irobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Charging system

A Roomba must be charged in order to function properly, especially in larger rooms. They last long enough on a charge to clean a room before returning to their charging station, but what do you do if you can’t charge it in the first place?

Clean the charging contacts on both the charging station and the Roomba itself if your Roomba isn’t charging or isn’t charging completely. Given that we’re talking about a vacuum, these are prone to becoming filthy.

We’ll go over several charging-related issues that a Roomba can encounter and how to troubleshoot them. If you want more information on each solution, keep reading.

Roomba Wont Charge or Won’t Charge Fully
Roomba Wont Charge or Won’t Charge Fully

ROOMBA WON’T CHARGE: CAUSES/HOW TO FIX

If your Roomba is not charging, the first thing you should do is reset the device to factory settings. It’s nothing more than a software bug when an electronic’s charging logic becomes finicky. Before moving on to other things, a hard reset is a good troubleshooting method.

Different models will have a different method, and on Wi-Fi-enabled models, you can simply do it from the app. If you want to do it on the Roomba itself, here are the instructions from iRobot’s support page for the various models:

  • s Series/i Series: Press Home+Spot Clean+CLEAN buttons until the light running around the CLEAN button starts flashing.
  • On the e Series Roombas: Press Home+Spot Clean+CLEAN buttons for 20 seconds.
  • On the 900 Series Roomba: Press+Dock+Spot Clean+CLEAN buttons down until all the LEDs activate.
  • On the Wi-Fi Connected 600 & 800 Series Robots: Press Dock+Spot Clean+CLEAN buttons down until you hear a beep.
  • On the Roomba Combo: Open the lid and locate the Reset button. It will be located near the power button. Push down the Reset button for at least ten seconds.

CLEANING THE CHARGING CONTACTS

Next, during a cleaning session, Roombas pick up a lot of dust, dirt, and debris, especially if the floor hasn’t been vacuumed in a while. Because Roombas are low to the ground, debris accumulates on the device as it picks up items.

Roombas have a charging contact at the bottom for charging, and if it becomes dirty, electricity will not be able to pass through. You should also keep in mind that the charging base will get dirty, so both should be cleaned on a regular basis for optimal charging performance.

This is something that many new Roombas discover. It’s easy to believe they’re completely hands-free machines. Nonetheless, they require regular maintenance, just like a regular vacuum, if not more so due to the increased complexity of these devices.

Both charging contacts can be cleaned with lightly dampened melamine foam. Once you’re satisfied that it’s clean enough, try charging it again. The problem should be resolved, but if it isn’t, it could be the result of a faulty charging base, charging circuit, or a bad battery. It’s extremely unlikely that it’s a hardware issue, but it is possible, and you’ll need to contact iRobot about getting the device serviced.

Alternative Video: Roomba Wont Charge

Roomba Wont Charge

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ROOMBA WON’T CHARGE FULLY: CAUSES/HOW TO FIX

If your Roomba only charges partially, it is possible that the charging contacts need to be cleaned. Clean the charging contacts on the Roomba and the Home base with lightly dampened melamine foam.

To put it simply, a Roomba that is only partially charging indicates that the contacts aren’t dirty enough to prevent charging entirely; however, it struggles to get a consistent flow of electricity.

HOW OLD IS YOUR ROOMBA?

You should also consider the age of your Roomba. The first model was released in 2002, so we’re talking about a long time span in which someone could have a Roomba that is 3 months old or 10 years old. If your Roomba is an older model, the battery may not be able to hold the charge it once did.

This is due to the fact that lithium-ion batteries are only rated for a limited number of charge cycles ranging from 300 to 500. As a device ages, it will eventually outperform this rating and begin to degrade in battery life. Unless the device is particularly old and heavily used, this is not immediately noticeable.

If the correct battery is available for purchase, you should be able to replace the battery in your older Roomba. We do, however, recommend looking into some of the newer models that include Wi-Fi connectivity. The Roomba 675 is a good entry-level model that won’t break the bank. In short, it is charging fully in this case, but only to the capacity of the battery.

ROOMBA CHARGE DOESN’T LAST: CAUSES/HOW TO FIX

If your Roomba’s charge suddenly drains rapidly, it is most likely not due to a faulty battery; rather, the battery drainage logic has become faulty. To resolve the issue, you can perform a factory reset on your Roomba. From iRobot’s support page, here are the instructions for the various models. If you want to stay on this page, you can refer to the first section of this article.

Resetting will generally resolve the issue on current models because they aren’t old enough for the battery to have depreciated to the point where you notice less battery capacity. If you do happen to have a faulty battery, iRobot has thankfully made it simple to replace it. Here’s a video that shows the process on the 600 series:

Roomba Wont Charge
Roomba Wont Charge

ROOMBA CHARGER LIGHT WON’T STAY ON: CAUSES/HOW TO FIX

Roombas, like most electronics, provide feedback to the user that the device is charging. Otherwise, unless you return after a certain amount of time, you won’t know.

This is true for the Roomba charging station, but if you enable the energy-saving feature on your charger, the light that indicates that everything is working goes out after 4 seconds.

To check if your Roomba is charging properly, press the “CLEAN” button and look at the battery status. If it is charging correctly, the status should indicate that the device is receiving power.

ROOMBA NOT CONNECTING TO CHARGER: CAUSES/HOW TO FIX

If your Roomba isn’t connected to the charger, the charging contacts on the device’s bottom and the charging station are probably dirty from kicking up debris. Simply clean both contacts with dampened melamine foam and try charging again.

The other possibility is that the charging station is defective; this is uncommon, but it does occur. You can contact iRobot about the problem, and if your Roomba and dock are still under warranty, you should be able to get a replacement or have them serviced.

ROOMBA BATTERY NOT HOLDING CHARGE: CAUSES/HOW TO FIX

If your Roomba’s battery suddenly stops charging, it is most likely due to faulty battery logic. You can resolve this by resetting your Roomba. From iRobot’s support page, here are the instructions for the various models. If you don’t want to leave this page, you can refer to the first section of this article.

Furthermore, as stated in a previous section, if you have an older Roomba unit, the battery life will be less than when you first purchased the Robot. Roombas have been around since 2002, so when we talk about them as a whole, we’re talking about a very long time. It’s similar to talking about battery life in a Thinkpad laptop or a Macbook.

If your Roomba is more than 5 years old, it’s time to consider an upgrade. There have also been many excellent competitors to the Roomba, such as the Eufy Robovac.

Why my Roomba won't charge?
Why my Roomba won’t charge?

CONCLUSION

Many Roomba battery-related issues can be attributed to dirty charging contacts, faulty charging logic, or an aging battery. A Roomba rarely fails in this area, but if you believe your device isn’t working properly after using the troubleshooting methods outlined above, you can have it serviced.

Furthermore, while troubleshooting, keep an eye on the charger’s flashing lights. A flashing red light, for example, indicates that the battery is overheating. Similarly, a flashing red and green light indicates that the battery is not properly seated in the battery compartment. The iRobot app has more information on the codes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my Roomba battery is bad?

A fully charged Roomba’s power light will illuminate in a solid green color. When the battery is charging, however, you will notice a pulsing amber color. Furthermore, when the battery is running low, the light will flash red and then turn solid red.

How long does a Roomba battery last before needing to be replaced?

According to iRobot, the battery can run for up to 2 hours and, based on our estimates, will last approximately 400 charges. That’s all well and good, but depending on how the robot’s battery is cared for, you might have to replace it sooner than you’d like.

Do Roomba batteries need to be replaced?

With proper care, the battery in your robot can last for many cleaning cycles before needing to be replaced. Here are some battery maintenance tips to help you get the most out of your Roomba® cleaning system: Only use iRobot batteries.

How do you troubleshoot a Roomba that won’t charge?

If your Roomba isn’t charging, clean the charging ports with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol to remove any dust, hair, or gunk buildup. You may also need to reinstall or replace your battery or charging dock, or you may need to reset the Roomba to factory settings.

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