Wake Neato up from dead mode

News and information about the Neato XV-11 Robotic Vacuum. All discussion and troubleshooting questions go here.

Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » July 22nd, 2014, 10:56 pm

I should add it will run on the dock with no batteries installed -- reporting a Critical Battery error and restricting many USB commands which depend on some battery function. But it shows the system wakes up.
If it goes dead off the charger with even a low battery, I would think some system board component is faulty.
The LCD operation would have already been verified; it has nothing to do with batteries, driven off the computer.
Sounds like the computer is not getting a power supply from the battery, or a battery measurement component is delivering wrong data.
If the LCD won't light on the dock, then the connections or internals of the LCD unit could be faulty.

Gone are the days when one could put a probe on individual pins of the processor IC and see what is happening.
Or it's done through microscopes (costing more than Neato's).
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby VIF » July 25th, 2014, 2:04 am

I propose calling this the "Dim Green Mode" rather than the dead mode.

I get it if the OBi does not make it back to its charger for some reason. Even doing a spot clean and To get it going, I pull the plug on one battery overnight. A few hours is not enough.

Edit: I had to resort to USB. I put some notes on "Neato XV-21 not responding" thread, but they were not good notes. I will try to do better next time.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby kamiraa » August 8th, 2014, 11:48 am

I tried a new battery pack, no fix.

The strange thing is, keeping the robot unplugged for 24+ hrs seemed to reset it, I put the old batteries back in it, it ended up cleaning all 3 rooms, went back to the charger. The next day the "dim" mode was back and the robot is dead again . .
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » August 21st, 2014, 10:26 am

OK...starting to have repeated "dim mode" problems. I THINK the Neato gets low on power, and is on its way back to the dock, but can't make it. Every time I find it in "dim mode", its about 2 - 3 feet from the charging station. USB plug-in trick is no longer working reliably. It has been getting more and more difficult to get it to come back to life using the USB trick. I do not have a volt meter or multimeter, so I don't know what the current charge is on each pack. The robot is sitting in the garage right now with one pack unplugged.

In March (about 6 mos ago), I ordered these replacement batteries (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B4T5H6I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). When I use my XV-21, I run it nearly every day (it IS a pet hair vacuum, and my dog sheds like crazy, so not unreasonable for the consumer to believe they should be able to run the vac every day). The warranty on these is 200 days.

Neato replied to a post I put on Amazon saying that their official battery replacement can be found at http://www.aimtofind.com/collections/robotic-vacuums/neato-robotics. I checked the site, and the warranty on the batteries themselves cannot be found on the site. I'd bet its 6 mos, though.

Neato also referenced an official repair site (http://neatorepair.com/). It'll cost you a non-refundable $32 plus shipping just to diagnose the issue. If they find something, the $32 is applied to the repair or replacement with a refurb, or you can have it sent back (and you pay that shipping too).

My questions are:
1) How would daily use impact the service life of these types of batteries? Should I think of my batteries service life in terms of number of runs vs. time? And, does this mean new batteries every 6 mos? Neato only warrants theirs for 6 mos.

2) What does the robo-community here think about the brand of batteries I bought, and are there better ones?

3) Clearly, the robot in DIM MODE does not charge the batteries back to life. Is there a cheap and easy way to charge the batteries externally to some minimum level that provides enough power to the unit to allow it to boot?

4) What is the best way to "diagnose" the health of the batteries, external to the robot itself?

5) Does anyone know if Neato is listening to our cries for help? Any chance a firmware upgrade might help resolve the "DIM MODE" issue? I mean, I can deal with the battery life issues, if I didn't have to constantly have the "DIM MODE" problem.

Thanks for listening.
Last edited by pbastian on August 21st, 2014, 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby RafaelVVA » August 21st, 2014, 10:52 am

1) A general rule for batteries is to try to reduce the number of consecutive charges, and try to use up most of the battery before charging it. That being said, having a battery that allows your beating to clean your house in one go, without having much battery left afterwords would be ideal

2) no idea

3) I actually built a charger, but it solved nothing. I'd say that the only possible way for the dim mode issue to be related to batteries is if they get toba point where they do not supply enough curren for a power up, even at full charge. I doubt that is the issue though

4) I don't think they are. I saw some people complaining about this issue on their Facebook page, and those were one of the oly complaints with no responses from them. The people who got support from the issue reported that neato told them to send the robot to an authorized tech support. Whith the launch of the BotVac series, I REALLY doubt any of this will improve.

At least I haven't heard of this kind of issue with the BotVac. Yet, at least.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » August 21st, 2014, 12:48 pm

Give it time. Look on Amazon for reviews of both the Roomba and Neato products...and you'll see a trend. Brand new owners are ecstatic with their new robot vacuum...but wait 6 - 12 mos, and the reviews become increasingly negative for all types of reasons.

Question: "What do you get when you cross a vacuum cleaner with a computer?" Answer: "A computer." And we all know how complicated computers are...
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby pbastian » August 24th, 2014, 5:15 pm

Here's a little twist. Got my Neato to wake up from "DIM GREEN" or dead mode. I wanted to do an experiment, which was:
1) Test batteries in fully charged mode
2) Run bot until dead mode again.
3) Take batteries out and retest.

If the batteries still have something (or plenty) left, then I know that the Neato is probably faulty. If the batteries are drained, the Neato still has an issue, but less severe.

So,
1) I charged the batteries, and took them to a store. Read over 8 volts. OK, batteries are good and charged.
2) Took batteries home. Put back in XV-21. Robot is in dead mode, with fully charged batteries! This had not happened before. Now I am very concerned that the "dead" mode issues are because the unit is faulty. Managed to get it back, though.
3) Will let it run until it gets stuck again, 2 ft from charging base, and will take batteries out and test them as before.

Will post back with update.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby kamiraa » September 2nd, 2014, 4:05 pm

For me this is what I'm observing. I have 2 Neato VX21s, one for upstairs (having the dim issue) one for downstairs (working fine). I got new batteries recently off amazon.com and was blown away when I got ~70 minutes of run time with the "good vac".

I decided to install these batteries in the "bad" Neato (having the dim issues). Out of the box 70 minutes of run time like the other vac, but after a few cycles it lost it's way to the dock. I found it feet from the doc and battery dead sitting in Dim Mode.

Even after pushing the robot onto the doc I couldn't revive it, just showing the dim light. I let it sit on the charger all night and it couldn't wake up. I decided to pull the "dead batteries" from the "bad" Neato and install them into my "good" Neato. The robot woke up instantly, with a low battery message. I charged them and they worked fine.

I decided to repeat this test after a week with the same results, eventually the "bad" Neato couldn't make it back to the dock, it sat and beeped it's hard out until the battery died. Once dead it was locked into dim mode. The way that I have found to fix this is to unplug the batteries overnight, and reinstall the batteries. But what a pain . . . why does this happen on one Neato and the other is fine. I'm sure it's a hardware component failure.

Has anyone else figured this out?
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby VIF » September 5th, 2014, 1:47 pm

kamiraa wrote:Has anyone else figured this out?

Yes. See the first post on this thread for the USB method.

Regarding not finding its way back to base, try putting the base in a different place-- preferably a place that is more open to the left and right.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Wing Nut » September 14th, 2014, 6:32 pm

Just a quick 'thank you' to m00, the OP, for this recovery advice. A friend across the road called when his XV-21 died while running behind closed doors, out of reach of the charger. No amount of button pressing or battery reconnecting would bring it back. I printed out the first post, took it over the road, found a suitable USB cable and within minutes we had it charging again. It's reportedly running fine once more.

A great discovery considering the frustration, delays and costly (and unnecessary!) alternatives for those of us far removed from repair facilities, thanks! :dance:
#1 Neato XV-11 SW 2.0 Board Rev 113 / 3500mAh battery pack installed May 2013 / Pet & Allergy pack installed Sept 2013. In July 2014, received and repaired a faulty #2 Neato XV-11, running Lithium Power 4400mAh battery since July 2015
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby ag43 » December 13th, 2014, 5:44 pm

to anyone that have this problem and the above advice doesn't help - i have this problem too. my neato started going into dead mod every few days. at first disconnecint and reconnecting the batteries helped, then only connecting the neato to the pc and then one day nothing help, even by connecting to the pc.
i've tried connecting the vacuum to the charger via its charging port (and not the base) altough neato's manual says not to do so and the pc recognised the device for a few second and then dissconnected - still no go.

in the end this is the solution i found - put the neato for chrging via its BASE (don't connect it with the wire) and then connect it to the pc. it woke up instantly and started working again. hope this helps.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Lewiy » December 14th, 2014, 6:20 am

It was found that the dead mode in rev.64 is DFU-mode of LPC3143 - the main processor. So anybody, who faced a dead mode, checked ESR in capacitors in the voltage stabilisation lines?
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby VIF » December 15th, 2014, 9:00 am

Lewiy wrote:It was found that the dead mode in rev.64 is DFU-mode of LPC3143 - the main processor. So anybody, who faced a dead mode, checked ESR in capacitors in the voltage stabilisation lines?


Can you elaborate?
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » December 15th, 2014, 5:49 pm

DFU mode could refer to the common "Device Firmware Upgrade" mode. Waiting for flash memory to be over-written. As an invalid result of Neato software, it would seem almost any other kind of invalid processor action could occur as well. I do noy know if there is an input signal pin controlling this mode, which could have a hardware cause of entering that state.

[edit] NAND below refers to the type of flash memory, nand flash, which uses NAND (not-and) logic gates.
So the cpu enters firmware upgrade mode because it does not read the firmware in the flash memory, possibly for bad power to that memory from a particular regulator for 3.3v cpu power.
Last edited by glnc222 on December 16th, 2014, 1:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Lewiy » December 15th, 2014, 11:33 pm

VIF wrote:Can you elaborate?

LPS3143 switches to DFU-mode if it can not boot the proper image from NAND (look datasheet - http://www.nxp.com/documents/data_sheet/LPC3141_43.pdf - Table 8 ). If you connect the 'dead mode' unit via usb to the PC, you will find it in the list of devices. It has vid 0471 pid DF55 - NXP (Phillips) DFU compatible. Driver is available - http://www.lpcware.com/lpcxpresso/downloads/windows.
It has been suggested (http://forum.ixbt.com/topic.cgi?id=47:11708:591#591) that the NAND (NAND128W3A2BN6) is not ready at the system startup due to instability of the supply voltage. Suspected U4 (760M33Q1) - 3.3V voltage regulator on the main board. You can see in the datasheet that the regulator is sensitive to ESR of output capacitor - it seems C10 on mainboard foto. To check the capacitor is not bad idea if you have the 'dead mode' unit.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » December 16th, 2014, 2:02 am

How would connecting a USB cable sometimes correct the poor power supply? Some input from the 5v line in the USB cable?
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby Lewiy » December 16th, 2014, 4:17 am

glnc222
Presumably, the connection of additional power via USB stabilizes the system when startup. Indifferent - it is USB in PC or USB-charger with mini-USB connector.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby glnc222 » December 16th, 2014, 3:07 pm

Interesting the problem exists during start up and the flash memory appears to work once the system is running.
Perhaps the cpu is starting up before the power supply system with voltage regulators has stabilized. There must be special provisions in the cpu for the power-on sequencing. Maybe Neato left out something in the design.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby suelvnv » December 21st, 2014, 1:31 am

My Neato XV-21 that I have 12 1/2 months was just returned from the extended warranty company with new 205-0001 batteries which appear to be extended life. I have the low green light and a black display now. The warranty servicer said contact Neato to fix but they just said to long press the start button, then take out the dust bin, then remove and replace one battery. None of these actions woke it, so a day after trying to leave at dock, they said call warranty Co (Asurian) on Monday. The paper showing repair shows new batteries (short runs were my ONLY problem). It also says extensive testing and Passed All Function Tests. I do not have a battery meter and these look brand new. I don't have the correct computer cable. And why should I have to do all this anyway in a $400 almost new product? I am not as technically astute as most of you. I'm afraid to buy and connect a cable and update to a version that might not work since I don't want to void my warranty. Tonight I am just trying the remove batteries for many hrs and dusty bin to make sure it's off. What do you all suggest? I loved it when it worked, but now can not recommend Neato to friends. There are hundreds of comments about this on the Neato site of Facebook also.
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Re: Wake Neato up from dead mode

Postby VIF » December 22nd, 2014, 7:14 am

suelvnv wrote: I don't have the correct computer cable. And why should I have to do all this anyway in a $400 almost new product? I am not as technically astute as most of you. I'm afraid to buy and connect a cable and update to a version that might not work since I don't want to void my warranty. Tonight I am just trying the remove batteries for many hrs and dusty bin to make sure it's off. What do you all suggest?

Can't help with your philosophical question. I do share your feelings, but that does not vacuum my floor. I can't help you deal with your extended warranty company.

If you are sufficiently motivated, read on.

You have a friend who would be glad to lend you a mini USB cable. You can order such a cable for a few $.

Charge the batteries for 24 hours in dim green mode. Then do what the first post in this thread.
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