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Why My Roomba Won't Dock?

iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner can help significantly in keeping the home cleaner and safer to live in. But, during use, Roombas can encounter various problems requiring human intervention.

One of the first Roombas' features was automatic docking and recharging. However, from time to time, Roombas simply won't dock, and many people ask why not and how to remedy such an issue.

Published: October 6, 2022.

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Roomba Will Not Dock: Potential Reasons

For a Roomba to successfully dock and recharge itself, the Roomba must locate the docking/charging station (home base), navigate its way toward it, orient itself properly toward the dock and then properly approach and climb/make contact with the dock.

This appears simple, but "under the hood," many things are going on.

So, if the Roomba will not dock itself, the reasons are:

  • Roomba can't locate the docking/charging station (home base),
  • Roomba can't navigate/orient itself properly,
  • Roomba got stuck during the cleaning task or while returning back to the dock,
  • Roomba's battery got fully discharged,
  • Roomba started acting weirdly.

Of course, there are other potential reasons as well, but these are the most common ones.

Roomba can't locate the docking/charging station

After finishing its cleaning cycle, if the Roomba can't locate the docking station, clean the sensors on the Roomba using a cloth, clean the sensors on the docking station, and check the docking station power supply - it must be On for a Roomba to locate it and dock with it successfully.

Also, be sure that the Roomba started the last cleaning cycle from the home base and that the home base is placed correctly.

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Placing a home base next to an object can prevent Roomba from locating and docking to the home base.

roomba stuck

Also, such objects can cause Roomba to get stuck while approaching the home base.

roomba dock test

The first thing to do is to place the home base against the wall with some space around the home base free of obstacles (3-4 ft left/right, 6-7 ft in front).

Note: the photo above shows the home base placed in a better position than before, but it could cause issues if the Roomba approaches from the right side - but some improvement is better than nothing.

Now, after cleaning sensors and verifying that the home base is powered On, place the Roomba in front of the home base and press "Dock" on the unit or in the App (this is obviously model-dependent).

The Roomba should locate the home base easily and dock with it. 

If it doesn't dock, check the error logs, and if required, consider rebooting and even resetting your Roomba.

Note: be sure that the home base is in shade, away from the sunny window. And if You can't connect to the Roomba via WiFi, be sure to check your local WiFi network as well.

Roomba can't navigate/orient itself properly

If Roomba can't navigate itself toward the home base, check the position of the virtual wall barriers and check the virtual walls in the App if the mapping is available.

Virtual walls of any kind near the home base can confuse the Roomba and make it start acting strangely, preventing it from finding a direct (or almost a direct) path to the home base and, in the end, preventing it from docking the home base.

irobot app

If that was the problem, remove potential obstacles and let the Roomba try again to locate the home base.

Roomba got stuck

Each Roomba model features a certain climbing height, allowing it to climb the carpets and similar floor objects. But, it is easily possible for the unit to climb some object causing it to get stuck.

If the Roomba got stuck, remove the object that caused it to get stuck, position the Roomba ahead of the home base and let it dock.

If everything is all right, let the Roomba recharge itself and repeat the cleaning task.

If the Roomba still can't dock, check the sensors, check the home base, check the wheels and look for error codes and other signs that could help You troubleshoot the Roomba's behavior.

Roomba's battery got fully discharged

Older Roomba models vacuumed the area until their batteries got discharged down to ~20%, after which they would locate the home base, dock, and recharge themselves.

In a single-room cleaning mode, the Roombas clean for ~30 minutes, after which they locate the home base, dock, and recharge.

Newer Roombas with advanced navigation clean until the cleaning task is done or until the battery is discharged and must be recharged (Recharge and Resume feature).

Now, if the battery is weak and it can't hold the charge, the onboard battery sensors can't detect properly when the battery is discharged and can interrupt the cleaning tasks too late (or not at all).

In that case, You will find your Roomba on the floor, turned Off due to the discharged battery.

If that is often happening, your Roomba probably has a bad/weak battery that must be replaced.

irobot battery

So, write down the exact Roomba model that You have and order the battery for your Roomba model.

Roomba battery replacement is an easy task, just be sure to follow the instructions in the Owner's Guide or find a video with the instructions.

Roomba started acting weirdly

This one is the hardest to spot - most of the time, your Roomba operates properly, but sometimes and under certain conditions, it may start to act weirdly.

First of all, check the error codes/logs, and if anything is found, act according to the error code numbers.

However, if there are no error codes, logs, or anything that would point to the exact problem, most probably You have to reboot/reset your iRobot Roomba.

Note: Resetting the Roomba, the robot vacuum loses most, if not all, custom information provided by the user. For the exact reset procedures, feel free to check the official iRobot support page.

Long Story Short: iRobot Roombas are often setting standards for all robot vacuums in terms of features and performances. But, they are not without potential issues, of course.

roomba on carpet

When your new Roomba arrives, be sure to read the Owner's Guide completely in order to get accustomed to your new robot vacuum. Also, it is highly recommended to keep the Owner's Guide nearby, just in case.

A properly maintained iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner can easily last for years to come, just be sure to follow maintenance procedures and replace what is worn out, and keep the unit clean.

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