Roomba Troubleshooting Guide
What to do when your Roomba Malfunctions?
Just like all appliances, Roombas are not invincible and time after time, your robot will face several malfunctions. Today, we are going to look at some of the major problems you will encounter and how to fix the problems.
But just before we dive deeper, you need to keep in mind that once you open your Roomba by yourself, the warranty becomes void. Second, while disassembling your Roomba may be very easy, assembling it is quite hard.
I say this because time and again, I come across frustrated homeowners who rant about how iRobot’s warranty policy is fake yet they are the ones who failed to comply with it.
Troubleshooting Guide: Charging & Battery Errors
One of the common problems Roomba owners face is with power. More often, you will find homeowners complaining about one thing or another about their Roomba’s charging system and battery. In this segment, we will look at some of the major problems and how to solve them.
For the record, there are 6 common errors that can be discerned by checking the number of blinks the robot shows or using the Smartphone App to diagnose the problem. So, without further ado, here are the common errors and fixes regarding charging and battery.
Charging Error 1 (Single Beep)
Even though it is categorized as an error, it isn’t actually caused by a malfunction but rather, the unavailability of the battery.
It occurs mostly to first time buyers who forget connecting the battery once they assemble the robot.
Charging Error 2
This error will manifest itself with two beeps and in most cases, it points to an overheating battery because of current above 1250 mA or a fake Roomba battery. Once you have confirmed this error code, unplug the robot from the mains and allow it to cool for like 3 hours or so. If you have just replaced the battery or you are not sure if it is authentic, you may need to check with iRobot if it is genuine. This error seems to be very common in the 500 series as well as the latermodels, especially if you swap the battery.
Charging Error 3
When you hear 3 beeps or you get a Charging Error 3 on your iRobot App, the most probable culprit is the failure of FET test. The first thing you should do when you encounter this error is to reset the unit and recharge it.
Charging Error 5
This is not really a charging error as it sounds but it is related to the power system. Normally, it affects first time buyers and is caused by a yellow strip that breaks the circuit. Once you find this error, reset the robot and it should solve the problem.
Charging Error 6
At times, the battery of your Roomba overheats to the point that it doesn’t charge anymore. It gives an error called ‘Error 6’ that means your battery is not charging because of overheating. In this case, just put it off and let it cool for around 3 hours preferably in a very cool environment. In most cases, the error will be solved for good but at times, it may persist and you’ll have to replace the battery.
Charging Error 7
This is not a very good sign and signals a defective battery that is not able to cool down properly. If you get this error several times, you might want to replace the defective battery.
Troubleshooting Guide: Operational Errors
This error is very common with the older models and is signaled by a single beep. In the event you encounter this error, go to your Roomba and lift it up to see what’s the holdup. In many occasions, the error is caused when the robot is on an uneven surface or is standing on an obstacle. Another culprit could be obstacles that have jammed the wheels. Place it on a flat surface and see if it moves fine. In case it doesn’t, try to roll the wheels; they should move freely.
If you have pets, especially long-haired species, this is a common error that is caused when the brushes are not able to turn. This error will always be raised by the sounding of two beeps and in select models, the sound ‘’Uh-Oh’’ will precede the beeps.
First, if it is a new unit, make sure the brushes or extractors were installed correctly. If all is okay, check if there is anything in the vacuum that could be causing the malfunction. If you have the 800 or 900 series, a simple fix will be cleaning the debris extractors thoroughly to remove the tangled hair. In the older models, open the unit and clean the entire brush cage and brushes as well before restarting it. Here is a video of how to solve Error 2.
This error is quite similar to Error 1 only that in this case, it is one of the side wheels that is stuck for one reason or another. It is manifested by 5 beeps and as usual, the beeps may be preceded by the ‘Uh-Oh’ sound in select models. Lift it up after resetting and check the wheels for anything that may stop its movement.
Personally, I consider this error an emergency as it involves the stairs. Once you get the error message, quickly find your Roomba because one of the reasons for the error is that it could be desperately stuck hanging on the stairs. The other reason could be the Roomba’s cliff sensors are dirty. If you find it somewhere safe with this error, please uses a cloth to clean the sensors and the problem will have been solved.
This is another common malfunction that is concerned with the wheels not moving. While the other similar errors may be caused by obstacles, Error 7 is caused by tangling and debris that make the wheels immobile. At times, the front caster wheel is the problem because of dirt. Here’s a video of how to clean caster wheels.
If this doesn’t work, then the wheels may either be deformed or worn out so a replacement is needed.
This is another error that requires you to be on red alert as the Roomba may be stuck somewhere. Here, it is most likely that the front wheel is unable to rotate for some reason or is jammed – at times, it may be both wheels stuck. Immediately you get this error, reset the Roomba and check it beneath to ascertain whether the wheels can roll freely. Also, make sure there’s nothing that can hinder the free movement of the wheels.
This error got me quite confused at first as its cause is quite similar to Error 6 in that the sensors seem to malfunction. However, in this case, it is the bumpers that may have the problem. Make sure to clean them all round and ensure they are not compressed in. In the event it is dirty or compressed, press the bumper inside slowly and make sure you feel the reflex and also for any debris trapped to pop out.
This is one problem that is common especially in the 900 series. I have never experienced it in my house so one of the culprits I suspected was the navigation system. It is only when I narrowed down my diagnosis that I discovered that it happens mostly in large rooms where the system doesn’t recognize any obstacles. A quick workaround is to use Virtual Walls to at least partition the floor.
This is another error that can be quite confusing because its manifestation also points to a problem with sensors. Even though at times it may just be dirt on the bumpers or directly on the sensors, in worst case scenarios the sensors may be worn out. If you face this problem, first clean the bumper and sensors and even blow the entire unit. If the error persists, you might have to replace the sensors.
This is a pretty new one and is common in the 900 series. This error is caused by the absence of the bin. If you encounter it to make sure the bin is present and correctly fixed.
This is a very weird and also rare operational error that mostly points at light inadequacy or at times too many obstacles. In short, the Roomba can’t execute the cleaning procedure so you must first ensure there is adequate light and there is not too much clutter in the rooms. For some models, like 500, and select 700 series may also show this error when the floor area is too large with no obstacles in its view.
Roomba FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. My Roomba is not moving at all after pressing CLEAN. It is on with full charge but there’s no movement, what could be the problem?
There could be a lot of reasons that might be causing this. Here are some of the possible causes and solutions
First, it is possible that a wheel may be broken. Examine all the wheels and if all is good, turn to the internal wheel components and see if there is some debris that has jammed the wheels.
Another possible reason would be a full bin especially for older models than t don’t have a bin indicator.
2. My robot vacuum’s performance has suddenly gone down and is not thoroughly cleaning floors as it used to.
A lot of homeowners often find themselves in this situation but the problem is more of maintenance as opposed to malfunctions. If your robot seems to just pass on the floors and coming back to an empty bin, then there are a few parts you need to consider replacing.
If you have not changed your filters, maybe its time you consider buying a replacement because they get worn out very fast especially when used for daily cleaning. If you have just replaced the filters or you can’t get new filters, use compressed air to clean the entire filter system, and vacuum.
The brushes may also be the issue so if you haven’t replaced them in a while, it could be the main culprit. You can also use compressed air to clean it, this will at least boost its performance for a short while.
Another reason for dismal performance would be a dead battery. Remember, suction power highly depend on the battery so when it is less powerful, the suction power goes down. Consider replacing your battery if all the other solutions fail and most importantly if the battery shows signs of fading.
3. My Roomba is moving in a strange and very funny pattern. What’s the matter?
This is a rare occurrence but one that makes homeowners desperate. My friends have called me severally complaining that their robots had gone mad. In all these instances, I found debris in the wheel axles. So, thoroughly checking the wheel system will solve the problem.
4. Help! My Roomba goes off before reaching the charging base.
The problem of your vacuum cleaner is definitely the battery, The little power that is left for enabling it to reach the power source is used up before it reaches the charging station. The only solution to this is buying a new genuine battery.
Another reason would be the Home base is too far or there is too much clutter on its way to the charging base. Ensure the distance is just short and there is no heavy traffic on the way.
5. My robot can’t navigate or locate Home base without hitting obstacles. What do I do?
At times, the system gets jammed and the Roomba may start behaving funny. To solve this problem, just reset the vacuum cleaner and it should go back to normal.
Have you ever experienced any of these errors? What was the problem? How did it go?
Please tell us in the comments section. Also, if you have a problem with your Roomba, talk to Dr Robotbox and he might give you a solution!