How Long to Charge New Roomba Battery?

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Roomba battery life has always been a source of endless discussion among robovac enthusiasts. While the experiences in using the Roomba vary among users, a common problem shared by many users is the battery performance. 

Different battery problems can arise at any time. Sometimes, the battery doesn’t hold a charge or the juice runs out during the cleaning cycle. Worse, the battery needs to be replaced ahead of its end of life. 

Some battery problems are caused by the lack of proper maintenance, but oftentimes, they are caused by the lack of understanding of how Roomba batteries work. Because no one reads the manual anymore, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Roomba battery to help you troubleshoot when the need arises.

How long should I charge my new Roomba battery?

There’s a tendency for users to use the Roomba immediately out of sheer excitement. Although Roomba works straight out of the box, it must be charged overnight before use. This only applies for the first use. The normal charging time for subsequent use is 120 minutes (2 hours).

If the Roomba model you have uses a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, you can use it straight away after waking it up on the Home Base. Roomba s, i, e, and 900 series models come with Lithium-ion battery, while older models use Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery.

How do I know when my Roomba needs a new battery?

Roomba run time is up to 2 hours, however, the run time may vary depending on the cleaning preferences, the type of surface, and the Roomba model.  If you are running Roomba on a thick carpet, the runtime is significantly less because it requires more power to weave through the carpet.

As the battery ages, the run time decreases. You may need to replace the battery if your Roomba is performing way below the standard runtime between charges. 

How do I know if my Roomba is charging? (What are the indicator lights doing?)

Roombas generally have the same behavior when it comes to battery status. Pressing the CLEAN button enables you to view the battery’s status. 

Solid Green means the battery is fully charged.

Amber means the battery is partially discharged.

Pulsing Amber means the battery is charging.

Solid Red means the battery is nearly discharged.

Flashing Red means the battery is discharged.

It is normal for some Roomba models to turn off battery indicators after a few seconds of charging to save energy. The battery will continue to charge even if you don’t see any of the color indicators.

There will be times when the battery is significantly discharged, which would prompt the Roomba to go on a special refresh charge cycle. For the 900 series, the refresh cycle runs for 16 hours. You’ll know when the charging cycle is complete when the indicator shows a solid green light. 

Why won’t my Roomba hold a charge?

We wish there is a quick answer to this question, but the truth is that there are different factors at play that are causing the Roomba battery to not hold a charge. We’ll cover some of the most common reasons and their corresponding fixes.

  1. Charging contact is dirty. If your Roomba has run up some cleaning mileage, it could have accumulated some dirt and debris that got stuck on the battery contacts. Use a slightly dampened towel or melamine foam to remove the gunk stuck on the contact plates of the Home Base and the Roomba itself. 
  1. Debris buildup in the caster wheel. This is the part of the vacuum that can accumulate hair, dirt, and debris fast. When there is a buildup, the robot will have a hard time connecting to the charging contacts. You’ll know that the caster wheel needs cleaning when it does not rotate, it squeaks, or it falls off.

For optimal performance, clean the debris on the front wheel of the Roomba regularly. Remove the debris from the robot wheel slot and the offending hair that wraps around the axle. Rotate the wheel by hand and if rotation is smooth, it’s good to go.

  1. Battery is too warm or too cold. The Roomba should be charged at room temperature. Avoid charging the battery near a heating vent or baseboard heater. Also, do not charge the battery in excessively cold or hot environments.
  1. Damage to the charger or Home Base line cord. If the battery still does not charge even after plugging into a different outlet, it’s possible that there is damage to the charger or the Home Base itself.
  1. Counterfeit batteries. More often than not, charging errors occur when replacement batteries are counterfeit. Always use authentic Roomba batteries to avoid charging problems.

As a last resort, before throwing in the towel, you may be able to reactivate the Roomba once it is completely drained. 

  • Remove the battery from the robot and leave it for several minutes. 
  • Replace the battery, and then turn on the Roomba until the battery is completely discharged.  When the battery is completely discharged, charge it for 3 days (72 hours). 
  • Fully discharge the battery and repeat this procedure. If the battery runs longer than before, repeat the drain and charge process to extend the battery life. If the run cycle is significantly shorter, it’s time to change the battery.

If none of the suggested actions work, it’s time to wave the white flag and contact iRobot Customer Care. Your Roomba may have broken parts that need replacement.

How do I reset my Roomba?

Resetting the Robot

There may be issues with your Roomba that may be fixed by simply rebooting the robot or force closing the iRobot Home app. 

Different Roomba models have different ways of rebooting:

For Roomba with Dock and Spot Buttons (e, 500, 600, and 800 Series)

  • Press and hold the Dock and Spot button for about 10 seconds.
  • Upon the release of the button, the reboot tone will play.

For Roomba with the CLEAN button 

  • Roomba s and i Series: Press and hold the CLEAN button for about 20 seconds. The light ring around the button will swirl for about 90 seconds, after which the reboot procedure is completed.
  • Roomba 700, 800, and 900 Series: Press and hold the CLEAN button for about 10 seconds. The reboot tone will play when the button is released.
  • Braava Jet M Series: Press and hold the CLEAN button for about 20 seconds. The light ring will swirl clockwise when you release the button. It takes about 90 seconds before the robot completes the reboot.

Refresh Charge Cycle 

When you notice that your Roomba’s cleaning cycles are starting to be less efficient, the battery may be discharging at a faster rate than normal. This means your Roomba is showing signs of battery depletion. For this, Roomba has a battery refresh charge procedure that may refresh the battery and extend its battery life.

A refresh charge is automatically initiated when the Roomba detects that the battery is significantly discharged. It cannot be started manually. 

You will know when it is in a 16-hour refresh charge mode when you see the amber light pulsing. This refresh cycle only works in Roomba with Ni-MH batteries. It does not apply to Roomba with Li-Ion batteries.

Can you replace a Roomba battery?

Yes, you can replace a Roomba battery. There are various battery replacement options for Roomba available on the market. But not all batteries are good; some may even reduce the life of your robot.  Make sure to purchase authentic replacement batteries to prevent issues a few years down the line.

It is always good to take care of the original battery as it can last for many cycles before it needs any replacement. A Roomba battery can last for hundreds of cleaning cycles if properly maintained. Here are 5 best maintenance tips for your battery that can extend the Roomba battery life:

  • Use only the iRobot battery
  • Use the Roomba battery frequently because the robot is powered by a rechargeable battery, which means it will give more cleaning cycles if used continuously.
  • Keep the Roomba plugged in when you are not using it. You can connect the Roomba to the charger for continuous charging without the Home Base.
  • Charge and store your Roomba in a cool and dry place.
  • Regularly clean the robot to prevent buildup of debris, hair, and gunk.

How do I replace a Roomba battery? Step by step guide for the 800 series

Here’s how to remove and replace the battery for the Roomba 800 series.

Step 1: Make sure the Roomba is turned off. To replace the battery, turn the robot upside down.

Step 2:  Using a screwdriver, remove the two screws that hold the battery cover in place and set it aside.

Step 3:  Remove the cover and gently lift the old battery and replace with the new battery with the iRobot logo facing up.

Step 4:  Put the battery cover and make sure everything is aligned before tightening the screws.

Step 5:  Charge the Roomba overnight. Once fully charged, recharging should only take 2 hours.

This procedure also applies to Roomba 700 and 900 series.