Thursday, December 21, 2017

blind sided

Our "faithful" cleaning companion lost his sight several weeks ago. Due to more pressing issues I was not able to come to the immediate aid. Then I finally had some time to dedicate to Nigel. Oh what a pain it was to determine what exactly caused the blindness. Several iterations of cleaning yielded in exactly - nothing. Upon further mechanical inspection I discovered that the "seeing eye" was not moving at all. This discovery resulted in a complete dismantling of the vacuum bot to search for the faulty part which, of course, was in the deep inner bowl of the machine (when its working its Nigel, otherwise its a machine).

Here is a several hundred dollar machine totally disabled by a non functional
$2.95 fan motor
Unique Bargains RF-500TB-12560 2700RPM 0.588N.M DC 6V Miniature Motor for DVD Player

Net Weight: 41g; Package Content: 1 x Micro Vibration Motor
Model: RF-500TB-12560; Main Color: Silver Tone, Beige
Voltage: DC1.5-12V; Speed: 2700RPM
Shaft Size: 2 x 7mm / 0.08" x 0.28" (D*L); Main Body Size: 32 x 19mm / 1.2" x 0.75"(D*T)

Chapter 2 - Replacement Parts. A couple of years back it would have been a simple trip to the nearest Radio Shack to remedy the problem; but no Radio Shack no remedy. The much disliked and treated response to "order it online" was the only option out. No immediate gratification for me today. First stop the search engine. 231,000 in no time at all, encouraging. I started to order it with Amazon just to find out that the delivery would have been several week. Onward to other vendors, Sears had a delivery date of 5 days, so I took it, excited that the machine would be up and running in no time. BUT WAIT, there is more...
The delivery date came and went - no product. I decided to inquire about the delivery of the product just to receive an email with a tracking number which led to nowhere fast since it was not updated. Several days later another inquiry, this time the response email asked me allow 72 hours to complete the investigation. After three days I inquired again, the response was almost hilarious - please give us a bit more time... Eventually, after three weeks I did receive my package in the mail. Bygones...

Chapter 3 - Remembering the reverse order to assemble the machine. Yes, I managed to get the entire mess back together, and, more importantly, working. I hooked it up to the USB diagnostic port to find out if the laser guiding system is working and it was. Satisfied with the progress I loaded the batteries overnight.

Chapter 4 - Letting Nigel loose. Of course I could not wait to hear the roaring of Nigels brush scuttling around cleaning every inch of our living environment. I was not disappointed, the noise was there, the movement was there... Then alas - the treated "Please clear my path" message although nothing is in the immediate vicinity appeared and Nigel/machine stopped.
Hard reset - soft reset - yelling, softly encouraging the little guy to find his way. Battery calibration, another hard reset, another soft reset - he is on his way. A foot later and several chasing your tail movements "Please clear my path". I figured I take the soft route instead of kicking him as suggested on YouTube, soft reset, clean the house, "clear the path"; soft reset, clean the house, "clear the path" 
Sure enough after several iterations of aforementioned steps he started to make his way around the house again, for now. Then, after all this trying to figure out were to go, clear the path, etc Nigel depleted his power source and started complaining about it. Reload !

Chapter 5 - Alternatives. New Batteries or no new batteries, dealing with customer service or skip it. Questions which gave me visions of robot vacuums dancing in my head. Perhaps do it the old fashioned way and use the vacuum which started to collect dust of all things. Then again, perhaps I should invest in a new Nigel which is not only a luxury but almost the equivalent of several car payments. What to do?

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