Monday, September 04, 2017

Neato D3

I bought my original Neato XV11 late 2013, and it sadly gave up the ghost around mid 2015. I got it repaired (took close to five months to get it fixed), and it continued to run till a few months ago when it suddenly shut down, and only had a half-glowing led around its "run" button. It'd come alive again for no particular reason at times, and was perplexing to come home to a robo vacuum just lying in the middle of the room.

According to the interwebs, this is likely a sign of a failed capacitor, aka the C10 fault. A capacitor should be an easy thing to replace, or so I thought, but taking apart the XV11 was far more of a chore than expected. In the end, there were some screws that were inaccessible as I didn't have screwdrivers long enough, so I decided, it's time for a new vacuum.

My choices were simple, Neato is basically still top of the pack for robo vacuums. And I definitely wanted a vacuum that had Li-ion batteries. That boiled me down to a few vacuums, and thought I'd just pick from the latest crop.

The D3 is the cheapest of the pack, and I choose it as it did not have a side brush attachment. Less things to fail, or maintain. It also has a smaller bin capacity as well as battery size. Given how "large" my "apartment" is though, those are non issues.

I've been running it for a few days and it more or less functions the same as the XV11. There are a things to note:
  • Not as loud as the XV11, which is nice.
  • "Gentle Navigation" mode keep a bit more distance from objects, and the Neato moves at a slower pace. I've noted that this mode bumps into stuff much less, but it seems that it causes the Neato to occasionally avoid small, tighter areas. 
  • Have to use a phone app + wifi (2.4ghz, specifically!) to setup the Neato. Seriously? It even requires you to create an account with the Neato website. wtf. The XV11's firmware was more than enough to setup a schedule to run 3 times a week. That's all I need. If I want to run the robot, I can just.. you know, walk over and press the run button. I can't see me needing to, oh, I'm in Europe right now, but I _really_ want to vacuum my room. They could have done it like with some security cameras; each camera has a unique QR code that the app uses, and doesn't need to create an account for.  I personally think this "connected" business is just marketing stirring RND's pot of stew.
    If, I could say, have a visualization of the slam algorithm as the robot does its chores, sure, maybe, it'd be a cute thing to have for show and tell. But not required for a domestic robot. Bleh bleh bleh.
  • li-ion batteries. These are the good stuff, and while I would have preferred to get a cheaper, last generation robot, I spent the extra moola for them.
Overall though, I'm still rating it pretty high. These robots save me untold amount of hours just cleaning up the dust and detritus, and they have pretty low maintenance The XV11's probably going to craigslist to be sold for parts. It works... when it wants to, so hopefully it's next owner can sort it out.