Robot vacuum cleaner iLife A8 is packed in two boxes – the outer protective of thick corrugated cardboard, and the inner of cardboard is thinner and already with a handle.
If necessary, the handle from the outer box can be dragged out, slightly cutting off the outer box.
The package includes all the necessary accessories for the robot’s work, including the batteries for the remote control.
Spare parts and consumables in the delivery set are presented by a replaceable folded filter of the last stage, a roller-scraper (a brush with a pile installed), two spare rubber scrapers and a set (right and left) of side brushes. There is also a comb comb brush that can be used to clean the dust bag, the robot itself and the main brush in particular.
A short and complete guide in English. The quality of text and printing is good.
The robot body is made mainly of plastic. The upper half of the case and the bumper have a black mirror-smooth, relatively resistant to damage coatings, and the bottom – with a more practical matte surface without coating. Predominantly the dark color of the case complicates the search for a robot in the dark corners of the apartment, when for some reason it does not return to the base, it is also more difficult for a robot to notice with a lateral vision when it gets underfoot, which means it is more likely to occur. The top panel is covered with a plate of mineral tempered glass, so it is not scratched and easily cleaned, but fingerprints on it are very noticeable. The plastic rim on the top along the perimeter, the control panel insert and the dust collector clamp have a silver coating. Auto and the power icon.
Depending on the current status, this indicator lights up or flashes green, orange or red. The brightness of the indicator is low, in a lighted room because of the gleams on the silvery surface of the button it is difficult to see what the indicator shows. In addition, the robot informs about its condition with the help of short and not very loud sound signals and badly selectable messages in English. You can not turn off the sound notification. Before the button there is an eyelet of the upward facing chamber, covered with a protective mineral glass.
As the manufacturer points out, “a camera with the PanoView algorithm builds a map of premises on the ceiling.” The vacuum cleaner has an almost perfectly round shape with a diameter of 315 mm (hereinafter the results of our measurements are given). The edges are chamfered from below, which helps the robot to overcome obstacles, and some angularity during the transition from the top panel to the side surface and the edge on the bumper from above reduce the probability that the vacuum cleaner will get stuck under obstacles with a small gap.
The weight of the robot is 2.73 kg.
On the bottom there are two contact pads, a front support swivel roller, side brushes, a battery compartment cover, two driving wheels, a main brush compartment. Closer to the edge just behind the bumper are three IR-sensors of the difference in height, thanks to which the robot cleaner can avoid falling from the steps.
The front roller is made of black elastic plastic alternating with white and rigid. This is not just done, but for the robot to use the optical sensor located under the roller to determine if it moves during cleaning or not, that is, it is stuck, in the latter case the robot turns off and sends a distress signal.
The axes of the driving wheels are located on the same diameter of the body circumference, this allows the robot to make a turn in place without changing the boundaries occupied by the area. A relatively small height of 75 mm, and a smooth body around the perimeter, play a positive role. Leading wheels with a diameter of 65 mm are equipped with rubber tires with shallow grousers. The wheels are mounted on spring-loaded hinges with a stroke of 28 mm, which also improves the robot’s ability to overcome obstacles. The entire front half of the body is skirted by a spring-loaded bumper with a small stroke.
Shifting the bumper triggers the mechanical obstacle sensors. The distance from the floor to the bottom point of the bumper is 16 mm, which means that on a step of this height the robot can potentially stop. To protect furniture from the front on the bumper in the lower part of it is glued a strip of medium-hard rubber. Above the bumper behind the window of tinted plastic are IR sensors for detecting obstacles, the base station and, possibly, the receiver of commands from the remote control.
By pressing the lock on the rear, you can detach the dust bag from the robot’s body.
The body of the dust collector is made of lightly tinted translucent plastic, but it does not bring any special benefit, because you can only look at it either by turning the vacuum cleaner upside down or taking out the dust bag. The front part of the dust collector reclines to a large angle, which makes it easy to shake out the accumulated debris. However, the garbage compartment is relatively narrow and it will not be convenient to clean it with a conventional vacuum cleaner with a slotted nozzle, and the front partition on the folding part is not high, so the garbage easily wakes up from the closed dust collector. It is the height of this partition that limits the useful capacity of the dust collector to heavy debris.
In the closed position, the front cover is held by magnetic clips. For full cleaning, open the top cover of the dust collector and remove first the fine filter, then the foam filter and the pre-screen filter.
From our point of view, such a multi-stage filtration system is redundant and only reduces the air flow, there would be enough and one filter-mesh. In any case, foam rubber is certainly superfluous. However, during the tests on the first filter there was a lot of light debris (and this is from a clean floor), that is, the suction power, even with all the filters is relatively high. Note that there is no fan in the dust collector itself, so the dust collector and two filters (except for the folded one) can be washed under water, the main thing afterwards is to dry everything well. The side brushes have a long stubble of medium stiffness, the beams of which come out of the elastic leashes. The right and left brushes are distinguished by the rotation of the leashes, and that the user knows which way to set, on the brushes and on the bottom, the letters L and R. To the drive axis, the brushes are attached using a self-tapping screw with a head for a Phillips screwdriver.
The main brush shaft is smooth, relatively large in diameter and with longitudinal grooves – this facilitates the release of the shaft simply by fingers without the help of tools from threads, hair and other wound around. Bristles on this brush have medium stiffness, and its beams go in waves, which reduces the sound from the rotation of the brush in contact with the floor. The ends of the brush axis are plugged with black plastic bosses. From the center of one comes the steel axis, which rotates in a ball bearing, pressed into the end of the brush axis. On this axis is put on a boss made of rubber, which, according to the developers, should reduce noise and vibration.
Alternative main brush is a cylinder of rubber with scraper blades. Otherwise, its design is similar to the brush described above. The main advantage of such a lint-free brush before the traditional bristles is that this hair is not so quickly wound up with hair, wool, fibers, etc., and everything that is wound up is easily removed during cleaning.
The brush in the compartment is fixed with a frame made of yellow plastic. On this frame there is a rubber scraper, which helps the brush pick up garbage from the floor and throw it into the dust collector.
Note that gear reducers for brushes and wheels allow them to turn with their hand, this helps a lot when you need to pull a robot, for example, from under the sofa under which it stuck, or untangle something wrapped around wheels or brushes. When cleaning, the front side brushes grab the trash to the center, then the debris is thrown by the main brush into the dust bin, and the air flow helps to suck the lightest garbage in the dust bin. Elastic gaskets all the way from the inlet of the dust collector to the fan eliminate the parasitic air suction past the filters and the dust collector.
On the right side there is a power connector for direct charging of the battery and a key disconnecting the battery from the robot circuits.
On the wall of the dustbag compartment behind the rubber plug there is a Micro-USB connector, which is used for service purposes, the user’s updating of the firmware is not supported.
This robot has a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The battery pack is made up of four cylindrical elements of the popular standard size 18650.
The base on which the vacuum cleaner is charged has a large base on which four anti-slip rubber lugs are glued on the underside.
The base is powered by an external power adapter, which can also be used to charge the robot, bypassing the base, if for some reason it is not available. The cable can be placed in channels on the bottom of the base and output to the right or left side.
A small IR remote control is attached to the vacuum cleaner.
The screen at the front of the console shows the current time and the time at which automatic cleaning starts.
Robot-vacuum cleaner iLife A8 has four cleaning modes:
Automatic mode – the robot removes all available space to it, and after removing it, it returns to the base for charging the battery. If one charge is not enough to clean the entire area, then the robot will continue cleaning after charging. How many such cycles can be and what is the maximum size of the area to be cleaned is unknown. If you run the robot not from the database, then, after cleaning, it returns to the place where it was launched. The automatic mode is activated by pressing the start button on the remote control or the Auto button on the robot itself. This mode is also used during the harvesting according to the schedule.
In manual cleaning mode, the direction of movement of the robot is set using the buttons of the remote control. The robot rotates in place at a fixed angle (too large to precisely specify the direction) when you press the left and right arrows on the console and moves forward before colliding with the obstacle by pressing the up arrow.
For intensive cleaning of a certain place, you need to move the robot there or send it to the desired place in the manual control mode, and then press the button with the sight icon on the remote control. The robot will perform cleaning in a square with a side of about 105 cm.
Another option for cleaning is to move only along walls and obstacles. This mode is enabled by a button on the remote with a square icon with an arrow.
During harvesting in any mode, pressing the Max button on the remote control increases the power of the suction fan of the robot (pressing again this button reduces the power to normal).
It is possible to schedule a daily cleaning start in automatic mode for a certain time. To do this, the console needs to set the current time and the start time of the cleaning, monitoring by sound signals that the timers of the robot and the console are synchronized.