on the bench: the robots have arrived: Roomba 690

irobot 690 (alpha)

goodwill $9.99

total with shipping and handling 29.17

As of this writing a fleet of irobot products keep my floors clean

This is the first one. Was lucky to attain this one working, but needing a good clean.

Disassembly is easy, many of the parts are modular and meant to be replaced. The 690 is a WiFi model compatible with the iRobot app. Also the irobot product is popular, parts are plentiful as also the on line resources to repair and service these.

One feature here is that I assumed that the robot simply swept dirt, dust, excetera, into the dust bin. But these are a true vacuum as the dust bin has a small fan motor providing suction and a filter, the motor gets power from contacts to the main chassis, allowing easy removal for emptying.

The brushes are easily removable without tools for cleaning
The bottom cover removes with 4 screws and the removal of the side brush , one screw for that. The battery is exposed and removable. The battery was also able to hold a full charge.

The battery, contacts and swivel wheel.
as with the wheel and motors, the brush holder is removable with a few screws. All powered modules are plug in, no soldering needed. The circular metal disc is the “dirt detector”
rectangular connector for the wheel/motor assembly
The removable wheel/motor assembly
same with the side brush motor
IR emitters and receptors are for edge detection, so the robot doesn’t jump off a cliff (or stairs)
Front bumper retainer removed
detail of the front bumper spring steel and IR beacon that attaches with 2 small screws
front bumper removed, and front swivel caster, note more ir emitter and detectors along the front edge
front swivel caster socket again easily removable
top trim panels simply unclip
making our way to the motherboard
all plug in connectors to the motherboard
Top cover fully removed
WIFI module and antenna connector
bottom view
Parts after tear down and cleaning
ready for assembly
ready to roll !
new side brush installed
charging base cleaned up also
close up of the cleaned unit
At home base awaiting commands

According to my time stamps, The robot has been on duty for slightly over 10 months at time of this writing. preforming flawless as far as operational. The only bugs are robot proofing your home. Such items are thick shaggy carpets and throw rugs , some are small rugs , not wall to wall, that the robot may faulter on , that is drive on the rug , and then off becoming stuck in a small area because it will not climb back on the carpet. Cords are the worst enemy that will cause a jam or worse, snagging some knitting yarn and entangling itself hopelessly in the processing causing the knitter to shout expletives after the robot digests the latest knitting project. (though the robots can be linked to voice controlled devices like Alexa, shouting at them will be fruitless.) Sneakers and shoes may be dragged across the room also. Small tables like on hardwood floors may be moved or jostled so those knick nacks may be damaged by the relentless contact of the robot maneuvering about. Lower kitchen cabinet kickpanel areas may be just the right height to jam the device, 690 can be a brute negotiating some thresholds, closing doors that are easily moved, shutting itself in the bathroom as an example and can move small light weigh furniture on hardwood and tile floors from it’s impact. Though the IR “eyes” work on some barriers and slow the robot, some don’t.

Since all of our floors are either hardwood or tile the robot tirelessly bounces around the areas relentlessly in some cases till it returns home to replenish it battery , all automatically. Currently I have 2 Roomba 960’s, scheduled to sweep and vac daily running alternating days of the week. It’s surprising to see the accumulation in the dust bins, hair, dirt and dust with occasion onions skins etc. These are not made to pickup large debris but once used on a daily basis here the floors are kept very clean. ( Ive also employed Scoobas and Braavas for wet mopping.) rarely you will need the broom and the dustpan again just once in a great while to touch up some spots unreachable by the robots side brush. Overall cleaning is excellent with a obsession sometimes with the edge cleaning pattern. Not all ares are covered daily, sometimes a room will be missed but cleaned the next day. The run cycle is about 2 hours, way more than you would do it manually, the noise level is acceptable to most and of course can be scheduled to clean while you out. Suddenly need a mess swept up? Instead of grabbing the broom, place the roomba where needed and hit the spot clean button. The robot will do a circular spiral dance in the area and stop.

The app will give you feedback on progress and errors requiring human intervention. The robots firmware can also be upgraded if necessary and keeps statics with the mothership like number of cleaning jobs (479), total job time (503 hrs and 58 minutes) and a dirt event count (19795 events) A “dirt detector” is located in the brush compartment and will cause the roomba to spiral an area before proceeding ahead.

While these are used and discontinued models, they are inexpensive compared to the newer ones. On a daily basis or so simply empty the dustbin and periodically clean the roller/brushes. Several more iRobots have crossed the bench with the Scoobas and Braavas and should be posted later in the blog. it’s one of those chores you never want to do again, sweeping and cleaning the floors. Now reduced to periodically servicing these machines.


June 2022

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