Gadget Post: Carson the Robot Butler

Okay, he’s not really a butler, he’s a vacuum, but I find him very helpful. He was my Christmas gift this year and he’s been working almost daily since January.

Carson1

I’ve waited to write this gadget post because I wasn’t sure how to approach it. On one hand, I find him invaluable for keeping the floors clean from all the animal hair and debris. On the other hand, I know that a robotic vacuum isn’t for everyone because of the maintenance involved. If you’re of the age to have had a PC in the mid-1990’s, you may remember that, while they were great tools, we spent a great deal of time debugging and running system checks.

Carson is kind of like that. While he can be programmed to run anytime, I learned early not to let him run when I was not home. There are just too many ways for him to get into trouble. Some days he can run trouble free, other days he’s like a toddler, always finding things to get  into and jam his little gears.

One day he sucked up a cat toy mouse that completely blocked his intake. He continued to run, but sucked up nothing for the rest of the hour. Another day, I made sure the bedroom floors were clear of anything that would cause him trouble (electrical wires, cat toys, stray clothes) and assumed I could jump in the shower while he vacuumed the room. That day he drove himself up on the wood trim and got stuck.

Other maintenance issues include clearing hair from his wheels – mostly my hair, which is shoulder length and wraps around the wheels or the brush. And his batteries  had to be replaced under warranty because they stopped charging. The replacements were clearly heavier duty and I haven’t had an issue since.

I should mention, my mom has the same model and she says Mrs.Hughes has not given her any of the issues I have experienced.

So now I’ve told you his shortcomings, let me tell you why I find him invaluable.

Carson in action:

It takes me five minutes to walk through the house to make sure there are no hazards, then I set him loose. While he vacuums my floors I can be cleaning the kitchen, dusting around the house, or even better, sitting at my desk working. If something goes wrong, I am around to remedy it. If I don’t realize he’s stopped running, he’ll beep at me until I rescue him. Most days he cleans with nary a peep.

When he’s done, he returns himself to his station to recharge.

Carson and Base

And he cleans very well. My brother has a Dyson and re-vacuumed after Carson finished a room and the Dyson picked up nothing. Because of the size and shape, Carson isn’t great with edges, but I catch those once a week or so with my big vacuum.

The best part though, is that I can vacuum every day with little effort and keep the pet hair and debris to a minimum. So I think all in all, I’d give him four stars out of five.

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