM signal. Over USB with Neato Control or terminal emulator, the fan can be run with Neato commands at different speeds set in per cent of maximum, the operating default 90. With a fixed RPM the work done by the fan and the corresponding power draw depends on how much energy is transferred to moving air, "work" in a technical physics sense. With no air to move, the power usage is minimal and the current falls to a low level. The fan does not stop but maintains the fixed RPM with less than normal current draw. The variation of current with air flow can be used to measure the air flow, and I made a row of indicator leds on the back of an XV to show the filter clogging state.

The Neato fan is made for cooling electronic equipment, not a specifically vacuum fan, and so is equipped to be adjusted dynamically by a cpu in response to temperature loads inside a computer (on some old desktops you can hear the fan running full blast when starting up until the software kicks in to regulate it by measured temperature). Regular vacuums and some other robots (Samsung at least I think, hard to tell) are different, and will spin up faster when the intake is blocked (advised against on vacuums to prevent damage to bearings and motors). Dyson engineers very special fans specifically for their fancy vacuums, with high efficiency. Besides RPM control it is possible to regulate the fan current load with electronics, and adjust the fan operation that way, maybe in Samsung which does have three different speeds.

Look for the easiest way to insert a temporary cover over the filter. If some tape strips are attached to edges of cardboard or plastic and covered with paper or tape so not sticky, they could be fit around the edges of the filter when clipped into the bin. It needs to go on the inside so air presses it against the filter. Or whatever works.

It would be possible to make electronics with standard parts which would fool the Neato system with simulated signals that the fan was running while the fan was disconnected, but does not seem worth the trouble. The system does monitor the fan because it does have error messages when the fan is blocked. The fan reports its RPM to the cpu over a signal line. Generating that signal might do but experiments would be needed. Neato also measures the fan current and might not like it going off. it gets too complicated unless you like that sort of thing.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby JEfromCanada » February 11th, 2017, 12:04 am

I'm not willing to risk the health of my own Neato by experimenting, but if andrew881 wants to try wrapping his filter with plastic wrap (just as I wrap mine with dryer sheets to keep the filter clean), it might be a way to see how well moisture is blocked from entering the motor.

Personally, I would be afraid to block all air flowing past the filter, since it might cause overheating of internal components, and/or additional stress on the motor if it senses that airflow has been "blocked".

Edit:

Despite you not having carpeting, the main brushes (unless covered by the mopping cloth) are still going to capture debris which will not be properly deposited into the dustbin without the vacuum effect.

Edit #2:

If you're trying to save the cost of another robot, I'm not sure you will achieve your goal if you end up destroying your current robot and have to replace it!
Last edited by JEfromCanada on February 11th, 2017, 12:10 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: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » February 11th, 2017, 12:08 am

Neato does have some error message for the bin being too full, which would seem to be triggered by blocking the intake, but I never saw this when running over USB in test mode. You might get this error when cleaning, I never checked. My Samsung is quite good at detecting filter clogging with an icon displayed. Neato was never very sensitive to it.

I do not think any of the air flow in a Neato cools any components of the system. Nothing is in the vacuum air channel, except the fan, which drops to very low current when the intake is blocked.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » February 11th, 2017, 12:10 am

I am not sure whether there is some channel through which air inside the electronics bay is sucked out by the fan for cooling. My impression was the fan is sealed off from the internals to maximize cleaning suction.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » February 11th, 2017, 12:16 am

I suppose you remove the brush when mopping? The brush is also RPM controlled to 1200 RPM. I do not know what effect on the bearings would occur from removing the brush. A separate brush with vanes removed could be used.

[edit] Oops, you cannot run with the brush removed because the drive belt fastens directly to the brush in XV's. Botvac has a socket drive with enclosed belt, where bearing stability could be an issue.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby mfortuna » February 11th, 2017, 9:43 am

This is extensive surgery but "could" work.

At a prior company we ended up with miss-wired 4 pin fan cables. The PWM wire ended up connected to the tach wire via a transistor in the fan. It may be possible to remove the blower and connect the tach and PWM wires together which could fool the Neato into thinking the blower was running.

And removing the vanes or complete brush would be required.

I don't know what precautions Mint and Irobot went through to seal the wheels on their mopping robots. I would be worried the Neato wheels would have problems with moisture getting in.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby JEfromCanada » February 11th, 2017, 2:40 pm

Maybe the OP would be better off looking for a used Mint/Braava on ebay or on the iRobot forum on this website?
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: How to use neato with suction off

Postby andrew881 » February 17th, 2017, 5:55 am

I have had a scooba and it was terrible. It moved chaotic ally and not worth the price. Braava are also expensive for what they really do especially when you have already a vacuum robot.
In general i coukd buy another but I like to experiment.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby andrew881 » February 17th, 2017, 6:16 am

Update: I have just tried to put a piece of plastic in front of the filter (closing the filter it sealed it on its own) and started the neat. As you anticipated with your tests It worked fine, behind there was of course no air flowing at all but I could hear the fan working. In fact As soon as I took the bin out (the fan was still active) I could feel air flowing again. So my question is: where is the fan taking air from when I put the plastic bag? I want to be sure not to damage the unit.
Anyway I have already tried the wet mopping with the normal vacuuming and it works OK even if I use a lot of water (like one cup). So I don't think I will seal the filter, just in case it would damage it in the long term.
PS I have tried again the neato in the normal mode after the test and works finew.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby glnc222 » February 17th, 2017, 3:06 pm

You can see the fan current draw over USB with Neato Control or terminal emulator programs. The reduction in current with a closed intake shows the fan should not be damaged. It is idling just swirling air around in the closed compartment. The RPM control prevents the motor from racing like regular vacuums. Restriction of the intake occurs normally in cleaning as filter clogs up. In fact, Neato filters clog up quite a bit in every run, and it is advisable to dump the bin and vacuum or at least brush the filter every run, IMHO (the tissue prefilter method can also be used more conveniently; single ply tissue etc. See Mods & Repairs Index for links.

However, since the brush is in front of the Swiffer, I don't know why it matters very much. Floor would be dried some by the time the front passes again over the same spot. Swiffers are used dry as well as wet. Maybe it is not so suitable for wet cleaning. If it is just damp there is probably no problem. There might be some other users on the German Roboter-Forum or Kelrobot.fr/forum. Such things are usually experimental, up to you. Maybe ask the firm selling the pad? There is also a seller of a 3D printed clip attachment; maybe he has experience.
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Re: How to use neato with suction off

Postby Lewiy » February 18th, 2017, 2:13 am

There is a way to solve this task. But it seems not very elegant.
First, you should command 'setconfig blowertype 3'.
In response, the robot will write 'BlowerType = 3 (BLOWER_DELTA_NO_PWM)'.
Then you need to remove the cover of the fan compartment (unscrew 4 screws at the bottom of the case), disconnect the fan connector. Also, you can easily remove the fan itself. After you close the cover, the bot will be ready to operate without a fan in the usual way.
To return to the previous configuration, you have to 'setconfig blowertype 1' and reconnect the fan.
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