Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

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Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby Bocks » July 17th, 2017, 4:11 pm

First some History:
I am a self-proclaimed Robot Vacuum geek. Back when I saw the original Roomba in 2002 I was hooked. I have had at least one model out of every series Roomba created going back to 2003 (Original, Elite, Discovery, Red, Sage, 570, 535, 560, 650, 790 and lastly the 980). I have been loyal to iRobot and their Roombas only having strayed for a brief period with the Neato XV series units (but quickly went back) so my knowledge and experience with the iRobot line is vast.
I purchased a Roomba 980 in Jan of 2016 as a replacement for my Roomba 790 as the only robotic vacuum in our house. While I was impressed with the mapping ability, the runtime of the Li-Ion battery and the Aero-Force extractors in terms of maintenance, I have been bothered by what I feel as less effective cleaning from the vastly more expensive 980 compared to my previous Roomba’s. I have a yellow lab and three kids in our house so there is no shortage of hair, dirt, crumbs, etc. to go around. My main gripe with the 980 and what caused me to look at alternative robotic vacuums was its poor performance in picking up my yellow labs hair off our hardwood floors as well as its inability to fully navigate our entire main floor without becoming stuck on our area rugs or under the furniture. The answer to this for me was having SIX Virtual walls throughout the house blocking various trouble spots for the 980. The virtual walls work great but the batteries run down or one of the kids move them and then the Roomba gets into someplace it shouldn’t and gets stuck. Coming home to a frequently stuck $900 vacuum robot that does not get all the dog hair was the last straw.
Upon doing weeks of research, I found the Neato Connected and the Samsung PowerBot line of units. Having been less than impressed with Neato products (reliability, performance, design, etc.) in the past and having good luck with the Samsung appliances and TV’s I figured I would give them a try.
R9250 Review:
I purchased a BotVac R9250 last week and have run it 15 + times since (have spent hours watching how it operates, learning how it works and following up on its cleaning effectiveness) and I must say I am impressed with its build quality, cleaning ability, navigation and design.
The R9250 looks like it has an actual vacuum head attached to a giant motor and dustbin and is HEAVY compared to any Roomba unit I have owned.
In the many cleaning jobs, I have run since I got it, it is yet to be stuck and cleans my floors better than any Roomba I have had before. I can turn the PowerBot on and it will clean our entire first floor in a single charge (1,500sqft, all hard surface mostly hardwood floors, with large shag area rugs and some tile in the entryway). The spinning brush on the PowerBot is 12” wide (nearly double what the Roomba’s is) and does an excellent job on the floors picking up pet hair and fine dust that the Roomba 980 would miss. On Carpet it leaves nice lines and a good clean floor. In the past, the Roomba’s with the brushes required a decent amount of maintenance to remove the hair and fibers that would wrap around them. The Powerbot does get some hair on the brush but the way the brush is designed, it is much easier to get the hair and fibers off compared to the Roomba’s.
The waste bin is HUGE a .7L and is easy to empty and can be submerged / rinsed with water. This always bothered me with the Roomba’s because the motor was part of the waste bin and was tough to keep really clean.
The R9250 has Wi-Fi Capability and uses the Samsung Smart Home app. The configuration process is easy and once connected you can control the basics of the unit from the app. The biggest missing thing on the App is there is no history or map of what the unit cleaned. The app is basic and not very polished but it gets the job done. It is lagging behind the 980 in terms of functionality and polish.

Overall, I am impressed with Samsung’s entry in this space and after nearly 15 years with iRobot Roomba’s I have jumped ship and moved on. Will see how reliable the Samsung unit is and how easily I can get replacement parts if / when needed but so far I am glad I made a change.
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » July 17th, 2017, 8:23 pm

A nice touch I find is the display icon for filter clogging, which really works. If you see this, dust, usually visible, has built up on the surface of the sponge filter cutting air flow. Vacuuming may restore operation though washing is the standard. I backwash filters holding against the faucet. Squeezing out water with a towel and placing under a fan will dry it in an hour. Never buy filters again (you will need the money for the $175 large battery -- which might last 600 cycles or more, no one has reached yet -- lithium advantage).
It looks like this indicator is missing on the 7000 series (by the manual), perhaps because of the smaller bin likely emptied before the filter clogs.

The Neato Botvac has a similar sized large bin, but not the larger four inch wheels and wider brush.

One thing added on the 7000 seems to be automatic hard floor/carpet detection and fan control. I am dubious of the Max fan power setting, finding little cleaning improvement (apart from automatic engagement with the dirt detector), and observed some wear on the battery (though I had experimented with over-powered usage omitting the limiting cyclone system, maybe over loading).

The dirt detector really works, with some sensor in the intake, being observed going off at certain spots usually against walls, on occaision. Makes a nice impression.

One annoying feature of Samsung is shutting down the unit in the event of an error, with no delay allowed for manually resuming the current operation with the house map. A matter of software details. Shutting down helps preserve the battery (the computer loads it even without motors), and Neato robots were known to severely drain the battery if left unattended, though they could be resumed. Refinements should be possible.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » July 17th, 2017, 9:41 pm

Surprising Amazon Wharehouse Deals has "used like new" units R9250 as low as $475, while new ones are in stock at Amazon and Best Buy U.S. at $799. They have not been distributed for very long to make a lot of wear.
The "select a room" feature in the more expensive 9350 is somewhat dubious from reports. Needs work and more manual editing features.

[edit] The surplus of returned 9000 bots might coincide with the recent introduction of the new, lower height 7000 models, with a lot of returns to trade over by recent customers. In that case the bargains may not last.
Last edited by glnc222 on July 19th, 2017, 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » July 19th, 2017, 3:16 pm

Another difference on the more expensive 9350 is flexible rim wheels increasing traction when climbing thresholds, increasing the specified height handled from 1.5 to 2.0 centimeters. I once saw these wheels, with visible fan like blade spokes, on a cheaper model months ago, which disappeared -- possibly a marketing field test only. Unless they have also vanished from newer 9350's, manufacturing cost issues. The company makes so many varied models seeming to be equipped with substantial production facilities for experiments, owning the factories instead of contracting out.

I base this on observing wheel traction is a problem on the edges of height transitions where bots are tilted so weight does not fall at the angle needed against the edge, and slipping occurs. Many thresholds are beveled forming ramps limiting problems, but still an issue for some customers. See the 9000 thread for details of investigations.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby michaelm » July 22nd, 2017, 12:51 am

Just picked up the r9250 and the first try was a success.

I am having trouble with the wifi connection on Android however. How do you do a hard reset to the robot as mine was 'nearly new' from Amazon.

Initially I could see the AP access point on my phone but now I can't. It asked me for AP name and password but I could not type in the AP name and the search did not find my wifi network.


Any suggestions?
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby michaelm » July 22nd, 2017, 1:33 pm

After trying many times to restart the vacuum, restart my router and my phone, uninstallign the app etc, i gave up and requested a return to Amazon.

I reordered the same vaccuum again "as new" so hopefully will be better next time. There were a coupleof broken pieces of the one i had in the box and the magnetic strips were missing so maybe better luck next time.

I talked to Samsung support and i vwas frustrated with them very quickly as they were following an older set of instructions that were not corresponding to the App. I was on Android on a Pixel XL and i am a network engineer...so unlikely to be on my end. I restarted my router, restarted the phone, even tried an android tablet and an iPad...none of them could even "see" the AP provided by the vaccum.

Considering there was no way to factory default it i decided to just return it and get it over with.

Shame as it did a good job - apart from going over our large dark area rug in the living room...how can i deactivate the cliff sensor?

I wanted the wifi not to control it but to add the schedule more conveniently and and to - hopefully - get some software updates for the vaccum.

Lets see what the next one is like.

Thanks

Michael
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » July 22nd, 2017, 2:22 pm

Cliff sensors on all robots can be disabled by covering with light colored tape or paper, creating a false floor; keep flush with the outside of the case not to interfere with the IR emitter and receiver. Certain dark carpets or patterns and some hard floors require this on all robots; the standard IR proximity detectors used are not the best tech for the purpose (see investigation in the Hacking forum; a specialized detector using parallax would be better).

There are a lot of WiFi complaints about all the robots, so I cannot interpret reports without details of the instructions in the manual -- what happens at each step. Was an account created at Samsung's website? I did not have to register the older 9250 by PC there but did create an account, the smartphone app does something separate (being imported into the U.S. it cannot be registered at the U.S. website). The Android app is in the Google Play Store and covers all appliances in the Smart Home system. Remote buttons put the robot in AP (Access Point mode, shown on the display), for direct phone connection for the app to send the router password to the robot (holding down the Clock button I think). The phone must be near the robot to connect.

Perhaps that unit was returned for WiFi problems, who knows? There will not be updates to the software for the robotics so much as for the WiFi and the app itself, with its complications -- not new robot behaviors. They want to sell those on new vacuums. The robotics behavior software is pretty well done after years anyway.

Turning off and on the battery switch on the bottom will reboot the robot's computer; it must then be put on the dock to boot, showing a count down -- or press the start button?

Software updates can occur only if the Samsung remote server is operating, not out of service for some reason, or over loaded. The robot version is shown in an app info screen, latest on the old 9250 RV0.0.53. Updating can be seen momentarily on the robot showing UPAM on the display. The app has been updated a few times separately. There is a WiFi reception icon on the robot's display panel, but does not mean the robot is logged into the system, just that it detects the router I think. There is an app screen for adding appliances which can re-register the router in the robot.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby michaelm » July 22nd, 2017, 3:17 pm

Hi

Yes i think i will be disabling the cliff sensor in the next one i have if it works as well as the old one.

As for the wifi...i know wifi adds nothing to the performance of the robot but i just want it to work and it pains me to see such a complicated setup.

The first time i booted i managed to get to the AP screen of the app but it would not let me type the name of my network or search for it.

Subsequently i would put it in AP mode and then the access point from the hoover itself would simply not broadcast as i would not see it on my phone at all.

In any case there were a couple of minor cracks and a few dents on it so pleased to replace it. It did work rather well though, I had to lift the dining chairs but it was good fun to watch it climb over some low profile bar stools in the kitchen!

Should have the new one by Monday so will report back then. I may just have to manually schedule it.

To be fair....i am more likely to manually run it rather than schedule it but you never know.

One question...when it run out of battery it made its way back to the charging station. But after it was full it never resumed...is it not supposed to do that?
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » July 22nd, 2017, 8:44 pm

It resumes after recharging if needed, normally. It could do 1500sqft on one charge running 60 minutes. It shows "End" on the display when going back to the base finished (but not on the base charging), not sure if when resuming later. It takes a couple hours or more to charge and resume, so not quickly observed.
Fan power is best set to Normal. Max power is for half hour run time only, heavy load, and I do not find it cleans much more and can wear the battery.
With camera guidance it must have some but not a lot of light in rooms to see especially the ceiling; it sees in IR, doing contrast pattern recognition to locate landmarks for triangulation.

I don't know about giving names to networks when running the app. The phone would be connected to a network with the internet when installing the app, and then running -- it says if it cannot run because not connected to WiFi -- the phone's own options, Android, are used to select the WiFi network under its settings, not in the Smart Home app. I think it will be confused if there are multiple networks in the environment, but know little of WiFi complications. There were problems at Roboter-Forum over highly secured networks beyond the usual passwords, with port no's etc. Required router settings are in the manual; it won't work with anything exotic -- of which there seem to be plenty of options in router manuals, for enterprises I suppose more than homes.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby michaelm » July 24th, 2017, 9:05 pm

Well I got my second R9250 today and this time it appears to be a brand new one as it was never used and all the pieces were clearly factory wrapped.

I am still having no joy at all adding the vacuum to my wifi but I am pleased with the performance as it is.

I attached the screenshot shots from the app. It can detect the AP, my phone (Android) connects to the vacuum network and it tries to search for my network but it does not find it for some reason and it won't let me type in the AP name despite what the manual says. I can type in the password field.

Any advice welcome.

I blocked the cliff sensor as well and it went over the rugs no problem. Run for just under an hour on first charge but battery was not full so pleased with it.
Attachments
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby Bocks » July 24th, 2017, 9:17 pm

The App / Wifi on these is very crude / basic. Mine failed a couple times during the setup but worked after a few tries. It's very device specific. I have mine setup on and iPhone 6S Plus running the current version of iOS and the Android Smart Home app. The Connect app never worked for me.
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby michaelm » July 24th, 2017, 10:00 pm

I managed to connect it finally on my iPad so things are looking up. I can now see it my Android app but it still asks for me to set it up. Strange!

Happy so far though.

Thanks for all the help guys.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby Bocks » July 24th, 2017, 10:20 pm

Good news. I need to get mine added to my iPad in addition to my iPhone. When I try it asks me to press a button on the remote for 3 seconds but nothing happens on the app.
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » August 2nd, 2017, 2:33 pm

Holding a remote button down 3 seconds -- I think the Clock button, check the manual -- is to put the robot in Access Point (AP) mode showing AP on the bot's panel, to receive the router password from the Smartphone; hold down, wait for the display. The remote must be pointed at the robot and operating it; try a few buttons to check like fan power. The phone must be near the robot to insure connection. Once the password is sent the robot switches to the router -- which must reach the robot's location, and have the settings specified in the manual. Give it time to respond to all operations. Turning the bot battery switch on the bottom off and on resets the robot; restart on the dock, showing a start up count down.
The bot must be on the dock for WiFi to operate -- for the power drain of radio com, not to waste the battery on it.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby Bocks » August 2nd, 2017, 2:36 pm

glnc222 wrote:Holding a remote button down 3 seconds -- I think the Clock button, check the manual -- is to put the robot in Access Point (AP) mode showing AP on the bot's panel, to receive the router password from the Smartphone; hold down, wait for the display. The remote must be pointed at the robot and operating it; try a few buttons to check like fan power. The phone must be near the robot to insure connection. Once the password is sent the robot switches to the router -- which must reach the robot's location, and have the settings specified in the manual. Give it time to respond to all operations. Turning the bot battery switch on the bottom off and on resets the robot; restart on the dock, showing a start up count down.
The bot must be on the dock for WiFi to operate -- for the power drain of radio com, not to waste the battery on it.


Yes, this procedure works for adding the Robot to the Smart Things app for the first time on the first device.
I have mine setup and working properly with the app on my iPhone. I want to add it to my ipad but the directions included are not working. The procedure to add it to a 2nd device are different than what you describe above.
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » August 2nd, 2017, 3:15 pm

Once the robot communicates with the router everything is an internal matter in the phones and tablet software. Supposedly the robot can be controlled over the internet from a remote location, perhaps through a Samsung server for security, insuring the controlling device is registered to the bot owner. I never used more than one device. When the Smart Home app starts it shows a scan of the house for connected devices. Maybe each device must register robots in their own app. There is a screen in the Smart Home for adding appliances. I had to use this once when the robot was not connected to WiFi for several months and the app was updated, and I suppose they abandoned the bot from some sort of time out; did the whole AP thing again. There is some role of a remote server not clear. That service in the U.S. may not always be working, from one report, who knows? The Smart Home at least, looks to that server for updates any time it runs I guess.
So now there is some additions in the Smart Home for Amazon Alexa. Amazon supports writing apps for Alexa on a software support website, so called "skills" in Alexa for operating particular devices on the network, how to emulate the Smart Home operations in a phone, the protocol for each appliance whatever brand. You can do your own skills but appliance makers get theirs included by Amazon in Alexa and put whatever Alexa wants in their phone apps.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » August 3rd, 2017, 2:50 am

Found 9350 SmartHome app instruction document at Samsung http://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00050161/
-- references a "recharge" remote key for AP mode missing on 9250, where it is the "clock" button -- hold 5 seconds in my manual.
Router must have DHCP and UPnP, and support 2.4ghz.
Each tablet must register with an account at Samsung to run the app.
When setting up router in one robot, all others must be turned off to avoid confusion.

You would think that if an appliance is registered to the account and so at the Samsung server, any phone registering to the account would know about the appliances from the server, and recognize them in a scan of the house when the app starts, but who knows?

My 9250 manual says nothing about multiple smartphones or tablets, just how to connect one to the robot. I haven't looked at instructions within the App. Maybe only one phone/tablet can be registered with the appliance at any one time?
[edit] The old 9250 was imported from Australia, never sold in the U.S. so that manual is from Samsung Australia website not U.S. -- where a newer R9250 now supported. They all connect to some Samsung document site.

I wonder what happens if two phones or tablets are operating on the WiFi network connecting to the robot, if that causes confusion. What if the app is running in background on a phone not displaying the app.

What if the iPhone is turned off and the whole setup for the robot is done from scratch on the iPad same as was done on the iPhone.
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Re: Samsung PowerBot R9250 Review / Thoughts

Postby glnc222 » October 7th, 2017, 6:41 pm

I got a "dust on the cliff sensors" message over WiFi from the original 9250. Surprising to see such thoroughness, very welcome. Fortunately I don't have cliffs.
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