Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Awesome Roomba 550 for Sale - Ebay

Check it out :)

Roomba 550

Roomba 550 going to a good home hopefully. I always hope they go to end buyers who will give them lots of TLC and enjoy the clean floors. This one I wanted to keep--it works great and has the rubber bumper guard. I'll be sad to see this one go!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Slug - HE LIVES!

The little roomba that could. Slug, you icon of persistence and endurance. You have probably inspired thousands of robots everywhere whose LEDs have seen better days. Until the day I finally fixed you, I was never able to see what kind of a roomba you really were.

Here's a video of Slug in action!

And another picture. Here is is docked after tirelessly cleaning the room, he's next to Snowy here.

Bleh, it rotated to the side. Well, Slug is the one on the right, well, near the top of the photo here. Snowy is more bluish. That's how I tell them apart, when they aren't running. When they are running I can tell them apart because Slug can beep and Snowy can't.

To those who are curious: Both of these are roomba 530's. They're an awesome little robot available used for often under $100 if you shop around, especially on Ebay. I got both these guys under $100. Now that Slug's been fixed he's as good at cleaning as any other.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stewie - Back in Action!

Stewie was repaired by switching his CHM in for another CHM {sorry, Slug, but you weren't working at the time!} and he's off and going! Watch this little roomba vacuum my brother's room like a pro.

The other two roomba pictured {not moving}were ones I was selling at the time and have since sold.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Amazing Aerovac!

Courtesy of my Costco 550 Roomba, dubbed "Orchid," pictured above. I have nothing but praise for this vacuum. Here at my home we have 4 cats and a dog, as well as a few humans, all dropping hair and fur all over the place. Not to mention the usual {and generally invisible} buildup of dust. While all my Roombas have changed that situation for the better, when I took Orchid out and let her loose on the living room and kitchen, I was amazed by how much hair was not only in that bin, but NOT on the brushes. There was a lot less hair on the brushes themselves, though it still did build up on the ends of the brushes. But the after-cleaning cleanup was much quicker, plus, Orchid with her amazing Aerovac bin picked up way more dirt!

Over time I hope to replace many if not most of my Roombas' bins with nifty Aerovac ones. I definitely recommend it for a home with pets! And now because no entry is complete without a Roomba video here's Orchid and Yoki cleaning the floor:

Orchid came to me as a used Roomba offloaded by an owner who just didn't want a roomba anymore. She'll never wear out her welcome here!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Roomba Review: Roomba 610 vs 625

All right so I thought I'd give a small review of my observations of one vs the other. We have Ronie "killer roomba" 610 and a newer arrival, my 625 I named Yoki. Now, I will start by saying that the snazzy looks of these models is the main thing that sets them apart from the 500s. The 500 and 600 series are pretty much interchangeable, and if you are just looking for a good roomba to clean your floors without costing you an arm and a leg, I'd honestly go for the 530 series. If scheduling abilities are important to you, I'd go with the 550 or 560. In terms of vacuuming performance there is essentially no difference between any of them based just on model, unless you add in an Aerovac bin. More important than the model is when it was manufactured.

And Aerovac bins don't come in metallic grey, which is the colour of our friends Ronie and Yoki here. So between these two upper end roombas, is there any appreciable difference? I originally assumed no, then the 625 arrived and I have had to somewhat revise my opinion.

First, it's a different colour {oooh!} I prefer the maroon to the orange personally, but think they both look pretty spiffy. Is there a performance difference? Yes. Right away I could see Yoki has the same improved soft touch and edge-hugging ability that my 581 has. He also docks great every time, much like Brody {581} and it appears that iRobot has used the same improved firmware for the 625 as in the 581 and, also, the 531 {more on that on another entry! Still doing testing on Gracie...}

So if you are going to splurge on one of these anyway, and price is not a factor, I have to recommend the 625. The 625 also comes with a green cleaning head module while Ronie here has the black one. Perhaps The 610s they are manufacturing now though probably also have the green.

One of my favourite things about the 600s is max mode. Very useful and I love it! Kudos to iRobot for bringing this function back. Max mode basically tells the Roomba to keep cleaning till it's just about ready to drop, though sometimes they clean till they drop. Ronie did that once, haven't had a chance to run Yoki through a full max mode session. More to come, of course.

For now here's a clip of these two Roombas painting the town, er, room, red :) Looks like they could max mode all night. Cute!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stewie, NOOO!!!

My Roomba 530 for the ages broke down the day after he had that burning smell issue I wrote about before. He started out okay, then after a few minutes, he stopped in the living room and reported the Clean Roomba's Brushes error. I checked the brushes, they were clean, I cleaned them again anyway, made sure he was clear and started him again. He repeated the error, and again. I called iRobot and they were troubleshooting with me until I leant down to put the brushes back in and said on the phone, "I smell a burning smell." They told me not to take chances at all and said they were sending me a new one.

It was sent. Meanwhile I opened him up to have a look and located the source of the smell. It was indeed in the cleaning head module. His is the black one and its bearings got jammed with debris. This is a flaw in the design of all roomba 500's and 600's with the black cleaning head module so if you have one, bear this in mind.

I switched in a used but working red cleaning head module and set Stewie to work in my brother's room which you can see here in this video. He did fine...but now there comes the dilemma. The replacement arrived the other day, all white 531 {my mom named "her" Gracie and is thrilled with her! She does a great job, gets stuck less too}.

I can't part with Stewie. I can't send him back to be scrapped. I owe him too much! He's the one who introduced me to these adorable, and so useful robots. My floors have never been cleaner and they're just so much fun.

Stewie isn't perfect. He gets stuck more easily than my other roombas, and of course now there's this issue with the bearings, I have not thrown away his original cleaning head module, as I am planning on its repair. But it's all this that gives him his personality. He's unique.

We will see what happens from here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm sorry, Stewie!

{Stewie late December or early January}

I forgot to clean out Stewie's brushes the last time the stalwart roomba 530 went out to clean the lower floor of the house. This time, when he had docked I smelt a burning smell. I emptied his bin, pulled him up onto the table on his back and thoroughly cleaned his brushes and blew him out with canned air {for a robot it's like a spa treatment}. The smell went away, no signs of melt on the brush, but it was a reminder that these little guys need a lot of care and missing one maintenance session after a big clean can mean trouble. That is one drawback of the Roomba 500 series, but I think that ironically is one of the things that has got me so attached to them.

Roomba party

The roombas love cleaning, more than I sure ever could ;)

Lemme tell you I got clean floors.

There's my cat Ace at one point. He seems to pick the wrong place at the wrong time....