Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

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Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 23rd, 2012, 2:28 pm

My Kärcher RC3000 is 3 days old and displayed today for the second time this day that he is chocked by blinking slowly red (on 1sec, off 4sec)
Before he began to blink he just drove backwards, turned a bit, drove backwards, turned a bit and then stood still.

I've turned it backwards and opened the dirt receptacle but couldn't see anything that looks suspicious. The 2 dirt sensors inside the dirt receptacle were a bit dusty but this shouldn't be a problem because this is where all the dust comes through.
The "height" sensors around the bumper were clean.

There is also something else, I don't know if it is normal. Sometimes he stop the suction for 1-2 seconds in the middle of the cleaning without any reason just to start it again.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby robocleaner » November 23rd, 2012, 4:30 pm

Make sure the brush is seated properly, making sure you've removed any long/tangled threads from it, and wipe the sensors in the dirt bin and any dirt sticking in the suction channel clean.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 23rd, 2012, 4:39 pm

The robot came straight from the base when this happened and I couldn't find any long threads on the brush or dirt into the suction channel. Just some dusty sensors in the dirt bin.
Did you have this error message as well before?

What about this issue "Sometimes he stops the suction for 1-2 seconds in the middle of the cleaning without any reason just to start it again." ?

I am wondering if I maybe have a faulty unit. I also have some small thread balls from the socks on the carpet and even though he runs over it several times, he just can't pick it up. My Vorwerk VR100 doesn't have such issues with suction power. So I am wondering if it maybe just defective.

What I really love about the Kärcher that you don't have to clean the dirt bin yourself and he does all by himself.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby robocleaner » November 23rd, 2012, 4:51 pm

The actions you describe are evasive/corrective actions: Something is placing excessive resistance on the brush (not seated/tangled/long carpet tassles), or else the dirt sensors are obscured for longer than is considered normal (dirt sticking between the sensors, very long thread). Check the brush, wipe the sensors. There's nothing wrong with it.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 23rd, 2012, 4:58 pm

It has just happened again for the third time this day. I've took the dirt bin cover off and wiped the sensors clean as they were dusty. Are you supposed to do this after every cleaning? Because I've already cleaned them yesterday. It is just logical that they will always get dusty as they are in the dust bin.

Beside the dusty sensors, the brush is fine without any long threads.

Update: Now it has happened for the 4th time. So the dust sensors are definitely not the cause. Because you have mentioned the brush as second cause, I have removed it and put it back in.
Maybe it didn't fit correctly the first time and the Kärcher had troubles rotating it on the carpet, because of the misaligned cogs. There was, however, definitely no thread around the brushes.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby robocleaner » November 23rd, 2012, 5:47 pm

enigma2k wrote:It is just logical that they will always get dusty as they are in the dust bin.

No, it isn't that logical!... The dirt is supposed to pass the optical sensors, not stick to them! If more than light dust/dirt passes the sensors, the Karcher determines which of it's "intensive clean" programmes to employ. If 'sight' between the sensors is constantly reduced, Karcher knows something is obscuring them - possibly a full bin, so it'll go and empty. If the sensors are still obscured, there's a problem with trapped dirt/threads. A light coating of dust doesn't affect normal operation, but if the dirt coating the lenses gets too thick, it will.

For me, it happens when: If the base station bag is almost full and base-station suction is possibly less than optimal, sometimes the robots' bin will not empty completely; that dirt will compress at the front of the suction channel blocking the sensors. Other times, wet/damp dirt trodden in from outside can stick in the channel/on the sensors. Rarely, a thread of carpet webbing comes up, wraps around the brush, and flutters across the sensors (this causes the 'backing-up' motion you describe, thinking it's stuck on a tassle or cable). In these cases, it will eventually stop and a fault will show. These all happen very, very rarely.

It's just good practice to keep the brush and sensors clean and wash the fabric filter occasionally... and empty the base-station bag in good time so there's maximum 'emptying' suction. It's all mentioned in your manual under the "Maintenance and Care" section. It's still a lot less maintenance/hassle than other robots I could mention! Okay, the Karcher doesn't suck like a Neato/Vorwerk (nothing does), but it does require less maintenance that most other robotic cleaners, does a very respectable cleaning job, and in all likely-hood the Karcher will still be running long after your Vorwerk is worn-out/broken beyond repair and in the bin (in my personal opinion!).
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 23rd, 2012, 8:17 pm

thanks robocleaner for your informative reply.

As already mentioned in my last post, the dirt sensors were not the problem. So after I put the brush out and back in, it seems to work again. It seems that there have been a problem that the clog of the brush didn't correctly connect to the clog of the robot and so he had troubles rotating the brush on the carpet.

Thanks again for your help, you've steered me in the right direction!

I really like the Kärcher more compared to the Vorwerk V100 because he is completely autonomous and climbs thick rugs more easily. It is really a pitty that he hasn't as much suction power and that he can't reach edges but it is still better than always emptying the dust bin.

PS: If anybody else from Europe is interested in the Kärcher, they are currently available for 620€. (pm me for the shop link)
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 25th, 2012, 7:04 am

Today it happened that after the Kärcher was fully charged it got out of the station a bit and immeditely showed the chocked sign. I then turned him off and on, he got back to the station and showed the chocking sign again.
I then turned him over to see if there is anything inside and it was fully empty.
Only the dirt sensors were covered in dust which I then wiped off. After I put him back on his wheels he didn't show the "chocked" sign again. So it seems my robot is very sensitive in regards to dust on the sensors. I guess you don't have this issue? The suction of the station can't be too weak, as it is just a few days old.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby Fraggboy » November 25th, 2012, 7:05 pm

Mine has exhibited the same symptoms like yourself. My dirt detector plastic housing is coated with a fine dust blocking the IR.

My old house had fine sand in the yard which my dog would bring it in. I unpacked the Karcher in our new home and ran it for a couple of days now. The dirt detector housing isn't as bad as our other house.

What I haven't tried yet, is clean them with an anti-static cleaner (Used to wipe TV's/computer monitors with). I think that might help keep the fine dust from sticking to the plastic housing.

Even if it doesn't fix the issue, I'm fine with it.. I know what's causing it, and it's a quick fix. ;)
Chris

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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby robocleaner » November 26th, 2012, 12:57 pm

@enigma2k
What type of carpet are you running it on? Does the robot appear to 'jiggle' around when it's running over this carpet, or does it move across the carpet quite smoothly - almost as smoothly as when it runs over a tiled or wooden floor? Is the base located on this carpet? Something abnormal seems to be stressing the robot for the robot to keep reporting a fault as frequently as this. If you were previously running the robot with the cogs misaligned, it's possible the interlock between the brush and the drive has been damaged?
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 26th, 2012, 6:03 pm

@Fraggboy
Thanks! You've ignited a light inside my head with what you've said. I think my dust sensors were covered more than normal because I've previously wiped the dust sensors clean with my finger. The problem in doing so is that the surface get oily and the dust stick even more to it. I've wiped it clean now with just a bit water and soap to get any oil that might have been there away.

@robocleaner Yes it is a high floor carpet that let's the robot juggle around. The base stands on a wooden floor. I am not sure that the cogs were misaligned at first, it is just an assumption because once I've put it out and back in, it didn't report the error anymore.
I just hope that I won't get anymore error messages otherwise I will return it for another one.
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby robocleaner » November 26th, 2012, 7:05 pm

I wonder if the pile on your carpet is just too high or too thick? This might overload the brush drive and/or it might trigger the obstacle sensors in error (if it jiggles around a lot) because of the unique way that the sensors work in this robot. Karcher say it will run on carpet up to 20mm thick, but I've never personally used it on anything that thick.

The errors you report can and do happen in normal use, and always for a reason, but not with the regularity you seem to be experiencing them... which is why I suspect some other environmental cause (like your carpet being too thick/dense/high) which may be stressing the brush, the drive, the obstacle sensing mechanism (assuming of course you're keeping the dirt sensors clean) - any or all of which would result in the behaviour you describe.

The only other possible thing I can think of - and I think this is very unlikely - is that the two body stabilisers may have sheared: The whole of the outer casing floats over the running chassis; the suspension is achieved by three springs which centre the outer casing over the chassis (you can see these springs from underneath). But, importantly, the outer casing is centred over the chassis with two nylon stabilisers (which you can't see without removing the casing). If these have sheared (they are designed to break in extreme circumstances), then the outer casing jiggles around too much on anything less than a really smooth surface and triggers errors all the time - I know because this happened to me when one of my Karchers fell down the stairs (my fault!). Treading on it or dropping it - or letting a child ride around on it (don't laugh; there's a lunatic over on the Roomba forum doing this) would likely break them too. The stabilisers are really cheap to replace, but without taking the robot apart there's no way of knowing if this has happened.

I still think something about your environment is the most likely cause. Changing the robot for another one will help determine if it is your environment or you've just been unlucky and got a faulty one (that'd be the first time I've ever heard of a faulty new Karcher, but I guess it is possible!).
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Re: Kärcher RC3000 thinks it is chocked

Postby enigma2k » November 28th, 2012, 5:52 am

@robocleaner
My carpet is 15mm thick, so this shouldn't be a problem. I had several test runs now without any stucking or chocking. It seems that cleaning the sensors with a cloth/paper and not the finger did the trick for me. I had much more dust on the sensor before because it must have been gotten a bit greasy. Now I just have a light dust layer, which I think is perfectly normal.
I sometimes experience that the rotating brush gets louder when the robot cleans a hard floor. You can really hear him hitting the floor. Other times you don't hear it for several hours. Haven't figured out which could cause this.
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