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Roomba Twist Fix Attempt

A few months ago my awesome Roomba vacuum cleaner started dancing instead of cleaning the carpet like it’s supposed to. It reversed, then rotated to the right, left, right, left, all the time. I call it ‘doing the Twist’ (Chubby Checker’s).

The closest explanation I could find on the Internet regarding this problem was something that’s commonly known as Roomba Circle Dance. The problem is that there are a number of solutions which various people claimed to have fixed the problem and I didn’t know which one was applicable to my case.

I’ve tried cleaning the Roomba to no avail, so the next thing I tried was a solution with the most fun, i.e. replacing a couple of sensor emitters. This involved disassembling the Roomba and soldering those emitters, but that’s ok, I had some experience with making printed circuit board and soldering… like 17 years ago back in junior high school, surely it’s like riding a bike, right? (as I found out later, this statement is NOT true)

Here’s a video of my Roomba doing the Twist, plus some photos I took while disassembling and reassembling the Roomba followed by the result after the fix (bonus badass Streets of Rage soundtrack as the background music):

Some pictures of the Roomba 560 internals:

Glad that these wires didn’t get entangled at all.

On the other hand, these plastic snap locks totally tested my patience, not wanting to accidentally break any of them.

The white thingy on the right was the part I had to replace.

iRobot. Woot woot.

These simple red white and black wires made me unscrew and re-screw the bumper plate three times, just to get them positioned correctly.

Spoiler: It turned out that the sensor emitter wasn’t the cause of the problem, so I’m back to square one, but hey, at least I didn’t break the Roomba and managed to reassemble it. For now, I’m using Brian Pratt’s Roomote to control my Roomba from an iPhone and vacuum the carpet. I still need to figure out a way to return the Roomba to its original autonomous state.

2 Comments

  1. That’s too bad. I think the accepted fix is the replacement of the emitter components. I would try the fix again, it’s possible that you may have made a mistake.

    • My current plan is to drive the roomba programmatically via node, I.e. if bump then turn, rinse and repeat until battery runs out. Just need some spare time :).

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