Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop Review (1C)

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
40,747
So it's been just about two weeks since I've had it running around the house so I figure now I have the right to talk about it.

Unit in question and where I procured it from - https://mia.africa.com/za/mi-robot-vacuum-mop

Quite happy with them as a whole, shipping was quick and everything went very smooth COVID and all things considered. I was a bit miffed that it listed on Takealot two days after I ordered for R200 less as I could have scored some money and eBucks but the stock was so low likely would have missed that anyway.

Just a note that this is my first robot vacuum of actual ownership, but I've been monitoring this topic quite seriously for years now. In that light I might throw some commentary in regarding surprises of actual ownership.

Form Factor

So everyone is stuck on the fact that this unit doesn't have the Laser (LDS) based navigation and I can understand that as a concern as I had my own reservations about it. However, the problem with the LDS is that it adds considerable height to the unit and after some very guesstimation this was the difference between it being able to go under my couches or potentially getting stuck.

What I didn't anticipate however is that my original idea of having the Mi Robot living "under" the couch was thwarted by the fact that the docking station is still quite tall and therefore wouldn't work for my purpose as I would need to move the couch away from the wall to make it fit and the area that is open at the back doesn't have the required clearance of 0.5m to the sides and 1m in front of the docking station as per the manual.

Fortunately, I found a cupboard in another room that was easily tall enough for the docking station and while technically not having enough clearance to the sides it hasn't proven to be any problem and maybe it navigates a little bit more to get in there but hasn't really had a problem docking after initially finding itself.

What I did find problematic the first couple of times is that the docking station would slip on the floor as the robot came home and then it would change its orientation and mess around a little bit. Easily solved by cleaning the floor by hand with a wet cloth and it has stood the test of time over two weeks so far, but I may very well use some thin double-sided tape down the line to make it more permanent.

I guess I've read enough comments about people being astounded at how large these things are, but when I received it I thought if the box is this small then the unit can only be smaller and that seemed pretty accurate so I wasn't all that surprised by the size. What I was surprised by however is just how heavy the little bastard is, it really feels like a solid piece of kit and where I expected to need to baby it and take special care with it, after an extended period with it running around I've discovered it's quite robust and hardly need to worry about it.

What I have noticed is that the front "bumper" has a bit of scuffing on the top edge where it repeatedly forces itself under one of my couches and I could probably wipe it off with a bit of hard cleaning but kind of don't see the point. The more glossy white surface of the actual top of the unit remains perfectly untouched, so it appears to have been specifically designed this way as a bit of a buffer and I wouldn't be surprised if the entire front bumper is available as a spare part.

Overall I haven't felt like I've needed to clean the actual unit yet, it seems pretty pristine overall and I'll probably make an effort once a month or so just to give it a once over cleaning the brushes and things by hand much like I go about emptying the bag on my "real" Karcher WD4 vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning

So interestingly enough this cheaper/lesser non-Pro version of the vacuum has more suction power on paper than the Pro units also sold by MiA. I doubt it makes much of a real-world difference and likely you'll find on Silent mode they are the same which is what I'll likely be using the unit most of the time.

To say that I was deeply impressed with the overall performance of what this little guy can do is an understatement. It's not like I didn't expect it to work at all like many in the "gadget camp" are, but I didn't expect to be thinking that maybe my house is filthy going by how the dust bin was filled up after the very first pass that didn't even cover the whole house.

Let's be honest you aren't going to get away from still needing a conventional vacuum cleaner to at least tackle your house with a proper deeper clean off floor level and into the corners and crannies properly at least once a month. However, that vacuum cleaner may only need to be a handheld vacuum now and after getting this one I've put the Xiaomi handheld vacuum on my wishlist as a potential future purchase as I can see it happily covering my needs overall and a handheld is infinitely more accessible than a massive industrial german.

I guess between the brushing action and the suction it simply gets more off the floor, but more importantly it ejects very little unlike just about everything other than a water-based vacuum system. When the mopping function is added to this it does an even better job as the mop sits at the back and drags up behind the vacuum brush whatever has been loosened.

The mop function is a bit manual as you need to fill the 200ml tank then wet the cloth and attach it to the housing. The mop is already becoming finicky to slide into the channel so I can see this thing wearing out rather quickly. They recommend you take off the mop and rinse it out every 30min but quite honestly it’s not worth the effort. The 200ml tank lasts an hour and a half or so which is near a full house clean for me. Xaiomi advises to remove the tank before it docks but it will also dock regardless and doesn’t stop to ask you to take it off so kind of don’t see the point. They also advise not to let it go on carpets while mopping but I suspect this has more to do with its ability to climb than any worry about water.

I was deeply confused by the Low/Medium/High “water level” in the app as I reckoned why would you ever half fill the thing? Then I realized it’s a typical Chinese English translation and actually what they mean Is how strong the water pressure should be. I just left it on high which did the job just fine and never bothered with anything else since.

Emptied the bin on the second day after the first full clean and then about a week later and both times I was astounded by the amount of stuff it’s picked up and amazing how much it’s compacted it in there. To date I’ve tried to let it go until it asks me to empty it but it’s just never happened and I always cave first and just empty the thing.

Ultimately I’ve set it to run Mon/Wed/Fri and will probably run it manually if I expect people over on the weekend or have a specific spot clean to do after the kids made a mess. It’s actually been pretty damn useful in the kitchen when I’ve done a lot of cooking and cleaning up counter with crumbs and stuff everywhere to just send in the robot overlord to sort it out after the fact.
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
40,747
Navigation

The lack of laser navigation at me deeply worried after I had pulled the trigger to purchase and waited for delivery. And then when I got the unit and the mapping was considered an “experimental feature” I was even more worried. After three full runs the map was still resetting every single time and I was worried that I misread something somewhere and that it suffered the same issues I read about for the first generation units.

Luckily after the 4th or possibly 5th full chaos theory clean up the map suddenly stuck and I was able to put in virtual walls or no go areas, not that I need any of those as the thing is pretty clever. What it does allow me to do now is summon the thing to come and clean a specific area which will of course become a major party trick once the lockdown story is over.

Spot cleaning is great and the only problem with it is that the app is very finicky in its operation and selection of an area and could do with a much simpler more straight forward UI for that. As a whole the app is actually quite annoying especially on my iPhone with Face ID as you need to hold the bottom edge with button and then drag it up to reveal the rest. It’s not intuitive a tall and at first I thought some major features were missing, now that I know it’s there it’s also just annoying as you tend to grab the Home bar area.

I have not witnessed the thing trying to kill itself running into stuff and generally it speeds up to walls and will then suddenly slow as it approached and give some things a minor nudge or often completely slow down and avoid them or turn around or whatever. I’ve purposely walked in front of it and it does everything in its power to avoid me.

One thing I do have a problem with is my braai room which is one step down from the rest of the house and requires me to manually drop the Mi Robot Vacuum there and let it do its thing. It’s only been in there two or three times but hasn’t mapped it at all and I don’t expect it will ever be able to as it’s technically “outside” face brick walls that don’t match anything else.

The first couple of runs it had some trouble going back home to the dock, but in fairness, I had moved it once and then it took me only three times of going to park it in front of the dock and manually sending it home before it got the message and I've never needed to do it since.

It has climbed stuff by sheer accident that I would never have ever anticipated it would even try never mind succeed at. We have one of those folding triangle drying rack things that was just standing around in the braai room and that has a solid metal tube leg which I reckon is at least 15mm thick. Not only did it rush the thing at speed but it also went straight over the leg without even going off course and just soldiered on and cleaned underneath it and then changed course and went on about it's day.

About the only place it had some trouble is outside my front door there is a 2-metre foyer section behind a security gate which has square cobble stones for a floor and while it didn't complain about it the unbalanced nature of it made for a bit of a racket as it hobbled all over it. Had no problem at all stopping at the very edge to the 30cm or so drop down to the outside area of the house.

Same case at my kitchen door leading to the garage, I can just leave the door open there and it runs right up to the edge and then cleans there before turning around and ignoring the drop to the lower level.


Mortal Kombat

While they do warn you not to leave loose things laying around and especially free-range cables and stuff it is quite hilarious to receive a ping on your phone or hear the audible warning from the Mi Robot to say that something is stuck inside the brush. The problem is with cables especially like the Kindle charge cable next to my bed is that it will try to fight it to death rather than stop and throw out a warning which means I found it under the bed in Mortal Kombat with a USB cable screeching like a banshee.

Easy enough to avoid by making sure stuff isn’t laying about and probably a good thing overall to keep the house a bit neater. With two small kids in the house though it will inevitably pick up small things and I can confidently say an average size Lego block is it’s nemesis and will wedge perfectly between the brush and dust bin in which case it will freeze and error out after trying to make it work for a little while.

So I would have liked it to warn me more prematurely or stop outright, but likely that would have too many false positives again and be infinitely more annoying. Instead I’ve just started giving the house a once over on the mornings it’s scheduled to run and haven’t had a problem since.

Battery

This wasn't really a major concern for me as I always figured the thing would just go back to charge and then carry on where it left off.

Quite surprising then that it runs for just about two hours in Silent mode, which is of course not silent at all but is also hardly noteworthy and I happily did conference calls and watched TV or played games while it was running without feeling it was intrusive at all.

My house is 285sq with the garages I believe and including the braai room so let's say 250sq in real vacuum terms and while the app doesn't seem quite accurate only claiming to have done 150sq or so on a full run, maybe that is accurate when you take furniture and avoided areas into account.

When going back to work and running it during the day I expect I'll forget the thing even exists because it should happily finish the job of cleaning the entire house in about half the time I'm gone. Whether it will trip the alarm remains to be seen, but then I feel very little heat dissipate from the unit as it goes and my curtains standing in the sun being blown by the wind are warmer and never give issues.

The Silent and Standard modes seem about the same in battery usage, but I would imagine slightly better performing in Standard so will likely use that when no longer at home. The Turbo mode completely chows the battery but I did also let it loose on a thick persian rug down the passage which could also be a part of it, but doubtful I'll use it very often.



Value

I thought my Karcher WD4 Premium was the most expensive vacuum cleaner I would ever buy and then this thing came along. That being said it does such an exemplary job that as long as it keeps going and doesn’t break down I can honestly say it’s been worth the R4999 I paid for it quite happily.

Once lockdown peters out I’ll likely buy a kit of spare parts from Banggood just to have them in the cupboard as necessary. It’s one thing that seems quite lacking locally from all sales channels and makes you wonder what happens if you do have a problem with the thing.

I seem to recall they have a listed 3-year warranty somewhere on some website but I’ve seen no mention of any warranty at all locally.

What I can say is I simply don’t see how the Pro is worth R3000 more. In fact you’d likely do better rather buying two of these guys (especially if you have a multi-level house) over a single Pro unit. The laser guidance thing seems vastly overplayed, although granted I have no personal experience with it. The negatives of it making the unit taller are enough for me to pass on that option even if the price was the same.

Haxxors

I did very briefly attempt to add the unit to Home Assistant with the original firmware by intercepting the Token between the App and the device. Assuming I did that correctly it seems this particular unit is not capable of being integrated with Home Assistant in this way while retaining the original firmware.

I won't be attempting any firmware hacks directly while it remains under any kind of warranty so I can't comment on that.

Overall

In summary I'm very happy with my purchase and genuinely surprised by just how well it works far beyond my expectations. My annoyances by and large relate to the app and are really only annoyances and not major problems.

Money well spent and I feel a much cleaner house overall and my allergies have already cleared up drastically since it moved in.

Beyond all else for a change it's something I bought that my wife not only approves of but now can't live without.


Some spot cleaning once the map was done.
1590440930611.png


Full Map
1590440911422.png


118 minutes and still 15% battery left to go before ET goes home.
1590440895378.png
 
Last edited:

Tinuva

The Magician
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
10,648
Good review.

The only downside I think this model has over the one I have, is the smaller battery. But it sounds like it cleans your house in a single go which is fine. For me, mine currently ends up with 45-50% battery left when done.

You will only find the battery an issue I think when it ages and it lasts shorter on a charge.

My Neato (non-smart) is now 3-4 years old, goes like a boeing still, but the battery doesn't last as long anymore.
I dread finding a new battery locally for it.

Oh the battery is a big part why these things are so heavy, then next is all the actual motors.

I still think the Neato cleans better than the Xiaomis, but they are pretty good in my opinion (more than good enough).
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
40,747
Yeah I would imagine over time the battery will run down, but I expect a good five years out of it before that's a real problem.

Even if it goes down to one hour on a charge that would be just fine by me as it will ultimately do most of the work when I'm not at home and even if it needed to go out for three passes that would be fine in an 8 hour day.
 

Concentric

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2017
Messages
981
Navigation

The lack of laser navigation at me deeply worried after I had pulled the trigger to purchase and waited for delivery. And then when I got the unit and the mapping was considered an “experimental feature” I was even more worried. After three full runs the map was still resetting every single time and I was worried that I misread something somewhere and that it suffered the same issues I read about for the first generation units.

Luckily after the 4th or possibly 5th full chaos theory clean up the map suddenly stuck and I was able to put in virtual walls or no go areas, not that I need any of those as the thing is pretty clever. What it does allow me to do now is summon the thing to come and clean a specific area which will of course become a major party trick once the lockdown story is over.

Spot cleaning is great and the only problem with it is that the app is very finicky in its operation and selection of an area and could do with a much simpler more straight forward UI for that. As a whole the app is actually quite annoying especially on my iPhone with Face ID as you need to hold the bottom edge with button and then drag it up to reveal the rest. It’s not intuitive a tall and at first I thought some major features were missing, now that I know it’s there it’s also just annoying as you tend to grab the Home bar area.

I have not witnessed the thing trying to kill itself running into stuff and generally it speeds up to walls and will then suddenly slow as it approached and give some things a minor nudge or often completely slow down and avoid them or turn around or whatever. I’ve purposely walked in front of it and it does everything in its power to avoid me.

One thing I do have a problem with is my braai room which is one step down from the rest of the house and requires me to manually drop the Mi Robot Vacuum there and let it do its thing. It’s only been in there two or three times but hasn’t mapped it at all and I don’t expect it will ever be able to as it’s technically “outside” face brick walls that don’t match anything else.

The first couple of runs it had some trouble going back home to the dock, but in fairness, I had moved it once and then it took me only three times of going to park it in front of the dock and manually sending it home before it got the message and I've never needed to do it since.

It has climbed stuff by sheer accident that I would never have ever anticipated it would even try never mind succeed at. We have one of those folding triangle drying rack things that was just standing around in the braai room and that has a solid metal tube leg which I reckon is at least 15mm thick. Not only did it rush the thing at speed but it also went straight over the leg without even going off course and just soldiered on and cleaned underneath it and then changed course and went on about it's day.

About the only place it had some trouble is outside my front door there is a 2-metre foyer section behind a security gate which has square cobble stones for a floor and while it didn't complain about it the unbalanced nature of it made for a bit of a racket as it hobbled all over it. Had no problem at all stopping at the very edge to the 30cm or so drop down to the outside area of the house.

Same case at my kitchen door leading to the garage, I can just leave the door open there and it runs right up to the edge and then cleans there before turning around and ignoring the drop to the lower level.


Mortal Kombat

While they do warn you not to leave loose things laying around and especially free-range cables and stuff it is quite hilarious to receive a ping on your phone or hear the audible warning from the Mi Robot to say that something is stuck inside the brush. The problem is with cables especially like the Kindle charge cable next to my bed is that it will try to fight it to death rather than stop and throw out a warning which means I found it under the bed in Mortal Kombat with a USB cable screeching like a banshee.

Easy enough to avoid by making sure stuff isn’t laying about and probably a good thing overall to keep the house a bit neater. With two small kids in the house though it will inevitably pick up small things and I can confidently say an average size Lego block is it’s nemesis and will wedge perfectly between the brush and dust bin in which case it will freeze and error out after trying to make it work for a little while.

So I would have liked it to warn me more prematurely or stop outright, but likely that would have too many false positives again and be infinitely more annoying. Instead I’ve just started giving the house a once over on the mornings it’s scheduled to run and haven’t had a problem since.

Battery

This wasn't really a major concern for me as I always figured the thing would just go back to charge and then carry on where it left off.

Quite surprising then that it runs for just about two hours in Silent mode, which is of course not silent at all but is also hardly noteworthy and I happily did conference calls and watched TV or played games while it was running without feeling it was intrusive at all.

My house is 285sq with the garages I believe and including the braai room so let's say 250sq in real vacuum terms and while the app doesn't seem quite accurate only claiming to have done 150sq or so on a full run, maybe that is accurate when you take furniture and avoided areas into account.

When going back to work and running it during the day I expect I'll forget the thing even exists because it should happily finish the job of cleaning the entire house in about half the time I'm gone. Whether it will trip the alarm remains to be seen, but then I feel very little heat dissipate from the unit as it goes and my curtains standing in the sun being blown by the wind are warmer and never give issues.

The Silent and Standard modes seem about the same in battery usage, but I would imagine slightly better performing in Standard so will likely use that when no longer at home. The Turbo mode completely chows the battery but I did also let it loose on a thick persian rug down the passage which could also be a part of it, but doubtful I'll use it very often.



Value

I thought my Karcher WD4 Premium was the most expensive vacuum cleaner I would ever buy and then this thing came along. That being said it does such an exemplary job that as long as it keeps going and doesn’t break down I can honestly say it’s been worth the R4999 I paid for it quite happily.

Once lockdown peters out I’ll likely buy a kit of spare parts from Banggood just to have them in the cupboard as necessary. It’s one thing that seems quite lacking locally from all sales channels and makes you wonder what happens if you do have a problem with the thing.

I seem to recall they have a listed 3-year warranty somewhere on some website but I’ve seen no mention of any warranty at all locally.

What I can say is I simply don’t see how the Pro is worth R3000 more. In fact you’d likely do better rather buying two of these guys (especially if you have a multi-level house) over a single Pro unit. The laser guidance thing seems vastly overplayed, although granted I have no personal experience with it. The negatives of it making the unit taller are enough for me to pass on that option even if the price was the same.

Haxxors

I did very briefly attempt to add the unit to Home Assistant with the original firmware by intercepting the Token between the App and the device. Assuming I did that correctly it seems this particular unit is not capable of being integrated with Home Assistant in this way while retaining the original firmware.

I won't be attempting any firmware hacks directly while it remains under any kind of warranty so I can't comment on that.

Overall

In summary I'm very happy with my purchase and genuinely surprised by just how well it works far beyond my expectations. My annoyances by and large relate to the app and are really only annoyances and not major problems.

Money well spent and I feel a much cleaner house overall and my allergies have already cleared up drastically since it moved in.

Beyond all else for a change it's something I bought that my wife not only approves of but now can't live without.


Some spot cleaning once the map was done.
View attachment 845921


Full Map
View attachment 845919


118 minutes and still 15% battery left to go before ET goes home.
View attachment 845917
just a heads up, there is a WIP on home assistant integration.
The dev is working on it, and you can interact with it using python, but it isnt completely ready yet
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
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Messages
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just a heads up, there is a WIP on home assistant integration.
The dev is working on it, and you can interact with it using python, but it isnt completely ready yet

Thanks. Wasn’t a main priority for me but rather just a nice to have.

But do link it when it’s ready for showtime.
 

Greglsh

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2009
Messages
770
SauRoNZA

Nice review, I currently have the 360 S7 on loan from one of our suppliers and I am loving this, I will probably go for the S5 (almost exactly the same just no mopping). The 360 S5/S7 has the LIDAR and it is amazing, I wanted to ask you if the Xiaomi is able to be set to clean a certain room on a schedule. This is one thing I did like with the 360, I can set it to clean say the kitchen and the guest bedroom on Monday, then on Tuesday clean the passage and the main bedroom, then Wednesday clean the whole house. I will attach the mapping this has done. You can also specify an area to clean and do the virtual walls and areas. I also like that it can store 10 maps (so can remember multiple floors if you have them.) I see the Xiaomi is a stronger Vacuum at 2500PA where as the 360 is 2000PA. I was also surprised how much dirt this picked up even on the 3rd vacuum in 2 days while testing this 360. The 360 integrates very very basically with Alexa, not Google Assistant. You can basically start and stop the vacuum with voice controls, but I don't think I will use this as you have to use some strange sentence to get it to work.

All in I think these vacuum's are great and will make life a little easier and have a bit of fun (my 4 year old thinks this is the coolest thing ever). The lines on the map are when I asked it to vacuum only the passage.
Screenshot_20200526-234645_360Robot.jpg Screenshot_20200526-234659_360Robot.jpg Screenshot_20200526-234707_360Robot.jpg
 

AlmightyBender

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
6,376
@SauRoNZA thanks so much for the writeup. Based on your thorough analysis (especially mortal combat, I want that in my life) I made the purchase. Going to pick it up now!!
 

AlmightyBender

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
6,376
Ok so everything is set up and it is as great as all say. I was promised mortal combat and I was duly entertained to watch little Robocop duke it out with a small metal wastebin it found in the bathroom.

Robocop 1 - 0 Wastebin
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
40,747
Ok so everything is set up and it is as great as all say. I was promised mortal combat and I was duly entertained to watch little Robocop duke it out with a small metal wastebin it found in the bathroom.

Robocop 1 - 0 Wastebin

Lol.

Attach a USB cable or other loose wire to something and let it hang down onto the floor and watch chaos ensue.
 

Joeboy69

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
1,453
Thanks for the write-up. I only have tile floors so mostly have Rottweiler muddy paw prints and plenty hair.

Any reason this won’t handle it?
 

SauRoNZA

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Joined
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Messages
40,747
Thanks for the write-up. I only have tile floors so mostly have Rottweiler muddy paw prints and plenty hair.

Any reason this won’t handle it?

I don’t have dogs so hard to comment.

I have kids though and in my braai room where they’ve played with sand etc outside and come in it’s done a pretty good job of cleaning that up once it’s dry. Probably won’t be perfect but will get rid of the bulk of it.

Hair however is this things bitch and it’s part of what I was astounded by since it just picks up more and more of the stuff endlessly.
 

AlmightyBender

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
6,376
Thanks for the write-up. I only have tile floors so mostly have Rottweiler muddy paw prints and plenty hair.

Any reason this won’t handle it?
I have a cocker spaniel and a labbie puppy, and this bad boy handles it like a baws. It is a Mt Everest of hair and Mt K-2 of sand and it does very well.

I run it often and I empty it often but it is bliss in comparison to the before times.
 

SauRoNZA

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Joined
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Messages
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great. let me know how it goes

I must be getting the Token wrong somehow because I'm pretty sure I have the IP address correct but also no way to be 100% on that one.

Going to guess you got the token out the easy Android way?

Does your Mac address start with 44:23:7c?
 

Concentric

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2017
Messages
981
I must be getting the Token wrong somehow because I'm pretty sure I have the IP address correct but also no way to be 100% on that one.

Going to guess you got the token out the easy Android way?

Does your Mac address start with 44:23:7c?
It's a bit of a walk around.
1st download the mi home app from the play store and set it up normally.
Then get the APK of the lower version and get the token from there.
see here for full instructions. (Go to the Android not rooted part)
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
40,747
It's a bit of a walk around.
1st download the mi home app from the play store and set it up normally.
Then get the APK of the lower version and get the token from there.
see here for full instructions. (Go to the Android not rooted part)

Yeah I’m on iOS that’s the trick right there.

I would assume the token changes? So even if I did set it up on Android and then switched to iOS it still wouldn’t work?
 
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