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Resurrect Your Expensive Roomba Batteries

Updated on January 9, 2010

It may be possible to get more life out of your Roomba's battery

The iRobot Roomba is a great household cleaning companion. It keeps your carpet and hard floors clean without any work on your part. We all need a little help with these everyday tasks. Battery issues are the most common complaints among Roomba owners. Hopefully this list of ideas will help you keep your Roomba battery in good health or help you resurrect a failing battery.

Inside the battery pack
Inside the battery pack

Looking Under the Hood

Do You Know What's Inside Your Roomba's Battery?

Did you know that many of the rechargeable battery packs you encounter are really just bundles of standard rechargeable batteries? If you looked inside most of these battery packs you would see a series of AAA, AA, C or D sized rechargeables that are really no different from the batteries you use around your home.

Looking inside the standard Roomba battery pack, you will find a series of 12 C sized NiMH (nickel metal hydride) rechargeable batteries. Some adventurous souls have purchased off the shelf rechargeable C batteries and created their own battery pack to replace the original that shipped with their Roomba. If you are interested in doing something similar, check out all-battery.com. They have rechargeable C batteries with no post and solder points so you can create your own DIY battery pack.

Although replacing the batteries with your own home built battery pack, or buying a replacement battery may seem like the easiest choice, you may be able to salvage that battery by trying a few simple troubleshooting steps.

Don't Have a Roomba Yet?!

Keep Your Battery in Tip Top Shape

A little love can go a long way

Roomba's rechargeable battery system should run well for a long time. According to documentation, the batteries "can last for hundreds of charging cycles with proper care."

Here are a few tips you can follow to keep your battery running its best for as long as possible.

1. Use Your Roomba

The Roomba's batteries do best when they are used frequently.You bought it, so put it to work. It will keep your batteries fresh and you won't have to deal with many of the issues that affect the Roomba battery.

2. Keep It Charged

If you are using the standard battery charger, it is best to keep it plugged in at all times. If you are using the rapid charger, leave the battery on the charger until you are actually ready to use it. Allowing your Roomba battery to run down or completely discharge on a regular basis can lead to a variety of types of battery damage.

3. Keep It Cool

Don't charge your Roomba on a carpeted floor! Heat is the enemy of batteries and electronics in general. By providing a smooth, hard surface for charging, you are providing plenty of ventilation so that the neither the batteries nor the Roomba itself overheat. It is also important to be sure that your Roomba doesn't charge in direct sunlight or right next to a heater vent or radiator. If you are using the Rapid Charger, just make sure that there is sufficient ventilation to keep it from getting too warm.

4. Keep It Clean

When the brushes and axles get clogged with hair or other debris, your Roomba has to work much harder than normal to keep moving. This uses more power from the battery than normal, and will negatively impact battery life. In extreme cases, the battery can even be damaged.

5. Run It Down

Although it sounds like we are contradicting point 2 above, there is a good reason to occasionally exhaust your rechargeable battery. When a battery never has the chance to run all the way down, it can develop a "memory" and will not work at peak efficiency. So, every week or two make sure to run the battery until you see the red indicator light, then charge the battery as normal.

6. Store It Right

If you plan to take the family on an extended vacation or do some remodeling that will make it impossible to use your Roomba, make sure you store the battery correctly. Remove the rechargeable battery pack from your Roomba and store it in a cool dry location. When you are ready to begin using your Roomba again, recharge the battery and then run it to exhaustion. The first few times you run your Roomba you will probably not get the same run time you are used to, but it will recover quickly if used regularly.

Let's Do The Roomba Reset

The most common complaint related to the Roomba battery is that after a while it will only run for a few minutes. When the Roomba is placed on its charger it will charge for a few minutes and indicate that it is fully charged, but it will again run for only a few minutes. This may indicate that the battery has experienced a deep discharge and the Roomba has "forgotten" how to fully charge it again. This reset procedure should tell you if the battery can be salvaged or if it is a more serious problem.

  1. Remove the battery and hold down the power button for 30 seconds, then re-install the battery.
  2. Plug the Roomba into its charger. It is important that you use the actual charger and not the home base to avoid interrupting the charging cycle.
  3. Charge the battery until the Roomba's power light is solid green then continue charging for an additional 72 hours. Note: Take care not to interrupt the Roomba's charging cycle.
  4. Run your Roomba in "Max Mode" through one complete cycle. If your Roomba does not have a "Max Mode", run through several cleaning cycles until it plays the dead battery tune. If your Roomba's run time has improved, you should repeat the cycle 3 or 4 more times to bring the battery back to its full potential.

If this process does not improve your Roomba's operating time, it may be worth considering the purchase of a new Roomba Battery. If you are a DIY sort, you may even consider this Battery Repair Procedure to bring your battery back to life.

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