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A year with Roomba

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A year with Roomba
About a year ago I had the opportunity to become a happy owner of iRobot Roomba 564 pet, since then he faithfully bears the duty of battle in the open spaces of our 4-bedroom apartment on the scheme: 4 times a week (minimum). Recently, my hands finally got to him, I decided to thoroughly clean the "fighter for purity", and at the same time to hold a photo shoot and tell Habr about some peculiarities of service of this beast.
I hope that this blog will help you choose the best robot-vacuum cleaner for you, and I will do my best to tell you what pitfalls await you in Roomba vacuum cleaners.
Watch out!
Under the cat, lots of pictures of the disassembled vacuum cleaner, wool, and a little bit of melted plastic.

Purchase history

About four years ago my wife began systematically terrorizing me: "Let’s take a puppy". I had been stubborn for a long time, though I love dogs myself, the only thing that stopped me was my studies. We both at that time studied at university and worked, sometimes it was not enough time for a pet, for personal life did not remain at all. In the end, I promised her that when she finished school, we would get a dog. So it happened, and in 2009 we bought a dog, we took a Golden Retriever puppy, a boy, and named it Elvis.
A year with Roomba
The first year with the dog went as we expected with all sorts of canine quirks: "Bitten furniture, bitten feet, land mines, wet floor and occasional shedding". The puppyhood symptoms eventually went away, but the shedding…it, how can I explain it to you – became a STOP!!! In three days without a vacuum cleaner, a tumbleweed of wool moves around the apartment, the space under the front door began to insulate itself, under the couches artificial drifts of wool. Drag an old vacuum cleaner around the apartment every other day frankly – fed up! And we decided to make life easier. At first we thought about Scooba, but iRobot representative heard about the dog hair, vigorously waving his hands and said that only a special series of Roomba for animals can cope with THIS. That was the end of the deal.

Some tips and tricks

When I received the vacuum cleaner, I put it on charge for 24 hours, as the manual exhorted me to do.
The next day, we got everything off the floor, plugged in one of the two vacuum cleaners that came with it, and started racing it around the apartment. It should be noted that we have not cleaned for three days to make the WOW-effect. Vacuum cleaner rolled around the apartment half an hour, intimidating our four-legged pet and squeezing under the bed, then reported a clogged dust bag. Holding a bit of a grudge against iRobot, I shook the fur out of the dustbin, cleaned the fur off the brushes, and started it up again. After 20 minutes, the iron stood up again and started yelling about the tank being dirty. Shook it out, cleaned it, cursed, and went to the extreme measure of opening the manual. As it turned out, I had the wrong dust canister. I was using the vacuum cleaner for everyday cleaning, and I needed it for wool. The next day we turned on the vacuum cleaner already with the "right tank" and he raced around the apartment about 2 hours, spitting funny pirouettes and bumping into a variety of furniture, the dog tried to hunt him, but quickly became cold and just molted from the "fearless buzzing beast" on the couch, that he did not bother. This time the tank for hair was filled to the brim, and the brushes were persistent felt coating, I stupidly cut it off with scissors. Here and there throughout the apartment, we still found a little hair, mostly in corners and places where the robot can not get. But it was also in the open area and it was annoying! But during subsequent use, I realized what the problem was. The thing is that once the dust canister is filled with hair, especially if it is long (5 cm or more), the vacuum cleaner begins to wind it on the main brush and after a while just can not collect hair from the floor.
From all of the above, I’ve identified a few rules for myself.
1. use the right dust collector.
If you want a perfect floor, almost like after a wet cleaning, use a regular vacuum cleaner. But only after you’ve vacuumed with the coat tank, otherwise you’ll be sick of cleaning.
2. You have to clean often.
In our case, every day, at most every other day. Then there is not much hair on the brushes and the rollers do not wear out.
Theoretically the robot can get out of one or two wires, in fact this is 60% true, the fact is that the principle of "getting out of the wire" only works for the side brush. That’s why you shouldn’t leave wires on the floor, especially thin ones.
The iRobot once wrapped a wire from a Galaxy Ace charger around the main roll, the wire was thin and got broken.
4. Pick up important, and in general things from the floor before cleaning (he once collected an SD card from me).
5. If there is furniture that is just below the rumba, it is better to separate it with a virtual wall. The thing here is that the vacuum cleaner’s optical wall sensors are not on the top edge of the vacuum cleaner, but almost in the middle, due to this, when the rumba moves along the low furniture, it tries to get under it all the time. Sometimes he can do it, he gets stuck and has to free it and restart it. Fortunately, we only have one such place.
6. It may take the vacuum cleaner a very long time to find the base because it does not use radio frequencies but rather an infrared sensor. Therefore, try to place the base in an easily accessible and open location.
These are probably the basic rules when working with a vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning the rumba

The cleaning process itself takes no more than 5 minutes on average, for this we need to take the following steps :
1. Putting the Roomba upside down.
A year with Roomba
2. Remove the dust canister and shake out the contents into the trash.
A year with Roomba
Open the compartment for brushes, you need to press the two yellow tabs (you can see them in the top photo, one of my mother-in-law broke off because she tried to clean the vacuum cleaner herself (Luba – hi!)). And take out the brushes.
A year with Roomba
By the way, I haven’t changed them yet, although there are spare ones in the kit.
4. Remove the lint from them and clean the bearing recesses.
A year with Roomba
The blackness inside the recess is melted plastic. The hair is wrapped around the axle between the bearing and the recess, the more it is wrapped around, the more pressure the bearing puts on the brush. And it’s all spinning, so you can kill a brush or brush unit in 10 cleanings if you’re not careful.
5. Unscrew the side brush and remove the wool from under it. I must admit that this and the following procedure is not required more often than every four to five cleanings.
A year with Roomba
6.Remove the front wheel, just pull it up.
A year with Roomba
This is where you have to push the axle out of the wheel, because lint collects there too, thus making it difficult to rotate.
That’s it, put the rumba back together in reverse order and return it to the base.

Dissecting the Roomba

To do this we will need :
Phillips screwdrivers, different sizes.
2. Plastic spatula for dismantling phones.
3. about an hour of time.
Let’s go!
Unscrew the four screws and remove the bottom cover.
A year with Roomba
There’s a battery waiting for us :
A year with Roomba
Ni-MH 3 Ah, 14.4 V
A year with Roomba
And also access to the brush block :
A year with Roomba
2. Four more bolts, and the brush unit is removed (symbols above).
A year with Roomba
1. Brush drive connector. 2. Idler wheel and belt. 3. The brush drive itself.
4. Contamination sensor (I would appreciate it if someone could tell me how it works)
3. Closed brush drive unit.
A year with Roomba
And open.
A year with Roomba
You can see some dirt, but the grease is still fresh. Considering the service life is not bad at all.
Wiped the gears, lubricated with petroleum jelly and closed back up.
4. Use a plastic spatula to pry off the top cover and unclip the fastener.
A year with Roomba
5. Remove the bumper by unscrewing the 8 bolts at the bottom of it and carefully remove, there, in the turret is an infrared receiver (attached by two bolts). It is used to detect virtual walls, base and IR remote.
A year with Roomba
The bumper has an embrasure of dark, translucent plastic, for 6 optocouplers. They are used to identify objects and walls, as well as to find the base.
A year with Roomba
Front end without bumper.
A year with Roomba
Next by color :
*Red is the IR receiver.
*salad – optocouplers for navigation.
*blue – 4 height sensors, also executed by optocouplers.
*Violet – bumper shock absorbers.
*Yellow – limit switches, to determine the side of the collision.
6. The upper part of the robot, without the main cover.
A year with Roomba
10 more bolts to access the board (in red) and the programming connector (in green).
7. Unscrew the bolts, and only the control unit separates us from the brain of the robot.
A year with Roomba
8. Two more bolts under the main control box film and we are on target.
A year with Roomba
Here we see an absolute salad of enormous amounts of resistors, diodes, transistors, comparators, converters, ice, buttons, horse-rails, etc.
For those who want to see a closer look at the full format, though, the trick didn’t work everywhere :

A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba

9. And again 4 bolts…
A year with Roomba
*Red – battery contacts.
*green – STM controller, by the way it looks like a special revision for iRobot, because I couldn’t find datasheet on it, and there are letters "IRO" at the end of the model number. Here , you can look at the datasheet for this series of mc.
*blue are the wheel connectors.
*yellow – side brush connector.
And at the bottom is the power part of the motor controls, of which there are five.

A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba
A year with Roomba

10. Well under the board, the frame of the vacuum cleaner.
A year with Roomba
Should be noted pretty clean, a dozen hairs inside and that’s it.
All parts together.
A year with Roomba
Reassemble in reverse order.


I can tell you frankly – Roomba is worth its money and it pays off. All recommendations are absolutely true only for our particular apartment and its inhabitants, but for you it may vary depending on the area, the presence of pets and other factors.
I didn’t take apart the running gear, the side brush, and the vacuum cleaner turbine because there’s not much to see there, just the motors.
I should also point out that I have never changed any parts or used a service center.
Finally, I am in no way affiliated with iRobot or other companies in the industry.
This text may contain punctuation, grammatical and semantic errors, please let me know about them in person.
2. Thoughts, ideas, questions, technical corrections – on the contrary, welcome in the comments.
3. I apologize for possible technical inaccuracies.
Thank you for your attention, Good luck to all and never-ending optimism!

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