FYI - Roomba Battery Maintanance and Troubleshooting Tips

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FYI - Roomba Battery Maintanance and Troubleshooting Tips

Postby THX-1138 » August 4th, 2006, 9:49 am

Here is some information on Roomba Battery Maintenance and Troubleshooting tips that I gathered since I have been here, hope these help you:


ROOMBA BATTERY MAINTANANCE

"Roomba's battery can last for hundreds of charging cycles with proper care. Here are some tips to extend the life of your battery, and help keep it at the peak of performance:

Frequent use - Rechargeable nickel-based batteries do best when used frequently. The worst thing for batteries like these is infrequent light use. The Roomba was designed to be used frequently; this will keep the battery healthy.

Keep the brushes clean - If the brushes and brush axles get clogged with hair and other debris, the unit will strain to spin them, consuming more power from the battery than normal, and battery life will suffer. In extreme cases, the battery can be damaged.

Occasionally exhaust the battery - At least once every week or two, make sure to run the unit until the battery is exhausted; it will stop running and will display a red light. It is not necessary to do this every time you use it.

Keep the battery charged - If you use the standard charger leave it plugged in all the time the unit is not being used. If you have a rapid charger, leave the battery in the rapid charger until just before you use it.

Buy a Rapid Charger and Second Battery - Using the optional Rapid Charger and a second battery will allow you to keep the unit running by swapping batteries between the Rapid Charger and the unit. In addition, the Rapid Charger's pulse-charging circuitry will optimize the battery's life while it waits in the Rapid Charger after completing its charge.

Keep the unit, batteries and chargers in a cool place - Battery life and charging efficiency are decreased if they are stored and charged in a very warm environment. They should be stored and charged in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat such as windows, radiators, heating vents, and large appliances. Make sure the Rapid Charger and the unit have sufficient ventilation while charging. While it is charging a battery, the Rapid Charger should be sitting on a smooth hard surface (not on carpet or a rug) with plenty of space for ventilation.

Long-term storage - If you will not be using the unit for an extended period of time (more than a few weeks) it is best to fully charge the battery and then remove and store it separately. When you return, recharge the battery and then run it to exhaustion. The first few times you use it you may not get normal run times, but it will recover quickly if used regularly. Do not leave the battery in the unit for extended periods of time when not connected to a charger because it draws a slight current even when turned off. If left this way for more than a week the battery can run down. If left this way for many weeks, the battery can be damaged. Removing the battery from the unit will prevent this. Do not leave the battery sitting in the Rapid Charger with the Rapid Charger not plugged in to the wall.

If these tips do not resolve your problem, please contact customer support 877-855-8593."

In regards to the saving $$ on the VWU power, get rechargeable batteries instead. You can find 'D' sized NiMH at your local retail store.



ROOMBA BATTERY TROUBLESHOOTING

I also recommend the following from iRobot's FAQ:

If you are having trouble charging Roomba's Battery, try the following:

1. Ensure that the battery is properly seated. Turn Roomba off, empty the Particle Bin, and place Roomba upside down on a flat, padded surface. Remove and re-insert the battery, pressing firmly on both ends of the battery until it clicks into place. Some batteries fit very tightly, and it is recommended that the end with the electrical connection be inserted first.

2. Make sure the battery is properly connected to Roomba and that the Charger AC adapter is plugged in to the wall outlet.

3. Charge Roomba overnight and run in the morning.

4. If using a Rapid Charger, make sure that the battery is seated correctly in the charger and that the Rapid Charger is fully plugged in to a working AC outlet.

5. If you are using a Rapid Charger in an unusually hot area such as near a heater or in direct sunlight, move the Rapid Charger to a hard surface in a cool, open area and recharge the Battery.


and/or


Your Roomba may be experiencing an issue where the battery is deeply discharged and may need to charge longer than the standard 3 hours. (or 7 hours if you have a standard charger)

Even with the charging light showing green (this indicates a fully charged battery) the robot is still charging. If your Roomba exhibits behavior where it charges for a short time then runs for a short time you will need to do the following.

1. Plug the charger into Roomba (if you have a home base be sure to plug directly into Roomba instead of using the home base, this will ensure the robot's charging cycle is not interrupted.)

2. After the Roomba's charging indicator goes to solid green please keep the Roomba on the charger for an additional 72 hours. (3 days)

3. After the 72 hours (3 days) has passed, turn your Roomba on and begin a normal cleaning cycle. If this works successfully it may take several uses for the battery to get back up to the performance it once had.

If this does not correct the problem, please call customer support at 877-855-8593 or e-mail us through our on-line form.


and/or


I have seen this with my refurbished Discovery and seemed to have solved the problem. Here is what they recommend :

"If your Roomba Red, Roomba (sage), Roomba Discovery, or Roomba Discovery SE is indicating a full charge, but it only runs for 15 minutes when you press clean, you need to reset the charging system. You can do this by removing the battery from the robot and unplugging the charger from the wall and robot. Please hold the power button down for 30 seconds. You then should charge the robot....."

Following this helped my battery from 45 minutes to 1 Hour 30 min. on hard surfaces. Let me know if this helped you!



Hope that these tips come in handy for all of you fellow Roomba lovers!

Regards,

Nikolai - RobotReviews.com
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Postby tartangal » August 7th, 2006, 10:50 pm

"If your Roomba Red, Roomba (sage), Roomba Discovery, or Roomba Discovery SE is indicating a full charge, but it only runs for 15 minutes when you press clean, you need to reset the charging system. You can do this by removing the battery from the robot and unplugging the charger from the wall and robot. Please hold the power button down for 30 seconds. You then should charge the robot....."

Taken literally, this sounds like one is holding the power button down with no battery in it...is that correct? It sounds as though there should be a "put the battery back into the robot, plug in the charger and THEN press the power button down for 30 seconds"....no?
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Postby THX-1138 » August 7th, 2006, 11:19 pm

Hello tartangal,

No, the instructions are correct. If you follow it step by step it will clear out/reset it's charging subroutine and doing so may help with this issue. :wink:
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Postby RoombaRules » August 8th, 2006, 3:50 am

THX is correct. What this is doing is draining the capacitor circuits within Roomba, essentialy resseting it. It is to be done with the battery out and the charger disconnected....if it were done with the battery in, pressing the power button for 30 seconds would have no effect and it would not help. I have found this resseting procedure to help many problems I have encountered with Roomba, it is very useful.

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Postby ahunter400 » September 15th, 2006, 12:30 pm

Is there anyway to run this reset procedure for an original roomba? Mine was running like a champ, then when I moved I was a bad roomba owner and didn't charge or remove the battery and it was in storage for 2 months. So, I may have accidentally "killed" my roomba battery, but I thought that I'd try to see if there was a reset procedure before ordering a new battery.
Thanks in advance for any help.
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Postby tydaking » October 23rd, 2006, 10:27 am

I just got a refurb Discovery roomba. I did the process of removing the battery, held down the power, then plugged it back in to charge. My question is. Does it have some kind of standby or sleep mode that it goes in to once it's fully charged? All the lights went off on the unit after about an hour of charging.
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Roomba Discovery-NO Power

Postby jmccook » January 15th, 2007, 10:42 pm

My Roomba Discovery is a refurb and worked fine the first couple of times that I ran it. It did seem to die, battey wise, rather qucikly the last time I used it. When I plug it in to charge it does nothing, no lights at all. I have tried the previous instructs with little success. If I leave it disconnected from power for a few days with the battery out then put the battery back in and plug it in, or dock it, the charging light comes on for about 5 seconds then goes out again. Please help. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Roomba Discovery-NO Power

Postby marwatk » January 21st, 2007, 1:43 pm

My Roomba Discovery is a refurb and worked fine the first couple of times that I ran it. It did seem to die, battey wise, rather qucikly the last time I used it. When I plug it in to charge it does nothing, no lights at all. I have tried the previous instructs with little success. If I leave it disconnected from power for a few days with the battery out then put the battery back in and plug it in, or dock it, the charging light comes on for about 5 seconds then goes out again. Please help. Thanks in advance.


I'm having this exact problem. My refurb unit simply shuts down (no lights and won't respond to commands via remote or on the unit) when it is plugged into the charger or docks on home base. Removing it from the charger 'wakes it up'. Anyone know what might be happening?

Thanks.
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Re: Roomba Discovery-NO Power

Postby Gordon » January 21st, 2007, 3:01 pm

marwatk wrote:... My ... unit ... shuts down ... and won't respond to commands ... when it is plugged into the charger...
I would first suspect your Fast Charger. If it were mine, I would test the charging power supply by first measuring its output voltage (no load, not connected to anything).

If I measure about 22Vdc, open-ckt, that would suggest I do a load-test on it. One of the easiest ways for me to do that would be to connect two lamps in series across the Fast-Charger's output plug. Of course, that setup requires some hardware purchases. I would take the FC to Radio Shack and buy a jack to match the FC's Roomba-plug; then I would go to an auto-parts store and ask for one (I already have one) "211" cabin lamp (popularly used as automobile dome lights from the '60s to whenever, '90s (?)). The 211-lamp looks like a cartridge fuse (0.38" dia. X 1.6" LG), an axial filament in a glass-tube, and with a metal terminal at each end. The terminal shape makes it easy to clip onto, so no lamp-holder/socket is needed.

Other stuff like small-size hookup wire, solder, and a few clip-leads could also be used (all on hand at my place).

I do all the work of connecting the two lamps in series across the jack. Then connect the jack to the FC's pigtail and plug in the FC's AC cord.

If the FC is working, the lamps should be brightly lit (a charged Roomba-battery powering a single 211-lamp, pulled 1.1A, so powering two in series with about 11/15ths the voltage across each lamp should hold current up around 0.8A--IF the FC is working. Of course, I would also measure current through the load, and voltage across the load--more comforting to see the data!

Mind you, I'm not telling you that *you* should do all that, I'm just saying what I would do if it were my system with such a problem! :)
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Postby rtsmith » January 21st, 2007, 5:24 pm

The only thing I would add to the FAQ is to make sure your Roomba's charger is connected to a good surge protector...you will damage the battery and/or the sensitive Roomba brain if you do not!
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Postby THX-1138 » January 21st, 2007, 7:03 pm

Hello rtsmith,

The surge protector suggestion suggestion is found at the "READ FIRST!" sticky thread since day one. Thank you for bringing it up :wink:
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roomba battery dying

Postby Lrn » February 20th, 2007, 10:19 pm

Thanks THX,
That solved my problem with the battery slowly dying. I did exactly as instructed which seemed odd at first but it did clear its little head and one good charge latter it is non stop (1:30 ish on hard wood floors). It was down to 35 min per charge... I could barely get one room clean before it called for help. Starnge how the one good charge was all of maybe 45 min before it was green and is still going strong 1:20+ in the kitchen. I used the direct plug that plugs into the side of the roomba not the home base. I also store the scooba battery off the charger, as directed, next to the charging base for roomba. Do you think the electrical cells of scooby "de-charge" the roomba battery? (just because they are near by?)...
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Postby THX-1138 » February 20th, 2007, 10:57 pm

Hello Lrn,

Great to have helped in one way or the other. You should have no issues with having your Scooba battery next to the Roomba charger unless the Roomba charger emits vast amounts of EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) which would be a very bad problem on itself but very unlikely.
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Is it possible to charge a second battery without Roomba?

Postby petebank » March 25th, 2007, 12:56 pm

Some people have suggested having a second battery and charging it so you can always use the Roomba. I wouldn't mind buying a second battery if this worked - my question is - can you charge a battery if it is not inside Roomba? If you can't - it seems like buying a second battery would be a waste of time. Sorry if this question has been asked somewhere else already - I'm new to the forum and a new Roomba owner. -Pete
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Postby vic7767 » March 25th, 2007, 1:23 pm

Most Roomba owners that either have more than one Roomba and more than one battery usually purchase an external charger for the extra batteries to help keep them all charged up. I've found these chargers for sale on ebay from time to time.
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Postby THX-1138 » March 25th, 2007, 3:22 pm

Welcome to RoombaReview.com Pete :D

You may still find this rapid charger at your local Bed,Bath & Beyond and/or Linen-n-Things store. But here is one being sold at Ebay :

iRobot Rapid Charger - eBay 03/25/2007

Hope this helps.
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Postby smokefly » April 1st, 2007, 12:42 am

Thanks for the useful information on the roomba battery. I wish I had read this thread before. I bought a 4225 at Costco on 3/13 when they had the $50 coupon. I only tested it twice for a short period of time to make sure it's working properly. After that I put the roomba back in the box with the battery left in (well, actually half in - after cleaning the whole body I didn't put the battery fully snapped in). Today, after two weeks, I had the time to play with it but when I took the roomba out the battery was totally drained out. The power button didn't respond. I started charging the battery from 6:30pm and after six hours the power button is still blinking now. I'll keep it charged until tomorrow and hopefully it'll get green.

I thought the rechargable battery should been used to low before the next charge. Apparently I was wrong. From now on I will use my roomba more frequently and keep it plugged to the charger all the time.

Edit on 4/1: The power light turned to solid green this morning. I guess I'm safe now. I will still leave it charged until tonight.
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Confusion about charging

Postby sanjeevnuts » April 26th, 2007, 2:28 pm

Thanks for the very valuable info. I have a Roomba Scheduler and it comes with the APS charger. I leave it plugged in at all times as advised by the tech support. You have somewhat different opinion, but I'm not too clear. They both look the same. Will appreciate clarification
Quote
Keep the battery charged - If you use the standard charger leave it plugged in all the time the unit is not being used. If you have a rapid charger, leave the battery in the rapid charger until just before you use it.
Unquote

Thanks
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Postby baroom1 » July 30th, 2007, 3:16 pm

THX-1138 wrote:"If your Roomba Red, Roomba (sage), Roomba Discovery, or Roomba Discovery SE is indicating a full charge, but it only runs for 15 minutes when you press clean, you need to reset the charging system. You can do this by removing the battery from the robot and unplugging the charger from the wall and robot. Please hold the power button down for 30 seconds. You then should charge the robot....."


What happens if I have a 401? It has only 1 button which is CLEAN. I tried holding CLEAN for 30 seconds but it does not seems to do much. My APS Battery is running for only a few seconds now. Charging circuit is fine as I can charge and use a standard battery.
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Postby vic7767 » July 30th, 2007, 3:56 pm

If another battery is holding a charge when using the built in charging function of your 401 but the APS is not even though you have reset the charging system by pressing the only button your Roomba has, then I would suspect that the APS battery is defective.
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