My haunted Roomba S9+ kept me up all night and iRobot says there’s no way to fix it

My haunted Roomba S9+ kept me up all night and iRobot says there’s no way to fix it
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I’m going to tell you that my Roomba S9 Plus is haunted, but don’t dwell on the haunting. The buttons are stuck, which may or may not be related. I have been living with the haunted Roomba and its broken buttons since last year, when it was still under warranty, but it only recently started waking me up in the middle of the night. When I finally contacted iRobot for support, they told me that my Roomba was dead (undead?!), and it would be impossible for them to fix it. 

I need to live with the haunted Roomba or destroy it. 

iRobot Roomba S9 Plus

A Roomba S9 like mine, but not as haunted (Image credit: iRobot)

Again, let’s not dwell on the haunting part. There are many things you can replace on a Roomba. Of course, you can replace the filters. You can replace all of the cleaning elements, like the brushes and sweepers.

You can replace the battery, though you’ll need a screwdriver and some patience. The buttons, however, are sacrosanct. If the buttons get stuck, iRobot support tells me they cannot be replaced. There is no way to fix my Roomba S9 with broken buttons, and there is no workaround that will clear the robot of its ghosts.

A broken Roomba behaves like it’s haunted

Okay, now for the haunting. One day I was sitting in my living room and the Roomba started to vacuum. On its own. No schedule, nothing. I sent it home again. It kept happening, once a week at first, but it happened at inconvenient times.

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My robot would start cleaning at 3 AM, on its own. I had a hunch and engaged the child lock. Now, instead of cleaning on its own, it would loudly yell “The buttons have been disabled. Please use your iRobot home app to clean.”

iRobot Roomba S9+  on a red carpet

The Roomba on a blood red carpet (Image credit: TechRadar)

Something was pressing the buttons. I’m not saying it was a specific ghost, but it’s been a hard and tragic few years for many of us. I know people who have passed away who would want my floors clean. I know others who might want to pester me at night for fun. Once you believe there is a ghost in your robot vacuum, unsatisfied with unswept floors, that idea sticks. 

Eventually, the unprovoked yelling started happening daily. I cleaned the Roomba thoroughly and replaced all of its cleaning parts. I plugged it into a surge protector after reading on Reddit that power surges can cause the vacuum to start a cleaning session. I vacuumed the vacuum itself to clear any dust or debris. Nothing helped. 

My haunted vacuum becomes a poltergeist

One night the haunted Roomba went too far. It started screaming over and over again “The buttons have been disabled. Please use your iRobot home app to clean.” Over and over. There is no mute setting for the Roomba. A reboot didn’t help. My Roomba tormented me. 

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I shut it down by holding down the power button. It fell silent. I went to bed. Then I heard the beeping chime of the Roomba starting up. The robot refused to die.

iRobot Roomba S9+ upside down on a tiled floor

The underbelly of the beast (Image credit: TechRadar)

I covered the Roomba with thick blankets to mute the sound, and eventually it ran out of battery power. I contacted Roomba, and they showed me how to remove the battery completely, to perform a hard reset. The hard reset failed. The screaming continued.

They suggested I set up a Do Not Disturb period for the entire day and night. That actually worked! For a few days, at least. My robot was silent. Then, in the middle of the night (always!), it started to chime as it powered down. Then it chimed again, powering up. Down. Up. Down. Up. It kept going. I unscrewed the battery, and now it sits like an autopsy patient on my table.

There is no fix for a haunted Roomba, or stuck buttons

This was my first robot vacuum, and I won’t be replacing it

Support from iRobot says “The issue you are describing means that the buttons of the robot are stuck, and unfortunately this issue is non-repairable.” They can’t fix it. My 18-month-old Roomba S9 Plus, which I got on sale for around $800 in November, 2022, is kaput. 

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That’s totally unacceptable. There must be some path to rectify this problem, and not just for me, for all owners. There can’t be a malfunction that causes the robot to die, with no hope of repair. iRobot must have some way to fix this issue, or it needs to offer Roomba S9 owners some way to trade our robots for a robot that actually works, and that is eligible for repairs when it breaks. 

This was my first robot vacuum, and I won’t be replacing it quickly because it’s a huge expense that I cannot afford right now. Perhaps in the future, I’ll consider iRobot again, if I hear that reliability and service have improved. Until then, I’ll need another option. Maybe I’ll get a dustbuster, or maybe I’ll call the Ghostbusters.

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