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Roomba Problems & Troubleshooting Guide

Roomba robotic vacuums offer convenient cleaning but they can get hung up of 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 care your Roomba needs.

In this Roomba troubleshooting guide you will learn how to troubleshoot your Roomba including error codes, charging and battery issues, sensor fixes and diagnostic mode.​

Note: 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.

Roomba Error Codes

The following table is a list of common errors that correspond with the number of beeps or voiced audio problem. Newer models, like the Roomba 980, should also tell you the exact problem.

Roomba ErrorPossible Roomba ProblemsPossible Fixes
Error 1Battery ConnectionClean Battery Contacts & Reset Unit
Error 2Clogged BrushesClean Brushes
Error 3StallingReset & Return To Charger
Error 5Charging ProblemRemove Yellow Pull-Tab
Error 6Dirty SensorsClean Sensors & Reset Unit
Error 9Dirty BumpersClean & Reset Unit
Error 10Dirty WheelsClean Wheels
Error 17Geographical DifficultyRemove problem areas, Increase Lighting, Clean Unit

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 with older models, 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. Newer models will voice the error number.​

Related ► What Roomba Do I Have?

Roomba Charging Error 1

This error is displayed by a single blinking pattern and generally means your battery is not connecting effectively.

A bumpy vacuuming path may have shaken things loose, or the battery contacts may be dusty.

Feel free to clean them with a soft cloth or dust catching disposable wipe, but never use a wet cloth on your battery contacts.

Roomba Error 2

If you hear your Roomba chirp out an “uh-oh” and repeat two beeps, it means the brushes are clogged.

Per Sharon Profiss of C-Net, a weekly cleaning to pull the brushes and their corresponding bearings can reduce the risk of dealing with a Roomba shut-down.

Remove the brushes and clean them with a comb or one of the provided cleaning tools to clear the brush of pet hair or long human hair that can tangle up your Roomba and stop it from working properly.

Roomba Charging Error 3

If your Roomba has stalled and is exhibiting three blinks, reset the machine and return it to the charger to rest and regain strength.

Generally this will clear the error; once you turn it on it will work normally as before.

Roomba Charging Error 5

This error generally happens to brand new Roomba owners. Reset the unit, flip it over and remove the yellow pull tab to enable proper battery connection.

Charge the unit overnight to be certain it’s fully powered up and ready to go to work once you’re removed the pull tab.

Roomba Error 6

Your Roomba has cliff sensors that prevent it from tumbling down the stairs. If the sensors get dirty or blinded by dust, the machine will get stuck and be unable to move alone.

Wipe the sensors with a dry dust cloth to remove dust and debris, reset your unit and watch it go to work.

Please note that black patches in your rug may also cause your Roomba to panic and avoid those “cliffs.” Instructions on how to defeat this overreaction are listed below.​

Roomba Error 9

An “uh-oh” followed by 9 beeps means your Roomba has dirty bumpers, or has debris caught along the sides of the tool. Tap the sides to encourage the debris to drop out, clear it away and reset your Roomba.

Experts recommend removing the cover monthly to get at all the nooks and crannies where dust, debris and hair can collect and clog up your Roomba.

The powerful suction of your Roomba can lead to debris being trapped within the body of the tool but outside the dirt capture bin, so this extra cleaning step is essential.

Roomba Error 10

If you get 10 beeps instead of 9, it means the side wheels are dirty.

Reset the machine, flip it over and spin the side wheels to loosen dirt, dust, hair and whatever else may be stuck near the wheels.

Again, if you’re getting a lot of these errors, your machine may be due for some maintenance.

Roomba Error 17

Error 17 refers to geographical difficulty.

Your Roomba knows where it’s been and will happily travel to new frontiers of cleaning via the sensors built into the tool, but if something in the area changes, the machine can’t complete the intended route.

For example, per the experts at iRobot, if a door that was opened in the cleaning area gets closed, you get Error 17.

This error can also crop up if there’s a lot of clutter in the space or if you have a high or particularly bumpy threshold the tool has to clear.​

Roomba Not Returning To Base

The Roomba charging base needs to be free of clutter and debris for your Roomba to get home to charge; if not, it will continue to clean until the battery is completely out of power.

Additionally, make certain there are no other chargers in the area and that you’re charging base is at least 4 feet from stairs or very uneven surfaces. Be certain that the home base is plugged in completely and wipe away any dust on the docking surface.

Roomba Battery Reset May Be Required

If you see the Roomba dock light flashing, the tool knows that power is getting low and it needs to head to the charging station.

As previously stated, if it can’t find the docking station due to dust, debris, clutter or a stairway that’s too close, the Roomba won’t charge.

Over time, you may notice the charging time growing short or that the tool runs out of cleaning power sooner than it used to.

A robot battery reset might be in order.

  • To do this, charge the unit as fully as you are able. Press the “clean” button to turn the unit on, then press and hold the two buttons around the clean button until the “clean” button dims.
  • The robot will chirp to indicate it’s been reset. Rather than using the docking station, plug your robot into the charger until the “clean” button turns green.
  • Continue charging for another 3 day period. This cycle should not be interrupted.
  • Go ahead and put the robot to work until it completely runs out of power and perform the battery reset procedure again.

Your run times should improve. If they don’t, you probably need a new Roomba battery.

While these batteries are designed to recharge, rechargeable batteries have a limited life and will ultimately lose the ability to hold a charge or disperse their charge fully.​

Powerextra 3.8Ah 14.4V Replacement Battery Compatible with Roomba R3 500 600 700 800 900 Series 500 510 531 535 540 550 552 560 570 580 595 620 650 660 700 760 770 780 790 800 870 900

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 than your current batteries do not need to be replaced.

700 & 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.

500 Series​

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, then press and hold the left directional arrow while you add 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.​

Roomba Black Carpet Fix

Because the Roomba cliff sensor fix protects this wondrous tool from taking a flying leap down your staircase, you really don’t want to cover the cliff sensors.

However, if your rugs have black patches, this may be your only option to get the black portions of your rugs properly cleaned.

This is where the virtual walls become critical.

With the sensors covered, you can protect your Roomba from a stair-related boo-boo with a virtual wall to keep it away from the staircase.​

iRobot Authentic Replacement Parts- Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier Compatible with Roomba 600/700/800/900 Series

What Is Roomba Diagnostic Mode?

Roomba Diagnostic Mode enables you to check the sensors. It’s important to note that getting into diagnostic mode means you

  1. hack the tool
  2. may void your warranty
  3. may do serious damage to the programming, and
  4. should really only use this as a Hail Mary option, where the next step is trashing your robotic vacuum altogether.​

SEE ALSO: Best Robot Vacuums

However, if you’re facing having to toss your Roomba, getting into diagnostic mode is worth a shot.

You can’t do anything in diagnostic mode until the unit is fully charged, so if your battery is done for, diagnostic mode can’t help you.

However, there are several sets of instructions to get your unit into diagnostic mode, and once you’re in you can check each sensor one at a time and chase down any ghostly dust bunnies in the system.

Roomba Not Docking

This is a common issue with the Roomba 650. It could the result of:

  • Debris on the Roombas sensors underneath the unit.
  • Bad or no continuity of the Roombas sensors (located on the bottom of the 650)
  • Finally, and most likely, the docking station pins are not operating correctly.

For the last point, the issue is inside the docking station. There are metal strips that flex to act like springs and push the ping/buttons up when the Roomba docks.

Over time the metal becomes weak and doesn’t spring back like it should. In the video, Jacky uses masking tape to help buffer the space and keep the pins up. This should only be a temporary fix.

If you’re out of your warranty period, I would recommend trying a temporary fix to verify that that is the issue and then look at purchasing a new docking station.

I know that docking stations aren’t cheap, but it’s much cheaper than buying a new Roomba and it’s more reliable than a cheap fix. Not to mention, adding tape or paper in the docking station presents a potential fire hazard

Final Thoughts

A well-maintained Roomba can give you hours of free time back because it cleans when you’re gone. This tool needs proper maintenance and care to keep on tooling around your house.

  • Pick up clutter.
  • Protect it from the stairs
  • Make it easy for your Roomba to get back to the charger.

Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your Roomba problems and favorite solutions that you’ve found to be useful.

23 thoughts on “Roomba Problems & Troubleshooting Guide”

  1. I think my Roomba is very sick. It lights up. When you press the button it says “Hello” and then there is a quick rising scale of pips and it doesn’t move. Is there anything I can do?

  2. This message keeps coming up whenever I pick the “R” app on my phone – “”iRotor has stopped. (restart app). Nothing happens when I press restart.

    • Hey Pat! I would suggest getting the battery pull tab out if you can (But only if you can do it without voiding your warranty). It shouldn’t hurt if it’s still in there and your unit turns on, but I think it’s definitely better that the battery has full contact inside the unit.

      Depending on your model, there might be 2 screws that you can undo (to remove the battery covering) and then remove the rest of the tab. You can see a picture of the covering here: https://homesupport.irobot.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/10217/~/removing-the-roomba-battery-pull-tab.

      Let us know how it works out!

  3. Hi,
    my Roomba 650 works well. My home base lights for 4 seconds when plugged in and my Roomba has had no problems docking to home base until yesterday. It senses the infrared light on the base, heads to home base and when it ‘docks’, it does not “find’ the sensors, tries to maneuver to connect. It struggles and then leaves to try to find again. Any Ideas on how to remedy this situation? I have cleaned everything…just don’t know what to do.
    Thank for your time and effort, Robyn S

  4. My Roomba model 880 is not cleaning my hardwood floors very well. It is not picking up dust and it misses all those specks of debris. The three brushes are clean and the rollers are also clean and free of any hairs. The filter and dust bin are clean and empty. It is picking up dog hairs. It seems that the rotary brushes are not close enough to the floor.

  5. My Roomba tangle sensor light keeps blinking. I have cleaned and removed debris from all areas, but no success in getting the light to go off. Any suggestions?

  6. My irobot 690 will not charge. What should I do. I was gone all winter and left it plugged in but not used.

    • Hi Carol,

      Unfortunately, it shouldn’t have been left plugged in long-term. The battery might need replacing, or the charging contacts are bad/not working.

      It’s a bit of a difficult situation because there isn’t an easy way to test your battery at home.

      As per iRobot,

      1. “For long-term storage, store Roomba in a cool, dry place.”

      2. “For long-term storage of a robot with a NiMH battery, remove the battery from the robot and store in a cool, dry place. NiMH batteries should be stored after being fully charged. When you want to use Roomba again, insert the battery and fully charge it. NiMH batteries can naturally degrade even when stored separately from Roomba.”

      I would double check to see which battery type you have, and then contact iRobot for further assistance.

  7. my roomba 665 is giving me a no code error message. Basically, the roomba starts the cycle and stops after 5 min or so with the error light blinking but no voice message. Before that, it was telling me to clean the brushes, what I did. But then with everything cleaned, it started to acting out. Suggestions?

    • Same problem. I have an older model that was working pretty well. Now it is making a clunking sound and shuts off saying to clean the brushes. If you get an answer, it may solve mine???

  8. My 960 iRobot cleans circling a 2 foot area, then shuts off giving a message to place on a level surface. The wood floor is a flat as a surface can be.
    What am I doing wrong?

  9. My 980 unit has two automatic suction levels, one for hard surfaces (low) and one for rugs/carpet (high). Mine is stuck on high. Is there a sensor that needs to be cleaned? If so, which one?

    • Hi Charity,

      It sounds carpet boost mode is always activated. It’s recommended that you clean the extractors really well (make sure there isn’t hair tangled somewhere or other debris causing them to work harder), make sure everything is aligned properly, and try again. I might add a hard reset to the mix just to clear everything up.

      If that doesn’t work, you can try setting your cleaning preferences to eco-mode. That should make it much quieter, but you will still be left with the higher mode issues.

      If you can’t get it sorted out, I would contact iRobot directly to see if they can assist you further.

  10. Any help is much appreciated. My roomba 805 keeps blinking red and the err code is COdE. What’s the fix? It’s not responding to anything, not even the reset.

  11. My Roomba 980 purchased in February 2018 seemed to work well for the first month or so. However, it now seems to have become very erratic as far as following a pattern. It often returns to previously cleaned areas numerous times even though I have it set to single pass with edge clean. It will stop and go in circles and back and forth as if it can’t decide where to go next. It now has a max run time of about fifty minutes before it gives a low battery message. It runs out of battery before finishing cleaning our 24′ X 24′ great room. Can you help?

  12. This is my second Roomba (600 series). The first one I loved and brought to our vacation cabin. I’ve only had this one since May of this year and it has never been as good as the older one. Now it just won’t move, anywhere! It’s charged and the ‘Clean’ button is green. When I press it, it makes the appropriate sound and the little swiper brush starts spinning, but the Roomba just sits in one spot and goes nowhere. I don’t have it hooked up to wifi or any programs; I always just use it manually by pushing ‘Clean’.

  13. How do I change the language from Spanish to English? My roomba got stuck under chair and somehow changed to spanish. Help please.

  14. Tried many things before the last one that worked. I had removed and cleaned the rubber wheels and reinstalled. Didn’t work, Roomba looked like it had a bum foot, walking lumpy. This time when I removed and cleaned the rollers, I went to the end pieces.
    Human hair was wound around the spool ends, both sides, both rollers. Think spool. Someone could make a YouTube video to show the fix. Wish the company were more on top of little things. Dark carpet is a fail. There should be a way to beep from the base to get a return beep from Mr. Lost-Mr. Stuck. Oh, there you are.

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