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.

Operation

Although the robot is very simple to use, it needs some preparation before it can clean windows. First of all the batteries need to be charged. Fortunately the included charger is capable of charging both modules at the same time. After the batteries are charged we need to attach clean cleaning pads to the four rotating disks and two edge cleaning cloths to the bumpers of the cleaning unit. First this latter one can be tricky, but definitely not rocket science. The last task before we can turn on the robots is to fill up the liquid container of the cleaning unit. When it is all done the two modules have to be put side by side on the ground or desk and turned on at the same time. The two units connect wirelessly and the state LED on the navigation device turn green. If it doesn’t happen, the communication must be reset on both units by pressing and holding the power button for 4 and 6 seconds.


The robot has to be placed approximately 10 cm (4 in) away from any part of the window frame. Before we press the start button the magnetic field must be set to the correct strength. It changed depending on the thickness of the window. If the robot is used on the same kinds of windows all the time, this step will have to be done only once.


When the robot is started it first turns around, goes to the edge of the window to measure its distance from that, then reverses back to its initial position and turns 90 degrees to reach the bottom of the glass. After this the Windoro robot goes to the top of the window and measures the distance to both sides of the window. If the window is not wider than 180 cm (6 ft) the robot will start cleaning the whole width in one, going from end to end in a zig-zag motion. At every pass the robot goes lower and lower on the window until it reaches the bottom of the window. When cleaning is done Windoro returns to its initial position. Wider windows are divided into two equal sections and the robot will clean those separately.

Glass after the first run - I used too much detergent to dissolve all the dirt

When I got the robot, I was told that the drive wheels must be cleaned with a microfiber cloth before every use. As it turned out, it is really a must and even then, sometimes it is just not enough for the robot to climb to the top of the window. Strengthening the magnetic force can help to a certain extent, but in some cases I had to help the drive module by hand to go up to the top. It is better not to leave the robot unattended until it reaches the top because it can run in one spot until the batteries are depleted if the drive wheels slip.


The glass is perfectly clean after the second run.

Cleaning quality

When everything goes well, the robot does a nice job. On highly contaminated windows it might take two runs to get all the dirt off the glass, but the results can be surprisingly good. An approximately 3 cm (1.2 in) wide stripe is untouched on the top and bottom of the window, and 1 cm (0.4 in) wide on the sides, so edge cleaning is far from perfect, but the remaining dust along the frames can be wiped off while the frame is cleaned by hand. As said, the robot does not clean the inner parts of the window frame, so that must be done manually.

Light fuss and dust remains along the vertical edges

Cleaning time highly depends on the shape of the window. Wide windows can be cleaned quickly because most of the time is spent on going between the frames. In case of tall and narrow windows, a lot of time is wasted by slowing down, bumping into and slowly reversing at the edges. In normal speed Windoro cleans a 125×125 cm (50×50 in) window in 9-10 minutes, depending on where the robot is placed on the window. If it is placed closer to the bottom, less time is needed to find the bottom of the frame. On high speed, Windoro can finish that window under 5 minutes.

Battery power

According to the included user manual it takes approximately 2.5 hours to charge the batteries that store enough power to keep the Windoro cleaning for 90 minutes. I have used Windoro for a while without ever measuring how long it ran on one charge, and I always felt it wasn't enough. Just before I finalized this review I did a timed cleaning session where the robot was capable of cleaning 19.41 sq m (~208 sq ft) of glass during the 2 hours 11 minutes and 14 seconds the battery lasted. Not bad. If the windows are cleaned often and they don't get too dirty between cleanings, Windoro will be able to clean the windows of a mid size apartment on a single charge.

Maintenance

Windoro requires very little maintenance, but it needs some forward thinking. The robot comes with three sets of cleaning pads. To ensure the best results, I usually used all three sets during a cleaning session, so all of them need to be clean and dry. If the pads are wet from water they will leave marks on the window when the water dries off.
The battery needs to be recharged, of course, although it is highly recommended to always store the devices with fully charged batteries.
The most annoying part of the maintenance is the cleaning of the wheels. They have to be cleaned after every single window to ensure that Windoro can climb to the top of the window.

Unexpected problems

I received the robot in last September than I used it several times during the fall. It seemed to work all right. When spring arrived I wanted to use the robot again, but the cleaning part immediately displayed an empty battery state and did not rotate the cleaning pads. I was very surprised because the robot was stored with charged batteries during the winter and I put it on the charger before cleaning just in case. I took the robot apart to see if I can get a replacement battery, but I was out of luck: the locally available lithium polymer battery cells were too thick to fit into the available space, so I decided to re-assemble the cleaning unit with the old battery. To my surprise, the robot worked at this time except one of the cleaning pads. That pad was not rotating and the robot become very hot around the small motor that should rotate that pad. I disassembled the the robot, the drive unit and even the small engine, but I was unable to fix it. The inner part of the electric motor was full of tiny broken parts, and the jammed motor probably pulled way too much energy from the battery. I disconnected the motor from the main board and now the robot runs well without that rotating pad (the pad is there but it does not rotate).

The review is not over yet!

Next page: Conclusion

Next page »

Do you want a second opinion?

Read the opinion of other reviewers as well before you buy:

Add new comment

Subscribe to RobotBG.com