Darnit Neato...

Fixing The Neato Vacuum

So my Neato D80 vacuum quit working again! This vacuum was originally purchased about 2 years ago and was doing fine. 13 months later it started failing to start and displayed Press OK to continue: 3000. To me this was an entirely useless error, if all you want me to do is push OK why don’t you do it yourself!?

Error 3000, why can't you just do it?

Well come to find out the error 3000 means that it’s LIDAR isn’t working. LIDAR is the spinning top it has to see the walls around it. I’m not an expert in this area but I assume there’s a lot of things that need to work in tandem to have this work properly. It has to know which way it’s looking, the speed of the “eye” and probably some other things.

Anyway, I called up Neato to see if it was covered under the warranty. Luckily it was! It seems the error 3000 was something that was good for 13 months instead of the typical 12. Now that may be the case or they just gave me an extra month grace period figuring the customers would explode when their vacuum dies one month after the warranty expires. Either way I was able to claim the warranty and get a replacement.

The replacement came quick and everything was working fine again. Until 12 months later! Yes you heard that right, it’s almost like the vacuum is on a 12 month timer to break. I figured since this was a replacment machine I would get another 12 or 13 month warranty coverage. It seems not, according to Neato I would only get 90 days warranty with this replacement machine. So what was my next option? Official repair!!

This is where I start to do some serious price comparisons. Looking at 2 different repair companies, it was going to be at least $35 just to look at the machine. This doesn’t include shipping. Once they look at the machine, they decide if it’s a “major” or “minor” repair. This would range from $30 to $90 more just for the labor. This didn’t include the price of the replacement part! And I’m assuming the replacement part will be inflated so much that this would be around $150 repair total (including shipping and downtime waiting for my vacuum to get back to me). A full replacement machine is about $300, so it’s almost not worth it.

My house without my robot vacuum sucking things up immediately started to fall apart, toys and things started being left out from day to day. I needed to act fast.

I then decided I would bust out the warranty voiders (my tools) and bust this thing open and see what’s up. I learned that the “eye” could have two common failure points: the motor and the belt. The vaccum’s “eye” wasn’t spinning at all unless I would give it a nudge, so I assumed at first that the belt was failing to grip.

I ordered a replacement belt and motor, totalling around $35. After ripping open the top (check a video on how to do this so you don’t wreck something, it’s actually pretty easy) I realized that the belt seemed to be gripping fine. A couple trials by starting up the vaccum with the top ripped off showed me that the motor wasn’t spinning at all.

Replacing the motor was incredibly easy. It was just a couple zip ties and a plug. I pulled all the screws out, unplugged and then replaced with the new motor. Bam! The vacuum is now working like a champ and I saved at least $100 and time waiting for the repair to finish. Bonus, the D80 series of vacuums do not have a screw covered by a sticker. This means you can freely dismantle your vacuum without worrying about actually voiding the warranty!

I’ve taken apart the XV-21 in the past and I’d have to say that the D80 was significantly improved. Things were easier to take apart, easier to put together and easier to repair. Neato has one of the most confusing model numbers, but a good rule of thumb is to just get the cheapest of a series. So if you are picking between D85 and D80, just get the D80. It’s literally the same. They have tried to explain differences but all the differences are things you will need to replace anyway (battery, filters, and/or brush). With the XV series it’s even more of a joke, the model numbers are literally just differences in color.

After all of this, I still reccomend Neato robotic vacuums over the alternatives. They have the best navigation and shape compared to the others.