Roomba having trouble docking? Check the IR sensor.

I’m quite happy with my Roomba 980, but few months ago it started behaving like a blind puppy searching for her mum’s breast.

It managed to return to the vicinity of the docking base, but it could never quite dock. I had to dock her manually most of the times.

The Infrared sensor

When you look at the charging base and virtual walls, it’s quite obvious that it’s using infrared diodes for precision alignment. Roomba has a little dome to capture the alignment beam from the base or the lanterns/walls.

So I resolved to check if maybe a piece of debree blocked the sensor.

After dismantling the robot I found out that the entire cable of the sensor was severed by the bumper repeatedly smashing on the cable bundle!

I’m surprised that it was working as well as it did with that handicap.

I soldered the cable, put it all together and now it’s working fine.

Roomba operating table

Here are the photos of me dismantling the poor thing in case it helps you.

$4 SmartHome


Firenet is a  Siri-controlled SmartHome installation using $4 ESP8266 modules and free Firebase account


Download / setup

Installation instruction, screenshots, information and code on GitHub


  • Siri Control
  • Wireless control over $4 ESP8266 modules
  • AC/DC current control
  • RGB LED strip control, Sunrise simulation
  • IFTTT integration
    • Presence sensing
    • Google Calendar intogration
    • Notifications
  • Device shadows (keeping last device state), notification on device disconnection (ex. when power fails)
  • Google / Facebok / Github… etc login and auth
  • Triggers that can start a series of tasks
  • Websocket API
  • React / Firebase web app
  • Runs on a free Google Firebase plan

Some screenshots


Devices list Main menu RGB lamp control Composing triggers

This actually was on my dream list for a while and it’s a #184 in my bucketlist