Automatic machine for cleaning large apartments: an overview of the iRobot Roomba i7 + robot vacuum cleaner

This time in our hands was a robot vacuum cleaner developed by a pioneer in the field of automated

harvesting - by the American company iRobot, whichhas been operating on the market for more than 25 years and, according to statistics, is the world undisputed leader in the segment of robotic vacuum cleaners. The experience gained by the company is embodied in several lines of thoughtful, well-equipped and truly “smart” devices. Today we will talk about the top model Roomba i7 +, equipped with a docking station that automatically empties the trash bin inside the vacuum cleaner.


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What is it?

The manufacturer is positioning the modelRoomba i7 + as a solution for dry cleaning large rooms. That is, he does not do wet cleaning, for this iRobot has a separate line of devices (Braava). Actually, the vacuum cleaner itself is called Roomba i7, and the “plus” indicates an extended version of the base station that can clean the vacuum cleaner container in automatic mode.


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What does Roomba i7 look like?

The shape of Roomba i7 is classic forrobotic vacuum cleaners - a round "washer" with a diameter of 33 cm and a height of 7.5 cm. The front (in the direction of travel) half of the body is surrounded by a powerful bumper with built-in infrared and mechanical sensors to detect obstacles. Another sensor is placed on top of the front bumper to determine the virtual wall or protection zone that the docking station or virtual wall device creates in the Halo mode and is a height limiter. The top panel is solid, nothing opens in it, three buttons are placed in the front part - one for the main “CLEAN" function (remove / clean) with a ring multi-color indicator. The other two are for returning to base and intensive spot cleaning. Next to them is a handle for carrying a vacuum cleaner. The built-in camera looks forward and up. With its help, the vacuum cleaner creates a visual map of the room, which helps him navigate. At the back of the vacuum cleaner is a removable waste bin with a button for removing it.


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The most interesting thing about such devices is below. The quality of cleaning is determined by the number of brushes in the main module near the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner and the mechanism of their work.
IRobot has two in all models. Roomba i7 has two rubber rollers of different shapes that rotate one towards the other. One raises dust and small debris into the air, and the second directs it into the trash can. The side brush is responsible for cleaning near the walls and in the corners, it sweeps all debris into the vacuum cleaner cleaning area.

Symmetrically to her, in the recess, is a sensormovement. Moving and maneuverability is ensured by two large wheels (as large as the height of the casing allows) on an elastic suspension and a swivel wheel in front. Traditionally, sensors are located on the bottom of the case to prevent the vacuum cleaner from falling from the stairs and other elevations, and charging contacts. At the bottom of the waste bin there is a green rubber valve (about its purpose later).


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What is included?

In a large cardboard box neatly packed: vacuum cleaner itself, base station, “virtual wall” with a set of batteries and consumables. All consumables are already installed in the vacuum cleaner and the docking station, and what is in a separate box is a reserve for the first time: a dustbin bag for the docking station, a HEPA filter for the built-in dustbin and a side brush.


The “dark tower” included in the kit, but it’s the onethe “plus” in the name of the model, in fact, provides a key feature of Roomba i7 +, that is, the ability to independently clean large areas. For this, not only a charger is built into the station, but also a powerful pump and a disposable garbage bag containing the contents of 30 garbage collectors. When the garbage container is full, the robot returns to the base, where its contents are pumped into the bag in a few seconds through the same valve in the bottom, and you can continue to work. If the battery charge drops below critical, the robot will also return to base and continue cleaning after recharging. This method of cleaning the waste bin eliminates the need to get your hands dirty and breathe dust by shaking it out by hand. But you have to buy bags regularly.


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If suddenly you already bought only a vacuum cleaner, then the base,officially called iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, can be purchased separately, complete with the corresponding dust collector (it has no valve on the “regular” i7).

The package also includes a “virtualwall ”, which, despite the solid word“ wall ”in the name, turned out to be of very modest size. Powered by two AA batteries (the kit includes a pair of “long-playing batteries manufactured by Duracell) and is beautifully illuminated when turned on.


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The "wall" works in two modes: in fact, in the mode of the virtual wall itself (an infrared ray is created with which you can block the entrance to the bathroom, where, for example, there is no threshold, or exit to the balcony). And in the "Halo" mode (creates a restricted area around itself with a radius of about 60 cm, into which the vacuum cleaner does not enter). So you can protect dog bowls, a cat tray, an expensive Chinese vase or a Christmas tree from unwanted contact. The difference between the modes is clearly shown in the instructions pasted on the "virtual wall":


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The “wall”, like the vacuum cleaner, is completely autonomous and can be installed anywhere. If necessary, this accessory can be purchased in the right quantity.

What can Roomba i7 do?

The easiest way to work Roomba i7 -completely autonomous, without a base station and an external waste bin. That is, you can take a vacuum cleaner with you to any place and carry out cleaning there, or use it immediately after purchase, without going through the setup procedure. To do this, simply press the CLEAN button on the vacuum cleaner, and cleaning begins. Particularly contaminated places can be accessed in the intensive spot cleaning (SPOT) mode, which is activated by a separate button. At the same time, the robot travels first along an expanding spiral, then along a tapering one and eventually returns to the starting point. When the container fills up or the battery reaches its end, the robot stops and informs the owner of the problem with a voice message and a red indicator light.


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But this is only a small part of the possibilities of Rumba. So that he can reveal all his abilities, you need to install the iRobot HOME application on the smartphone (available for both Android and iOS) and add a vacuum cleaner, following detailed step-by-step instructions. Note that to control the robot from this application, the apartment must have a wireless network. Roomba i7 supports both Wi-Fi bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). The setup is very simple, but takes some time. And if you want to set up a vacuum cleaner for full-fledged work in another room, you will have to go through the procedure again.


After it you get advanced features.

  • More detailed work settings:


  • Information about the status of the robot on the smartphone screen(percentage of charge, operation statistics, remaining life of consumables (filter, brushes and scrapers), as well as any problems that require your intervention):


  • Robot control remotely (via the Internet);
  • Search for a vacuum cleaner (when you press a button in the application, it will give a sound signal).

But the coolest thing is creating a housing map. During the first cleaning or in a special mode of creating a map, the robot goes around the entire apartment (office, floor) and draws up a plan of the room (of course, excluding those areas where he could not get in - furniture, large objects on the floor, closed doors). Then you can view this plan and divide it into separate rooms and simply plots, arranging virtual dividers and giving names to each space. Then it will be possible to set the robot to clean only in one or several separate rooms, right now or on a schedule. From the first time, the plan may turn out to be inaccurate, and in the next passes the robot corrects it, so with a breakdown into zones it is better to wait 3-5 passes until final clarification (the percentage of accuracy of the map is indicated in the appendix).


If you use Alexa, Google Home or IFTTT,you can use Roomba with these services by connecting your iRobot Home account to them. I tried connecting i7 + to Google Home - nothing complicated, the iRobot Home account is simply imported into this application, and all devices connected to it become available in Google Home. You can control the vacuum cleaner, but the functionality and information content of the native application is richer. My attempts to start cleaning using voice commands did not lead to anything, the maximum that I managed to do was launch the iRobot Home application.


And yet - the vacuum cleaner is not connected directly tophone, and to the cloud service, so the phone with the application does not have to be on the same network and in the same room. That is, you can start cleaning while away from home, and if the robot gets stuck or some other problem happens, you will at least be in the know and be able to at least cancel the task.

How does Roomba i7 work?

Unlike simple inexpensive robotic vacuum cleaners,Roomba i7 has a highly developed intelligence, backed by many different sensors. The cleaning looks like this: the robot starts moving in a straight line until it runs into a wall or large furniture, after which it turns around, shifting slightly to the side, and returns back in a parallel direction. So he walks from wall to wall, avoiding obstacles (and he is able to distinguish a cabinet from which you need to turn around, from a table leg that needs to be circumvented). Obstacles the robot avoids very carefully and methodically. I asked him to clean in two classrooms in which the desks stood, and he climbed under all the desks, going around their legs on all sides and working through the space between the legs.

Sometimes Roomba suddenly changes the crawl algorithm, notreaching the end, but he misses all the missed places anyway later. Sometimes, having passed a place and found using the Dirt Detect function a very dirty place, the robot stops and goes back, and so on several times. After cleaning “over the area”, having passed the entire territory, the robot switches to circumferential circumference bypass mode, sweeping out the garbage along the walls and corners with a rotating brush. The brush is not omnipotent, and the vacuum cleaner still skips some part of the garbage, and sometimes gaps sometimes occur at the first stage of cleaning, so if you want closer to the ideal, it is better to choose the “two-pass” mode.

After cleaning, having made one or two passes, as indicated in the settings, Roomba returns to the base, empties the waste bin and reports on the completion of cleaning (through the application).

If the doors are open and at startup was selectedthe option “remove everywhere”, or if the maps have not yet been drawn up, i7 will go through all available neighboring rooms, at the same time drawing up or updating the map. Thresholds up to 2 centimeters high are not an obstacle for him, Roomba overcomes them famously, and if he fails to do it the first time, he tries again.

At the command "home" the robot returns to base incleaning mode, and if on the way its Dirt Detect system “sees” dirt, then i7 may linger to remove it, including deviating from the route. It is important to consider one nuance. First of all, you need to choose a place for the base station, install a vacuum cleaner on it and from this place begin the first cleaning. As you walk around the apartment, the robot draws up a map in which the charging station is the reference point. By pressing the “home” button, Roomba returns in coordinates from any place, wherever it is, to the approximate location of the station, and already there it searches for its infrared beam and it definitely “parks” on it. The coordinates here are relative, counted from the charging station.

If you transfer Roomba i7 to another room and start a cleaning cycle from there and then send it home, the reference point changes, and he returns to the place where he started cleaning.

If you transfer the robot to another room and immediatelypress the "Home" button, then the robot starts to search for the base and, not finding it within 10-15 minutes, just stops. The same thing happens if you start cleaning from the base, and then transfer it. At the same time, Roomba can pass the station several times at a new place without noticing it, and then eventually return to the starting point from where it started to move. That is, in the search for "home" the robot relies only on its own cards and turns on the signal sensor only where the base was at the time of launch.

Just search for a station by its signal, systematicallygoing around the apartment, say, clockwise and examining all the rooms, i7 will not be, because of the laid down algorithms designed to clean several floors without using a base. In this case, the “Home” is the starting point.

But what is interesting: Having received the order to clean a specific room, after it was moved somewhere, the robot correctly orientates itself and goes to the room that it was assigned to. Up to 10 rooms can be stored in the robot's memory (they may not be interconnected and can be located on different floors). Apparently, to determine which room he is in, the camera helps him. In general, after numerous experiments, I learned three simple rules:

  1. It is undesirable to move the charging station, since it is the reference point.
  2. Cleaning should always start from the charging station - if the cleaning is on several floors, the vacuum cleaner will return to the starting point.
  3. If you transferred the charging station, transfer the vacuum cleaner to it, and make a new map for better navigation (see point 2).

Subject to these simple rules, the vacuum cleaner works as intended by its creators.

Single charge lithium ion battery(incompatible with previous Roomba models), according to the manufacturer, enough for 150 square meters. I did not have such an area, but for a two-pass cleaning 40-50 squares were enough with a large margin.

The "virtual wall" works as intended -Roomba bypasses the “restricted area” just like any physical object. The only caveat is that if you want to protect an object from a collision with a robot, not standing near the wall, but in the middle of the room, then (depending on its size and shape) you may need two virtual barriers, since the beam of one will partially overlap the protected object, and the vacuum cleaner can get to him from the "shadow" side.

What coatings is Roomba i7 suitable for?

Roomba i7 is universal in this regard. It removes dust and debris well both on a smooth hard surface (parquet, laminate, linoleum), and on carpets with different pile lengths. When moving on a hard floor, rubber scrapers emit a rather loud unpleasant sound, while on the carpet they are completely inaudible. To test the work on soft surfaces, I took a carpet that lay a couple of hours outside during a children's holiday - children danced on it and just crawled and tumbled, as a result, the carpet was on both sides in dust, fine debris and fallen leaves crushed into small crumbs. . After cleaning with Roomba in one pass on each side, the garbage was successfully collected, although if you look closely (see photo below), not everything was able to be pulled out of the pile.

Front carpet cleaning - before and after:


With the same garbage that crumbled into linoleum when it was deployed and the carpet was spread out, the vacuum cleaner coped almost perfectly.

Is it difficult to clean / maintain?

Nothing complicated here. Of course, hair, thread and pet hair are wound on rubber scrapers, but thanks to a well-thought-out design, these parts are very easy to remove and clean:

The rubber edges (especially the dark green scraper) are quite delicate and can be damaged when the hair is wound and especially when trying to remove it by force (tear). It is better to cut hair carefully.


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The side brush can be cleaned without removing, but if necessary, removing it is also easy, just unscrew one screw.


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The front wheel is also easy to remove withholder, which greatly facilitates cleaning. The wheel itself can also be pulled out of the mount, but this should only be done if the wheel is locked and does not rotate, and cleaning without removing does not help.

Thanks to their thoughtful design with minimal gaps, nothing is wound around the drive wheels, at least for a couple of weeks there were no problems with them.

The waste bin is easy to remove, it can be washed with water, after removing the HEPA filter, which cannot be washed.


The battery is located between the front wheel and the scraper brushes, under the cover, which is held on two screws. Consumables and accessories can be bought in the irobot.ua online store.

In the dry residue

In general, the quality of cleaning with the iRobot robot vacuum cleanerRoomba i7 + can be rated as very good and thorough. But to clean large rooms with Roomba is better when there is no rush and a lot of time in stock - because it will be needed not only for cleaning, but also for recharging. A common scenario - to plan cleaning at a time when you are at work, but not everyone will like to leave the vacuum cleaner turned on all day without supervision. You can also schedule cleaning of different rooms at different times and different days of the week. The application for working with a vacuum cleaner is convenient and trouble-free, the functionality is thought out and implemented intelligently - perhaps this is the best application for robotic vacuum cleaners that we have encountered. Together with a base that allows you to dump the contents of the garbage container, this vacuum cleaner today represents the most advanced cleaning gadget in the hands of the publisher gg. For which he receives our highest award "editorial choice."

3 reasons to buy iRobot Roomba i7 +

  • you have a large apartment for which the vacuum cleaner without a docking station does not have enough battery power or container capacity;
  • you want as little contact with the dust and debris that the vacuum cleaner collects;
  • you already have (or are planning to buy) an iRobot washing vacuum cleaner to operate them from one application.

1 reason not to buy iRobot Roomba i7 +

  • you have a small apartment, which the vacuum cleaner model can handle easier.

Technical characteristics of the robot vacuum cleaner iRobot Roomba i7 +

Type of cleaning
dry

Dimensions
52 × 42 × 43 mm

Weight
3.37 kg

Battery
1850 mAh

Special features
Wi-Fi support, smartphone control, automatic cleaning of the internal container

Types of coverage
carpet, linoleum, laminate, parquet, tile

Modes of cleaning

zigzag, around / along obstacles, parallel lines, along the perimeter, in a spiral

Contents of delivery

Clean Base ™ automatic waste disposal base, Dual Mode Virtual Wall® Barriers (with batteries),
additional disposable garbage bag, additional HEPA filter, extra side brush Extra Side Brush

iRobot Roomba i7 +

Very smart robot vacuum cleaner for large apartments, powerful and persistent

The top model of a robot vacuum cleaner for largeapartments and private houses that cannot be exaggerated. The best technologies for building a room map, the best application for a smartphone (simple and convenient), maximum control over all the functions of the vacuum cleaner and fully automatic operation - with the Clean Base docking station, the user will only have to throw out a one-time package once a month.

Editor's Choice