Astro, Amazon's household robot, recently became part of our family. In the flurry and excitement of his arrival, I didn't think much about where to place his charger. If you are planning on adding Astro to your home, here are some mistakes I made that you may want to avoid.
Initially, I placed Astro's charger in the middle of the dining room floor, which wasn't practical but gave us an instant launch experience. Astro didn't have any trouble with the charger location since it was out on the open floor.
After the party was over, I spent time thinking about where to permanently place Astro's charger. The recommendation from Amazon seems a bit excessive:
Place the charging dock on a flat surface near a wall outlet that's about 3 ft wide and 6 ft long.
To be clear, Astro does need a bit of clearance to spin his backend around after locating the charger, but he also seems smart enough to account for most of the obstacles he encounters. Observing Astro's stellar docking skills, I decided to press my luck a bit.
Since the only room in our house where he won't encounter closed doors is our living room, I checked the height of our TV stand and discovered he would fit nicely beneath it. I cleared a space, reoriented him, and watched him nail his new location on the first try. He never exhibited any trouble after that. I thought that was the end of the story.
Why Height Matters
One important factor I didn't consider when placing Astro's charger was: height. Obviously, he needed to fit under the table, and he did, but what I didn't account for was: PATROL mode.
In patrol mode, Astro raises his periscope camera and travels around your house looking for intruders or trouble and reporting on your pet's activity. I don't know what happens after you set patrol mode because he firmly gives you 60 seconds to evacuate the area before he begins patrolling. I haven't stuck around to find out what he does if you are still there when he begins. I'll save that experiment for another day.
What I do know is that Astro takes his job seriously and while you are away, he's busy patrolling, which drains his battery. This means he needs to head back to his charger now and then to get energized. Since I only measured his charger docking space for physical height without his camera extended, we ended up in this unfortunate situation.
I knew something was wrong when Astro stopped responding to me while I was out doing my errands. He was stuck and his battery had run out.
Don't worry; he's okay now. I apologized, we talked it out, and then I rearranged the entire living room to find him another safer spot. We'll see how this goes. The new location still doesn't meet Amazon specs, but I think they are being extremely conservative with their recommendations. Or I am a bad robot mom. My kitties and husband are also beginning to feel somewhat neglected.
Other Factors to Consider
Here are a few other thoughts about things you need to consider before permanently placing Astro's charging dock:
- Wi-Fi signal: Astro needs a strong, stable Wi-Fi connection to function properly. You should place the dock near your router or in an area with good Wi-Fi coverage.
- Power outlet: The dock needs to be plugged into a standard power outlet, avoiding using extension cords or power strips that might overload or interfere with the power supply.
- Floor-type: The dock works best on hard floors such as wood, tile, laminate, or vinyl. You should avoid placing it on carpets, rugs, mats, or uneven surfaces that might make it difficult for Astro to align itself with the dock or roll off smoothly.
- Traffic: You should place the dock in an area that is not too busy or crowded with people or pets. This will reduce the risk of accidents or interruptions while Astro is charging or patrolling. You should also avoid placing it near stairs, doors, windows, fireplaces, heaters, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, etc.
Choosing where to place Astro's charger is not just a matter of convenience. It can also affect how well your robot performs its tasks and functions. I hope sharing some of our experiences helps you as you plan for your own Astro robot.For more information about Astro's requirements, visit Amazon Astro Support.