Friday, June 3, 2011

Roomba Battery Replacement

The intelligence of the Roomba vacuum lies in the complex electronics and algorithms to chart optimal cleaning routines but the heart of the Roomba is like all other electronic devices, its power source.

Roomba runs on batteries and on a new set of batteries, Roomba should run at least an hour before dying in action or making a successful run back to the charging dock to refill its juices.

Since Roomba is so automated, most people will rarely be home while Roomba is in operation except for the initial acquaintance phase where new Roomba owners go gaga over the new family member and marvel over every knock and turn the new "pet" performs. However, Roomba battery life is limited. After putting in months of conscientious work, it is inevitable that Roomba's battery no longer holds as much a charge when new or discharges much more quickly than expected.

The first sure signs of Roomba's battery failing is that it begins to get stranded at weird locations when it had been able to return to the charging dock previously. This arises as Roomba's intelligent circuitry fails to appreciate the failure of the battery as it performs more and more erratically.

Many people have tried to "revive" the Roomba battery by performing things like deep discharge but realistically speaking, if the Roomba had been running daily for more than a year, it is most likely easier to just proceed with getting a battery replacement.

Getting a replacement battery is most easily achieved by seeking out a local Roomba parallel importer and paying around $80 for a compatible battery. An original iRobot battery is not really necessary as the premium paid for it does not accord a much longer battery operating life. Another alternative is to ship a battery back to Singapore since there are many USA based stores that offer Roomba batteries at good prices, however, after factoring in the shipping costs as well as an uncertainty over whether batteries, commonly listed as prohibited shipping items, will be shipped successfully, the costs savings are not significant enough for the extra efforts needed.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Parallel Importing Roomba/Scooba

For many people, the differences in costs between buying from the authorised dealer and getting a parallel import set (self import or otherwise), justifies the extra bit of hassle. Roomba and Scooba are relatively well made products that typically outlast the first year warranty and iRobot enthusiasts have been tinkering with Roomba for ages.

There are tonnes of guides online put forth by enthusiasts on how to troubleshoot the robotic vacuums and some even go as far as to put in customisations that purportedly improve the performance of the vacuums. If all else fails and you need help to fix your roomba, roomba enthusiasts do help resolve the issues for a fraction of the penalty that the authorised dealer imposes on parallel imported sets.

Parallel importing of the Roomba is relatively straightforward. The easiest one is that if you or a friend travels to USA, you can make the purchase there and bring it back yourself. For those whom are not planning a trip to USA anytime soon, the growth of forwarding services like Comgateway, BorderLinx, ViaAddress, etc help you make the purchase and send it back to Singapore at a fraction of the air ticket.

Where To Get The iRobot Roomba in Singapore?

iRobot has an authorised dealer in Singapore from which people can buy the iRobot range of cleaning robots be it the Roomba, Scooba or accessories.

The iRobot authorised dealer is located at Upper Cross Street and does maintain a website listing the models available and the corresponding prices. The dealer has also done a good job to promote the iRobot Roomba through making units of Roomba available at showrooms islandwide and demonstrations can be seen at Courts Megastore in Tampines, Robinsons in Orchard Road, Best Denki in Vivocity as well as at the distributor's main showroom.

The prices of Roomba and Scooba from the authorised dealer is a little steep considering the retail price of the products back in the USA where they originate from but these prices factor in warranty and support. A Roomba 500 series will cost around SGD1000 while back in the USA, the Roomba 500 series is only priced around USD400.

It will be worthwhile to get your Roomba from the authorised dealer if you want a hassle free Roomba experience since 1 year warranty and support is included and there should be not much waiting necessary since the dealer has existing stocks of Roomba and Scooba in Singapore.