Thursday, September 11, 2008

My new Roomba bumps into dark furniture

I wasn't sure what blog to post this to, but I thought it worthy of being posted.  I just recently got a Roomba for my condo.  Having two cats with mostly hardwood floors creates a lot of "cat hair tumbleweed" as I call it.  Those of you who have cats with hardwood floor know what I mean.  I figured the Roomba would be an ideal solution for keeping my floors clean, and since I live my condo is one level, the Roomba will be able to clean everything.  

The Roomba works better than what I was even expecting, except for one pretty serious problem.  The Roomba has sensors which "see" objects in front of it, so that way it will slow down before bumping in to them.  This sensor works great for my walls, but it doesn't seem to see most of my furniture and bumps in to it at full speed.  It seems like it doesn't see anything that's dark brown or black, which makes sense since it uses infrared to see.  After the first time I let Roomba run free, I noticed a nick in the leg of my entertainment center.  I also noticed a little wood splinter by my dresser that I can't figure out where it came from.  Both of these were definitely from the Roomba, when it hits the furniture it's going fast enough to do some damage.   
After reading a few web sites, I found a solution for this.  Buy rubber sponge tape, and attach it all the way around the front bumper of the Roomba.  That way, the rubber sponge will absorb the impact when the Roomba hits stuff at full speed.  So far this has worked great!  Here is a link to the roll of 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide, 10 foot long rubber tape that I bought from Hardware and Tools:
Make sure when you attach the rubber tape that you attach it at the bottom of the bumper, it shouldn't cover the sensors.  As I learned the hard way, 3/8" is too thick, the Roomba won't be able to dock properly so be sure to get 1/4" thickness.  Also the 3/4" width is just about right, any wider and it will cover the sensors. 

The edges of the tape seem to start peeling off after lots of use.  I think I'm going to try to put some two sided tape on the ends of the section that I cut off so it wont' peel off so easily.

1 comment:

dare said...

thank you for posting this! Just had the 82 year old oak floors refinished and bought a Roomba. This is the first piece I've come across which describes exactly what is concerning me. The machine is great but other reviews seemed to go to great pains to say how it does not scratch furniture. Maybe it because the furniture is dark wood also that it's more obvious.

More importantly thank you for the great fix! I was turning the problem around in my mind but hadn't figured out the details of protecting the furniture so thank again for having my back. :-)