Almost all robotic vacuum models move around using two drive wheels and one or more non-driven caster wheels. You will also notice a variety of sensors underneath and inside the robot that provide the robot with feedback about its environment (such as detecting stairs or cliffs, the distance it has traveled) and even the status of its electronics. Just like you would find in a normal vacuum, there is a motor to generate suction, and motors to rotate brushes to sweep debris towards the suction.
When not in use, a robot would sit quietly on its docking station, which most of them have. Keep in mind to place the robot and the docking station in a open, accessible area; avoid closets or other cramped spaces as they make it very difficult for your robot vacuum cleaner to navigate away and back to the station. The docking station has one main function: to charge the batteries in between cleaning cycles. How does the robot find its way back to the station you might ask? The station casts a light beam to a distance of about 6 feet in a “V” shape which serves as a beacon. During the cleaning cycle, if the robot vacuum senses the light beam, it steers clear of the docking station. Once the cycle is complete or the battery runs down, the robot uses the light beam to happily head home to its docking station. Robot owners without a docking station may manually connect the vacuum to an outlet for charging using the power supply unit provided with the robot.
On the scheduled days and time(s), the robot vacuum cleaner leaves the station to set about cleaning. It will not return until the cleaning cycle is complete or its battery runs low. In the event of a battery run-down prior to completing the cleaning cycle, the robot will abort the cleaning cycle and find its way back to station as directly as possible. The schedule is embedded in the robot’s program memory. A simple button sequence allows you to set your preferred schedule.
Finding its way around: Navigation
There is no need to sit around while your robot vacuum performs a cleaning cycle; the robot navigates the rooms based on 4 to 5 cleaning modes. For example, the robot vacuum cleaner can clean based on a circular or spiral shaped pattern to cover the entire area. Other modes include wall- following to the center of the room, zigzagging, criss-crossing in diagonals, and more. The LIECTROUX vacuum cleaner is different than many other brands as it gets a little help from virtual walls and/or lighthouses. Virtual walls are included with some models and can be sold separately. This unit sends out an infrared light beam that serves as a gate or virtual wall. When the Robot Vacuum senses the light signal, the unit changes direction to avoid the zone. Lighthouses also feature the infrared light beam like the virtual wall, but is are also equipped with a radio-frequency technology designed to help your robot vacuum cleaner to self position and improve cleaning efficiency. Simply put, lighthouses are beacon-like units that allow the robot to self position and navigate its way back to the docking station, just like ships on the ocean use lighthouses to avoid rocky collisions with the coast and get safely back to port.