Do you have an iRobot Roomba? If so, do you use the “Virtual Wall Lighthouse” sensor that comes with it to keep it in the room you want cleaned? If you’re like me, you sometimes come home to find your naughty Roomba in a room it should not be because someone (who will remain nameless – you know who you are!) has bumped or moved the Virtual Wall sensor.
I’ve found that even a slight change of the angle of the sensor can sometimes be enough to let that sneeky Roomba slip by and enter “the forbidden zone”. Then, it seems that the Virtual Wall Lighthouse sensor can sometimes have the undesired effect of keeping the Roomba out of the room you want it in! I’ve come home to find the Roomba tunneled under a chair, tangled in some cords, or even choked by a sock (poor thing!). It’s not healthy for the poor Roomba, nor is it good for my stuff. In fact, by keeping the Roomba away from its charging station, it will continue to run until it exhausts its battery which can reduce the overall life of the battery – really bad.
So, how do we fix this? After testing many concepts, I’ve finally developed a simple 3D-printed bracket that will allow the iRobot Virtual Wall Lighthouse sensor to be held in place and resist accidental bumps.
The Virtual Wall Lighthouse fits snugly inside the bracket which has holes to allow it to be screwed permanently into the wall and/or floor. One of the challenges I had to overcome was the fact that the Virtual Wall Lighthouse sometimes needs to have its batteries replaced. I fixed this by keeping the bracket shallow to allow the Virtual Wall Lighthouse sensor to be removed and replaced easily. Another challenge I had to overcome was the fact that the height of these Virtual Wall sensors are critical to allowing them to work properly and it’s important not to increase the height too much when adding a bracket. I kept the walls of the bracket thick enough to be durable, but think enough not to interfere with the operation.
Based on my personal experience owning several models of iRobot Roombas and based on some research, it appears that the general dimensions of the iRobot Virtual Wall Lighthouse has not changed at all since the Roomba 500 series. That means, that this bracket will support a Virtual Wall Lighthouse sensor from a wide range of Roomba models. Supported models include:
- 800 Series
- 700 Series
- 600 Series
- Professional & 500 Series
I’ve printed a couple of these brackets out and have found them to be a good way to solve the problems I mentioned above. My Roomba is safely corralled in the target cleaning zone which means my stuff is safer and my Roomba will last longer.
I suspect I’m not the only one with this problem, so I’m trying something new: I’ve created a storefront via Shapeways.com allow others to order one for themselves. I’ve tried my best to keep the price reasonable considering the fact that the overhead for small batches is significant – I’m barely covering costs with this price. If interested, please shop here:
- Comes in a variety of colors and materials
- I accept PayPal
- Price includes bracket only. Virtual Wall sold separately by iRobot.
- I’ve not tried it with the iRobot Auto Virtual Wall or Compact Virtual Wall – they may fit. Not compatible with the iRobot Braava or Mint models.