End of the road for Karcher RC3000

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End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby robocleaner » September 29th, 2015, 6:31 pm

I'm reading that after 13 years in production, Karcher finally decided to end production of their Award Winning RC3000 robotic vacuum cleaner in January 2015.

I guess in light of more modern (mapping) robotic cleaners, a 13 year old design which has survived without change throughout its entire production run had to come. And yet no other maker has still managed to conquer the autonomous self-emptying capability of the RC3000 with quite the same panache or reliability in all that time.

My first RC3000 is 10 years old this very month... and it's still going strong, on its original Ni-Mh batteries, and with no servicing, breakdowns or spares needed over that entire 10 years - other than some silly $1 springs which broke when it firstly fell down a flight of stairs and secondly when I trod on it. Other than those misfortunes, it's run perfectly for 10 years, which I'd think makes it the cheapest (on a cost-per-year basis) and most reliable cleaner of them all (if not necessarily the best floor cleaner in absolute terms).

I'm glad I bought a second one in 2012, because the last remaining stock of new RC3000's are now selling for truly stupidly high prices!

:(
2 x Karcher RC3000 (2005 & 2012), Trilobite ZA1 (2005), Navibot 8855 (2010)
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby piokrza » September 29th, 2015, 7:03 pm

Sorry to hear that, cause apart from some main disadvantages of these '00 times in robotic vacuum field (high ineffciency of those old-fashioned machines due to lack of side brush, rather narrow main brush, low-powered vacuum...and bounce-like dumber than Roomba-like 'navigation') it was one of the last well-build (high class materials) and not made-in-China robot, along with Electrolux Trilobite very solid machine. As robotic market start to expand to mass production for mass customer (dramatically lower prices) they (Electrolux, Trilobite) had doubbtless very hard time to maintain this old technique in pair of profitability and futher customer interest, along with steady progress of other manufacturers (iRobot, Samsung) in this field, which kick them off of the market.

I'm also sad, because some of these discontinued products from years ago were surprisingly better than nowadays products - like successful and relatively cheaper Scooba 390 series replaced by overpriced and inefficient Scooba 450 series. In this case this did not go for the 'better', as newest model has more disadavantages than old (inefficiency fast evaporating-cleaning technique, single-cycle battery, smaller coverage, more expensive & hard to reach parts). Last year iRobot also discontinued spares for this 390 model. Shame on you! :(
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby glnc222 » November 9th, 2015, 1:54 pm

November 2015 the Chinese Deebot D77 self-empty model is still sold by RobotShop.com $483
http://www.robotshop.com/en/deebot-d77-robot-vacuum-cleaner.html
A Roomba-like vacuum with access to the bin through the bottom, detachable mini-vac on the base for other uses.
The only self-empty robot besides Karcher. Fraction of the cost of Karcher.

[edit] Samsung has a self-empty model SR8980 around $1600 http://www.samsung.com/nz/consumer/home-appliances/vacuum-cleaners/robot/VCR8980L4K/XSA
and Toshiba has one around $1150 http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/toshiba-robotic-vacuum-self-emptying-bin/

There's been no shortage of competition for Karcher.

Maybe another reason they left the business.
Deebot had announced a more advanced robot, not self-empty but with laser guidance at shows a year or so ago but do not seem to have brought it to market. Camera guidance now seems to be the alternative to Neato Robotics' laser method. Karcher joined Electrolux in finding the investment for continuous improvement in models was not justified by their share of the market, which as a whole was not that big to begin with.

[edit] The Vorwerk VR200, 2nd generation German variant of Neato, has a bin designed for dumping by inserting a vacuum hose in a hole provided. Maybe forerunner of some future self-empty system.

[edit] This industry is like the early days of automobiles and personal computers, where a new kind of product is initially served by experimental niche players. Once the market is established the larger firms move in on a larger scale and it becomes a more serious game. With robot sales now 15 per cent of new vacuum sales, a new phase seems to be entered. For giant asian firms like Samsung, the robot business is just a rounding error in accounts.
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby spons » April 24th, 2016, 4:10 pm

I have the Samsung 8980 and the self emptying works quite well apart from getting jammed up down the long thin tube under the base. The cleaner itself is really rather stupid constantly getting stuck even just on the walls at the side of the room. My Karcher on the other hand does it's job and I can forget about it. Different league to the Samsung.
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby robocleaner » April 30th, 2016, 6:42 am

An Amazon (Germany) seller had a few of the final batch of these RC3000's last month (a "factory close-out special" as you Americans would probably call it), offered for just 444 euros... I laboured long and hard as to whether I should buy a third one at such a ridiculously low price, but (not surprisingly) they all went within just a couple of hours. I'm kicking myself now!
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby glnc222 » April 30th, 2016, 10:27 pm

The follow-on RC4000 holds no attraction?
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby robocleaner » May 1st, 2016, 3:13 am

As far as I can tell, the RC4000 never really existed... other than as a temporary aberration with minor/simple cosmetic changes (white plastic instead of yellow)... and which only ever appeared at one trade show and in a magazine review... once. The simple cosmetic changes obviously weren’t sufficient to stir the imagination of the buying public because Karcher made it disappear from view very soon thereafter. As far as I could see, other than perhaps an initial limited volume production batch, the RC4000 was never really offered for sale either online or on retail/traders shelves (it did appear in Karcher Germany’s own web-shop for a very brief period of time)... and the original yellow RC3000 was made to soldier on for another year or two.

There’re still a few new RC3000’s being offered for sale, but none at such a ludicrously low 444 Euros.

As spons also comments, none of the other makers later, more modern "self-emptying" robot designs ever came close in terms of simple, dependable functionality.
2 x Karcher RC3000 (2005 & 2012), Trilobite ZA1 (2005), Navibot 8855 (2010)
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Re: End of the road for Karcher RC3000

Postby Henk Poley » September 11th, 2018, 8:23 am

The iRobot i7+ now also has a cleaning base. But it doesn't clean the brushes (as apparently the RC3000 did?)

https://youtu.be/8-DzBIe83mE
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