Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
Plug Bug

Repairing a “Stuck Brush” error on Neato XV-11 Vacuum

I have a Neato XV-11 Vacuum that I bought quite a few years ago when it first came out. The initial version had quite a few glitches and bugs, and I had it replaced a few times within the first few years. Neato is a great company in how they support their product, and they offered free shipping and returns of the vacuum. I really liked this kind of top notch support.

The XV-11 is now superseded by the Neato XV-12 and costs around $270 on Amazon (you can also find it on Ebay). Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with the vacuum as it does a great job. I’d probably buy it again, as it seems better than the competition (mainly Roomba).

However, it does have problems. The XV-11 needs its batteries to be replaced every one to two years; this isn’t difficult, but they are expensive. You can easily buy and replace the batteries: XV-11 batteries — about $30 to $50 each, but it adds up to the costs of owning the machine. It also tends to loose its set time every time the battery goes completely dead; this is annoying, and I stopped using the pre-programmed cleaning feature because of this. I hope the XV-12 fixes that problem.

Another bigger problem is a “stuck brush” error that may come up constantly, even with a good cleaning of hair and gunk from the vacuum bottom. The only sure way I found to fix this is to take the machine apart and clean the motor.

IMG 3672

It isn’t too hard to take it apart. Flip it upside down and first remove the springs on the wheels; otherwise, they pop off. Then take the front bumper screws off, and all the screws on the bottom. Flip it over (right side up) and take off the two screws by the suction intake hole and it should come up and off.  Don’t pull off the LCD wire! You can remove it from the circuit board by pulling up the circuit board insert and removing the wire (but be careful). The motor is held in by a few more screws (three if I recall right), and comes out. 

The motor gets a ton of hair stuck around it and inside the rotor. I just cut it out with a sharp exacto and pull the hair out with tweezers. Then re-assemble and it will work again. 

IMG 3673

Feel free to email me questions! corbin at corbinstreehouse. 

Website statistics

Here are my website statistics:

I just ran across SeeTheStats — a site that imports Google Analytics data and turns it into some cool graphs that anyone can see. I’m hoping to slowly grow visitor growth on my blog by providing some sort of useful content. 

Here’s a screen grab of my current stats today:


Photography: Himalayas



Nepal. April 2015. Taken from the air. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm lens. No tripod; supported on the edge of something.

For cool HDR images, use Photmatix!. Buy it on Amazon: Photomatix Pro 5 on an Apple iMac.

Photography: Nepal Mountains

Nepal Mountains

HDR - Nepal

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal. April 2015. HDR from 5 exposures. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm lens. No tripod; supported on the edge of something.

HDR image created with Photomatix Pro 5 on an Apple iMac.

Cyr Wheel Tutorials – “The List”

Here is the start of a list of some Cyr Wheel Tutorial videos; many are by other people (ton’s by Mitch!), so I don’t take credit for the videos. As a reminder, here is info on where to buy a cyr wheel.


 Beginner Moves and Starts 

 Basic Waltz – by Mitch / freedomcaller 

waltz pic.png


Developing your waltz and early coin exercises – by Kris Madden



Getting Started with the Skate Start – by Sam Tribble

Sam skate start2


Wheel to Toe Start – by Sam Tribble

Wheel to toe 


Roll by Start – by Sam Tribble



 Intermediate Moves and Tricks


Flower Pickers / Picking Daisies – by Mitch 

Mitch flowers


Corners (like a Boss) - by Mitch

Corners mitch


Rock start to waltz - by Corbin Dunn



Half Turn / Switches – by Sam Tribble

Half turn2


Trail Side Flagging – by Sam Tribble

 Flag trail sam


Lead Side Flagging – by Sam Tribble 

Flag lead sam 


Advanced Moves and Tricks


Superman Cyr Wheel Tutorial – by Corbin Dunn



Superman Tutorial – by Sam Tribble

Superman sam


Front Handspring – by Mitch




Feel free to email me (corbin at corbinstreehouse dot com)  with anything more I should add to this list!

New fruit trees

I got a few new fruit trees and shrubs last weekend!

The new peach tree is far back right (hard to see), behind the apple tree (no leaves right now).

A new blueberry bush (TODO: note what variety), and a raspberry (Willamette Raspberry)


It’s interesting for me to go back on my blog and see my old trees when they were young.

LED cyr wheel (v2) repair

A bit over a year ago I started using my LED Cyr wheel v2. This version has LEDs embedded on the sides in epoxy, and it had been working pretty great until a show last night. One section of the wheel I didn’t use ExpoCast 690. I had some trouble with the first section I did, and thought I’d try the other (cheaper) expo that I had. It also was just a difficult to work with, so I ended up using ExpoCast on everything else. But that one section that has the other expo developed cracks, which I’ve known about for a while. Unfortunately one crack caused movement in the LEDs and broke a connection, causing two sections on one side to not light up (since it sends the signal through sequentially). Doh…I was disappointed as it affected one of my shows, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

The repair doesn’t seem to be too bad! Using a chisel I could fairly easily knock out the bad pieces and expose the LEDs. I then cut out the two that seemed to be bad, and replaced them.


I then epoxied back over it with the good epoxy:


The connection seems good (from testing), but the real test will be using the wheel again. The epoxy takes a 24-48 hours to dry, so it’ll be a while before I can test it out. Hopefully it works, as I have another show this Saturday night in Los Gatos.

Cyr Wheel Tutorials: Walkthrough manipulation

Learn some cyr wheel manipulations when you are tired of spinning or get dizzy :)

I go through some of the basics on how to do this trick. Be careful! One of the first times I tried this I walked right into the wheel and it hit my face really hard; my tooth poked a hole through my lip and I had to get stitches on both sides!

Unicycle handlebar experiments

I’ve been doing some more experiments on my V-36 unicycle handlebar. The original version was just a basic T with bar ends. The T wasn’t too wide, but MUCH wider than stock handlebars (such as the KH T-bar or’s variations).

I hadn’t ridden the V-36 much since I made it. I did a few longish rides (~27 miles, and then 20 miles a few days later), and my wrists were in a lot of pain. Mostly my right hand; which constitutes from the position I use when braking. I spent an hour or so welding up another prototype. I went with a MUCH wider T so I could install the brake lever on it:


I haven’t yet to do more than basic testing, but I already know it needs a slight back angle (like an upside down V).

I also did a more “traditional” design, instead of using bar ends. This will allow me to slip the brake over the 22mm handlebar and not have an adapter like I usually use. I didn’t end up finishing this one..and I want to make it so it rotates amongst the vertical post to control the angle.


Finally, for reference, my original handlebar (without bar ends):


Cyr Wheel Tutorials: Rock start to waltz

Cyr Wheel / Roue Cyr Tutorials: Rock start or side to side start, to waltz

Here is another intermediate to advanced trick that took me a while to get. Really it was all about doing one particular motion that allowed me to finally get this trick.

How to do this trick: First, be very confident with the normal “rock”. A rock is a left to right through where you don’t do any spinning; just rocking. The rock is a motion where you are transferring weight from one foot to another. Most the action is done with your feet, and very little is done with your hands.

When you rock the wheel to the right, the follow conditions are true:

  • Most of your weight is on your right foot
  • Your right foot is the contact point with the ground
  • Your right leg is fairly straight
  • Your left leg is high up on the wheel, with little weight on it
  • Your left knee is bent
  • Your left hand is holding on to the wheel
  • Your right hand is free

This really isn’t a tutorial on the rock itself, and eventually I’ll make a video detailing just the rock.

The key part to the rock start to a waltz is to use your hands to through the wheel in the desired waltz direction, as I show in the video.

(c) 2008-2015 Corbin Dunn

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