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Debugging and repairing the Roomba Print E-mail
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roombadockingAfter short time my Roomba would no longer dock correctly. It tried docking but did not seem to detect the docking station/home base. However when plugging the charger directly into the Roomba it charged correctly. Here I will show the process of finding the fault and fixing it.

Checking around on the web, I found no one with the same behaviour, and questioning around on www.roombareview.com/chat neither gave any solution. However after posting my problem in the forums, I got some very valuable help. Here is the thread:http://www.roombareview.com/chat/viewtopic.php?t=10350&highlight=

The following video shows my Roombas behaviour:


Testing the home base

I had already tested the Roomba towards another Homebase to verify that it was my Roomba and not the homebase that did not work. Just to be absolutely sure, I also tested my home base using "Gordon"s tip from the roomba review thread linked above: Connect a resistor of 4k7ohms (color code yellow, Violet, red, can be bought at your local Radio Shack or similar store) between the two charging pads on the home base, and measure the voltage over his resistor. The voltage will rise to appx 22.5V if the homebase works correctly.

As the space between the charging pads are greater than the length of standard resistors I found the simplest solution was to insert the resistor into the voltage meter plugs, and the inserting the test leads. This way you don´t need to add wires to the resistor to get it to reach over the gap between the charging pads, but can instead use the test elads to simultaneously connect the resistor to the pads and measure the voltage. See images below.

 

resistor

 

 

Testing homebase

Now by touching the Roomba charging dock connectors with the test leads of the voltage meter you can easily test that the charging dock works. You will see the voltage rise to approximately 22 volts DC, and the charging light on the dock lighting up.

If the voltage is much lower than 22V and/or the charging light does not get lit, your dock is damaged and should be replaced or fixed.

 

Dismantling the Roomba 560

Second step was to dismantle the Roomba. Strictly speaking there was no need of removing all components, but as I was unsure of what the problem was, I decided to pull everything apart. See also image gallery in the end of the article.

Step 1: Remove the four screws holding the bottom plate.

Step 2: Remove the battery.

Step 3: Remove the brushes and suction chamber.

Step 4: Remove the three screws holding each wheel/motor assembly.

Step 5: Remove the screw holding the sidebrush motor.

Step 6: Remove the 10 screws holding the bumber parts together.

Step 7: Remove the bottom part of the bumber

Step 8: Remove the upper part of the bumber, and the two screws fixing the IR beacon to the bumper.

Step 9: Lift off the top cover.

Step 10: Remove the centerplate.

Step 11: Remove the display/button assembly.

Step 12: Remove the five screws holding the main PCB.

The disassembly is now complete.


Fault finding

First thing was to measure that there was connection between the charging connection plates and the home base charge input on the main PCB.

Then I measured the connection between the rear and the front charging input. I found then that the ground signal from the home base charge input was routed to the centre pin of the rear charge connector. And that ground on the rear charge connector was connected to the pin to the left. I found this a little strange as the ground signal was expected to be the same.

Further looking at the external charge input connector, I did reckognize the type as one having an internal switch closing/opening when a plug in inserted. But inserting the charger plug did not make or break any connection. Just to verify my suspicion, that it was a missing connection between the two ground signals that was the problem, I placed a jumper between the centre and the left ground pin of the main board charge input connector, partly assembled the Roomba, and tested the home base towards the charge connection plates. And now everything worked as expected. Hence the problem was in the external charge input connector, not connecting the two ground signals when the external charger is not plugged. I guess the Roomba is designed this way in order to disconnect the home base charging input in case a external charger is connected while the Roomba is still in the home base charger.

Fixing the problem

As I had no suitable spare connector, I had to fix the original one. Using a drill and a dremel multi-tool I removed the plastic on one of the sides of the connector. And the by inspecting the internal switch I confirmed that this switch was left permanently open, even if the charge plug was not inserted. A little bending with a pair of pliers, and the functionality of the switch was restored. Removing the side of the connector had made the internal parts little loose, but this was nothing a little two-component epoxy glue could not fix.

Everything was reassembled and the Roomba home base now works perfectly.


 



Comments

avatar Gendis
+4
 
 
[b] Thank You, Thank You and once again, Thank You very much![/b]

I've just put a small screwdriver into power connector, bent the metal strip and Roomba home base now works perfectly. And it is end of two years manual charging ;)
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avatar gverila
0
 
 
Hello, I have a same problem with my new roomba 560, but in my case I only have a 2 wires (not 3, the third hole is empty) that goes from power connector to a plate. Doea anybody have a solution to my problem? Thank you very much.
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avatar Admin
0
 
 
Hi gverila
have you tested that your homebase correctly rise the charging power when the roomba tries to dock? As described in "Testing the home base" above?

Admin
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avatar gverila
0
 
 
No, I didn't, yet. First I must get this resistor of 4k7ohms and then I will try it again. Thank you, for your reply, I will try it next week and than I will share my results with you. Thank you again and sorry for my bad english ;)
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avatar gverila
0
 
 
Another update. I rent it a resistor and multimeter from my friend and the home base is working correctly. So, I think that a problem is with roomba itself. What do you think which way to go to resolve a problem? Thank you.
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avatar gverila
+1
 
 
And final update. Problem solved. It was a external charge input connector. It seems that was defected from the beginning. But I was too strong and destroyed a connector . So, I just connect two wires (left and right ones) and my roomba magicaly come to live and was charging on home base for the first time in her live :) I'm so HAPPY :))))) Of course this is just temporary till I get a new connector. Thank you again you have been a great help. Without yours tutorial I never been able to identified a problem. THANK YOU AGAIN.
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avatar Admin
0
 
 
Very good to hear you managed to solve your problem, and I am glad my tutorial helped you to solve this :)
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avatar Juilan Harmer
+1
 
 
Absolutley brilliant, My roomba suffered he same problem, two seconds with a precision screwdriver, fixed!

Thanks you so much.
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avatar jkay
+2
 
 
Excellent no need for any disassembly. Just insert i precision screwdriver into the charging socket and bend the connector towards the pin in the centre. Hey presto works like new again finding and charging on the dock.
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avatar Keith Baker
-1
 
 
I have exactly the same problem, can you confirm how you can fix this without opening up the roomba? Is it the charging plug on the roomba that you need to do this on or the dock? I'm not that handy with screwdrivers so dont want to meddle with the robot too much incase I break it more :). Thanks.
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avatar Admin
0
 
 
Hi, this is the charging plug on the Roomba, NOT the dock. Personally I have not tried fixing by bending using screwdriver, only by opening the Roomba as described here.
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avatar Luis Trumper
0
 
 
And I have the ame problem, I live in Argentina. I bend the connector and this fix the situation for a couple of days. Could you show how is the bending procedure to be more effective?
Would be interesting if you show what do you need to dissasembly only to repair the connector.
thanks
Luis
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avatar Essay
+1
 
 
I was having a problem with my Roomba as well. Problem now solved!
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avatar red bedding
+1
 
 
I was also having this same problem. It helps a lot.
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avatar HaseParse
+1
 
 
Great piece of diagnostics. I was unable to bend the contact and so bi-passed it by soldering a wire bridge between terminals 2 and 3 on the socket. I think the only risk is that there could be a short circuit between Roomba's charging contacts if something metal was on the floor when charging without the docking station. Will install an in line fuse in the charging cable just in case.

Thanks all.
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avatar Steve Wells
0
 
 
Yay! I imported my Roomba and I was sad that it couldn't find it's way home. With a bit of judicious tweaking it's now happily charging up. Thanks so much for your work in investigating and documenting this, I really appreciate it!

Let me buy you a beer via PayPal :)
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avatar admin
0
 
 
Hi Steve.
I am glad you found this information useful.
Thank you so much for your donation. Much appreachiated :)
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avatar Allen Baylus
0
 
 
I noticed that the plastic backing on the Positive terminals on both my Roomba and Charging Statio have been compromised.
The plastic on the Station is slightly melted and the terminal does not recess like the Ground terminal does.
The postive contact point on the Roomba has suffered from some heat related effects. The Positive terminal plate is recessed further then the Ground plate and the plastic backing is also slightly melted (confirmed when I dis-assembled the unit and found the retainer for the Positive plate was also 'disfigured'.
I have had this unit for over 2- 1/2 years. I think that the unit stopped working with the charging station after the first year. It has been charging via plug since then.
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avatar roel
0
 
 
thanks, it has worked perfect for me. I removed the battery and used a paperclip to bend the metal towards the pin. Worked perfectly thanks for explaining the problem so well!!
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avatar Bill
0
 
 
Excellent!!! After the useless customer service/tech support crap, I finally came across your fix--and yes it is a fix. I gently pried the metal tab out with a angled awl and it fixed my problem. Tech support should log on here when they are looking for ways to fix THIER product. Thanks a million!!!!!
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avatar Ivo
0
 
 
Hi there.This perfect piece of advice here bring our roomba back to the home base and the smile on my wife's face:)) thank you for your patience to find the solution and your nobility to share it with us...cheers
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avatar Matias Fernandez
0
 
 
I want to really thank you for your help. I live out from US and there is no Roomba people here. I check everything and finally it was just the rear roomba connector. I just cleaned it with a screwdriver and now all is ok. Thanks for your help.
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avatar Mirar
0
 
 
I just had this problem. For once I charged the roomba using the connector, and then the dock stopped working. This thread saved me from dismantling the roomba and trying everything like the procedure in this thread - I just violently plugged and unplugged the roomba a few times, and that cleared the connector enough for the roomba docking station to work again.
Thanks.
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avatar A
0
 
 
same here! hurray!! thank you!!
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avatar Tom
+1
 
 
Oh, you should remove the comment of "snel geld verdienen enquetes invullen" it's a spam.
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avatar Admin
+1
 
 
Thanks Tom. The amount of Spam has increased tremendously lately, I was hoping the Captcha would prevent it. Trying to remove the spam messages as they appear. Hate those spammers
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avatar Hugo
0
 
 
Great - this helped for me too!!!
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avatar Stefan
0
 
 
Solved the problem! I had used the external connector in an attempt to get som life in the old battery. After i had changed battery it wouldn´t charge from the home base. With the help from a toothpick problem solved thanks to you.
Thank you!!
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avatar johno
+1
 
 
I have the roomba 780. And i had exactly the same problem! Thank you very much! :-)
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avatar martina+ martin
+1
 
 
thank you from germany too - we fixed the problem with your help :-)
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avatar Eero
+1
 
 
Amazing!! No need to dismantle the Roomba. And it works. This fixed the problem.
I'll buy you a beer :-). Many thanks from Finland.
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avatar Admin
+1
 
 
Thanks a lot Eero. The donation is much appreciated :)
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avatar John
0
 
 
Thank you very much!!!!! Works perfectly
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avatar Vic
0
 
 
Thank you so much.
Because a battery issue we charged the Roomba over the external power jack.
When we finally replaced the battery, we had the same problem that your mentioned. No docking and charging.
It was your tutorial who pointed to the problem. I found no other sites.
Respect!
Greetings from Portugal
Roomba 581
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avatar Vic
+1
 
 
Now i have PayPal and you have your beer now :)
Cheers
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avatar Admin
+1
 
 
Thank you for the kind words and the donation Vic. Much appreciated :)
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avatar aöslkdfj
0
 
 
Thank you very much! The trick with the small screw driver worked for me as well.
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avatar Henrik
+1
 
 
Had the same problem after two days external charging. Fixed with lots of curses and screwdriver.
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avatar taruhan bola
0
 
 
I would like to take the opportunity of thanking you for the professional instruction I have usually enjoyed visiting your site. I am looking forward to the commencement of my school research and the complete preparing would never have been complete without dropping by your website. If I can be of any help to others, I would be glad to help as a result of what I have learned from here.
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avatar George Speller
+1
 
 
Same problem with my 530, and the test with a resistor tip was invaluable. Traced the trouble to the failure of the 2 pin plug between contact pads and circuit board in the charging station. Now soldered directly and Fido is again suckling at the teat electrical sustenance.
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avatar Juky D
+1
 
 
Awesome tutorial ! many thanks
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avatar Waldo
+1
 
 
Fantastic work! I was so disappointed that my Roomba had stopped docking to its home base. Count me as one more DIY fixer who praises you for a great job debugging and a well created site!
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avatar Admin
+1
 
 
Thanks for those kind words Waldo. I am glad I was able to help.
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avatar Jesper Gravgaard
0
 
 
Thanks a lot! This guide helped me find the error with my Roomba.

The roomba service company was nice enough to send me a spare external charging input connector - which fixed my roomba up!

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avatar Jesper Gravgaard
0
 
 
Donated one beer as thanks
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avatar Admin
0
 
 
Thanks a lot Jesper. Much appreciated, and I am glad you found the information useful.
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avatar Dave
0
 
 
Magic! Precision screwdriver did the job and I don't need a new docking station after all.
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avatar Admin
0
 
 
Glad you found the info useful and where able to fix you Roomba :)
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avatar Ernie
0
 
 
Good Read
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