It has been ages and ages since I have posted this! But its back, but super behind the times. Should still answer a lot of questions though.
The Woot Roomba FAQ!(Written based on experience with 4xxx series, includes some info on 5xx series.)
Whats Remanufactured mean? Isnt it just a refurb?
As I understand it, and I could be wrong(It wouldnt be the first time), remanufactured is a complete replacement of all vital components. So they take an old shell and fill it up with a soul. While a refurb would just be a replacement of what ever part was broken.
Does it really work!?
Yes! It does. I own several, and given them as gifts to more, I love them, as do the people that received them!
Will it work with hard wood/carpet/throw rugs/tile/the ceiling?
It works on most surfaces, though, unless you have suction cup wheels for it, I dont think it will do much for the ceiling. In my experience it works the best on wood floors. I do not have any tile in my current house, but I would imagine it would work about the same as it does on wood. It works great on carpet, but isnt a 'deep' cleaner like a upright vacuum. I have some throw rugs and the only one I have problems with is one that has an under mat under it. If you have rugs with tassels, be sure to tuck them under or it will try to eat them causing damage to either the carpet, the roomba, or both. The new 500 series that IRobot has now released has a feature that is meant to prevent this. I have not been able to get a 500 series yet, so I can not say if it works or not. Dont run it on high pile carpet either, thats just something that isn't good for it.
Will it go from hardwood to carpet by itself without getting stuck?
As long as there isnt a huge difference in height it can cross over between the two just fine. A good way to see how it will handle is just set it next to the change, if it looks like the bumper is gonna hit, it may have some problems getting up on it.
Can I just let it run forever and ever and never have to worry about emptying a bin, or cleaning filters? Its a robot right? It cleans its self?
While this is a robot and we all like to envision robots with lasers that disintegrate things, this robot lacks that feature(You might be able to get one of the laser robots they make for industry and attach it to the roomba, but it might go terminator on you and take over your house). You will still need to empty the bin and clean the filter. At first I would do this after each time it runs until you notice its not picking up as much, then every other run. If the filter gets really dirty you can clean it with warm water(I havnt tried soap as I dont know what it might do to the filter) or a can of compressed air. You also need to make sure the brushes are cleaned on a regular basis. If you have pets, or someone with longer hair in the house check the brushes after each run, they will get alot on them.
All that sounds like alot of work! It would take me just as long to just vacuum myself at that rate!
Yes, you could, but this will vacuum for you, and when you need to clean it, sit down in front of the TV and watch a thirty minute show while you clean it! I bet you cant watch TV that easy while you vacuum!
So is there anything else I should make sure is cleaned?
Once a month or so you should take a can of compressed air to the entire thing and get any dust thats sitting in the little bits out. I suggest doing this outside so the dust isnt put back into your house.
How long does it normally run for?
The specs list 120 minutes max, but your mileage may vary. Different surfaces will change how long it runs as well as how dirty the floors are. I have mine running on my first floor which is about half wood half carpet and it runs for about an hour and a half. I have heard that running it only on wood it lasts the longest. It will also venture out into other rooms unless blocked off by an object or a virtual wall. The bigger an area that you run it in, the less rounds it can do.
What if I want to run it on a upper floor, will it tumble down the stairs?
Only when its ex-wife shows up and 'accidentally' pushes it over. Otherwise its cliff sensors can see there is a drop and it will jerk back. They fear heights you know.
Do I have to pick up before it goes and vacuums?
Do you have to pick up when you go and vacuum? Or do you vacuum over all the junk on the floor? Its still a vacuum and you will need to pick up large objects and make sure cords are out of the way. It will eat cords just like it eats rug tassels. Mine ate a cord not to long ago and limped back to its home base, didnt quite make it, but when I turned it back on it sounded sick. It still runs though. There are some items that you dont want to use the roomba to pick up as well. Glass and other small sharp objects are one thing you wouldnt want to pick up, as well as other larger objects. IRobot has another product called the Dirtdog that would do a much better job for these items.
Does that include chairs and bigger things?
You dont have to move chairs and other large items, but if the legs arnt wide enough for it to fit through it will not vacuum under them. Also be careful of chairs that are just big enough for it to get in. It can take them a long time to get back out if that happens.
Will it mark up my walls when it finds a wall?
While I have not had it mark anything myself, they like to ram into the wall as fast as possible. If you are really worried about it marking up your wall glue some foam on the bumper of it so the foam hits rather then the plastic. The newer 500 series have sensors in the bumper that sense when its getting close to a wall and slow down so it only taps it.
Will it play nice with my pets/my kids/Godzilla?
Some pets may be afraid of it and run for the hills when its doing its thing, others might find it fun and play with it. But it will play nice with the pets, playfully bumping into them if they wander into its path. And if your pet is big enough to flip it over it will play dead(Auto Shut down feature)!
I dont have any kids of my own, but some of the other wooters here have mentioned that their kids love it and have learned to turn it on, and off, and on, and off...... Once again, it may playfully bump into your children if they find their way into its path.
Godzilla eats roombas for snacks. If you have Godzilla in your home, roomba may not be for you.
IS THIS THING LOUD?!
You can take those ear plugs out. This wont damage your hearing. On a scale of 1-10 a ten being a shop vac, and a 1 being a dust devil. Its about a 3 or a 4. It does have some noise to it, but its nothing to scream over. Carpet does muffle the sound a bit, while hard floors will echo the sound a bit. Hey, it could be worse. You can hook a couple leakfrogs to the inside of your unbalanced washing machine?
Ok, what if the floor is wet when it goes over it?
Roombas are a type of creature that dont require water, in fact, like the aliens in that movie, and the wicked witch in the wizard of oz, they are severally allergic to water. But their distant relative the Scooba loves water! I wont go into detail about the scooba here, but it is the mopping version of the roomba.
Well Im really thinking about buying one now, but some of em have some features the others dont. Whats spot and max?
Spot mode is for quick cleanups of spills. Say you drop a bag of chips and it makes a mess of a small area, grab your roomba, set it in the middle of the mess and hit spot. It will slowly circle its way outward, then back in to clean up just that area.
Max mode is just like clean, but it will run till the battery is completely empty(It will leave a little bit of juice so it can try to make it back to the charge base.)
Does it automatically return to its charger?
If you have the home base and it started out on the base it will make every attempt to return to the base when its time is up. If it didnt start on a base it will play a little song where ever it is when its done and stop. Sometimes it wont be able to make it back to the base for one reason or another. It stopped for donuts, ran out of battery, or its GPS broke down(It got lost). Many models dont come with a homebase. Though many times the ones here on woot do.
What about this Scheduling feature thing?
Some models will come with the special remote for it, others wont. But you will need it to set times and send them to the roomba. By its self the remote costs about 40 dollars, though you may be able to find em on ebay for cheaper. You can set up to seven(7) cleaning times, at one cleaning per day. As well as if you want it to be a weekly thing, or a one time clean. I have mine set so that its out and about while Im at work. Without this you would need to press the button on top of the unit to start it each time.
Ok, woot is selling one as remanufactured. How is it packaged? Is it in just a brown box? Or is it in a box that has information on it?
It comes in a IRobot box that will have this sticker(Not easily removed) on it:
Appox size as well
More info on IRobot on all of their products can be found on their homepage here.
So this one is a 5XX, whats so awesome about these?
The 500 series has alot of new upgrades. Such as anti tassle and cord eatting technology! Though that doesnt mean you can throw cords all over your floor, but you dont have to worry as much about it getting caught up on a cord, or ripping out your tassles.
It also has soft bump tech, where when it sees that a wall is coming up, it will slow down and tap the wall lightly instead of slaming into it full force. This also uses IR to detect, so darker walls may not be recognized.
Lighthouses! The new virtual wall can now allow you to set them up to keep the roomba in a certain room till that room is done! It will automaticly set a timer to keep the roomba in that room until cleaning is complete. You can still use them as plain vitural walls as well.
It also claims to be better at cleaning, and storing debris. As well as having a larger filter to keep your air clean.
Do you have a question that you think should be added to this list? Please send me a PM with it! I'll do my best to find an answer for you and add it to the list! I plan on posting this anytime I see a roomba for sale.