Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tip of The Month: Know Your Force Fields!






















Wow, this freezing weather has been keeping me from recharging my batteries and writing new posts! Anyways, let me ask you something, do you know how to use the Lighthouses that came with your Roomba 500 series domestic robot? If not, I got a tip of the month for you and if you do then there is something new you may learn here!

















Something new that iRobot created with the 500 series Roomba was the dual function of "Lighthouse". The Roomba 500 series "Lighthouse" can act as a "traffic cop" and/or a "invisible wall" to assist your Roomba to clean your floors more effectively by partitioning your areas.

Lighthouse Mode: The device acts like a virtual door. The virtual door only opens when the Roomba 500 makes the request otherwise it will not allow the robot to pass through. Once the Roomba has finished cleaning the current room it will then make a "request" to the lighthouse to open the virtual door so it can traverse to the adjacent cleaning area.

Virtual Wall Mode: The device acts as a barrier that the Roomba is unable to trespass.

















This information will help you setup your Roomba for optimal floor cleaning heaven by teaching you the basic functions of the "Lighthouse" along with best placement practices.

Virtual Wall Mode: Using The Lighthouse As A Barrier

Looking at the Lighthouse from a "top view"/"floor plan" view, place and orient the Lighthouse in a way that the "invisible IR beam" (illustrated here as a red cone) will form a wall completely across the door passage way so the Roomba will be unable to pass it. Set the IR beam distance setting of the Lighthouse to the corresponding approximate distance (0 - 3 Ft / 4 - 7 Ft / 8+ Ft) of the passage way.










Lighthouse Mode: Using The Lighthouse As A Virtual Door

Looking at the Lighthouse from a "top view"/"floor plan" view, place and orient the Lighthouse in a way that the "invisible IR beam" (illustrated here as a red cone) will form a wall completely across the door passage way so the Roomba will be unable to pass it while cleaning one area. Make sure that the "lighthouse beacon beams" (illustrated here as teal colored cones) are not blocked as shown here:












You will need to have the "Lighthouse beacon beams" be pointed outwards on both directions so that your Roomba 500 series robot is able to "see" them easily. Doing so will help your robot navigate much more efficiently and quicker between rooms when it completes each cleaning area. Here are some examples of great and not so great positions for the lighthouse:



























Some additional interesting tips for your Roomba 500 series Lighthouse:

  • Always use fresh batteries for the Lighthouse. Weak batteries give out weak signals (IR and RF) that your Roomba 500 will not detect.
  • Your Roomba 500 can "remember" a maximum of 10 Lighthouses.
  • Your Roomba 500 will be "guided" by the closest Lighthouse to the cleaning area. The robot will move to the next adjacent Lighthouse controlled cleaning area after it has completed cleaning.
  • You can mix Lighthouse roles in your floor plan, some can be set to used as in "virtual wall" mode and others as "lighthouse" mode.
  • Only one Roomba (the first to remember all the Lighthouses when turned ON) can use the Lighthouse when the device is set to "Lighthouse Mode" but multiple Roombas can use the same Lighthouse device when set to "Virtual Mode".
Hope this helps shed some quarks into this unique device and if not then please leave me a message. What do you think? Did it help you this month?

No comments: