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SwiftRacer Roomba Diagnostics Articles


Roomba Diagnostic Songs

(What is Roomba trying to tell you?)

Ver 2004.10.26 By George F McQuary,

For information purposes only. No guarantee of accuracy. Not an employee of iRobot, merely a customer. Not responsible for warranty violation, injury, damages.

To proceed, you are doing so at your own risk; and, agree to the above disclaimer statement.

Please don't ask me to fix your roomba. :-)

Flashpage of some roomba songs.

The official "Uh-Oh" error modes.

Reason for Pause Number of Beeps after "uh-oh"
wheel-drop 0
brush-stall 1
side-brush-stall 2
vacuum-stall 3
drive-stall 4
constant-cliff 5
wheel-drop-rate 6
stasis-stuck 7

Roomba diagnostic songs I have identified with their meaning, indexed by the number of notes in the song.

2 note songs:

  • 2 note "Uh-oh"

Current Cleaning Mode flashes on top panel: Beaching itself on bumpy surfaces (like riding up a low stack of magazines or folding over a rug corner). Also appears to happen when it gets lost under a chair or in a tight corner and can't get out within a time limit."Uh-oh" repeats once 30 seconds --useful when it gets lost under a couch or a bed and you can't find where its gone off to.

3 note songs:

  • "Uh-Oh" with extra beep at end. Song repeats every minute.

Power light red but steady: Brush no longer able to move or moving too slow, usually from carpeting it can't handle. Jammed main brush needs to be cleared.

To reproduce: Run over a power cord and let it jam the main brush.

  • "Come find me" --the same high note three times. Repeats once a minute.

S-M-L-Spot-Max are all steady green (The Roomba "high-five" for success) Cleaning is finished, now come find me. Useful when Roomba decides quitting time is under a couch or bed and you're trying to find it now. Power light's color shows how much charge is left in the battery if you want to clean another room (Green is high charge remaining, yellow is medium charge remaining, red is little charge remaining). Song will repeat until any key is pressed, indicating that someone did, indeed, find the Roomba. (It dances, it plays hide-n-seek...)

Known problems: If the cleaning mode is completing too early (say you're getting the "Finished cleaning" three tones with all lights green, no flashing, in under 30 seconds) and all motors/sensors check out, you've probably got an electronics issue. Most likely it's a weak (or damaged by overcharging) battery causing the internal timer to count down too fast, but it also could be some stray fuzz bridging the electronics on the green board. Try cleaning the green electronics board with a vacuum cleaner because that's cheap to do, but most likely your battery has died and needs replacement. There is also a theory that if the battery is overcharged, draining it to a more normal level may solve the problem (just let the battery age a week or two and its charge will reduce naturally), but no one has confirmed this yet.

4 note songs:

  • “I’m off to work”: The familiar starting work song.

To reproduce: Turn power on, choose S mode.

  • Worried "I can't do this". Battery low or was lifted from ground.

Power light steady red, flashes current mode: Appears to be a software glitch from charging the battery by the wall charger to less than the maximum possible charge. Turning off and on again seems to get Roomba to look at the battery and see it has been charged after all.

Power light flashing red: The battery is too low, which is also indicated by Roomba stopping whatever it was doing, playing the song once, and the power light flashing red. Also seen at end of Max mode. (which is correct behavior)

Current cleaning mode is flashing, power light is steady. (S, M, L) Roomba was rocked too much (usually from a pet pawing it) and the Roomba thinks it's been flipped over and is on its back.

To reproduce: Turn power on, choose S when battery is low.

5 note songs:

  • "O-K, back to work": resuming working from a pause (usually by the owner to empty the bin). Will continue from where the countdown was before, not resetting the countdown timer for this mode.

To reproduce: Turn on power, select S. After Roomba plays the “I’m off to work.” starting song, press S to Pause and S to re-enter.

  • "And now, I'm done, yeah!" (ends with one high note) Spot mode finished

S-M-L-Spot-Max lights are steady green Spot mode successfully completed.

To reproduce: Turn power on, select Spot mode, let it complete the job successfully.

  • Rising scale: diagnostic mode is entered.

To reproduce: Hold down S-M-L at the same time, then briefly press power. After a ten second wait the song will play as it enters Diagnostic Mode.

6 note songs:

  • "Around about I Go": Spot mode start song.

To reproduce: Turn on power, choose Spot mode.

  • "Uh oh" followed by 4 beeps and shutdown.

Current mode light is flashing and battery light is green. (Except Spot mode, which remains all lights green and steady). Roomba believes it has a stuck wheel or otherwise become stuck from riding over a hole.
Check --one user found the wheels moving fine, but the optical sensor wasn't blinking in mode 6. Fixing it just took a few blasts with a can of compressed air to blow out the fuzz from the wheel assembly optical sensor.
Check the brush assembly on the bottom for side to side motion. If the metal bearing becomes too hot (usually from hair accumulation), it melts the plastic holding the bearing in place. The loose brush will jam, and sometimes even fall out and hook the Roomba in place preventing movement. Order the replacement parts "brush and brush bearing assembly" from Support.

12 note songs:

  • Cleaning mode fanfare (ends with three high notes)

S-M-L-Spot-Max lights are all lit (Roomba's "high five" sign of a successfully completed job). Roomba has finished its work. Will now repeat the three note "Come find me" song until any key is pressed.

See also the articles: Roomba Problems, Roomba Discovery Diagnostics, Roomba Belt Replacement.

[Other contributors: Haaljo]

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