Roombas are smart devices that can navigate through rooms and return to their charging stations. This works if everything goes according to plan. However, technology doesn’t always work exactly as planned.
Your Roomba might have difficulty finding its way home from other rooms or to the dock. This is often caused by someone moving the Roomba while it was cleaning. It may believe that the dock or another room is inaccessible.
How to troubleshoot a Roomba which won’t dock
1. Roomba’s Base Must Have Power
The base communicates with your Roomba to locate its home and handle the docking process. Your Roomba will search for the base until it is gone if it isn’t available.
The light on your charging base is lit by a bulb. The light should be on when the charging base is plugged in or when Roomba docks with the base. If it does not, it means that the base is not receiving power.
You could try moving your Roomba from one outlet to another. An outlet tester, or any other portable device that has an on/off signal (such as a lamp), can be used to test the power outlet.
You can buy a replacement dock if the outlet isn’t working. These docks are much cheaper than replacing your Roomba. The 500, 600, and 700-series docks are available here.
2. Do not Move Roomba’s Base Home
Roomba keeps track of the location of its home base. Roombas of older age expect to start at their home base, then return to that location. New Roombas will place their charging dock onto their smart maps.
Roomba docks when it is ready. It will search nearby if the base isn’t there.
Roomba can find the base if it is in the same place. You will need to manually place Roomba onto the base if you want to move it further away.
Once Roomba has found the new base location, it will be able to remember it and update its map accordingly.
3. Clean Roomba’s Charging Contacts and Sensors
This is the moment we know the outlet and charging dock work. Next, we need to verify the connection between the vacuum and the dock.
Your robot vacuum must have two things to dock correctly.
The charging contacts must form a tight connection to the contacts on your charging dock.
The proximity sensors and infrared lamps must be able to detect the docking station and align themselves with it.
It is easier to reach the charging contacts, so let’s start from there. Look for the two rectangular metallic metals located just in front of the battery compartment. To gently clean the contacts, use a microfiber cloth. You can clean them further with alcohol wipes if they are still grimy.
You will need to remove the front bumper from your vacuum to access the sensors and lights. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe them off and compressed air can get rid of any remaining dust.
4. Remove obstacles near the base
Roomba can be distracted by any objects that are near your home base. You should not place furniture, boxes, or other objects within a few meters of the base.
Also, the base must be placed on a flat surface that is not in contact with any rugs or carpets. Although Roomba is capable of handling transitions in most cases they can cause problems during docking. Make sure the base is flat against a wall so that it doesn’t move during docking.
Finally, make sure that Roomba’s base does not receive direct sunlight from a window. Roomba’s Infrared Sensors can be sensitive to sunlight.
5. Take Virtual Walls Out of the Dock
Roomba’s docking with its base is made possible by infrared signals. Roomba’s virtual walls may interfere with this signal, which can cause Roomba to lose track of its base.
Since the introduction of no-go zones, virtual walls have become less useful. For older Roombas, however, ensure that the Virtual Walls are at least eight feet from the base.
6. Clean the Charging Dock
The charging dock doesn’t pick up dirt and should not be vacuumed as often as a vacuum. However, the charging dock will collect dust over time and this can cause damage to the sensor window.
A shiny window extends around the charging dock as a stripe. This is the location of the dock’s sensors. Your robot vacuum must be able to locate the dock and align it with its sensor.
During cleaning, you don’t have to expose the sensors. Simply take your microfiber cloth to clean the sensor window. If the cloth isn’t picking up all the dirt, you can use alcohol wipes.
7. Is Roomba near your home?
Older Roombas should start close to their homes as that is how they will find them later. This is not important for younger Roombas unless you have recently moved the dock.
Place your Roomba directly in front of the home base, and tell it to dock. Wait for the Roomba to charge if it docks correctly. Next, start a cleaning job right from the base. Hopefully, any problems that remain should be fixed by the above steps.
8. Reboot your Roomba
We’ve already tried to fix the hardware and accessories of your Roomba. The problem could be in the software.
Rebooting a Roomba takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless. You won’t even lose your device settings.
These are the steps to follow for your Roomba device. After it is done, you will need to repeat the pairing and Wi-Fi setup process. Once that’s completed, you can charge your Roomba like normal.
Reboot Roombas (s-series and i-series)
For 20 seconds, press and hold the Clean button.
Once you see the clockwise swirl on your Roomba’s indicator light, release the button. This is the signal that the reboot process has begun.
Wait for the light to stop spinning, which will indicate that the reboot has ended.
Reboot older Roombas (700 series, 800 series, 900 series)
For 10 seconds, press and hold the Clean button.
When you hear a tone, release the button. This is the signal that the reboot process has begun.
Wait for the tone to end, which will indicate that the reboot is complete.
If that fails, you may need to factory reset the Roomba. However, before you do that I recommend the following step.
9. Roomba Support
Roomba can help you service your vacuum or replace it under warranty. Roomba will require the receipt.
If your vacuum is not in good condition, chances are you won’t get a replacement. It’s worth making a quick call to see if it is possible. Worst-case scenario, a Roomba replacement is cheaper than ever.
We hope you find this article on Roomba won’t dock useful and informative enough to solve your problem with the Roomba robot vacuum. You may now be able to identify the cause of the unit’s poor performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does Roomba take to find its home base?
What is the time it takes for Roomba to return to its Home Base? Official Roomba owners’ guides don’t provide a time estimate. Some customers have suggested that a Roomba takes between 40 and 60 minutes back to its Home Base.
How does a Roomba locate its dock?
Consistent Wi-Fi coverage will enable your robot to access information via the iRobot(r), HOME App. It will also ensure that your robot can find its home when it returns to the Home Base(r). Your robot will have sufficient signal strength if your mobile device is connected to Wi-Fi in the area.
Why does my Roomba not return to her home base?
If Roomba(r), which is being picked up during a cleaning task, is not able to locate the Home Base (r) when the Dock button has been pressed unless it is placed in front of the Home Base (r) within 6 ft (1.8m) of the Home Base.
Is it possible to pick up my Roomba from upstairs and move it upstairs?
My two-floor house also has a Roomba. It can go up and down without any difficulty. It’s a good idea to bring the docking station along with you to change floors, as it will attempt to return to the docking station if its battery is low.