We often have questions asking “why is my robot spinning around in circles right in front of the base” or “why is my robot lost”. In our experience, about 6 times out of 10 this is because the robot’s mapping system is ‘bugging out’ and its due to the location of the charging base.
This is our guide on where to put the base station for your smart mapping or lidar robot vacuum cleaner. This isn’t a fully comprehensive guide but it does address the most common issues we have come across.
For example the most common issue that we encounter is when the robot goes to start a clean but it’s “unable to locate its position”. This is because the robot doesn’t save its map on the device itself, rather they’re saved in the cloud. When the robot starts a new clean, it drives off the base and takes a 2D scan of the room, here, it tries to match what it sees with one that’s saved in the cloud.
To be clear, if you follow the basic manufacturer’s instructions your robot might still make it back to dock no worries, but as we know, robots are touchy and you may run into other more complicated navigating issues down the road.
The good news is, once you’ve got the dock right its smooth sailing from there! You can unlock the number of features within the app that make cleaning hands free!
Put the robot base in STATIC ENVIRONMENT. Try to only have fixed walls or objects within 3m of the base. Common issues are caused by items that can moved into different positions changing the shape of the room e.g., doorways, curtains or dining chairs. If the shape of the room changes, the robot struggles to match it with an existing floor plan and the robot may return to base and refuse to clean.
Charging base up against a hard wall
Similarly (but different) it’s essential that you have the robot base firmly back up against a fixed wall. It helps if you can have a perpendicular wall within its line of sight. This helps the robot to have a wall to measure when scanning its surroundings and take coordinates off.
Avoid floor to ceiling glass or windows
Try and avoid putting the base directly near any windows as the robot can often see through the window and not recognise it as a barrier. Certain glass walls can make the robot think there is another room through that space and again, get confused as to where it is.
Leave some space around the charging dock
You want to leave at least a metre of space in front of the base and about half a meter either side. Honestly, this isn’t always essential but it does help the robot to manoeuvre and line itself up when it’s returning to base. This is often the only thing mentioned in the manuals and funnily enough it’s not essential although you may want to consider it if you’re finding that you’re having issues with your robot.
If you have a big house you should find a nice central location so that the robot can get everywhere. Certain robots actually have a maximum distance that they’ll travel from the base, so if you find that it’s not exploring those far extremities of the home you may want to move it to a more central place in your home e.g. a hallway or central lounge space.
It’s important that you have good wi-fi coverage over the whole house however it’s super important that the base itself has good signal coverage.
- put your charging base in a static location with its back firmly against the wall;
- make sure there is a little bit of space for it to manoeuvre and be able to return home safely;
- check that there is good wifi signal coverage; and
- choose and a central location in the house.
Again, in reality you can often get away with just putting the base against any old wall and it will probably work, however if you DO find that you are having troubles you may have to delete the existing map, remap your home and follow this guide as closely as possible.
Leave a comment if you have any other tips for our readers and we will add them to our list above!