iRobot Scooba / Roomba

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I have had the discovery, the cheap one, for about a year at this point and for someone adverse to housework it has been great. I do have to de-clutter the room to remove any traps for the robot, things like shoes or bed covers hanging onto the floor. It takes 2 minutes to clear stuff max. and then I can let the vac go. It is kind of like dealing with kids in that you listen with half an ear and if you hear something that you shouldn't you go and investigate, but generally it does a very nice job of cleaning carpets and vinyl floors. It does not have a large dirt cup, but is so easy that I just run it everyday so there is not as much dirt to collect
Since I do not have to actively vacuum, time is not a problem as I do other things while it is running. Overall I would certainly get one again as it was less than an upright vac and does as well at cleaning (making up for lessor deep cleaning by doing it much more often) and since it is very easy to do, I tend not to put it off.
Just my two cents.
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I recently got a Roomba DirtDog robotic sweeper from Fry's for $90, shipping included. Very impressive. Clearly this is an evolutionary product. It's not a vacuum, like other Roombas, more like a mechanical carpet sweeper. It's meant for concrete workshop floors and picking up spilled nuts, screws and nails. It worked so well I took it upstairs to do the hardware floor, kitchen tile and pretty flat carpet. I've got two dogs that love to shred paper and plastic and wood and rope and wire and well you get the idea! The DirtDog picked up after them the way only a powerful vacuum with a beater brush could. And with no effort from me! I'll bet it consumed 1/100 the power of an average powerbrush vacuum as well. Sleek, smart and eco-friendly!
They've got a spinning corner "whip" brush that does an adequate (although not spectacular) job of get stuff of corners. The next version needs at least one on the other side, if not two or three more little. It swept up cloth swatches, peanut shells, bottle caps, tissues, dog kibble, tons of dog hair and other debris without incident. Choked on a whole paper towel, though.
NiMH quick charging battery pack, a much larger bin than the first units I saw, cliff sensors, status beeps, very interestingly designed spring-loaded wheels, each with their own motor. Has a bad tendency to crawl under things and die, though. I had to fish it out from under the bed where it was copulating in one shuddering frenzy with a pair of shorts that it had pushed under the bed. It beeps mournfully when it's in trouble, but eventually it just powers down and you have to hunt it down.
The dogs just love it because it "bumps" them and "runs away" and steals food from them as it sweeps up around their dog bowls. They don't want it when it's lying there, but when the DirtDog goes after the spillage, they assert their ownership!
It can sweep up 1/4-20 bolts and nuts with ease. The brushes take up the kind of stuff that nothing short of a multi-HP shopvac will retrieve. The bin's too small to suck up mounds of saw dust but it does a pretty good job of clearing wire scraps, nails, staples, screws and nuts. Unlike the brush attachments for the B&D battery powered upright I have, it doesn't get all bogged down on pieces of phone wire or twist'ems. They do get wrapped around the brush drum and it seems after five or six scraps of phone wire it really bogged down, but that's actually pretty good compared to other powered roller brushes I've used that gag on just one scrap of wire.
It does need cleaning almost every time but that's OK since it saves a lot of time otherwise and the small bin encourages me to dump the contents in a small tray to make sure no diamond earrings or other valuables get swept away.
I didn't get the electronic fence or the home base recharger but if it survives more than a month, I think I will. It works on carpet, too, but not anything very deep. I was astounded at how much dog hair it beat out of the living room carpet. The dogs don't know what to make of it, because if they get too close, the little rotating corner whip brush bops them on the nose. It's hysterical because after bouncing back and forth with them for a while, it will appear to take straight off after one of them. It's worth it just for the entertainment value.
It's pretty noisy but that's not a big issue. The weakest part is how it handles the corners. Ten years from now it will come mounted with a robotic vision system that will go after every last bit of dirt but for now, it will do, especially at a price under $100. When they first came out I didn't think they were worth the steep price but this little gem is going to get a brother soon because I want to have one per floor.
It's astounding how much dog hair it beats out of the carpet on each cleaning run. I think it's actually collecting dark matter from a parallel universe because it beats out dirt that the upright Hoover doesn't appear to be able to capture. Each time I empty the bin I ask myself "where is this coming from?" It's a cleaning machine, for sure. I think it's the cleaner to own, and not the vacuum version.
Best part? It cleans under the bed without moving it!!
Worst part? It pushes slippers waaaay under the bed if you don't pick them up beforehand.
No financial interest but I am thinking of opening up a robot store. This might be Roomba's home run. Not many other cleaners, even human guided, can pick up the variety of junk it can capture nor give a *very* short pile carpet the kind of "beating" clean that the DirtDog does. I've paid cleaning services more for just one visit and the floors looked equally clean on each occasion.
-- Bobby G.
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Larry Bud wrote:

Poisonally, I thought SNL's Woomba robot sketch was a real hoot:
http://www.slashdong.org/movies/woomba.avi
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Jeff,
The Woomba avi was outrageous!! Thanks for the link.
73's,
Smarty
wrote:

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I have a scheduler (discovery) roomba and I love it!!! I does a great job and I don't have to be at home when it is working, although I do have to pick up the room first. After it has finished, it goes back to re-charge. As to the other parts of the house that require a standard vacuum, I now have more time to do them.
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