Windoro window cleaning robot review

Cleaning windows is almost like cleaning the gutters: we don’t have to do it often, but it is unpleasant and can be dangerous. This chore is a good target for robots to take over, and we already have two candidates for the job. We have had the chance to use the South Korean Windoro for a while to see how it can handle the task.

Design and Technology

The designers of Windoro believe that the safest way to keep a cleaning robot on the window is to have a counter module on the opposite side of the glass that holds and moves the cleaning robot with several strong permanent magnets. When I first handled the product at IFA I was warned not to move the two units too close to each other because they will suddenly connect, and I won’t be able to stop that from happening. A few seconds after I got the robots I had to hand them back because they were strongly united in my hands. When they are not on the window that holds the units a bit apart (especially double or triple pane windows) the two modules are very hard to separate from each other because the permanent magnet cannot be turned off.

Both modules are approximately 21 × 21 cm (8.3 × 8.3 in) square blocks, but they look and work very differently.

Navigating module

This module is slightly thicker than the other one (5 cm - 2 in) and it holds four large magnets and two drive wheels with a motor for each wheels. The wheels are 3.5 cm (1.4 in) wide and are rubber coated to have the best grip on the glass. These wheels not only move the navigating module, but they have to move the cleaning module as well that has no dedicated driving mechanism. The two modules are held together by the four pairs of magnets. The magnetic force has to be adjusted for every window by the knob on the front face of the module. For single pane windows the magnets have to be moved away from the glass, while on double pane windows they must be moved closer.

Windoro’s control panel is also on the front panel of the navigating module. It has two buttons, four feedback LEDs and an infrared receiver for the remote control. The power button also acts as a permanent stop button while the start button only pauses the robot during the cleaning process. The state light is lit when both modules are turned on and they connected to each other wirelessly. The control LED shows whether the magnetic force between the two modules is good or not. The rest of the lights show the battery status of the cleaning (out) and the navigating (in) modules. The main power switch and the power inlet sit on the left of the control panel.

The four large circles on the bottom of the Windoro navigation module are the large magnets that move in and out of the tube when the knob on the front is turned. The two black buttons between the magnets are depth sensors that let the robot know when the robot reached the end of a frameless window.

The navigation module has two large bumpers that surround almost the whole unit, so no matter which direction it reaches the frame, it will have a sense of it. To prevent the scratching of the window frame the bumper is equipped with several small rubber coated wheels that will rather turn than damage the frame.

Cleaning module

The cleaning module is a bit thinner than the other one (4 cm - 1.6 in) and has a much simpler user interface. The power button turns the unit on, while the charge LED shows the battery status of the unit. The large cap on the middle of the front plate covers the opening of the cleaning solution tank. The tank can hold approximately 40 ml cleaning fluid that usually lasts longer than a single charge of the battery. The main power switch of the unit and the power inlet are on the side of the module.

The microfiber cleaning pads are attached to four velcro covered rotating disks on the bottom of the robot. The disks and the cleaning pads are 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter. The rotating movement of these pads provide the cleaning on the glass. A small nozzle near the lower right pad dispenses the cleaning solution during the cleaning process. The two rubber wheels act as a spacer that prevent the magnets to pull the robot onto the glass too tightly and help it roll nicely on the surface.

Microfiber clothsLiquid dispensing nozle

The eight small rubber wheels are placed along the edges of the robot to protect the window frame from scratches, just like on the other module, but the bumpers on the cleaning module are smaller. Small cleaning cloth holders can also be attached to help the robot to clean all the way to the edges. The narrow strips of very fine microfiber cloths are self adhesive and should be disposed after a few runs.

Edge cleaning clothsEdge cleaners attached

Remote control

Though the robot can be used without the remote control (I did use it like that most of the time), the remote control provides a few extra options and functions. Windoro can be started, paused and stopped from the remote, and each of these functions have a dedicated button. When automatic cleaning is not sufficient enough the robot can be controlled by the 4 direction buttons. It is also possible to order the robot back to its initial position by pressing the Home button.

The three pairs of buttons on the bottom of the remote control the speed, the overlapping and the liquid dispenser of the robot. The speed can vary from 6 to 10 cm/sec (2.3 - 4 in/sec), while the other two options have no exact measurements. It is nice to have this granularity of control over the operation of the robot, but it would be even nicer if we could get a feedback about the current settings. I can only guess the amount of cleaning solution it sprays on the window I will never be able to reproduce it the next time I’m cleaning a window.

Batteries and battery charger

The batteries of the two modules are non removeable, and must be charged inside the robot. This completely halts the operation for that few hours while the batteries are charging. It would be nice if the robot used a set of commonly available digital camera batteries that can be charged separate from the robot, and if it required the user can get a set of spare batteries for continuous use of the robot.

Although both modules use lithium-polimer batteries, they are different in both capacity and voltage. The navigation unit has a 11.1V, 2200mAh three cell battery pack while the cleaning module runs on a 7.4V, 1800mAh battery that has 2 cells.

The review is not over yet!

Next page: Operation

Next page »
  1. Introduction
  2. Design and Technology
  3. Operation
  4. Conclusion

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