Roomba robotic vacuums offer convenient cleaning, but they can get hung up on some surfaces, may run out of battery power, and will need maintenance.
To best care for your Roomba, be prepared to listen for the error number or beeps so that you know what your Roomba needs.
In this Roomba troubleshooting guide, you will learn how to fix your Roombas problems and understand various error messages.
Roomba Error Codes Explained
Over the years, iRobot has changed some of the error code designations depending on the model.
We’ve done our best to compile this information in our guide, but it’s always a good idea to check the iRobot site for your specific model.
The following table lists common error messages that correspond with the number of beeps or voiced audio problems.
Newer models from the Roomba 980 and up will tell you the error number without all the guesswork.
For older models, your Roomba will let you know it’s in trouble with a two-tone beep in the rhythm of “Uh-Oh!”
Once you hear this beep, you’ll know to listen for the next set of beeps. The number of beeps will tell you what your robotic vacuum needs to get back to work.
|Charging Error 3||Not Charging||Reset and return to charger, the entire unit may need to be replaced|
|Charging Error 5||Charging Problem||Remove yellow pull-tab on a new unit or clean battery area, reseat on Home Base, retry|
|Charging Error 8||Battery Not Charging||Use an official battery and charge at room temperature|
|Error 1||Stuck||Move and restart|
|Error 2||Clogged Brushes||Clean brushes|
|Error 3||Stalling||Reset and return to Home Base for recharging|
|Error 5||Wheels Can’t Turn||Check for obstructions and restart|
|Error 6||Dirty Sensors||Clean sensors and reset unit|
|Error 9||Dirty Bumpers||Clean and restart|
|Error 10||Dirty Wheels||Clean Wheels|
|Error 17||Geographical Difficulty||Remove problem areas, Increase Lighting, Clean Unit|
If none of the above fixes solve your problem, you will need to contact iRobot’s customer support.
Here are a few more problems you might experience and what you can do to solve them.
Problem 1: Roomba Brush Not Spinning
Roomba Brush Not Spinning can happen for many reasons, such as hair, string, or thread wrapped around the brush. It could also be that the catch bin is full and needs to be emptied.
Try removing any hair, tangled threads or long strings, and other debris that may have accumulated around the brushes.
You may need to remove the brushes completely to remove any hair wrapped around them or have them replaced. If the problem persists and the brushes look damaged, it might be time to replace them.
Problem 2: Roomba Won’t Hold Charge
Your Roomba may have a defective battery pack, or the charging contacts on either end of the battery are dirty or corroded.
Before you spend a single dollar on a new lithium-ion battery pack, it is worth checking the other potential causes of this problem.
If you have not changed the filters or brush in your Roomba lately, that could cause reduced suction and may be interfering with its ability to charge up properly.
It would be best to make sure there are no obstructions around the charging dock and that you have not accidentally activated the battery saver mode.
Problem 3: Roomba Not Charging
Your Roomba won’t charge on its charging station, Home Base, when one or more of the following is true:
- The battery has reached its lifespan and needs to be replaced.
- There’s a problem with the charging dock that needs fixing.
- You have an issue with your power outlet, charger cables, or extension cord wiring.
The solution is to fix anything that may prevent your Roomba from docking correctly, try plugging into another outlet, full battery reset, change out your charger cables/extension cords, replace the docking station, and finally pay for a new battery.
Before you do any of those, check to see if your unit is still under warranty and contact customer support.
Problem 4: Roomba Not Running On Schedule
When your Roomba is not following its schedule or running when it’s not supposed to, there are a few things that you can do.
Check that you set up a schedule on the app. Check whether or not you have any active schedules in the Schedules tab of the app.
If you are using a schedule that was created in Roomba’s app, check to see if the duration of the cycle is over. If it is, the Roomba will not start another cycle until you manually run it.
If your schedule was created in a third-party app like Google Assistant or Alexa, check with that service to ensure that they have your system set up for scheduling correctly.
If those don’t fix your scheduling problems, try doing a factory reset. It’s a bit of a pain to reconfigure everything, but it might fix any issues you were having.
Problem 5: Roomba Stops After A Few Minutes
There are a few possible reasons your Roomba may be stopping.
Your Roomba may have run out of battery power. Place the Roomba on its charging station correctly and allow it to charge fully.
If it continues to stop working after a few minutes, you may need a new battery, but check the following before you look for a replacement:
The dirt bin may be full, so you should empty it first and then continue using your robot friend as usual.
Your Roomba may be stuck on something, or the sensors are dirty, causing it to stop running to prevent damaging itself.
Problem 6: Roomba Keeps Saying Clean Brushes
Maybe it’s time to clean your Roomba brushes!
If you’ve been noticing that your Roomba keeps saying “Clean Brushes,” and the problem continues to get worse, the problem might be with the bristles.
Brush cleaning will help alleviate this issue in two ways:
- It’ll keep your Roomba from marking up baseboards with its dirty brush.
- It’ll remove clogs that contribute to the wear and tear of other components of the robot.
You can also help clean the brushes by using a vacuum cleaner hose attachment to remove any dust or debris from them, but sometimes this pushes or pulls dirt into the gears and makes matters worse.
However, if you see no change after giving it a good cleaning, you might have to replace your brush.
Problem 7: Roomba Not Docking Correctly
A Roomba won’t dock correctly unless it has been given sufficient space to make the turn.
What could be happening is that either Roomba is detecting something in its way and trying to avoid impact, or there’s an electrical connection issue.
The most common problem is when looking for the docking spot on carpets with fluffy loops all over them or large pieces of furniture like ottomans, side tables, and pet toys are too close.
Problem 8: Roomba Dock Light Blinking
When your Roomba dock light, home base, is blinking, it typically means that the battery level on the Roomba itself is getting low.
If your Roomba is not responding to the docking indicator light and you hear an error beep, then either the battery is too low for it to return, or there’s a problem with your charging base.
Problem 9: Roomba Charging Light Flashing Fast
This means that Roomba needs to be fully charged.
The home base charger can only transfer power effectively when the battery is between 40-80%.
If it’s charging at a low battery level (below 30%), the battery will not absorb power as fast, and the charge time is much longer.
If the battery drops below 20%, it’ll take even longer for your Roomba to charge.
Problem 10: Roomba Right Wheel Not Working
The most common reason a Roomba’s right wheel won’t work is that it has hit an obstruction such as carpet tassels or something has got jammed in it, causing the wheel to stall.
After checking the wheels and removing any debris, move your Roomba to a clear surface and press Clean to turn it on.
Problem 11: Roomba Bumper Stuck
The Roomba bumper stuck problem happens because there may be too much trash on the floor that it’s getting caught on or trying to pass over uneven flooring.
Try clearing excess clutter away from that area so that it doesn’t get stuck anymore.
You may need to set up virtual walls and zig-zag the vacuum around that spot to prevent it from getting stuck again.
Problem 12: Roomba Not Picking Up Debris
If you’re sure the Roomba is fully charged and working correctly, but it’s still not picking anything up from the floor, there may be something wrong with the collection container.
Sometimes when hands touch these containers before they’ve had a chance to dry out after a good cleaning, moisture can interrupt electronics.
Hair or fabric fibers can also work their way into Roomba components and make them malfunction, which is most common with sticky materials like childrens’ play-doh or pasta sauce.
If you think this might be a problem with your collection bin, take it off and clean any debris from the inside (don’t forget to wipe it down all around the opening as well).
If there are no clogs or hair insight, try blowing into the opening to see if that dislodges any dust or debris that might be causing the issue.
The cleaning head and filters may also need to be cleaned. Your Roomba will need to be reset after any of these steps.
Problem 13: Roomba Anti Tangle Light
If your Roomba has the anti-tangle light on, it means that the hair or string has become wrapped around your Roomba’s brushes, and now you have to find out how to get them off.
Start by turning off your Roomba and unplugging it from the power outlet.
Remove any hair or string that is found wrapped around the dustbuster brushes, then follow these steps:
- Unclog brush head by pulling a thin object (like a toothpick) through bristles to clear debris
- Repeat until no more debris remains
- Turn Roomba back on and make sure the light is off before continuing to use it.
Problem 14: Roomba Changed To Different Language
In general, power failures can cause some unexpected behavior from appliances and other electronics, including your Roomba.
To change your Roomba back into English:
- Switch your Roomba off
- Press and hold the Clean button for 4 to 15 seconds without releasing it until it beeps (or flashes) twice. Newer models will start speaking its currently selected language.
- Press the Clean button again once you hear your preferred language
Now your Roomba will have the language back to English.
It may also be possible to change this back on the app:
- Open up the iRobot HOME App and select “Settings.”
- Select Preferences next to Languages from the list of options.
- Select the language you want to hear it speak in, as well as change any other preferences that may be there.
Problem 15: Roomba Remote Not Working
If you have multiple robots, it’s important to remove their power source before trying this. It’s also important to ensure that your current batteries do not need to be replaced.
900 Series and newer
Use the app with your smartphone or tablet.
700 and 800 Series
For 700 series and 800 series Roombas, charge your Roomba and turn it off. Put new batteries into your remote and press clean.
You should see the days of the week flash on the remote. Lay the remote on top of the Roomba.
Once it turns on, hold down the left and right direction arrows until all the lights on the remote flash, and you can be certain the unit is paired.
For the 500 series Roomba, charge your Roomba and remove it from the base. Install three of the four necessary AA batteries into your remote, press and hold the left directional arrow while adding the last battery.
Continue to hold the left arrow button until the days of the week flash from right to left. Put the battery cover on and lay the control on top of your Roomba.
Hold down the Day and Minute buttons at the same time until the lights flash. The pairing should then be complete.