How to Troubleshoot an iRobot Roomba

By Emily Beach

The iRobot Roomba vacuums floors on its own using a series of sensors to navigate around furniture and other obstacles. Despite its largely independent nature, the Roomba requires regular maintenance and care to keep it running as intended. To make this maintenance as easy as possible, the Roomba communicates using a series of beeps, flashing lights and verbal commands, making troubleshooting this device a snap.

vacuum cleaning robot
credit: naotake/iStock/Getty Images
The Roomba vacuums your floor while you work, play or sleep.

Step 1

Look for flashing lights to identify a charging error. A light that blinks just once or blinks exactly five times means the battery isn't connected. Check and reinstall the battery correctly to proceed. Wipe battery contacts with a clean cloth if needed. If the Roomba blinks two, three, six or seven times, allow the unit to cool down for a full hour, then attempt to charge the vacuum in a cooler room.

Step 2

Listen for beeps. If Roomba beeps one, five, six or seven times, the device is having an issue with its side wheel. Some units may express this error verbally by stating, "Error Code 10." Try moving it to a new location and restarting. If this doesn't work, turn the side wheels by hand to try to free it of obstructions. Move the unit back and forth by hand while it sits on the floor to try to engage the wheels. Finally, blow compressed air into the wheel well to remove dirt and free the wheels.

Step 3

Turn your Roomba over and lift the two yellow tabs to access the brush cage if the device beeps two times. Use your Roomba cleaning tool to cut and brush out any hair or debris trapped in the brushes. Cut long hair out of the brushes very carefully with a pair of scissors.

Step 4

Flip the unit upside down and pull firmly on the front wheel to remove it from the unit if you hear exactly eight beeps. Pull any debris you see out of the wheel cavity, clean hair from the wheel axle and wipe away any dirt from the wheel itself. Snap the wheel back into the housing before restarting the vacuum.

Step 5

Tap the front bumper of the Roomba firmly if you hear either nine or eleven beeps. The bumper should spring back out. Tap it a few more times if it appears stuck or doesn't spring out properly. Spray compressed air under the bumper to remove dirt and debris.

Step 6

Check the cliff sensors on your Roomba if the unit beeps twelve times. Make sure nothing is blocking the sensors, then wipe them clean with a dry cloth. The Roomba has four of these sensors, including two on the underside of the front of the vacuum and one along each side. Move the unit to a new location and restart.