new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

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new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby monkeyboy » March 11th, 2017, 1:42 am

Our new D3 is pretty cool, particularly the return to charge then continue cleaning feature... but a few glitches:
1) it always gets hungup on our Persian rug. Tucking the fringes underneath is not a 100% solution (it sometimes unfolds the carpet edges exposing the fringes/tassels again. I suppose I should try the magnetic strips but 1) expensive-ish, 2) unsightly, and not convinced it will be a 100% solution.

2) the D3 frequently gets stuck trying to go underneath furniture that it barely clears, only to have a sag or tight boxed-in situation cause it to get trapped and/or lost.

I think the biggest flaw is to have that LIDAR tower raised above the rest of the unit such that the main body clears any opening but the raised tower then gets stuck. As far as I see, this is a major design flaw -- it makes no sense to have it so that it enters an overhang that the tower cannot clear.

I am contemplating adding risers to the bumper, as I think some others have done. They would raise the effective height of the bumper to match the LIDAR tower. Any suggestions along these lines would be much appreciated.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby JEfromCanada » March 11th, 2017, 2:17 am

Risers would need to be thin enough to not obscure the lidar's scan, but sturdy enough to survive bumps. Other than that, I think it's a good plan. Has anyone 3D-printed such a device?
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Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 11th, 2017, 4:39 am

The over-head pinch problem is one of the oldest known and was solved by a practical mod in thread "overhead pinch trap" http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=15853&hilit=overhead+pinch+trap
There are specific technical requirements to any bumper addition, from the response programmed to bumper sensing, dependent on fine details of maneuvering and the robot geometry.
(links to threads on various problems with furniture are in the Mods & Repairs list main forum page).
Sometimes it is more attractive to raise a piece of furniture slightly, sometimes more to fix the robot -- a matter of taste and circumstance. Mag strips have even been used to block off problem furniture, but fixing the robot can be attractive. Other problems require lowering the bottom edge of the bumper, also quite practical.
Some other brands, with camera guidance, detect such blockages with more elaborate IR sensors.
For Neato I think the Vorwerk VR200 Neato model even adds bumper sensing to the laser turret itself. That feature was never added to the Neato Robotics models. (Vorwerk is not distributed outside Europe.)
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby johnnyh » March 12th, 2017, 9:32 am

I have struggled with this issue across many Neatos. I found that the simplest solution is to put 1/2" risers under the legs of the offending furniture. That's all it takes.

Incidentally the German version of the neato added "bump" sensors to the lidar lid to handle this edge case.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 12th, 2017, 6:37 pm

With one chest of drawers on legs too low for robots, I had raised it to work with one, but with a taller one went extreme and enclosed the bottom similar to larger chests, matching the finish with paint. Few users were ever interested in modifying the bot, most fixing the furniture. The mod was more for using the robot at different venues, and just perfection of the engineering.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby monkeyboy » March 12th, 2017, 7:11 pm

Thanks for the input. I can appreciate that for many, it is easier to just adjust furniture. But the Neato also seems good at finding new ways to wedge itself... like under the wheel of an exer-cycle. I will try simple versions of the wire hoop bumper extension to see if it works well enough in our case(s).

Still also have to solve the persian rug fringe problem as well... and I suppose there is no solution to the tangle of wires around the video games...
Last edited by monkeyboy on March 12th, 2017, 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 12th, 2017, 7:20 pm

Tassles, fringes, have always been a robot no-no. I wonder if even full size power heads could be used. You can switch off the brush on Dyson canisters.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 13th, 2017, 7:17 pm

I suppose there is no solution to the tangle of wires around the video games...

Sure, as long as you do not care to organize the wires, gather into cables and move against a wall when cleaning. Goes with furniture moving, chairs against walls on two legs, clearing tight spaces too small etc. Staff will take care of it.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby monkeyboy » March 13th, 2017, 9:30 pm

BTW, with all the apparent utility of the Neato control program and talking to its smarts, is that possible on a D3?
Does it have a USB port?
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 13th, 2017, 10:27 pm

Older Botvac's have the USB plug under a rubber cover near the battery on-off switch, under the dust bin. About the only place it could fit (and mounted on the circuit board without nuisance cables), so take a look and let us know. WiFi may have superseded it. Anything in the manual?
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby monkeyboy » March 15th, 2017, 1:20 am

I dont see either a usb port or a battery switch inside the D3.
OTOH folks on another site seem to have begun hacking the web/Javascript interface with some help from Neato themselves:
https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/2619/ ... nnected/27

There is however a rectangular opening that I don't know what it is. Facing the front, it is on the left side just behind where the side brush on a D5 is -- D5's also have it, so what is it? Seen on this Web image:

http://cdn.thegadgetflow.com/wp-content ... uum-05.jpg
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 15th, 2017, 12:23 pm

The IR proximity Wall Sensor, used to track walls etc. Needs to be kept clean. Same component as the Cliff Sensors. Measures reflection of a focused IR light beam over short distance.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby monkeyboy » March 15th, 2017, 12:45 pm

Thanks, I thought it might be something like that, but then being only on one side implies that only that side can hug the wall...

So does it always clean counterclockwise?
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 15th, 2017, 1:02 pm

Waste of money to have more than one -- sensor and side brush. Also would consume more power, shorten run time, or need a larger more expensive battery, make the robot larger to fit,... You see two brushes on over-priced asian models.
There might be a serial port edge connector on the corner of the system board, found on older Botvacs (using custom electronic interfaces). I don't have one myself, so limited info. Such a new model not yet examined by owner engineers.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » March 18th, 2017, 6:47 pm

I dont see either a usb port or a battery switch inside the D3.

Top side of dust bin cavity (remove the bin). Look for rubber cover.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby vic7767 » March 18th, 2017, 7:10 pm

monkeyboy wrote:I dont see either a usb port or a battery switch inside the D3.

Since the D3 uses a 2100 mAH Lithium pack there is no need for a battery switch. If the pack does not receive a charge the onboard (inside the Lithium pack) controller will open the discharge path to prevent further voltage drop.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby monkeyboy » April 1st, 2017, 11:23 pm

A quickie update... The D3 runs and finishes our 1st floor unattended now about 50% of the time. Putting on a front bumper U-widget to stop it from entering areas that it would get wedged in now means that it no longer gets stuck underneath our main den couch. Folding the rug fringes or using strips of boundary markers now means the D3 doesn't get caught up in our Persian rug fringes.

So the remaining issues are that about 50% of the time, the D3 gets itself trapped randomly in one of several situations mostly involving dining chairs, as it is navigating underneath one of two dining tables and their 4+6*4 = 28 legs each -- its random and there are no true traps but nevertheless it sometimes just gives up with an "I'm stuck".

Happy that the D3 is able to do our entire 1st floor -- I had originally thought that it would be too large for the smaller D3 battery even with 3 cycles and was planning to buy a D5 battery to stick in the D3. That doesn't seem to be necessary for now anyways, at least until this D3 battery gets too old (I haven't seen the price of a D3 battery replacement but I'll guess that the D5 battery at $70 from Amazon is the way to go).

Anyways mostly happy now... and glad I didn't get tempted too much into spending the extra $200 for a D5.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » April 2nd, 2017, 4:31 pm

A good procedure with dining table chairs was pointed out: lean them against the wall with front legs lifted up. Much easier for a robot to navigate, not to mention manual cleaning. Due to galactic disruptions, C3PO is not available for this task at this time.
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby Wing Nut » April 2nd, 2017, 6:03 pm

glnc222 wrote:A good procedure with dining table chairs was pointed out: lean them against the wall with front legs lifted up.

I flip them upside down onto the edge of the dining table and send the Neato out to vacuum. I then, 'absent mindedly', leave the chairs there as evidence I did some housekeeping during the day :D
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Re: new D3 customer: mostly happy, but...

Postby glnc222 » April 2nd, 2017, 6:16 pm

It is not clear any larger D5 battery will make any difference in the D3 operation as battery parameters have to be coded into the software. The robot is not equipped to detect the battery size which requires measuring the capacity by charging and discharging cycles, normally done with instruments, unless they have found some new tricks. In the past larger batteries just get fully charged but only the old portion of the charge is ever used (batteries indicate when full without indicating their capacity -- as in charging an already partly charged battery etc. and also defective or worn out batteries; only the discharge time is indicative). I am not sure there is any difference between D3 and D5 batteries anyway, you would have to check.
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