Roomba is designed to reach its charging stations after a cleaning session. However, sometimes it won’t dock. It happens due to various reasons such as dust accumulation, Roomba being out of range, hurdles in its path, or faulty sensors.
How to Fix Roomba that Won’t Dock?
Check that the base’s plug is properly inserted into the socket. The plug loosens sometimes due to various reasons such as kids, pets, or simply drops out over time. Roomba charging base has an indicator light that turns on when plugged in or when Roomba docks. Also, check the cable going into the charging base.
If the light isn’t working, test the outlet with some portable device or move the outlet to another socket. You may need to buy a new charging station if it isn’t working. Don’t forget to check the troubleshooting guide in the manual and contact Roomba’s tech support and warranty service (if in warranty) before ordering a replacement.
Hold the Base
Many people move the base occasionally, but Roombas don’t do well with it. Older models remember the charging base; newer models use maps to return to the home base.
Roomba will be lost when you change the base location. You can manually place older models at the base once, and it will remember the new location. Update the map in newer models after changing the base location.
Clean Charging Contacts and Sensors
Check the connection contacts and charging sensors on both Roomba and the base. The IR and proximity sensors must connect, detect and align with the docking station. Moreover, the charging contacts must have a clean contact to start charging.
Follow your device’s user manual to clean charging contacts and sensors. You can use a dry, clean microfiber cloth or alcohol wipes to clean sensors and charging contacts.
Clear the Path
Roomba cleaners often fail to find their way because of hurdles and obstacles. Remove boxes, furniture, or any other objects around the base. These things can trick the cleaner. The base should be flat against a wall, so it doesn’t move while docking. Moreover, don’t expose the base to direct sunlight, as it can trick the sensors.
You can move the base to a new place if the Roomba fails to dock despite clearing obstacles or hurdles around the base.
Keep Virtual Walls Away
This is relevant for only older models. Newer Roombas have no-go zones defined in their maps. If you use virtual walls, ensure they are at least 6-8 feet away from the base. These walls may trick your Roomba into believing the base is in a no-go zone.
Keep the Base Clean
The base is like home to your Roomba. Keep its sensors clean, so the vacuum can locate it and dock itself successfully. The dirt and debris on the sensor reduce the power to the dock.
Start Older Models near the Base
Older Roomba models don’t have maps. They return to the base by remembering the path they took while cleaning. Hence, starting them near the base is better, so they don’t forget which way to go.
Newer models use advanced mapping technologies that help them remember which way to go and how to return to the base.
Check the Room Confinement Sensor
If the tricks above don’t work, check the room confinement cycle on your Roomba. It is a small circular structure on the top that detects IR signals from the base.
Place the cleaner within 6 feet of the base with the sensor facing towards the base. Press the clean button for 3 seconds to clear previous cleaning jobs. Press the clean button again and press the dock. Roomba must dock itself. If it doesn’t, the sensor is faulty. Contact Roomba to know more about this.
A simple reset or reboot often eliminates errors on Roomba. You can try resetting to fix Roomba won’t dock problems. The resetting process is easy but varies from model to model. The newer series (s & i) can be reset by pressing the clean button for 20 seconds. A clockwise swirling light appears on the machine, indicating that the device has reset.
The older series (700, 800, & 900) are reset by holding the clean button for 10 seconds. A beeping sound comes out, indicating that rebooting has begun.
In-warranty cleaners can be easily claimed for such problems. You can also arrange a professional inspection for your unit.
If nothing works, you’ll have to get a new cleaner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a low battery force Roomba to not Dock properly?
Yes. It may happen. A low battery may stop Roomba midway through a cleaning job or when it returns to the charging stations. You must check the battery level before starting a cleaning job.
How does Roomba find its dock?
There is an infrared receiver on the front bumper of the Roomba charger. When the vacuum’s battery gets low, it starts finding the infrared signals its charger emits. After finding the signal, Roomba follows it and docks itself to the charger.
Can you dock Roomba manually?
Yes. You can dock Roomba manually. It is helpful if your Roomba doesn’t dock itself. Simply pick it up and place it on the charging station.