A first item to check is to note if your Roomba is displaying an error code. This may allow you to check certain items first, potentially saving some time. Here is a section with Roomba Error codes. If the error code helps you diagnose the cause of the issue, jump to the relevant section. Otherwise, continue with the following issues ordered by ease of implementation and frequency of occurrence.
Insufficient Power to the Charger
Yes, it's so simple, but it's so necessary. If there's no power, there's no charging.
- Check for power by unplugging and plugging in your charging station or dock.
- Does the power light come on for a time? If so, you're good, so move on.
- If not, find a functional outlet in your home to make sure the charger is getting power. The power light will let you know when you've found one.
This is the most basic step to take. Be sure to unplug the charger from the outlet before you begin!
- Use a melamine sponge (like a Magic Eraser) lightly dampened with water.
- Clean both contacts on the charger/dock. Every speck of dirt counts, so they should be shiny when you are done.
- Clean both contacts on the underside of the Roomba. These should also be shiny.
- Test the Roomba's charging by placing it in the dock.
- Wait for 15 seconds or so to allow the system to start up.
- If it charges you're done.
- If you don't get charge indicators move on to the next step.
Charging Contact Failure
Some Roombas will cease to charge because the charging contacts on either the charging station or the Roomba itself become defective.
- The contacts are occasionally subject to overheating issues. There can be a smoky smell or a persistent clicking noise when the unit is attempting to charge.
- This heating causes the plastic under the contacts to soften, and the contacts will no longer have a good connection. This will cause additional heat which allows the contacts to continue to move until connection is lost.
- Inspect the contacts which you just cleaned. If they show signs of deformed or melted plastic or the contacts are pushed in to either the base or the Roomba, contact iRobot for possible replacement.
- If you aren't able to make a warranty claim, you can try replacing the charging contacts yourself. Here's a guide showing how to do it for a Roomba 890 model, but the process should be fairly similar for other models as well.
If the contacts look good, go to the next step.
Improper Battery Installation
You should next check to see that your battery is in place, and that its contacts are clean. Some Roombas will have a battery that has a socket style connection and you may not be able to clean those contacts. To see more on how to access the battery, check out the guide pages listed in Additional Resources, below. Here's a generic procedure to get you going:
- Turn your Roomba over.
- Remove the edge sweeping brush. Hold the brush to keep it steady and remove the screw in the center. Some models will not need this removed.
- Remove the screws holding down the bottom compartment cover. Some units (700,800,900 series) only need two screws on the battery cover removed.
- Remove the battery. Use the pull tabs at each end of the battery to pull it straight up.
- Clean the contacts on the battery with a melamine sponge or high concentration isopropyl alcohol (90% or higher). The contacts must be the pad type. Other Roomba batteries use shrouded contacts that are difficult to reach.
- Check the contacts on the Roomba. There are two common types that can be readily cleaned, tabs and springs.
- For tab contacts, clean both the smaller and larger contacts with the melamine sponge. You should also gently bend them upward after you clean them.
- For spring contacts, gently clean the springs with a soft toothbrush and isopropyl or a melamine sponge. This may be hard to do with the sponge, but take your time and use light pressure. You should also gently pull up on the springs so that there will be firm contact with the battery when installed.
- Reinstall the battery, noting if it is a genuine iRobot battery.
- iRobot sources state that aftermarket batteries can occasionally be the cause of charging issues.
- If it is an aftermarket battery, try replacing it with a genuine battery, or one from a more reputable source.
- Reinstall all the necessary screws.
- Test and see if the device charges.
If it is still not charging, it is possible that a software update has occurred and your unit needs resetting/rebooting.
- If it will power up, you can try resetting your Roomba.
- Occasionally a software update can cause charging problems until the unit is reset/rebooted.
- Follow the instructions specific to your unit for resetting. Here is a link to the instructions for resetting from iRobot.
A failed battery may cause your Roomba to not charge.
- Batteries are virtually a consumable item on your Roomba, especially if it is in daily use.
- The usual life is between 300 and 400 charge-discharge cycles.
- One sign of a bad battery is a Roomba that needs to return to the dock/charger more frequently.
- Often a battery that is failing will cause the Roomba to display an error code as well. See the Additional Information section below.
- Here is some more information on battery replacement procedures.
Here's a link to some available replacement batteries from iFixit.
These are links to guides for Roomba Battery replacement. They are helpful for the battery checks as well. You will need to search for your model or a related model.
- Generally, a guide for any model from a series will provide the needed information.
- The numbers after the link show the models with battery replacement information