iRobot’s Roomba series of robotic vacuum cleaners are one of the greatest innovations of our times. The simple way to help keep your house tidy in between thorough cleanings or after being away for a while is a genuine boon, and with improved models still being produced, there is no end to their usefulness. With just the light push of a few buttons or just a few steps on your smartphone, you can activate the vacuum cleaner with ease and clean every room efficiently.
Roombas are like smart devices that can be programmed to navigate their way around the house just by following a few simple instructions. A Roomba will usually clean an entire area and then return to its home base when it’s done with the cleaning cycle unless you press the button on the device to make it go back to its chore quicker. Sometimes it takes longer for your Roomba to return because of a simple glitch or issue that may be causing the device some trouble. Now let’s try and pinpoint some common issues that could potentially cause your Roomba not to make it back home or take a bit longer after completing its cleaning task at hand…
How to Fix if your Roomba doesn’t return back to the base
Roombas are at their best when left to clean your home on their own without any disturbance. The secret behind this high-tech machine that requires no constant supervision is a procedure known as Visual Simultaneous Locational And Mapping (VSLAM). Bottom line: the optical system in a robot vacuum cleaner allows it to map out your home by judging distances between walls and identifying various landmarks on the ceiling. This allows Roombas to effectively clean up more than 80 percent of your chosen floor plan without any human intervention required.
But what happens when a vacuuming session is finished? Leaving the device to its own devices could cause it to get stuck under furniture and should the battery get low, you won’t be able to return it home. There are two main ways to bring your Roomba back to the base. Either pressing a button on the device or using the app – either option works well.
When the time is right, the Roomba starts searching for a signal. It uses an infrared sensor to find its way back to the base the vacuum rests on when it isn’t in use. The vacuum follows this signal and avoids walls, furniture, and other objects that might get in its way until it reaches its charger.
In order to clean properly, the Roomba must locate its charging station and have an unobstructed route from that location to where it cleans. The best way for the system to start a cleaning cycle is by the robot starting itself at its docking station and using that as a reference for where it begins about.
Why can’t the Roomba find the Charger?
If your Roomba fails to return home, there are multiple reasons why this might be the case. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi-enabled model (or your device is not connected to the network), you may need to start the cleaning session from the home base for a better chance of it being able to return home.
If you’re cleaning remotely from your Wi-Fi-enabled device, make sure the Roomba is within 6 ft of the dock. It must also be facing the dock. Some other issues could include that you’ve plugged the base into a faulty outlet, or it isn’t plugged in tight enough. You can check if the charger is powered on by observing the blinking light illuminating every 4 seconds as mentioned before.
When setting up your Roomba’s home base, first make sure there are no Dual Mode Virtual Wall barriers within 8 feet of the unit to avoid infrared interference. Next, place the base against a solid wall on a hard even surface and clear of any obstacles that could confuse it as to where to go versus where not to go while navigating around your house. The locations where you might want to avoid placing your Roomba’s home base include:
Placing the base next to the stairs.
You must make sure that the power cord of the Roomba is not in the way of it.
Ensure that there is no furniture or any obstacles within 4 feet of the Roomba.
Additionally, if your Roomba fails to dock properly, this can indicate that debris has built upon the charging contacts on both your device and the charging dock. The manufacturer recommends using a lightly dampened melamine foam swab in order to remove debris from your device’s charging contacts. Some of the reasons why Roomba is taking long to find home base are:
Picking up Roomba while it is Cleaning
Roombas are amazing pieces of technology and have many uses. They make quick work of hard-to-reach places like under beds, behind rugs, on top of counters, and other such places. However, there is one thing you should NOT do if you own a Roomba: pick it up while it’s cleaning! Some people think this will help them move the vacuum around the house more quickly but in fact, the Roomba remembers where it started its clean cycle from (usually its base) and will try to return there regardless of what happens when it gets interrupted. If you happen to pick it up while it’s working, please place your Roomba back as close as possible to its original home base or use your mobile device to send it home.
Not setting up home base at a proper place
This may be the most common of all the reasons why Roombas get stuck. The robot gets confused when it needs to traverse its way home through a difficult path which makes navigation quite challenging for the little guy! Ensuring there’s a clear path with obstacles cleared from this route is easy enough, but keeping your Roomba away from stairs and other mirrored surfaces can often be overlooked. Doing so is an important precaution that will make it easier for your roving robotic pal to navigate back as reliably as possible without shutting down half-way.
If your Roomba is taking a long time to return to base but it doesn’t appear to be stuck, there may be a problem with your device. You can take it to the store from where you brought it or take it in for repair. But first, troubleshoot by making sure there isn’t an issue with your home’s environment.
If the light of your home base reflects off another object in a way that it confuses your Roomba, making it think there’s a barrier in between that’s keeping it from reaching its charging station, check to see if anything around the home base is intact like wires or cords. You should also see if the charger itself is functioning properly and whether or not there are any damages on it. Then, make sure there aren’t any other objects near the home base like toys, shoes and children’s toys that may cause issues with how your Roomba navigates its way there to charge itself.
Another Home base nearby
If you have more than one Roomba, place the home bases at opposite ends of the room. If multiple home bases are placed within close proximity, there is a chance that your Roomba will get confused about which base to check in with because they may not be able to clearly differentiate between the two for some time. To prevent this from happening, place each home base in a different room as much as possible. – Make sure that it’s as far away from other home bases as possible.
Final thoughts on How long does it take Roomba to find a home base
If your home base is in a proper place and you don’t want your robot vacuum getting stuck, try sending it home manually once. After the cleaning process is done, empty out the dust bin and then put it near the home base. Press the home button on your robot vacuum or use your phone to send the robot clean and get back to its dock for charging. Keeping it near the home base after the cleaning process can solve any problems you might encounter not only if this happens but also if the height of obstacles in your house changes significantly over time. If the problem still persists, make sure to take it to a repair shop so they can get it all checked out.