Avi's page for iRobot Roomba 5xx bumper IR fix

How did I fixed iRobot Roomba 560 bumper sensor ?

I my Roomba 560
(Well... I still do...)



My Roomba 560 stopped working normally, started to "circle dance" with 9 beep error.
This means: "the robot is stuck with its bumper pressed in, or the bumper sensor is dirty".
It may also suggest that the sensor's IR emitter is dim / weak or dead.

So, we need to open the sensor, find out if it is dirty and if not, check and replace the emitter.
This page shows the fix to my 560. As far as I understand it is the same for all Roomba 5XX and some 6xx

This fix is ONLY for those with electronics and mechanical knowledge and skills.

Warning:
This fix is NOT recommended by me
nor by iRobot and will void product warranty !
if you follow this fix, you do it on your own risk !


Let me thank all the great members of robotreviews forum who helped me a lot
especially I would like to thank Dajiu who gave me his permission to use his photos.
Dajiu BTW has an excellent page on Roomba 550/5xx Cliff Sensor fix


A. First check that the bumper is not stuck and moves freely, than perform an internal test:

1. Verify that the Clean LED is Off
2. Press and Hold both the Dock and Clean Buttons.
3. Press the Spot Button 6 times
4. Release the Dock and Clean Buttons
Roomba will enter test-0 and play a sequence of tunes and then begin to flash all the LEDs
on the faceplate.
In order to advance to the next test, press the Dock button once.
We need to get to test-2, so click the Dock button twice

Upon entering the bumper test, Dirt Detect led flashed blue and the Clean LED will turn on Red. The program waits for the user to press the left side of the front bumper. This will light up the Spot LED until the bumper is released.
Next press the right side of the front bumper and the Dock LED will turn on and stay on until the bumper is released.
Once that action is accomplished, the Clean LED remains Red.
If any of the above will leave its Spot / Dock led's ON after you released the bumper side, it means this side has fault in its sensor
Push both DOCK and SPOT for 10 seconds to get out of test mode

Note:
Bumper sensors are assembled in a kind of 'sealed' housing and there is no way to look at it from the outside with a digital camera in order to determine/confirm that the sensor is fault. So let's start fixing it.

 

B. preparing for the fix:

To perform the fix, you will need the required emitter components

You can order the components here for US$14.95 only
(Free Worldwide Shipping).


You'll receive the needed high quality emitter components for your fix.
Each set purchased includes enough components to repair one Roomba
(Repair for both Left and Right Sensor).
If you need to repair two Roombas, you will need to purchase two sets.

If you want to do the fix but don't have a soldering iron,
you can order a solderless repair kit from EESolutions

 

C. Disassembly of the robot and replacing bumper sensor's IR components

1. Place the Roomba top down on a solid work surface
Remove the dust bin
Remove the screw from the rotating side brush and gently pull it out
Remove the four screws holding the bottom plate and remove the plate
irfix1

2. Take out the battery, lift it using the 2 plastic tabs
irfix2

3. Unscrew the 10 screws on the bottom of the bumper plate and remove the arc shaped plate.
irfix3

4. Move the bumper front part till you have access to sensor's screws
irfix4

5. Unscrew 2 screws holding the sensor,
pay attention to its external transparent half which will fall off.
Remove the front bumper completely
irfix5

6. Turn Roomba with its Top side UP
Lift up the silver/else decorative cover.
The plate is held with snaps, start the lift in the bin area and move further from there.
Press on the snaps with a screwdriver to release them if needed.
When you reach the handle area, lift the handle and take the plate out in a diagonal movement.
irfix6

7. Remove 10+1 top screws of top cover.
Remember that 1 screw has a smaller head.
Remove the cover straight up while pressing the center (near the buttons) with your thumbs.
irfix7

8. Lift off the silver decorative ring around the buttons,
followed by the buttons cover and printed foil.
irfix8

9. Unscrew 4 screws and remove the buttons actuators plate
irfix9

10. Now you see the main PCB.
Remove the protective transparent foil from the PCB.
Disconnect the 4 rear connectors.
Each has only one way to engage, so this will not be a problem for assembling.
irfix10

11. Unscrew the 5 screws that hold the main PCB
Flip the PCB vertically towards front
irfix11

12. Disconnect the 5 connectors holding the main PCB.
Pay attention that connector #2 is connected to the bumper front part.
Remove the PCB
Remove the front bumper part
irfix12

13. Now we can see the bumper sensors. Sensors are not identical in shape.
Unscrew the 2 screws holding each sensor to the chassis
and move just a bit the fault sensor module.
in order to fix the sensor, you can work locally or remove the sensors kit out
( this kit also share the cliff sensors and wires )
.
if you do so, make a drawing of the wires so you'll know how to assemble it.
I recommend working locally on each sensor and avoid the hassle.
irfix13
irfix13_1

14. Open the sensor by removing its cover.
Slide the rubber cap of the sensor first to make a way for the cover removal.
Cover is attached with snaps, be very careful not to break it, use a wide thin flat screwdriver that you place under the snap loop and twist the screwdriver gently, just a bit to release the snap.

Now is the stage where you can check if the inside is dirty (which I doubt),
clean
if necessary and assemble to test again.
To test the emitter,
connect power and look at the emitter with a digital camera to see if the emitter is working / dim. Most digital cameras are able to see and show IR light
If emitter is dim / not working, go on to IR parts replacement.


After you removed the sensor cover, release and remove the lever spring.
Pull straight up the lever together with the IR PCB, than separate it.
Pay attention to lever's metal hinge, it should go to same location when assembling.

If you are not a mechanical skilled person, I recommend you to make a photo/sketch of this assembly so you'll know how to assemble it later.
irfix14

15. remove the IR PCB plastic cover by carefully spreading its snaps.

We now finally got to the sensor IR PCB !

Check the difference of lens's center height between fault component and replacement part,
You need to match the height so the replacement emitter will be facing the receiver one.
irfix15

16. Desolder and replace the fault emitter part

Pay attention:
a.Emitter is the component far from the wires !
Photo transistor is near the wires and has Blue color on top (iRobot part)
b. Both emitter/photo transistor has a small half-sphere lens on its front surface
.
Lenses should face one to each other !

While you are here, decide if you want to replace the 2nd sensor emitter as well
or wait to your Roomba's next 9 beep...
iRobot used such an 'excellent quality' components that Murphy is probably waiting for you.
Avi's advise is to replace both and forget from this fault for at least another year :-)


irfix16

 

D. Assembly - assemble all parts in reverse order to what is listed above
You may stop after assemble the main PCB and apply power to check your fix
or complete it and than do the check.
If you have completed the assembly and left without any screw,
hit the Clean button and see if your Roomba is dancing its normal dance again...

E. Voila - you now have a working iRobot Roomba till next XX beep ;-)

 

Have fun and enjoy your Roomba.

Please Donate: If this page helped you and/or saved you some $$$, please consider donate a small fee
to help me cover hosting cost of such pages. You can do so by clicking the next PayPal button.


Comments:
Here are some comments that I have received
- N.S. from USA:
Hi Avi, I really wanted to thank you for taking the time to put together such an excellent instructional page.
The combination of the detailed photos, great verbal instructions, links to parts with data sheets and manufacturers part numbers, all combine to make your instructions as good as they can possibly be!!
Keep up the great work!
- R.P. from USA:
Thanks for the page! I fixed mine in about 2.5 hours for a couple bucks and didn't have to deal with iRobot's incredibly poor customer service.
- L.Z. from USA:
Really neat work you posted online! Saved my Roomba based on your instruction of changing IR emitter
- N.S. from USA:
Your pictures of the Roomba and the detailed descriptions were perfect! I bought the parts from Mouser, soldered them at work (where we have a nice electronics lab), and it is working marvelously! You saved me a lot of money. Keep up the great work!
- E.L. from USA:
Your Roomba fix is excellent and worked as expected. Saved us a lot of money. Thanks!!!
- S.J. from USA:
Outstanding instructions!
With your help, I was able to revive my $300 door stop to a fully functioning Roomba 560...

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Last update: Jan. 15, 2014

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