Why Is My Roomba’s Battery Not Charging?

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If your Roomba fails to hold a charge after being docked overnight, this could be the result of one of several issues. The most common reason is that the charging contacts on the Roomba have gotten dirty, but it could also be that your Roomba has a faulty battery. It may also be a problem with the charging station.

Roombas and other robotic vacuums in general are a handy addition to any home since they can keep your floors free from dirt without any extra effort on your part. The best thing about them is that they’re entirely automated; after you perform the initial setup, you can just leave them alone and they’ll keep working pretty much indefinitely.

Your Roomba can even detect when its battery is low and will automatically dock itself at its charging station when this happens. If something goes wrong, however, you may be left with a dead Roomba seemingly out of nowhere.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at several issues that might be preventing your Roomba from charging and explaining how you can resolve these issues.

Related: Shark Robot Vacuum Making a Loud Noise

Charging Contacts Are Dirty

Both the Roomba and the charging station have charging contacts, which allow the transfer of power through the charging station into the Roomba. These charging contacts resemble two small metal strips, and charging can only happen if the strips on the Roomba and the charging station are touching each other. 

Why It Fails:

Over time, dirt can accumulate on either the Roomba’s or the charging station’s contact points. When this happens, the contact points won’t be able to fully connect, and the Roomba will fail to charge.

The contact points on the Roomba itself are particularly susceptible to this because they’re located near the front of the Roomba where the brushes are. This means that dust and dirt often get kicked up onto the contact points.  

How to Fix It:

Fortunately, cleaning the contact points on your Roomba and its charging station is pretty easy. Dirty charging contacts are responsible for uncharged Roombas in the majority of cases, so this is the first thing you should try if your Roomba is failing to charge itself.

There are a few methods you can try to clean your contact points.

  • You can try using a dry cloth, but if that doesn’t work it may help to use a cloth dampened with a bit of rubbing alcohol.
  • If neither one of these options works, you may have more luck using something more abrasive like a steel wool sponge.

Remember to disconnect your charging station from the wall before cleaning its contact points, as you don’t want to accidentally give yourself an electric shock.

Faulty Roomba Battery

The battery in your Roomba is, of course, the component that actually holds a charge and supplies power to the vacuum. Specifically, Roombas use rechargeable Ni-MH (nickel metal hydride) batteries.

According to iRobot, the company that produces the Roomba, in normal circumstances the battery in your Roomba should hold about two hours‘ worth of charge and should last for about 400 charging cycles.

Why It Fails:

Roomba batteries fail when they get too old, but there are other factors that can also cause your Roomba’s battery to go kaput prematurely. If you leave your Roomba in direct sunlight for too long, this can potentially wreak havoc on your battery, as Roomba batteries don’t do well when exposed to too much heat.

Your battery can also wear out faster than normal if you fail to keep your Roomba’s brushes clean. If the brushes get jammed up with hair and other debris, the motors that turn the brushes will encounter a lot more resistance.

The more resistance there is, the more power is required to spin the brushes, and the shorter your Roomba’s battery life becomes.

How to Fix It:

If your Roomba’s battery has completely died, you’ll have to replace it. The good news is that replacement batteries are readily available from iRobot, and replacing the battery is itself a pretty simple task.

  • To replace your Roomba’s battery, first remove the five screws that keep the bottom cover in place. Four of these screws are for the cover, while the final screw holds the spinning brush in place.
  • With the screws removed, you can now pull the cover off to expose the battery. The battery is held in place by two tabs; release these tabs and pull the battery out of its slot.
  • Now, all you have to do is insert the new battery and reassemble your Roomba, and the problem should be fixed.

To preserve the condition of your battery in the future, make sure that your Roomba spends its downtime in a cool, dry place. You should also clean out your Roomba’s brushes regularly, and using your Roomba on a regular basis actually helps the battery last longer as well.

Faulty Charging Station

The charging station that comes with your Roomba is, obviously, what allows your Roomba to charge itself. It is possible to charge your Roomba without the charging station, but the station is required in order for charging to happen automatically.

Why It Fails:

It’s not too common for a Roomba’s charging station to fail on its own. It could be that the contact points on the charging station are dirty, as we’ve already discussed, but it could also be simply that the charging station isn’t receiving power from the wall outlet for some reason.

How to Fix It:

First, you should determine whether the problem is with the Roomba, the charging station, or the outlet the station is plugged into.

  • If you have a GFCI outlet, it’s possible that it’s been tripped, or the charging station may have tripped the circuit breaker connected to that outlet.
  • You should also make sure that the charging station’s plug is fully inserted into the outlet.
  • If you’ve determined that the outlet isn’t the issue, you can perform one more test by plugging your Roomba directly to the outlet via its charge cable.
  • If the battery indicator on your Roomba lights up when you do this, it’s a sign that the problem likely has to do with your charging station.
  • If the charging station is definitely dead, you’ll most likely have to order a replacement from iRobot.
  • If your Roomba is still under warranty, you may be able to get this replacement for free. 

Battery Pull Tab Is In Place

Your Roomba comes from the factory with a battery pull tab, like a lot of other electronics do. This yellow pull tab blocks off the contact points of the battery, the purpose of which is to prevent the Roomba from turning itself on before it is purchased and set up.

Why It Fails:

This isn’t really a “failure” as such; it’s more of an oversight on the customer’s part. If you’ve never used a Roomba before, you might be unaware that the battery tab needs to be pulled out before the Roomba will run.

How to Fix It:

  • Flip your Roomba over and look to see if the yellow tab is still in place.
  • If it is, pull it out.
  • Your Roomba should work fine now.

Dirty Caster Wheel

The caster wheel is the small wheel located near the front of your Roomba. This wheel isn’t powered and doesn’t provide any steering; it’s purpose is just to keep the Roomba elevated correctly.

Why It Fails:

Over time, debris can get clogged inside the caster wheel well. If enough debris gets in there, it can end up pushing the wheel further out of its housing than normal.

Since the caster wheel is located pretty close to the charging contacts, this basically lifts the Roomba up to the point where the charging contacts on the Roomba aren’t able to touch the ones on the charging station.

How to Fix It:

Luckily, removing and cleaning the caster wheel on a Roomba is super easy. The caster wheel attaches to the Roomba via a stem, and to remove the wheel, all you need to do is get a firm grip on it and pull it out.

With the wheel out, you’ll have full access to the caster wheel well. Clean out any debris you find in there, reattach the wheel, and your Roomba should be back to normal. 

Temperature Error

Your Roomba will fail to work if the battery is either too hot or too cold. In either case, your Roomba will display an error code if it has shut down due to a temperature issue. A Code 6 means the battery is too warm, while a Code 7 means the battery is too cold

Why It Fails:

Generally, this only happens if you keep your Roomba in a room with excessively high or low temperatures. If you’re keeping your Roomba inside your home, as is most likely the case, you probably won’t ever encounter temperature errors.

How to Fix It:

  • To fix a Roomba that is giving you a temperature code error, just move the Roomba into an area with more moderate temperature and let it sit for at least an hour.
  • If excessively high or low temperatures really are the cause of your problems, this should be all you need to do.
  • You should also consider moving your charging station to a more temperate area of your house, if you can. 

Conclusion

There are quite a few reasons why your Roomba might be failing to charge, but the majority of these issues can be easily resolved with relatively little time and expense. Knowing what to look for if your Roomba starts acting up can make it way easier to deal with any problems you might have with it.

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