iRobot Roomba Cant Find Home Base/Dock – Troubleshooting Guide

The Roomba robot vacuum and its supporting products are all about automated floor cleaning. When you pair it with a home base, the Roomba can automatically recharge and even empty its bin. But, of course, that’s only possible if the Roomba can find its way back to that home base.

Your Roomba likely can’t find its home base because there are too many obstacles in its way or close to the base. That’ll also happen when the base has no power or if the Roomba’s docking sensor is dirty or faulty. Your Roomba will also struggle to find that home base if you move it while the Roomba is in the middle of a cleaning cycle.

In this guide, you’ll learn the most likely reasons why your Roomba can’t find its home base. You’ll also learn how to troubleshoot and solve those reasons quickly, so your Roomba can continue cleaning your home as usual.

Why Can’t My Roomba Find Its Home Base?

The Roomba smart vacuum is equipped with multiple sensors to help it navigate a space. Those sensors are crucial for it to clean that space efficiently, but it also helps the device return to its home base automatically to recharge.

Unfortunately, there are situations where a Roomba fails to find its way back. 

Here are the most likely reasons that could happen and how you can resolve the issue quickly.

The Home Base Has Been Moved

What it is: The Roomba always remembers where its home base is located. That’s because the home base is the spot where the Roomba begins its cleaning cycle, and that’s also where the robot vacuum will return to when its battery is dying.

Whenever the Roomba leaves the home base and starts cleaning, its onboard sensors will become active. They’ll keep track of every move the Roomba makes so that it can retrace its steps and return to the home base quickly.

As long as the home base stays in the same spot throughout the cleaning process, the Roomba can always find its way home.

What has likely happened: The first likely reason your Roomba can’t find its way back is that the home base has been moved to another location. You’ll know that this is the case if you find that your Roomba returns to where it began the cleaning process.

For example, you might have moved the home base to another part of the house while the Roomba was on a cleaning mission. 

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The same will also happen if you place the Roomba on a different and unfamiliar floor in your house. When that happens, the Roomba becomes lost and has to blindly search for the home base.

How to fix it: The quickest way to solve this problem is to lift your Roomba and place it directly in front of the home base, wherever that might be. When it’s up close, the Roomba will dock with the home base to recharge.

Then, when the Roomba begins a new cleaning cycle, it’ll be able to find its way back to the home base’s new location.

You can prevent this from happening again by leaving the base where it is until the Roomba finishes cleaning and returns to it.

Read: Roomba Keeps Saying Clean Debris Extractors – Troubleshooting Guide

Obstacles Around Home Base Or In Roomba’s Path

What it is: Unlike what some people believe, your Roomba robot vacuum doesn’t map your home using cameras or other visual sensors. Instead, it figures out its location by feel’, based on how and where it moves after leaving the home base.

Because of that, there must be as few obstacles as possible between the Roomba and its home base.

Equally important is that the home base should be a safe distance from the items around it. A few feet of clearance between the home base and the nearest piece of furniture will go a long way to helping the Roomba find its way home.

What has likely happened: As your Roomba cleans your floors, it keeps a map of where it’s been and where it needs to go to return to its home base. Unfortunately, the device can lose its bearings if too many obstacles suddenly appear in its path.

The home base also emits infrared signals to guide the Roomba once it is within a short distance of the base.

When there are too many items near the home base, the Roomba will struggle to find those infrared signals and fail to dock with the home base.

How to fix it: You can solve this problem by keeping your floors free from clutter, especially once the Roomba has begun its cleaning process. Also, you must keep the home base at least a few feet away from nearby obstacles like furniture, boxes, and other items that might block its infrared signals.

With few obstacles in the way, the Roomba can find the home base and dock with it much quicker.

Read: Why Is Roomba Not Self Emptying?

Home Base Has No Power

What it is: Never forget that once the Roomba is within close range of the home base, it looks for its infrared signals to find the base and dock with it.

The home base can only emit those infrared signals if it has power. So, you must always ensure that the base is plugged into a working wall socket to get the power it needs to function correctly.

What has likely happened: If your Roomba successfully returns to the area where the home base is located but fails to dock with it, check that the home base has power.

The Roomba is likely failing to find the home base because the base has no power and isn’t sending out the infrared signals it’s supposed to.

How to fix it: You can solve this problem by checking that the home base receives power. Firstly, check if the home base is plugged into a working wall socket. If not, plug it into another wall socket to see if it works.

Read: Do Roomba Batteries Need To Be Replaced?

Bad or Dirty Docking Sensor

What it is: As your Roomba approaches the home base, it relies on a docking sensor to align itself correctly with the base. That sensor allows the Roomba to find the home base and dock with it more accurately to begin recharging.

What has likely happened: When your Roomba can’t seem to find the home base even though it’s just an inch or two away, the problem is likely with the docking sensor. In most cases, the sensor is covered in dirt and debris from all its cleaning activities.

However, there’s also a chance that the docking sensor is bad or faulty.

How to fix it: Firstly, try to wipe the docking sensor clean with a dry cloth. Removing any dirt or debris buildup could get it working again, allowing the Roomba to find the home base and dock with it.

However, if that doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to replace the docking sensor with a new one.

Read: Why Roomba Is Not Turning On? – Troubleshooting Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It can be pretty frustrating to understand why your Roomba can’t find its home base. So here are a few additional questions and answers to help you troubleshoot the issue.

How Does Roomba Know Where Home Base Is?

Your Roomba typically starts its cleaning cycle while docked with the home base. Various sensors keep track of all the Roomba’s movements from that point forward. That way, it can trace its route back to its starting point by returning to the home base. Once it’s near, the Roomba looks for infrared signals emitted by the home base that helps to guide it closer.

Can I Use Roomba Without A Home Base?

Yes, it’s possible to use a Roomba without a home base. When the Roomba is done cleaning or its battery is almost finished, it will return to its starting point, wherever that might be. Then, you’ll have to recharge the Roomba manually before it can clean again.

Can Roomba Have Two Home Bases?

Yes, the Roomba robot vacuum is designed to work with multiple home bases and alongside other Roomba devices. When there’s more than one home base present, the Roomba will choose to dock with whichever one is closest.

Read: Why Roomba Vacuum Side Brush Is Not Spinning? – Troubleshooting Guide

Can You Move Your Roomba From Floor To Floor?

Yes, you can move the Roomba unit to different floors if necessary. However, you should also move the home base to the same floor so that the Roomba can recharge itself automatically. That way, it will clean its current floor automatically without any input from you.

Will A Roomba Fall Down Stairs?

Roomba robot vacuums have various sensors to prevent them from falling over stairs and ledges. However, it can still fall over accidentally, especially if the home base is too close to those stairs. There’s a chance the Roomba will fall over when attempting to dock with the home base.

Read: Can You Connect IRobot To Alexa And How? Protection Status