Roomba Dies Before Docking

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Roombas are awesome. They take over a large chunk of the daily cleaning ritual so you can focus on other stuff. They also break, just like any other electronic gadget, and they’re flipping expensive to fix.

Sometimes, there are also some basic things that you just don’t know and don’t want to spend the time figuring out, so you’d rather ask Google.

In this article, we look at some common questions that you might have relating to the docking process, such as my Roomba dies before docking.

If you are having any sort of Roomba docking problems read on for some easy fixes.

Why won’t my Roomba dock (common problems and fixes)?

There could be any number of reasons why a Roomba won’t dock or won’t return to home base when it’s done with the cleaning cycle. One such a reason is damage to the charger line. If, upon inspection, you find some damage, you may have to send in your Roomba for repairs.

It could also be that your docking station isn’t properly plugged in. When you plug the charger into a wall outlet, the power indicator should illuminate to a solid green. If it doesn’t, your wall outlet, the plug or the charging unit could be damaged. The easiest to check is the wall outlet. If you plug the charger into a different wall outlet and everything works, it’s your wall outlet that’s at fault. If you have a separate charger, try using that instead to see if the problem gets solved. The last thing to check is the actual home base.

Perhaps your charger isn’t properly inserted into the Home Base. Wiggle the plug to check that it’s properly inserted. The power indicator on the Home Base should blink about once every four seconds. It doesn’t stay illuminated all the time in order to conserve power.

Infrared interference from Virtual Walls, Virtual Wall Lighthouses or other Home Bases could also cause your Roomba not to get back to the Home Base. Check that you don’t have any of those within 2.4 meters of the Home Base. Similarly, clutter or furniture could also prevent your Roomba from getting home. Check that there’s nothing lying around on the floor within 2.4 meters of the Home Base.

If something, like a sticker, some tape or even paint, gets stuck on the bumper of the Home Base, your Roomba won’t be able to dock. Check that the bumper is clean and try again. Similarly, debris could build up on the charging contacts of both the Home Base and the Roomba unit. Wipe down both with a dry, clean cloth and see if that solves the problem.

Sometimes, the Roomba can’t find the Home Base again at the end of a mission, especially when cleaning multiple rooms. First, you need to verify that the Roomba can actually dock. To do this, you would place the Roomba within 2 meters of the Home Base and press Dock. If this works, it means your little dust gobbler is getting lost in your home. To remedy this, use Virtual Wall Lighthouses to help it find its way, or use Virtual Walls to set a smaller space for it to clean. That is, if your model is compatible with those.

Lastly, your Roomba unit has a little charging port that you can use instead of the docking station. When you’re using this port, your Roomba won’t dock, because it can’t handle a charge coming from two sources. Clever little one! Sometimes, though, some dust and nonsense gets into this charging port, making the Roomba think that it’s already on charge, even when it’s not. To remedy this, you need to get the dust out of this port. Some compressed air or even your lungs should get this sorted out.

Here are some other things to note:

For your Roomba to find the Home Base again at the end of a cleaning session, it must either start the session at the Home Base or see the Home Base at some point during the session. If you move your Roomba around during a cleaning session, it won’t be able to find the Home Base, even when you press Dock, unless you place it within 1.8 meters of the Home Base, actually facing the Home Base. You went and confused the poor thing. Shame on you!

How to manually dock a Roomba?

There are two easy ways in which you can manually dock a Roomba. The first is to literally pick it up and move it to the Home Base. Gently slide it onto the Home Base in such a way that the Home Base charging contacts are touching the Roomba charging points.

The other way is so easy, it feels like a cheat. On your Roomba unit, press the Home or Dock button. It should return to base and slide right up on the charging points. Easy peasy.

Can you reset a Roomba?

You can indeed. Press “Clean” for 3 seconds in order to wipe out the previous job.

Why would you want to reset your Roomba, though? Well, sometimes the cleaning cycles become a bit less effective, indicating that your battery is getting a bit tired. It needs a proper reset, kind of like your laptop sometimes just works so much better after you restart it. This process might differ slightly between different models, so we picked the procedure for the 500 and 600 series:

–          Turn on your Roomba. Just press the “Clean” button.

–          Simultaneously press and hold the “Spot” and “Dock” buttons for 10 seconds.

–          Release the buttons simultaneously. Your Roomba will make its normal startup sounds.

–          Charge the Roomba for at least 12 hours or until the green light at the “Clean” button lights up.

How long should a Roomba battery last (in terms of years and months not minutes)?

Roomba batteries are good for about 400 charges. This means that, if you’re letting your Roomba run once a day, every day, it will last about a year and two months. That’s not a lot, unfortunately. There are ways to extend your battery life, though. Here are some basics:

–          Reset your battery often (refer to the previous question for a method)

–          Clean the brushes. If dirt builds up in your Roomba’s brushes, it will have to work harder to clean your home, using way more power than necessary and shortening your battery life in the process.

–          Charge often, use often. Because Roomba batteries are nickel-based, they require regular loading and unloading. For this reason, it’s best to keep your Roomba on charge when you’re not using it and to use it often. If you’re planning on not using it for a few days, don’t leave it on charge, though.

–          Exhaust the battery. The type of battery in your Roomba needs to be drained often. To do this, simply let it clean until the battery runs empty, then charge it until full. Do this regularly and your Roomba will keep going on the same battery for much longer.

–          Don’t overheat. This goes for all electronics. Make sure that your Roomba stays away from direct sunlight and other heat sources, since overheating will definitely shorten the battery life.

–          Vacation mode. If you’re planning on being away for a while, you probably don’t want – or need – your Roomba to run its regular schedule, right? So, before you go, charge it until full, then remove the battery. Store the battery and the unit separately. When you get back, replace the battery and charge it again until full. Now, allow it to clean until the battery runs flat. When all of this is done, you can return to your normal cleaning routine.

Can my Roomba be docked via the app?

In short, yes. In order to get your robot to dock via the app, press CLEAN in the app. This will pause the robot’s cleaning cycle, after which you can follow the in-app instructions to get your robot back to Home Base. Nifty.

Where to place my Roomba dock (good and bad locations)?

Your Roomba dock or Home Base is a really cool gadget, allowing your Roomba to automatically recharge. Nice. So, just where should you place this awesome thing?

First off, Roombas often get lost if they can’t find the Home Base or if they can’t get around clutter in order to reach it. So, don’t place it in a cluttered area. Also, don’t place it in a tiny corner, like the cupboard under the stairs. You need about 1.8 – 2.4 meters of clear space around the dock, depending on the model. This means you would probably place it against the wall in the hallway or in a large, open room in your home.

The Home Base should also be positioned on a flat, firm area, so not on the rug near the front door. Maybe it’s also a good idea to avoid the flagstones near the fireplace.

Roombas can take a tumble down the stairs, especially if they’re trying to find home base and not really paying attention to their environment, so don’t place your home base at the top of those stairs.

How to send Roomba home using Alexa?

Alexa is your bestie at home. We get it. And she’s bossy too, telling your pet Roomba what to do and when to do it. So, can Alexa send your Roomba to its room when it misbehaves? Yes, she can! Simply say “Alexa, have Roomba go home.” Super easy!