iRobot Scooba

Floor Washing Robot

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    Robert Gould
    Scooba 450: IRobot needs to revert to a single cycle machine
    Entry posted May 23, 2015 by Robert GouldNewbie 
    Scooba 450: IRobot needs to revert to a single cycle machine

    1.  The 450 does not pick up the water it lays down.  The water ends up evaporating and leaving the dirt behind.

    2.  The cause of this is the three cycle operation.

    3.  IRobot should concentrate on making improvements to the 390's single cycle operation instead of  developing an unworkable triple cycle operation.

    4.  At the very least IRobot should keep the 390 in production!

        Having had multiple 300 series Scoobas, the last being a 390, I can say with certainty that unless one has a room that is rectangular and unobstructed and of approximately one of the two sizes (150sf or 300sf) for which the 450 is designed, the 450 will not do nearly as good a job as the 390!

        The 450 is better than the 390s in three areas.  It is quieter, it moves faster, and it mostly seems to be a bit better at navigating.  But it does not clean a complex area nearly as well or as fast as the 390.

        The 450 runs in three discrete cycles; wash, scrub, squeegee, while the 390 does all of that in one pass.  In an unobstructed room the 450 might be better, as it can theoretically cover the entire floor in each of its three cycles, but if you have a couple of rooms or a room and a hall, or a room with furniture, you will have to do each area separately.  That will waste an inordinate amount of time and water and soap.  The 390 could be redirected to a different area or room during its single cycle and with a good battery would run well over an hour.  We had multiple batteries and would usually run the 390 through two or three tanks and 1 and a half battery charges to clean all the rooms we want to clean.  The 450 would have to run through a COMPLETE three stage cycle in each section, which can take either 22 or 45 minutes (and a new battery charge taking about an hour) FOR EACH SECTION!  You cannot really redirect it to another area as is possible with the 390 because the first area or first two areas will not get a complete cleaning cycle.  Have a small bathroom you want to clean alone?  22 minutes with the 450 to run through a full triple cycle versus about 5 minutes with the 390.

         The 450 tends to run away and never return to some areas for the final squeegee cycle, and it spends a lot of time squeegeeing areas that it never put water on at all!

         The 450 water tank holds 3 cups (24 oz) of liquid.  When it is finished with its cycle there is still 1 cup of liquid in the tank.  Thus 1/3 of the soap and water that was put in is wasted. 

        VERY LITTLE water comes out of the dirty water tank; often none.  This means that the final part of the cycle, squeegeeing, is not picking up the water that was put down.  The dirty water just sits there and evaporates before the squeegee cycle starts, and/or the 450 is squeegeeing dry floors that it never washed.  In the meantime lots of areas have standing water on the floor because the 450 never happened to go over them again in the squeegee cycle.  The 390 picks up nearly all the water it puts down, and does it in one pass, so very little water is left to dry on the floor.  Where the 450 does run over a wet area during the squeegee cycle, it seems to pick up water a bit better than the 390 (assuming there is any water still there to pick up).

        The 450 has a tendency to climb onto carpets and get stuck, or it spends a lot of time bumping along the edge, disturbing the carpet and usually leaving standing water for some time (or permanently) for the carpet edge to soak up instead of picking the water up itself.  The 390 is much better at navigating the edge of a carpet without getting stuck or disturbing the carpet, plus it picks up most of its water immediately. 

       From an engineering viewpoint it should be obvious that one cannot expect a random action machine to completely cover an area 3 times without missing spots, and the concept that a complete triple cycle must be completed in each area before before the Scooba can move on to a different area shows a lack of clear thinking.


    Keywords (optional):
    Scooba 450, Sooba 390, Scooba 450 design philosophy, Scooba 450 cannot work