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Life with the robot. How I came to love the Roomba

By johnboy - 30 December 2013 52

it's coming right for me

In a desperate and forlorn effort to reduce the amount of screaming in my domestic situation I splashed out on an iRobot Roomba 630 which Costco at Majura Park is flogging for $500.

While the shouting has only intensified the floors, with very very little effort, are now spotless despite living with shedding dogs.

So I thought there was some value in sharing my thoughts.

roomba on the tiles

On arrival you take the big disk out of the box, put it on its docking station and wait for it to charge. This is something of an anticlimax.

Eventually the charge light turned green, the clean button was pressed and the magic began.

Beeping like a reversing truck the Roomba backed out from its docking station, turned around, and started trundling over the floor.

The dogs were initially alarmed, but after a bit of woofing settled down to watch it warily from the commanding heights of the couch.

After half an hour I interrupted it to check its dustbin and it was jam packed. Emptying it into the bin is a simple task and it was soon back on its way.

Despite having given the house a solid manual vacuuming earlier in the day it kept finding more and more, and more, mess to hoover up.

dustbin

It trundles around for an hour or so, gets itself into all the rooms, generally manages not to get tangled up in anything, and then backs itself into its docking station to charge.

At the touch of a button (and an emptying of the bin) the house is getting a daily vacuuming which otherwise it just wouldn’t get.

After the initial cleanup it generally comes back with its bin 3/4 full.

Vacuum snobs claim it isn’t as good as a committed human putting an hour in with a top of the line Dyson.

But I don’t have an hour a day, nor a top line dyson, and I was never that committed.

roomba

It does take a bit of getting used to.

Finding where it gets stuck (trying to get under cabinets mostly) and sticking a dog bed in the way or deploying the included virtual wall to steer it clear will take a little bit of trial and error.

But after a few weeks it now makes it around the house and back to its dock with a load of cleaned up mess nine times out of ten.

roomba

The random paths take it around the house eventually, but it won’t clean methodically room by room, so you’ll need to repress your command and control instincts.

The spot clean function in particular is worthy of note though for going over carpet cleaner. Drop the roomba on the spot, hit the spot button, watch it work its way around in a thorough spiral.

If you want to live in a house that’s been vacuumed (and particularly if your home is single level) but don’t want to be doing the vacuuming, then I really can’t recommend it enough.

Welcome to the future.

What’s Your opinion?


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52 Responses to
Life with the robot. How I came to love the Roomba
1
ausbradr 11:03 am
30 Dec 13
#

Nice write up. I’ve been a little bit skeptical about the cleaning power of these robots. It’s good to see it’s working out for you. After learning that these can be controlled via infrared remote (and thus our home automation), I’m sold, it’s great to know that these things don’t do a bad job either..

Now to save a bit after the xmas silly season and give ourselves a gift of more free time!

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2
johnboy 11:09 am
30 Dec 13
#

There are a lot of imitators out there and I can’t speak for the knock offs.

Also I should have mentioned it gets itself up over rugs without any real difficulties, (but you do need to groom its brushes with the supplied tool every week)

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3
EvanJames 11:21 am
30 Dec 13
#

And you can have endless fun if you have pets that interact with, or even ride, the roomba. And then you can put LOTS of vids of it on You Tube and be shared worldwide. For instance this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of2HU3LGdbo
(the famous Cat in a Shark costume chase Duck while riding a Roomba).

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4
Tony 11:22 am
30 Dec 13
#

How does it handle tables and chair legs?
Do you need open and uncluttered furniture layouts, or can it work itself around complicated arrangements of furniture?

What happens when it gets stuck? does it beep until its freed or turn itself off etc.?

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5
johnboy 11:25 am
30 Dec 13
#

Ours is a pretty cluttered and fussy place, it gets around it all very well.

Under chair legs diligently brushing right up to them (you can see the brush just in a couple of the pictures).

Basically it does a much better job under the dining table and chairs than I do.

When it gets stuck it tries to back track which works 95% of the time. Then it beeps, and a woman’s voice calls for help, then it shuts down until you go and find it.

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6
Felix the Cat 11:25 am
30 Dec 13
#

For those of you without Costco membership they sell them at Magnet Mart/Home Hardware at Gungahlin too and you get a “free” steam mop as well. Same model and same price.

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7
Deref 11:29 am
30 Dec 13
#

Thanks for that. Like ausbradr I’ve been very skeptical about these, but it sounds as if they actually do a pretty good job. I’m impressed!

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8
IrishPete 11:39 am
30 Dec 13
#

johnboy said :

Ours is a pretty cluttered and fussy place, it gets around it all very well.

Under chair legs diligently brushing right up to them (you can see the brush just in a couple of the pictures).

Basically it does a much better job under the dining table and chairs than I do.

When it gets stuck it tries to back track which works 95% of the time. Then it beeps, and a woman’s voice calls for help, then it shuts down until you go and find it.

Surely you are pre-programmed to ignore a woman’s voice calling for help in your residence? That seems like a design flaw…

IP

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9
Masquara 11:52 am
30 Dec 13
#

Couldn’t see – mesmerised by the amazing carpet!

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10
Masquara 11:55 am
30 Dec 13
#

EvanJames said :

And you can have endless fun if you have pets that interact with, or even ride, the roomba. And then you can put LOTS of vids of it on You Tube and be shared worldwide. For instance this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of2HU3LGdbo
(the famous Cat in a Shark costume chase Duck while riding a Roomba).

Sheesh – I was thinking of buying one, then watched the vid. Is it really that noisy, JB? You’d want to be out of the house while it’s working …

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11
johnboy 11:57 am
30 Dec 13
#

that one is an older model I believe.

you can hear it going but it’s not so noisy you need to shout to be heard over it.

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12
ausbradr 12:08 pm
30 Dec 13
#

Masquara said :

EvanJames said :

And you can have endless fun if you have pets that interact with, or even ride, the roomba. And then you can put LOTS of vids of it on You Tube and be shared worldwide. For instance this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of2HU3LGdbo
(the famous Cat in a Shark costume chase Duck while riding a Roomba).

Sheesh – I was thinking of buying one, then watched the vid. Is it really that noisy, JB? You’d want to be out of the house while it’s working …

Some models have a timer option. So you could very well set it to run during the day while you’re at work if noise was an issue.

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13
shauno 12:12 pm
30 Dec 13
#

Ive been thinking of getting one but my house usually has stuff all over the place on the floor lol.
Ive got a dyson dc39 its a good vacum no real hassles at all and if people are thinking of getting one I think its worth the money.

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14
johnboy 12:17 pm
30 Dec 13
#

the 630 is the bottom of the current range and has no timer.

but hitting the go button while walking out the door works too.

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15
Deborah 12:30 pm
30 Dec 13
#

Another fan here. Bought mine from Myers earlier this year and love it. House has never been cleaner. I only get the Dyson out once a month now.

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