Neato wheel stuck

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Neato wheel stuck

Postby SyRenity » November 16th, 2012, 4:09 am

Well, another day - another problem - Neato XV-21 now shows "left wheel stuck" - and this all less then a week after I powered it for the first time. Either there is a whole batch of defective units, or it just my luck.

Anyhow, by inspecting the wheels, I see that right wheel actually (and not left) is not able to turn smoothly (left wheel works fine). I tried inscrewing it to see there any debris, but the screw is stuck. Left screw on the other hand unscrews easily.

Any tips to remove the screw, until I contact suport for warantee?

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by SyRenity on November 16th, 2012, 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck - how to remove the screw

Postby SyRenity » November 16th, 2012, 5:51 am

Well, seems the problem was luck of proper screwdriver.

I found a good a good one and managed to unscrew it, but the problem seems to be in engine.

Pretty strange it stopped working in less then a week on a brand new unit, though I read about that in forums before.

Any idea if ordering a replacement motor will void the warranty?
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Re: Neato wheel stuck - how to remove the screw

Postby SyRenity » November 16th, 2012, 5:56 am

After doing some USB tests, the left wheel diag info as follows:

LeftWheel_RPM,0
LeftWheel_Load%,100
LeftWheel_PositionInMM,-1

I.e. bot generated 100% load on the engine, but nothing happens. Seems motor has died.

Compare it to right wheel:
RightWheel_RPM,2
RightWheel_Load%,31
RightWheel_PositionInMM,7495
RightWheel_Speed,59
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby aziesemer2 » November 16th, 2012, 10:42 am

Static friction coefficient is always higher than kinect friction coefficient. Starting the motor is the hardest part and when it needs more power. If you help the Neato spinning by hand the defective wheel, maybe it'll work.

I was having this problem with my Neato out of the box and could solve it by doing a break-in run as described here:
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16527

You can try doing it directly from the USB interface. The problem is that Neato may not have enough power to continue spinning the wheel.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Micah » August 25th, 2013, 12:24 am

Just a note that I also have been pulling my hair out with the dreaded "(right/left) wheel stuck" error.

On my Neato it was always the right wheel. I dismantled, cleaned out, vacuumed out and reassembled both wheels for good measure. I removed motors, greased all areas needing grease etc. etc. No luck. 15 minutes into cleaning my Neato would stop and say "Right wheel stuck" as usual.

So i decided to switch the wheel motors to hopefully isolate the problem as being either the right wheel assembly or the motor itself. Sure enough next time I ran Neato it stopped after a bit and showed "Left wheel stuck".

Now I know it's the motor.

So after ascertaining that I can get an entire new wheel assembly, motor included, for about $40 online I decided that since I don't have the equipment or skill to dismantle the motor I'd just do my best to clean it out. I took it out of Neato and then flooded it with WD40 through one of the holes on it twice. I then blew it out with canned air, dried it off and flooded it again with electrical cleaner, which I happened to have a can of in my shop for some reason. I drained the motor, spun it a bit and reassembled everything.

I started Neato up in my house and it's been running for 2 hours now with no problems, which is the first time it's gone more than 30 minutes without "My wheel is stuck" error coming up.

So hopefully this will help others with this problem, and also it verifies to me that the wheel motors are a problem spot with Neatos, at least they are on mine. To be honest I don't expect this to permanently fix the issue, but for now Neato is working and if I get another "Left wheel stuck" error I'm just going to order a new assembly (since the motors don't appear to be available separately) and hope for the best.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby mfortuna » August 25th, 2013, 12:49 pm

I think there is no need for WD40 followed by electrical parts cleaner. I would recommend a drop of machine oil on each bushing as well.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby vic7767 » August 25th, 2013, 1:02 pm

There were many reports of this type of motor failure and upon disassembly of one of these suspect drive wheel motors it was discovered that portions of a hard material that was applied to the armature to aid in motor balance was breaking away from the armature and causing a mechanical blockage between the spinning armature and the motor housing. It is pure luck if the owner is able to clear the blockage using any type of cleaner or lubricant. One motor I had would not even operate after using an air compressor on it in an attempt to clear out the debris.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Micah » August 25th, 2013, 1:23 pm

mfortuna wrote:I think there is no need for WD40 followed by electrical parts cleaner. I would recommend a drop of machine oil on each bushing as well.


Clearly in my case there was a need for WD40 and/or electrical parts cleaner because I had already disassembled the whole thing and lubed it previously, including oiling the motor and it's bushings, with no change whatsoever in the "My right wheel is stuck" error message frequency. In fact after verifying that the drive train gears were spinning freely my very first suspicion was that the motor needed some lubricant to "de-stickafy" it. No such luck.

I can't speak for others and what works for them, but obviously I DID need to do what I did because I've dismantled, lubed and reassembled the stuck wheel and motor at least 6 times with no success until I did the WD40 flood. The results speak for themselves: The thing now works where previously it did not.
Last edited by Micah on August 25th, 2013, 1:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Micah » August 25th, 2013, 1:25 pm

vic7767 wrote:There were many reports of this type of motor failure and upon disassembly of one of these suspect drive wheel motors it was discovered that portions of a hard material that was applied to the armature to aid in motor balance was breaking away from the armature and causing a mechanical blockage between the spinning armature and the motor housing. It is pure luck if the owner is able to clear the blockage using any type of cleaner or lubricant. One motor I had would not even operate after using an air compressor on it in an attempt to clear out the debris.


I read many of your great posts on this subject vic7767, and your insights are the reason I don't think my current fix will be a long-term solution. It's working now, but I'm assuming I'll have to buy a new wheel assembly (read: New wheel motor) in the future anyways.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby mfortuna » August 25th, 2013, 2:04 pm

Once you used electric parts cleaner on the motor, all traces of WD40 and oil would be rinsed away. That is why I am confused about your statement. I have recovered many motors (RC and robotic) with the following procedure:

1. Clean out motor with compressed air.
2. Spray motor with electric parts cleaner.
3. Clean out motor with compressed air.
4. Oil the bushings.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Micah » August 26th, 2013, 12:09 am

mfortuna wrote:Once you used electric parts cleaner on the motor, all traces of WD40 and oil would be rinsed away. That is why I am confused about your statement. I have recovered many motors (RC and robotic) with the following procedure:

1. Clean out motor with compressed air.
2. Spray motor with electric parts cleaner.
3. Clean out motor with compressed air.
4. Oil the bushings.


Fair game, clearly you know more than I do. Next time I'll skip the WD40 step, thanks.
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Disassembling the wheel ...

Postby keybounce » August 31st, 2013, 5:14 pm

So looking at http://hbrobotics.org/wiki/index.php?ti ... _the_XV-11

How far through that procedure do I have to go to get to the wheel assembly?
http://random-workshop.blogspot.com/201 ... embly.html
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby glnc222 » August 31st, 2013, 6:14 pm

None of it. Remove the bottom plate covering the blower fan, four large screws, accessing the wheel wells.
Twist out the pivot shafts, release the springs, unplug the cable.
drive wheel assembly detail http://random-workshop.blogspot.com/201 ... embly.html
[edit] when re-installing the pivot arm, protect the lever arm on the micro switch pressed by a piece of the assembly, so doesn't rip off (see "disassembly precautions" noted post below) -- when scraped from beyond the end with the arm slightly raised, hooks it.
Last edited by glnc222 on August 31st, 2013, 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby keybounce » August 31st, 2013, 7:01 pm

Not even the batteries?

That's a "trivial" looking disassembly ... will try it tomorrow.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Enverex » August 31st, 2013, 7:05 pm

How many units were effected by this issue? As someone who's just bought one and I've already had an issue with a defective battery (waiting for a replacement to arrive, until then it's useless as battery life is around 10 mins) I'm not looking forward to this being a possible issue too...
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby glnc222 » August 31st, 2013, 7:25 pm

wheel assembly access
See "Disassembly Precautions" for a section with photos of the wheel arm pivot: http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16021&p=106981&hilit=disassembly#p106981

You can do a "shut down" in the Support menu to reduce battery drain while working, or remove the batteries; slip joint pliers, parallel jaws, for tight plugs. Power to the wheels is shut off unless running, or Test Mode is on over USB.

When done, to dispel any demonic influence, ring the bell, close the book, douse the candle.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby vic7767 » August 31st, 2013, 8:01 pm

Enverex wrote:How many units were effected by this issue?
I've received requests for replacement motors from over 30 Neato owners for this issue. I imagine that other sites have also received similar requests for new motors. The overall failure rate seems to have slowed down or stopped presently. It would seem that the motor failures were limited to a single manufacture run and that the defective material used to balance the motor armature was identified and replaced with better material.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Enverex » August 31st, 2013, 8:14 pm

vic7767 wrote:
Enverex wrote:How many units were effected by this issue?
I've received requests for replacement motors from over 30 Neato owners for this issue. I imagine that other sites have also received similar requests for new motors. The overall failure rate seems to have slowed down or stopped presently. It would seem that the motor failures were limited to a single manufacture run and that the defective material used to balance the motor armature was identified and replaced with better material.


My concern over here is that my model was clearly not new (firmware 3.0). Do you know if the issue was prior to firmware 3.0? I'm guessing old stock sits around due to these being a niche market and the price.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby vic7767 » August 31st, 2013, 8:53 pm

Yes, it is old stock and probably includes 2.6 and 3.0 firmware versions.
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Re: Neato wheel stuck

Postby Micah » September 16th, 2013, 12:03 pm

Just a note to say that after not too long my Neato returned to having the "Left wheel stuck" error.

I promptly ordered a replacement wheel assembly from an online retailer and installed it, since then no problems with the wheel stuck error.

But, the virtually unending litany of other problems persists. When one problem is solved another inevitably pops up. For instance... Neato no longer vacuums the whole house (front room/kitchen only, then chimes it's done... 50%+ of the house is untouched). Neato gets within a few inches of the dock and gives up looking for it (possibly fixed with the 3.1 software update). Neato charges all night long, starts up in the morning, vacuums for 3 minutes (if it's feeling vigorous) and returns to base to recharge. Constant "Clear my path" errors when NOTHING is in the way. Often gets stuck in between chair legs. Regularly says "My bumper is stuck" when it's not. And the other day it started saying "My vision is blocked"... really? By what? a ghost? A dust mite? Because there's nothing blocking your vision you aggravating rolling nintendo controller.

I fully regret spending $300 on this thing. It's already been replaced under warranty once, and the new unit (my current unit) started acting up the very same day I got it. I have zero faith that replacing it with yet another unit will help.

Basically I think Neato is a really super-cool concept, but as an actual item used daily in my house it's got so many problems it's not worth it. It takes FAR more work to keep neato running properly than it would take to just vacuum the house by hand every day. Luckily I enjoy tinkering with it and trying to overcome it's many, many failures so for me it's not a big deal. But for anyone who wants a robot vacuum to just do the vacuuming with anything even resembling regularity Neato is going to be a very frustrating, very expensive disappointment.

Oh, also I emailed neato customer service last week about the fact that it doesn't vacuum the whole house any more and am still waiting for a reply. Way to be on the ball. Or maybe they just have such a massive avalanche of complaints and questions about failing Neatos they can't keep up any longer?
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