With the breakneck pace of innovation in consumer electronics, we now have access to exceptional technology that makes daily living easy and convenient and provides practical solutions to real-world problems. The iRobot Roomba has caught on to a significant degree over the past few years, sparking an interest in robotic vacuum cleaners across the world.
The Roomba provides unmatched convenience, allowing you to replace your manual cleaning duties with automatic, intelligent cleaning that you can put on a schedule and set and forget. If you are a satisfied Roomba user, you will surely attest to the quality-of-life improvement such a device can bring to your daily life.
Based on this, your everyday use of the Roomba might become hampered if your unit encounters issues.
A common issue that Roomba users sometimes face is the problem of the Roomba not charging. Since the Roomba relies on its internal battery to operate, a Roomba that is not charging is essentially useless.
Taking this into account, there are a few things you can do to diagnose and solve the problem on your own before having to contact support. Try these steps one by one and see what works.
Follow this guide to fix the problem of your Roomba failing to charge.
First of all, this is how you tell if your Roomba is charging or not.
There is a small green LED light on the Roomba base station that is supposed to light up while the unit is charging. If your Roomba is properly docked and the charging station is powered up, but the light is still off, you can tell that there is a problem with the charging.
To understand the issue, you need to remember that there are many components to this puzzle.
- The Roomba unit actually has a built-in battery and it connects to the docking station via contacts on the unit.
- The docking station is connected to a power supply and is supposed to charge the actual unit.
If your Roomba is not charging, these are the components that you need to look at and troubleshoot.
The first and obvious place to check is your docking station. This is what is connected to wall power and provides power to the Roomba unit once it is docked. If for some reason the base station is not receiving power, the vacuum will not charge either.
Unplug the base station from the wall and plug it back in. Check to see if the power LED is glowing for a few seconds. If it’s not, you can try another outlet in your home to see if it is an issue with the outlet itself.
If the unit does not receive power from any outlet, it might be an issue with the power cable. Change the power cable with a replacement and see if the unit works as intended.
For the Roomba to charge properly, the contacts located on the body of the Roomba need to come in proper contact with the charging contacts on the base station. Moreover, when your Roomba is docked, there can be a few issues that can prevent this from happening.
First, you need to make sure that your base station is perfectly level and is standing on a solid surface. If it’s not level or stable, it can affect the docking position and prevent the contacts from making a solid connection.
If needed, you can relocate the base station to a part of your home that is solid, flat, and reliable. It’s not a salient idea, for example, to keep it on top of soft carpet where it can become unstable.
While you are at it, also check the wheels of the Roomba. Over time, with a lot of use, the wheels can accumulate dirt and dust, which can alter their relative heights.
This can make the unit wobbly and disturb the balance of the unit while docked. This prevents the contacts from making a solid connection and can cause the unit to stop charging. Clean the wheels thoroughly until they are free of any accumulated dirt and try again.
This is the most important troubleshooting step you can try if your Roomba is not charging.
In most cases, the culprit would be the contacts that facilitate the charging getting dirty over time and preventing a solid connection. You need to carefully look at the charging contacts on both sides, the Roomba and the base station, and make sure that they are clean and shiny.
First, disconnect the base station from the wall power. Then, you need to locate the charging contacts on the Roomba as well as the base station. You should be able to easily locate the two contacts on the Roomba, where they are located near the front of the unit at the bottom.
Similarly, there will be two contacts on the base station. When the Roomba is docked, these contacts form a connection and help charge the Roomba.
To clean the contacts, you can use a sponge or cloth. Slightly wet the cloth and wipe the contacts down until you see all signs of dust or dirt removed completely. Do not use any chemicals or soap.
When the contacts under the Roomba are clean, move on to those on the base station. The goal is to end up with the connectors looking clean and shiny.
When done, leave the units alone for a few minutes so that the contacts can dry out thoroughly. Then, reconnect the base station to wall power and dock the Roomba to see if it charges. If it does, then your issue is resolved.
*Some users have also found that a fine grit sandpaper works perfectly to clean debris and corrosion from the contacts. Of course, you will want to be gentle enough to avoid causing any damage.
Since this is usually what causes charging issues, it’s very likely that this simple step will take care of the issue for you. If not, you can go on and try the next steps of this guide.
Another component that can cause the Roomba to stop charging is the battery. The battery inside the main Roomba unit is what gets charged by the base station while docked and enables the Roomba to operate.
If your Roomba is not charging, it might be the case that the battery is not properly seated or has moved around so that it is no longer making a solid connection.
If your Roomba has fallen or taken a hard bump recently (like food prices in 2022), it’s very likely that the battery has been displaced. To get your Roomba charging again, you have to check and reseat the battery.
- First, you need to access the battery. To do this, turn over the Roomba and detach the edge sweeping brush. You can move the brush head to reach the screw that holds it in and unscrew it to remove it.
- Then, you will be able to remove the screws that hold the bottom cover in place. Depending on your model, you might have to take out two or more screws. Consult your manual for the exact schematics.
When you have the bottom compartment open, you can hold the two pull tabs at the ends of your battery and pull it out of the Roomba.
- You can then clean the battery contacts. It’s safe to use a cloth, a sponge, or a toothbrush for this along with a little bit of isopropyl alcohol.
- Similarly, you can also clean the battery contacts within the Roomba using the same method.
- Make sure that the contacts are perfectly clean and wait for them to dry.
Then, you can replace the battery inside the Roomba and reassemble the unit replacing the cover and brush. Finally, dock the Roomba and see if the charging issue has been resolved.
Sometimes, it can be a software issue like corruption or an unfinished firmware update that can cause your Roomba to stop charging. In that case, performing a factory reset on your Roomba should be able to take care of the problem.
The factory reset process resets the internal memory of the Roomba and wipes all your personal preferences and settings, returning the unit to new factory condition.
Depending on your model, the process might vary. In some models, you have to hold down the clean button while in others you need to hold down a combination of buttons to reset the product.
Refer to your manual to know the right process for your model. Once the Roomba is reset and freshly booted up, try to dock it again to see if it charges.
Thankfully, a failed battery doesn’t spell doom for your Roomba. For a (relatively) inexpensive price, you can purchase a replacement battery for your Roomba.
There are a couple of important items to consider:
- First, be certain that a failed battery is the reason your Roomba isn’t charging. You need to diagnose this properly before spending money on replacement parts. (If your Roomba has no status light when placed on the charging base with the battery in, but has a status light when on the base without the battery installed, your battery is likely toast).
- Verify that the replacement battery is compatible with your Roomba model.
- Decide whether you want to pay extra for an authentic iRobot battery, or save money with a generic battery which may or may not be lower quality.
Replace Charging Base (Home Base/Clean Base)
Similar to the above point, iRobot does a pretty good job of offering replacement parts. If the charging station (Home Base or Clean Base) has failed, you can find a replacement for it.
- If the charging base is receiving power but no light turns on when your Roomba is docked, this is a likely indication that the base is at fault.
- As mentioned above, verify compatibility with your Roomba model before purchasing any replacement parts
- Lastly, you can purchase authentic iRobot parts or generic compatible parts — consider the price difference and makes this decision according to your preferences
If your Roomba has recently started having charging issues, you can try the fixes detailed in this guide to diagnose and solve the issue.
If all else fails, you always have the option to fall back to Roomba support and think about repairing or replacing your device. Too bad we cannot do that with our Iron Man 3 DVD but that’s another topic!
With that said, one of these fixes will likely tackle the problem and get your Roomba in working order again. A DIY fix also saves you time and money which is awesome in this day and age!
Teardown Discussion (for Advanced DIYers)
For anybody that is still reading but isn’t willing to give up on their Roomba, here is a complete teardown of a Roomba. Ultimately, anything on a robot vacuum can be repaired or replaced if you have the time and skills.