Window Cleaning Robot is not entirely compatible with windows


One of the more common requests I receive is to do more reviews on household appliances. In particular, kitchen gadgets. Now whilst I do check regulars to see if there are any new and interesting developments in that area, I haven’t seen anything since anything suitable for quite some time now. Another thing people suggest is I can review a robotic vacuum cleaner. Now I did have one of those quite a few years ago, but unfortunately it ended up going blind and had to be put down and I didn’t bother replacing it because I don’t really have enough carpet area to warrant one. I do, however, have a house with lots of dirty windows that need cleaning, and therefore in this video I’m going to demonstrate a robotic window cleaner. Now rather than thinking of this as a labour saving device, or something for lazy people, Think of it more as a machine that enables you to access windows that you can’t get to via other means. For example, on my house I’ve got a couple of windows I can’t really get a set of ladders up to (I suppose I could use one of those long sticks with a squeege on the end) But I’m not going to review one of those because this is a tech review channel, and therefore we’re going to see how well a robot cleans windows. Now the model I’m going to show you is Ecovacs W830. Now this is a one of a range of these window cleaning robots that they produce in fact, if you look at their website, they don’t even mention this one anymore so I’ve got a feeling it’s an older model that’s been discontinued. Might explain why when I bought it from Amazon it cost 99 pounds rather than the official price of 250. Now sometimes those are fake discounts, But if you look at the history of this, you can see it did actually start at [laughing] 300 pounds at one point. But it’s worked its way down gradually to the current price of 99. So that’s kind of a close-out deal I think. I’ll start off by showing you what you get inside the box, and how it all fits together. Once you get it out of here, it does look like there’s quite a lot of things But it isn’t quite as complicated as it first looks. A lot of it is to do with why, as you see, the thing runs off mains power. And you’ve got a couple extension wires you sort of join them all together so you get enough wire to extend the power away from the plug socket inside your house to the window-cleaning robot which might be on the outside of your house. You could always use the extension lead of course, as well. So we’ve got a power brick, we’ve got the extension lead in the middle, and then finally that attaches up to the window-cleaning robot itself. On the base of the machine, we’ve got rubber tracks on either side which go around plastic drive wheels. Round the edge we’ve got a Velcro-type surface, which the cleaning pads attach to. You’re provided with three of these inside the box, although you can purchase additional ones if you want through Amazon, but they are also machine washable. Now as well as being cleaning pads, these are an integral part of the machine because they create an air-tight seal around the outside edge. And behind that silver disk on the right-hand side is a fan that sucks the air out and the machine then holds itself against your window, whilst cleaning it. Now the instruction booklet supplied just consists of a load of warnings in the front of it in different languages about recycling [and] that kind of thing, but when you get to the back that’s where the information is, however, it’s just a series of pictograms over two pages. Presumably they think this device is pretty simple to use and therefore doesn’t need any additional explanation. However, a little bit more on that later on. Also inside the box, you get a suction cup and a bungee cord of course the idea behind this is you attach one to the other and then you attach the other end of the bungee cord to the window-bot because in the event of failure, you don’t want your window-cleaning robot to fall off the window and go crashing to the ground below. Right, so I plugged it into the mains power, I can switch it on at the base here and then a green light comes on on the top. So that should be the start button there. However, if I press that, nothing seems to be happening. Also on the base of it, we’ve got another, uh, light, and that mimics the green light on the top so you can see through the window when the thing’s on the outside. Now as to what the green flashing light signifies and why it wasn’t starting, I’ll talk about that towards the end of the video. But in the meantime we’ve got the remote control we can look at. You can see we’ve got reset, directional controls, start and stop, N and Z, and then perhaps a pairing button or something at the bottom. Looking in the manual it tells me that N and Z are two different cleaning patterns but that is literally all the information the manual has about the remote control – just those two pictures you see there. So moving on, we’ve got a cleaning fluid in the box which we could perhaps use any window cleaner as well as a cloth. So, there we go, we got everything out of the box. Let’s try cleaning a window. Now I’ll go through the process step-by-step. We’ve already got the cleaning pad attached to the base of the machine so we now need to spray that pad with some of the window-cleaning solution. Any over-spray that goes on those tracks or on the machine itself, we just need to clean that off the tracks especially because it stops it from gripping. Now we clean a bit of the window, put the suction cup on there with the bungee cord attached And then we just need to plug the machine into the mains and switch it on. It does start immediately on switch-on, so then you need to put this on the window on the outside (of course you’ve got to have a window where you can access it like I have here) So I’ll just put it on there and it will just stick straight to the window. Feed enough cable out so it can move around a little bit. And then on the remote control press “go” and it gets off and starts cleaning your windows! Now the first thing it does, it orientates itself vertically and then it works its way all the way down to the bottom of the window When it finds the bottom, it then turns and goes over to what’s my right-hand side, although the machine’s left it goes across to that edge so now it knows where the bottom and the bottom-corner is so it locates itself right down in that corner and then starts itself cleaning your window from that edge to the other. Of course I’ve got mine set to the “N” button which is the kind of up-and-down motion you could have it zig-zag crossways if you wanted, but as you can see here it’s going right up the edge of the window from the bottom to the top. When it hits the top, it then goes down a little bit and see it curving a bit? So it’s kind of overlapping the bit it’s already cleaned. So it goes back down and then it does the same at the bottom. Curves in a little bit, again overlapping the area it just cleaned. So you do get full-coverage of the entire window. It doesn’t miss any bits at all. You might find that once the robot has finished cleaning the window, it leaves itself at an inconvenient location that’s difficult to retrieve it from, and that is where the RF remote control comes in. Using the directional controls on there, you can manually position the machine any way you want on the window so you can put it in a more convenient position. Once you’ve retrieved the machine, pull the Velcro part off the base of it and then you can throw that into the washing machine. And of course you’ve got to also remove that suction cup from the window. And there you go, you’re done! Now of course that ground-floor window isn’t one that I’d use it for. I just wanted to demonstrate it on there. This is one of the ones I got it for. Pretty hard window to access. [Laughing] I nearly killed myself cleaning this the other year. You can’t really get to it from outside very easily, however, the window-bot is doing a good job here. I should mention it does do a really good job of cleaning as well. And you can tell where it’s been. It doesn’t leave any kind of smears or marks afterwards I was pretty impressed… until this happened A flashing red light and accompanying beeping sound means that the machine has encountered an error. When that happens you can press reset on the remote and then get it going again but it just kept happening over and over again. So clearly something’s happening with this window when it gets towards the edges of it. In this case, it managed to unsuction itself from the window so when I reach for it, unfortunately I was a little fraction of a second too late and it already went tumbling off. Luckily of course, it was attached to that bungee cord which saved it from crashing to the concrete pavement below. But once I’ve retrieved it I try to figure out what exactly is going wrong here. Looking in the instruction booklet, on the right hand side there at #10 is an Anti-Drop sensor. There’s one of those on each corner of the device. Now they’re these little, grey, plastic beads which are spring-loaded you can see here at the corners. Now I think what’s happening is when it was on the window downstairs (the one that worked) that’s got a nice, square, flat edge. at a right-angle to the glass, however, the windows on the rest of the house – the ones upstairs, and this one here – have a sloping part so they slope away from the window. I think the machine itself is driving up onto that slope, and therefore taking itself off the window and activating the anti-drop sensors. And that effectively means that this window-cleaning robot isn’t compatible with all the versions of windows in my house, which is a shame because when it did clean the windows downstairs in the conservatory, it did a great job – they were spotless when it had finished cleaning it got a lot of muck of them, and it was on the pads on the machine itself. However, all the other windows in the house have that sloping design and when you use it on those, it just repeatedly gets stuck which makes you want to throw it out of the window, obviously without the attached bungee cord. Now back to that issue I mentioned earlier on with the flashing light. It has to be plugged in, this device. It doesn’t run off batteries, however, it must have some kind of battery inside because even though it’s not plugged in at the moment, you can see we’ve got a flashing light and a beeping sound. And I think that was the problem I was having to start with. I needed to plug it in and let it run for a little while to charge that internal battery up before it would let me use it. You see we’ve got three different colours here: Red means there’s a problem. Green is what I had when I first plugged it in, which wouldn’t do anything at all. But after I left it plugged in for a while to charge up (presumably) it went blue, and that was the one that worked. So you’d think there’d be something about this in the manual, but as we saw earlier on this is the manual – just a series of pictures AND it’s in black & white as well! And it just says plug it in and use it. It doesn’t say that it goes from green to blue or anything like that. So a lot of people would probably be sending these back thinking they’re not working but if they’d left it plugged in a while, then they’d start operating. I should also mention of course, they require a lot of cables and things here. I could imagine that putting somebody off the idea of having one of these. They’re quite difficult to store away neatly. Now briefly back to my problem – there’s a way to get around my issue. I thought maybe I could tape down those drop sensors, but when you do that the machine refuses to operate at all. It won’t move anywhere. So that didn’t work. So then the next thing I thought I’d try – I put some bumpers on the edge of it so when it reaches the edge of the window, it stops before it gets on that slopy part but the bumpers I put on, obviously aren’t big enough or something because it still gets stuck. I am going to persevere with this, though, because when it does work it works well. It’s just I can’t get it yet to work with all the windows in my house. If you think it would work for you, then I’ve got some affiliated Amazon links to purchase this from in the video description, however, if you get one, make sure you take full advantage of the Amazon returns program if it doesn’t work because I can’t promise it’s going to work any better for you than it does for me. Anyway, that’s it for the moment. As always, thanks for watching.

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