My Roomba


Don't be fooled by its size!


Toy?  Well maybe at first look, but it's much more.  I've named mine Rosie, from the Jetsons (Robot maid's name).  I bought a Eureka Boss upright for my RV.  It was inexpensive, and has a collapsible handle, making it easy to store.  The downside is it didn't work very well.  I gave it away.  You've probably seen one of these at Walmart.  If you have any sand or dirt on vinyl floors, this won't pick it up, even with a clean filter.

Eureka, good design, poor suction.


Vacuuming is one of those necessary chores but it's far from enjoyable, until now.  A little preparation is necessary.  Pick up the toys, move cables out of the way, arrange furniture so it doesn't create a narrow entrance which can trap the Roomba, and either lift throw rugs off the floor or tuck the fringe under.  This model comes with two virtual walls.  These project an IR beam across the room to prevent the unit from passing. 

After charging, set Roomba on the floor, turn on the power, and select the room size which determines the run time.  It starts off by creating a "crop circle" on the carpet.  After a few revolutions, it goes off on a tangent and then you can watch the clever programming at work.  The guys that designed and programmed it are nothing short of genius.  The amazing algorithm navigates the Roomba around odd shaped rooms, obstacles, under beds, down narrow hallways, and somehow manages to clean the entire carpet by making multiple overlapping passes.  About the only areas it can't reach are corners due to its round shape.

The question I get from friends and family that haven't been by the house yet is "how does it clean?"  VERY well.  With a beater bar, bristle brush, and intense vacuum, it pulls up dirt, dust, lint, sand, pet hair, etc.  Use your standard vacuum, THEN let this thing loose.  You'll be amazed by how much it'll grab.

Now that my home has been sold, I bought one of these for the RV.  Because of the IR sensors, it doesn't fall down the stairs.  It'll navigate automatically from the front of the coach, all the way to the back.  Working its way around chairs, the bed, and even table legs. 


 Inside my RV - Roomba at work


The Roomba does require cleaning to keep it happy.  The collection cup and filter need to be emptied after each room.  Once a week, I remove the agitator brush (1 screw) and blast the dust out with my air compressor.  This only takes a few minutes, and considering I vacuum the RV so frequently now, it's a small price to pay.

My Roomba came with a remote control which is really unnecessary due to its automated operation unless it finishes beyond reach (i.e. under a bed).  It also comes with two virtual walls and 1 battery pack.   The wall charger that was supplied with the Roomba is just a wall wart and takes 12 hours to replenish a pack versus 2.5 hours with the  optional fast charger.  For use in a home, I'd recommend getting a second battery, and the fast charger.  It also came with a wall bracket which is an excellent way of storing it.  

A typical scenario, now that the RV is Roomba friendly, is to set it loose while we are heading off for work.  When I get home, the entire RV is clean as evident by the many tracks.  

Some people are frustrated by the time it takes to clean a room.  They also go nuts watching it almost pick up a piece of dirt on the carpet multiple times, missing it each pass.  They got it all wrong!  Get a cold drink, put your feet up, and ignore it.  Rest assured it will get everything by the time it's done.  So what if it's slower than manually vacuuming?  Go find something else to do in the meantime... such as take a nap.

I give it a 9 out of 10.  The necessary cleaning of the Roomba prevented me from giving it a full 10.  This is a highly recommended toy, er, tool.






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Last updated Feb 17 2005
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