There’s no doubt that a Roomba robot vacuum is a useful addition to your arsenal of cleaning tools. It does a great job at vacuuming the house, requires little maintenance and it can be controlled via the iRobot Home app (on Android and iOS) from wherever you are.
Over time however, it’s inevitable that technological devices go a little wonky. Things breakdown with age and digital devices are no different.
Some Roomba problems like brushroll or filter issues are easily fixed without the need for a professional. But what happens when your Roomba battery is running low on battery and your Roomba won’t dock or charge?
Let’s explore what to do when you face the situations of your Roomba not docking and/or not charging. We’ll take a look at potential causes and solutions to fix various issues like the Roomba plug or wall outlet. We’ll also look at different Roomba models to see if there’re any common issues with specific models.
First things first, check to see if the Home Base is plugged into the wall’s electrical outlet. There’s a chance that someone tripped over the wire connecting the Home Base to the wall socket. The plug may have come loose or completely out. If it’s not plugged in, the Base can’t turn itself on. The Roomba then won’t be able to detect where the Home Base is.
You should see that the power display on the Home Base displays a solid green light to show it’s switched on. If it’s plugged in and there’s no solid light, check to see if there’s an electrical current from that outlet.
Find another electrical device like your phone and plug that into the wall. See if your phone starts charging. If your phone starts charging, then you know it’s something with the Roomba and you can skip the next Circuit Breaker section.
If your phone isn’t charging, read the next section about checking the circuit breaker panel.
This check is only if you’re not seeing electricity from a specific wall outlet. Go to the circuit breaker panel for your home and check that the switch for that specific outlet is flipped on and activated.
If you’re not sure which switch is for that outlet, see if any switches are in the opposite direction from the others. Flip that one and check the outlet again. The switches usually have “on / off” text. The text should show if a switch is turned on or off.
If you’re unfamiliar or just don’t want to mess with circuit breakers and general electric maintenance, find an electrician. Don’t do this yourself – find a more experienced person to help you with this.
Charger Cable And Plug Damage
Follow the length of the charger cable for the Roomba Home Base and check for any damage to the wire. For example, bent or exposed wiring.
A faulty cable will not charge the Home Base effectively. That’ll cause your Roomba to malfunction when it comes to docking. Check the plug as well to see if it’s bent or damaged.
If the cable or plug is damaged, check if you’re still under warranty. Contact iRobot customer service to see if you can get it replaced or repaired.
Dusty Charging Contact Points
Sometimes with all the cleaning it does, it may just be that accumulated dust on the charging contact points. That can prevent your Roomba from docking and recharging properly.
For dirty contact points, unplug the Home Base from the wall socket. Next, use a dry cloth and wipe down the electronic contact points between the Roomba unit and the dock. Remove any pieces of dust and debris that you find on the contact points. Do the same thing for your Roomba unit as well.
For a more thorough clean, use electronic contact cleaner and a cloth to wipe down the contact points. This will ensure that your contact points are squeaky clean and working correctly.
Virtual walls are devices created by iRobot as an add-on device to their Roomba robot vacuums. Using infrared beams, they block entry to particular rooms or areas you don’t want your Roomba to enter and are pretty nifty little pieces of technology.
However, if virtual walls are placed between the Roomba and the Home Base, your Roomba won’t be able to cross the infrared beam and wander around aimlessly until the battery dies. You’ll sometimes have the same issues when WiFi connection issues.
If you own any virtual wall devices, double-check for any that’re placed in-between the Roomba and the Home Base. Remove the virtual wall device if there is any. Also remove any large physical object that will block your Roomba from accessing the Home Base to dock and recharge.
Apart from virtual walls, a Roomba’s path may also be blocked by physical objects – especially large ones that it can’t maneuver around.
Big objects placed near the Home base can affect the Roomba returning to the Base. The Roomba won’t be able to squeeze in between the gap and dock to recharge.
Reset The Roomba
As a last resort for when you’ve tried all of the above solutions to no effect: Reset your Roomba. Here’re general directions for how to do it.
- Plug the Home Base charger plug directly into the Roomba unit
- Hold down the CLEAN button for about 10 seconds
- Wait for the display to read “r 5 P” in a blue light
- Release the CLEAN button when you see the text
- Your Roomba will emit a beep to let you know that the reset has been successful
- Try to operate it again to see if it works normally now
Common Issues By Roomba Model
Roomba 614, 670, 671, 675, 690
The 600 series Roombas are older versions of robot vacuums. You may run into some issues if you’ve owned one for more than a few years. The latest model is the 675 and that should have the latest firmware and software. If you regularly maintain and clean your robot vacuum, you’ll be able to keep it running for a long time.
Roomba E5, Roomba 805, 890
These mid-tier Roombas work relatively well and there haven’t been any major issues reported by customers in recent years.
Roomba 960, 980, 985
Upgraded firmware and software means that the upper-range 900 series will last you a while before any issues occur.
Roomba i3, i3+, i4, i6+, i7, i7+, i8+, j7, j7+, s9, s9+
The latest range of Roomba models from iRobot features many technological advances, from the navigation technology to the smart sensors. There won’t be many issues with these models unless you have an unplugged or faulty Home Base as mentioned above. We don’t foresee any issues if you own any of these models.
If none of the above solutions work and your Roomba is still under warranty, contact iRobot customer service to see if they can help you further.
If you find major faults in your Roomba or your Home Base unit, quick fixes will only plug the leak. The best solution will be to find a replacement unit if you’re still under warranty.
One final note, if you see exposed wires don’t just use regular scotch tape. Bear in mind that using any kind of tape to fix electronics isn’t a great idea. They’ll pose a fire threat, so avoid using those as a quick fix.