Oh, the great bane of constant crumbs on the kitchen floor, dog hair throughout the house, and seasonal dust bunnies crowding under the couch that continues to drive us crazy. Thankfully today’s smart appliances take the brunt of the cleaning burden off of our hands.
Roomba vacuums are excellent at keeping our home floors spotless without lifting a finger. But even these robotic vacuums can fail at their chores. One of the more common issues is when the Roomba keeps going over the same area repeatedly. Its sensitive technology may be impeded by a variety of reasons such as floor obstacles, dirty sensors, a dirty camera, and more.
What You’ve Been Missing
The Smart Tech Mechanisms of the Roomba
Understanding what and how your Roomba works, may help you troubleshoot when your robot goes awry.
The mechanism that supports your Roomba and classifies it as a smart appliance is its AWARE Robotic Intelligence System. This sensor system enables your robotic vacuum to navigate and move around the room which it is cleaning. The Roomba features several infrared sensors including object and cliff sensors. The Roomba can sense an obstacle (furniture such as chair legs, toys, walls, etc.) via its bumper and knows to back away from the object. When the Roomba approaches an impending cliff (for example the top of a step or staircase), its cliff sensors are programmed to turn from the staircase and change its direction.
If you own a Roomba 980 model, your machine features a visual camera (aka VSLAM Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping). This means your robot can map out where it needs to clean utilizing unique multi-directional movements.
Troubleshooting When Your Roomba Cleans the Same Spot
When you notice your Roomba misbehaving it’s time to troubleshoot.
Check obstacles in the room
Before you hit the clean button on your Roomba, check for any random items on your floor, under the bed, or couch that may prevent your iRobot from moving over the same space again and again. Items to look out for include papers, electronics, cords, shoes with long laces, money, plastic wrappers, and the like.
Cliff, bumper, and special dust sensors on your robot will obviously get dirty. If your Roomba model employs the Special Dust Sensor, which is used to pick up the tiniest dust particles, the machine may move over the same area multiple times to try and clean the spot perfectly. You can turn off this sensor if you sense this is the problem. Check out the cliff sensor and bumper sensor, too. You might find dirt or hair clogging the sensors. In general, the best-recommended method to clean the cliff and bumper sensors is by utilizing a dry cotton swab q-tip to remove dust build-up. Doing this weekly will keep your machine navigating accordingly, and as clean as possible.
When you see your Roomba going in circles on the same spot, take a look at its bumpers. The problem may be that the bumper is stuck by trapped dirt or hair. The robot “thinks” it is hitting an obstacle when this feature is stuck. Try tapping the bumper gently a few times, which usually helps to remove any debris.
Dirty wheels may be the culprit
Roomba caster wheels are prone to collecting hairs and threads amidst a cleaning session. When the wheels are caught up with hairs, thread, cords, and the like, your machine will not function properly. The wheels may be jammed with the debris. Check the wheels to see what if anything is preventing your Roomba from working normally. Consult your manual to learn how to remove any debris caught in the wheels.
No clear picture
Another reason your Roomba’s navigation performance is off-kilter could be because of a dirty camera surface. This applies to Roombas equipped with VSLAM. Keep the clear window on the robot’s top surface clean. You can use a soft cloth or microfiber cloth that is slightly damp with water.
Unplug other infrared interferences
Roomba utilizes infrared technology to move around the home. There are occasions that when your robot vacuums the same spot over and over again it could mean there is a possible interference by other devices in the home. Think headsets, headphones, incandescent light bulbs, etc. Remove them from the area that the Roomba is cleaning.
General Cleaning and Maintenance of Your Roomba.
Your Roomba is a dirt magnet and before each vacuuming session, it is important to start it clean. In addition to removing hair and dirt from the sensors and bumpers, here are a few more things to do before you push the “clean” button.
1. Empty the Bin.
Dumping the contents of the Roomba bin is another essential component to keeping your vacuum working well.
2. Clean Filter.
Take the filter out and shake off any dust or junk that has attached to it. Do not wash with water or any cleaning solutions.
3. Clean Edge Sweeping Brush.
You will need a small screwdriver to remove the brush. Clean the piece and screw it back in.
4. Dust Home Base.
Your Home Base (the charger) will collect dust and dirt. Unplug the base before cleaning. Use a cleaner such as the Magic Eraser product to remove the debris. Just like you would with any other home appliance or your smartphone or computer, proper maintenance and cleaning are essential to keeping your machine in great shape. Just like any other machine, there are times when your Roomba may go a little bit haywire.
Cleaning the same spot is one of the most common problems Roomba owners experience with their little robots. Usually attributed to stuck dirt and hair, problem-solving is generally easy. It’s checking the debris caught up in the sensors and wheels, wiping the camera lens, and clearing the pathway of electrical cords, chairs, and the like. Once you check in on all the special features of your Roomba, you can go back to the convenience of a clean home.