New Project: Neato Hacking

My ROS learning robot Phoebe was built mainly around a laser distance scanner module salvaged from a Neato robot vacuum cleaner. At the time I knew people were selling them for $50-$75 on Craigslist in varying condition, but I was content to pay $45 for just the laser scanner. It was all I needed for my own robot exploration purposes. I thought a full Neato vacuum might be fun to play with, but I have enough projects on my to-do list that I didn’t feel the need to go out and find one.

Unless when I do. I recently wrote a Hackaday article about bargain shopping in a thrift store, and I needed a picture to go with my article. I went into my local thrift store to take some pictures, but it was also an opportunity to practice what I preached. I spent most of my time in the electronics section and didn’t find anything I wanted to take home with me. On my way out the door, though, I took a glance at the kitchen electronics section and spotted this beauty: a Neato robot vacuum with a price tag of only $7.99.

Savers Neato XV-21 1600

It doesn’t power on, and external accessories were nowhere to be found: neither a wall wart charger nor its charging dock. But it looked to be in pretty good condition with only minor cosmetic blemishes on the exterior. Aside from the missing charger, all other major components appear to be present. But the purchase decision was based on the most interesting part: I looked inside the top bump to verify presence of a familiar looking laser scanner unit. If I all I get out of this $7.99 is a Neato lidar, I’ll be happy. If anything else worked, they would just be icing on the cake.

It’s a big question mark, but it’s one I’m buying to take home for a closer look.

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