exciting things about teardowns – you
never know what you’ll find behind a
The NEATO ships with two
components: a wall charger and the
robot. Let’s start with the charger;
shown in use in Figure 1 and with
the cover removed in Figure 2.
Externally, the charger unit is designed
to reflect the IR beam from the LIDAR
in a way that enables the robot to
locate the charging station when the
charge of the batteries is low. You
can see the light-dark-light bands of
the reflective surface in Figure 1.
As shown in Figure 2, the
charger is a typical ‘brick’ found with
many laptop computers. It provides
24 VDC at 2.5A, through either a
direct cable connection or the metal
contacts on the back of the robot,
shown in Figure 3. The unit has a
clean, simple layout with lots of air for
The NEATO tears down quickly
and easily with only a Philips screw
driver. There are no hidden springs or
screws to impede your progress.
Before diving in, be sure to note the
location of the USB and power ports
in Figure 3, the IR rangefinder
sensors on the sides of the unit
(Figure 4), and the all-important
LIDAR unit (Figure 5). Figure 6
shows the ample cargo space
available with the dust collection bin
Flip the unit over (Figure 7) and
note how the wheels pop out.
Sensors attached to the wheel
assemblies detect this condition and
the CPU issues a “Please Put Me
Down” message on the LCD when
this occurs. Also note the pair of
passive wheels in the rounded rear of
the unit. The flat front of the unit is
spring-loaded, with sensors to detect
collisions. Remove the two plastic
retaining plates to reveal the sizeable
NiMH battery packs shown in
Figure 8. The 7.2V packs are rated
at 3,200 mAh.
Next, remove the remaining
dozen or so screws visible on the
FIGURE 2. Wall charger unit
with cover removed.
FIGURE 3. Back of the robot, showing the pair of wall charger contacts (center).
Note the USB and power ports to the left, below the LCD screen.
FIGURE 4. An IR rangefinder sensor on
the side of the robot.
SERVO 02.2012 41