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Robot toys and tools to clean your AV Room/equipment (or whole house)

raghupb

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Guys/Girls,

Disclosure: Mods, I'm a not a dealer/distributor of the following products and have no commercial interests associated with these products.

Many of us have spent loads on moola on HiFi equipment and are usually petrified when the maid goes near them.
The grief hits us when we have to clean that AV room or area ourselves regularly taking utmost care.

Thought I'll update the forum on my home usage impressions of Roomba and Braava.
My intention was not for just the AV room/space, but whole house (with 2 drooling dogs).
The models I bought are:
Roomba 980 (robot vacuum)
Braava 390t (dry and wet mop)
They were available as a bundle offer recently. Product details and pricing are at https://irobot.in/

Roomba
General observations

Works great on tiled floors. The floor should be dry (no water/liquid spills).
Claims a run time is about 2 hours and 2400sft.
It cannot suck anything and everything like traditional vacuums.
So don't expect it to pickup marbles, cereal, chips, etc. Have reasonable expectations.
It is great with hard to reach places; will vacuum as long as it can enter/exit.
14" wide and 4.5" height opening is open game for the unit.
It will go in, clean up, get stuck for a bit (continuously cleaning), but will come out eventually.
I had fun (actually amazed) at its navigation capabilities under the dining table and chairs. Tenacious little sucker.
Does edges very well, but corners are difficult due to its shape (about 1" is unreachable).
The unit maps the room on first pass and on subsequent passes goes edge cleaning and criss-cross like a possessed devil.
First pass is simple back and forth, but subsequent passes are more complex due to intelligent mapping.

My home is about 1200 Sqft bare space (excluding bathrooms and balconies).
Vacuum-able area is about 950 Sqft (accounting for wardrobes, furniture and other obstacles).
It takes about 1.5 hrs to do a pretty good job (definitely better than maid).
This model will automatically go back to docking station to recharge when it is out of charge.
It is supposed to restart from where it had stopped earlier; though I have not tried this.

We don't have carpets as we have two drooling dogs at home. But it did wrestle gallantly with a couple of fabric foot-mats.
I have heard it's operation is suspect with long fiber carpets and dark colored ones (some transition issues from hard floor to rug).
If your carpet is dark or has dark borders, it may need help climbing on to it from hard/tiled floors.
If this works out, we may finally be able to have carpets or at least area rugs (Yay!!).
Not very noisy on hard floors (about 60-65dB); but on carpets it turns on carpet-boost automatically and runs louder and with gusto.

This particular model has 2 virtual wall/barriers that come in handy when you want the unit to avoid certain areas.
Runs on a 3300mAh Li-Ion battery. Normal charge time is about 4-6 hours (I think).
It is a smart appliance and can be linked to an mobile app with basic controls (pause/restart, go to docker, etc).
Alexa integration is supposed to be there, but I will never enable it in my home.
Every cleaning run gives you a status of where it went, what it did and a overall coverage map report.

AV specific observations
It did an admirable job going all around speaker stands and subwoofer placed on the floor.
Does bump into obstacles, so make sure the stands are heavy enough and not wobbly (SQ wise they never should be hollow or wobbly).
Just ensure there are no cables that can potentially tangle themselves. Basic cable management tricks.


Braava
General observations

This was bought on my insistence. It is a surprising little angel. It does dry and wet mop.
The dry mop operation is good for low traffic areas to pick up fine dust. Uses a white color (washable) microfiber cloth.
Wet mop operation has a pad that can be filled with lukewarm water and fitted with blue color (washable) microfiber cloth.
Very effective and super silent operation. It uses a navigation cube (NorthStar) to do its job.
It is not a smart robot. It needs to be docked and undocked manually. Fair enough.
The unit has to be moved room to room due to its navigation method.
Runs on a 2000 mAh NiMH battery. Normal charge is about 2-4 hours (I think).

AV specific observations
It did an fantastic job going all around speaker stands and subwoofer placed on the floor.
Very gentle operation and may work with messy floor cables too (no rotating parts).
Loved the wet mop mode; I cringe everytime the maid goes near equipment with a regular mop.


Ostrich Feather Duster
This is not a new item at my home. I have had this for dusting AV equipment and TV screens forever.
The advantage over a regular duster is that it actually picks up dust rather than move it around.
Ostrich feathers naturally have a wee bit of static charge that will make fine dust cling to it.
Have a new found respect for it since I acquired the size zero OLED screen.
They are washable in mild soap and lukewarm water.
Available in India, but expensive. Very cheap if you can have friends/family get it for you from US/UK.

Hope this helps. If anyone has more tips/tricks please add to the thread.
Have fun watching/hearing, enjoying your equipment, while at peace trying to maintain dust and dirt free environs.

Cheers,
Raghu
 
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sandeepss

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Thanks for sharing your impressions, Raghu :) Do you think the roomba is safe to be used with cats around? I have 2 dogs and 3 cats at home :)
 

raghupb

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Actually I was expecting a showdown between the Roomba and my English Bulldog.
Really disappointed that she didn't even give it a glance. She is known for her "stink eye".
The older dog, a senior Boxer, was a bit flummoxed the first few times the unit came near him.
Now he is smart enough to just move quarters to another area.
Each dog or cat will behave differently, especially if it sees it as a threat.
My guess is that after a few curious moments, they will just ignore it.
The unit does a fine job of picking up pet hair. This was the primary reason we got it.
The unit has fancy features like scheduled start and all, but in a home with pets, I would not use it when not at home.

The company has home demos. You may try it before buying.
If you decide to get one, have the 4-leggeds around during the demo and check their reaction.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

sandeepss

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Thanks again! Folks at home are wary of such devices, so need to coax them first. My house area is around 2600 sqft, so will be a stress test for the roomba :)
 

Naturelover

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Did you look at others brands?
I know Karcher has some products on these lines.
Then there is Milagrow and probably some more.
 

raghupb

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Did not consider other brands.
IRobot has presence in India.
So was comfortable
Cheers,
Raghu
 
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