Filthy, dirty little Roomba

Comments Off on Filthy, dirty little Roomba

So, our second hand roomba is quietly sat waiting a new vacuum box, and if that does the job of making it suck (rather than suck*) then it’ll get a new battery. Anyhow, Nikki proclaimed that I should strip down the gearbox before we started using it in earnest, as the 500 series roomba tends to fill the gearbox with shite and then die. And it turns out she was spectacularly correct.


As is often the case when you get a second hand ‘needing repair’ item, people neglect to mention that they’ve taken it apart at some point in the past and it’s missing a bit. One of the gear axles was missing – its plastic support snapped off and oddly, not in the gearbox. The gear seems to have been held in place by the dirt and crap surrounding it.

After cleaning the gearbox it was very much apparent that gear wasn’t going to stay in place any longer (and it was probably why the Roomba had made some odd noises while running).


Fortunately, my dad’s magic box of tiny machine screws came to the rescue.


Not exactly OEM I’ll admit, but it’s fortunately a gear that is positioned such that the screw I’ve popped in to support it won’t collide with anything else.


I expect it will, at some point, need a new gearbox – but we’ll see how it does for the moment.

I took the opportunity to strip down lots of other bits and remove the hideous quantities of dog-hair from it, too, and stripped the existing vacuum box down – and cleaned it – which might transiently improve its performance. Cleaned off the leaked-battery gunk – from an old battery that’s clearly been replaced without bothering to clean up the connectors. Generally gave the poor wee beastie a bit of love.

And we’ll see how it does. Overall, it’s nice how servicable the 500 series Roomba is. I’m quite startled at how much is accessible and strippable. It’s also pretty amazing how shit some of the design is. I’m told the 600 and 700 are somewhat better – and many of the parts are interchangeable. At any rate, for the moment it seems to be doing its thing, trundling around and vaccuming up stuff. If the new vaccuum bit does its stuff then I think it’ll be exactly what I’d hoped :)

* I’m not convinced its ever had a new filter, the filter on it is so revoltingly filthy. I’ve ‘dysoned’ it just so I could test it, but it’s completely clogged. Rather than spend money on a new filter for the old style vacuum box, I thought I’d get the new vacuum box design which apparently is more effective.

ETA: So, I suspect having run it through a little test cycle *and the first cycle where it ever made it back to the charging station before the battery died!) that in fact, the gearbox never worked properly before. Because it picked up waaay more crap than it ever has before. Pine needles and such all made it into the collector… it also didn’t make unpleasant graunchy noises. Wahey.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.