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Roomba: brushes do not spin anymore

The robot is working, but the brushes are not spinning or start and stop spinning all the time.

Unfortunately it is quite common Roomba's problem. When the Roomba's vacuum sucks a dust, some of it is getting into the cleaning head's motor. There are two ways of solving the problem. You may either purchase and replace the whole cleaning head (brush unit) which costs about $100 AUD, or if you competent with electrical stuff you may disassemble the cleaning head, remove dust from the motor and seal the motor to prevent the problem in future. Following instructions will lead you through the cleaning procedure.

Before you continue please be aware that this will void any warranty!

1. Open the bottom cover (4 screws) and remove the battery.
2. Remove two brushes and unscrew the cleaning head (4 screws)
3. Now you have to disassemble the cleaning head: 4 screws at each side, 3 at the rear. Look at the pictures. Notice the different screws' length. The rear panel holds a little robe. Just memorize its position and do not forget to put it back at step 7.  
4. Clean everything with a piece of fabric.
5. Now you have an access to the motor. You can see on the photo below the elongated hole in the motor. It is intended to vent the motor's brushes. But that's the way how the debris goes inside and insulate the motors' brushes from the commutator plates (look at wikipedia.org for the terms). Gently insert a match or tooth stick into the hole and try to wind all the debris around. Use an air (from a bulb or syringe) to blow everything out. Try to rotate the brushes gear and repeat. There is also another similar hole at the opposite side. You can spin the motor a bit to have an access to the second hole.
6. Put 2 patches of insulation tape over the both holes to prevent the debris getting inside of the motor (see the next photo).
7. Assemble and test it.

This article was published on Saturday 06 March, 2010.
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