Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

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Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

Postby e55418 » April 2nd, 2007, 10:13 pm

I have a Disco purchased 8/05 that I've been able to revive a few times thanks to this web site, so thank you.

My current problem has me stumped. Roomba doesn't clean for very long before he makes a terrible noise and stops after a minute or so. When returned to the base he beeps 3 times.

I've cleaned out the dustbin, and the back, as per the instructions, to no avail. I've taken apart the entire dustbin by removing all the screws, vacuumed it out, gently cleaned it, and reassembled it, but I still have the same problem. Running the diagnostic tests confirms it - when I get to test 13 it makes that terrible sound.

Anybody else have this problem and know how to fix it? I'm feeling very sad without my Roomba....

Thanks.
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Postby vic7767 » April 2nd, 2007, 10:35 pm

It sounds like you have an impeller clearance problem or a dry bearing problem. With the dustbin apart does the impeller turn easily? While it's apart, apply oil to the motor bearings, reassemble the dustbin, pop the back access door off and turn the impeller checking for binding against the plastic sides next to the impeller.
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Re: Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

Postby Gordon » April 3rd, 2007, 1:51 am

e55418 wrote:I have a Disco ... he makes a terrible noise ... Running the diagnostic... test 13 it makes that terrible sound.

Anybody else have this problem and know how to fix it?...
To stop that noise, you must dismount the impeller from the motor-shaft... to at least, lubricate (one drop of sewing machine oil) the hidden shaft bearing, and perhaps to remove some gritty debris that has found its way under the impeller. Note: Oiling the bearing at the easy access end, where the EMI-filter-PWB is located, is not critical if it is a plastic bearing. If it is oilight-bronze, like the one under the impeller, give it a drop too.

Some basic mechanical tools are needed to push out the motor-shaft from within the impeller's hub. I've attached a collage of images that show the process. If you have the equipment, you will understand what is being done.

Here's a few hints to make things go smoothly:
a) Before removing the impeller, take note of where the end of the motor shaft rests with respect to the end of the hub. Upon re-assembly, you will want to replicate that relationship. For the assembly shown,it was nominally a flush condition.
b) The pin-punch being used to push on the shaft-end is a 1/16th-inch punch.
c) Not a great deal of force is needed for the push-out (one owner was able to pull off the impeller by using fingernail grip at the impeller's OD; a process I did not care for because it greatly flexed the impeller--besides that, my nails are not strong enough!). Even with these parts supported as well as reasonable, there will be noticeable flexing of the plastic castings.
d) When pushing the impeller onto the shaft, buck up the far end of the motor-shaft.
e) Before going very far with the re-assembly, spin the impeller to verify it is not rubbing the pump-housing.
Attachments
impeller-off_ops_quad-pan.jpg
Operations progress L to R across top row, then bottom row.
impeller-off_ops_quad-pan.jpg (75.62 KiB) Viewed 7759 times
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Thanks for the advice

Postby e55418 » April 3rd, 2007, 7:00 pm

Thanks for the advice from both of you, and for the detailed photos. When I took the dustbin apart I did NOT take apart the piece you've described, but I will do that and oil it. There are no other obstructions, so that seems like the oilling should work!

Thanks for taking the time to help me. I appreciate it.
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Oiling Didn't Work, Now What?

Postby luv_my_grlz » March 17th, 2008, 11:54 am

Hi All,

I found this thread this weekend, after my roomba George started sounding terrible.

I disassembeled his dust bin and the first thing I found was a spring, maybe about an inch and a half long and about the size of the pencil in diameter, just laying in there. I didn't recognize it as anything that he would have picked up, so I assumed it was part of the dust bin assembly itself. It appears to fit inside on two posts, which allows the dustbin some give when put back together, is that correct?

The second question I have is that my husband and I followed the instructions here regarding oiling and then put it all back together. The sound is better but George still doesn't sound right. What next? Do I need to bite the bullet and just buy a new dust bin assembly? :cry:

Thanks all!
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Re: Oiling Didn't Work, Now What?

Postby Gordon » March 17th, 2008, 1:33 pm

luv_my_grlz wrote:...I disassembeled his dust bin and the first thing I found was a spring, maybe about an inch and a half long and about the size of the pencil in diameter, just laying in there. ... It appears to fit inside on two posts, which allows the dustbin some give when put back together, is that correct?
It is that spring which pushes the bin-latch into its normally latched position. It is that spring which pushes back against your thumb as you un-latch the bin from Roomba's chassis. You seem to have the proper mounting location picked out (i.e., posts inside the vertexes of overlapping vee-walls).
...The second question I have is...George still doesn't sound right. What next? ...
Re-read the final sentence in vic7767's earlier post. Do the manual spinning test, and try to determine whether some debris may be trapped under the impeller.
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Spins Freely

Postby luv_my_grlz » March 18th, 2008, 10:36 am

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for your response. The impeller appears to be spinning freely and my husband completely disassembled, cleaned, and oiled everything so I don't think any debris could be lodged in there. It's a mystery!

George sounds much better now than he did before my husband took those steps, but he still is not normal. Well, without the bin assembly he sounds normal, but as soon as you put that on he sounds strange. Also, when you shut him off, the impeller definitely makes a "winding down" type of sound as it slows.

He still seems to be working correctly as far as picking up dust and other matter, so I suppose my question at this point is this: will continuing to run him in this manner cause other malfunctions? Or, is any detrimental effect limited to the bin assembly itself?

Thanks,
luv_my_grlz
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Re: Spins Freely

Postby Gordon » March 18th, 2008, 4:24 pm

luv_my_grlz wrote:... my husband completely disassembled, cleaned, and oiled everything ...
Does that mean he actually removed the impeller from the motor shaft as illustrated in my photo-collage shown in my 2007-post, at top of this thread? If so, and no dragging of impeller-rim can be seen, heard, felt, then the noise you hear must be coming from within the motor.
..., so I suppose my question at this point is this: will continuing to run him in this manner cause other malfunctions?
Roomba measures electrical current drawn by, passing through the impeller-motor, and makes a couple decisions based on that measured value. If that system is functioning correctly, Roomba would halt cleaning and sound an error when current goes out of bounds, thus protecting the motor and main_elex assembly (where the motor's power-switch is located) from damage.
Or, is any detrimental effect limited to the bin assembly itself?...
That should be true. If hubby has the means to measure impeller motor current via a bench setup involving only the Roomba battery, the dirt-bin, an ammeter, and three clip-leads, he could assess whether the bin-motor is drawing more current than nominal. FYI, it is the bin's upper connector-blade that is the 'positive' terminal. I think "nominal" is on the order of 0.25A to 0.3A. If something is binding / dragging, that causes current to be higher than nominal, you are totally depending on the main_elex to provide the asserted protection. I know of no history which has shown this subsystem to be failure prone; however, the power-hog main-brush motor is infamous for killing the motor and / or its power-switch.

We do not know the high value of threshold-current at which Roomba's controller stops the Cleaning mode, but if your bin-motor happens to be drawing, say, twice what I claim is nominal, I would say you are gambling that the controller (part-of main_elex assembly) will provide the alluded protection. The safe path would be to buy and use another bin.

OTOH, if measured current is 'nominal', simply use the bin and put up with the noise.
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Postby NipplesTheCat » March 21st, 2008, 3:28 am

Dustbins are on clearance on irobots site. They are going for $20-$30.
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Re: Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

Postby Kelad » April 2nd, 2016, 11:59 pm

Hi All, old thread, but i"m trying to remove the vacuum impeller from my 530. Its very noisey in only one direction. If i run it backwards, its quiet. Any tips to get the impeller off ? Not sure if method with punch above is valid for th 530 as i tried to no avail. Thanks
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Re: Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

Postby a1robotrepair » April 3rd, 2016, 12:19 am

Clean, 1 second squirt of wd40 between impeller and housing aimed at shaft, spin impeller while swiveling housing, dry with paper towel and retest before assembly. still bad toss it, iRobot aerovac 34.99 + tax.
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Re: Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

Postby vic7767 » April 3rd, 2016, 12:23 am

The impeller is just pressed onto the motor shaft. A flat blade screwdriver or butter knife can be used to stick between the impeller and the plastic base then just twist the blade to raise the impeller.
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Re: Vacuum Impeller Makes Terrible Sound

Postby Kelad » April 3rd, 2016, 3:48 am

Wow, thanks guys. pulled off impeller and motor. heaps of dirt crap. Gave good clean. All quiet !
:D
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