POWERbot robot vacuum mapping and pattern cleaning FAQs
Your robot vacuum uses certain settings and algorithms to navigate and clean your home. However, lighting, obstacles, home decor, and home construction can affect its pattern and where it cleans. If you have some questions about how the POWERbot's navigation or cleaning patterns work, we have some common questions and answers for you right here.
Frequently asked questions
Does the vacuum make a map of my home?
Your robot vacuum makes a virtual map using its Visionary Mapping feature. This feature keeps track of the vacuum's location by taking pictures of the ceiling. When the cycle completes, or if the vacuum is picked up, this map is erased.
Some models that connect to SmartThings may be able to display a visual representation of their path (look for the History option in the app if your model supports this). However, the map is not used for future navigation and does not contain images taken by the vacuum's cameras.
Note: The 9350 model (VR2AK9350WK/AA) is the only model that has a Select & Go feature that creates a floor plan for navigation. No other model has this feature. Select & Go was originally accessible through the Smart Home app, and now also works with the SmartThings app, which is now the preferred method. The 9350 model also has Location Recognition, and may be able to continue a cycle if placed within 1 meter of where it was picked up.
Why is the vacuum cleaning the same area repeatedly? Why didn't it finish cleaning that area?
The cleaning pattern of the vacuum is difficult to predict and is based on algorithms. It may not always travel as expected, such as in a parallel line.
The basic pattern of the vacuum snakes back and forth. This can usually be seen when the vacuum is in large, more open areas. However, this pattern will quickly change when the vacuum encounters obstacles and walls.
If the vacuum is in a dark room with many obstacles, it could cause the vacuum to clean the same area repeatedly or move to another area without finishing the first. To assist with the vacuum's navigation, brighten the room and remove any obstacles.
The vacuum may miss a spot at first, depending on the shape of the area. However, before the cycle completes, the vacuum will return to any spots it missed and try to reach them at least two more times before completing the cycle.
Some models include a Dust Sensor feature. On these models, when the feature is enabled, the vacuum will focus on a small area repeatedly if it detects that the area needs extra cleaning.
Why is the vacuum moving diagonally?
Usually, the vacuum moves diagonally because it's using the shortest path. It will continue to clean as it goes, even when covering already-cleaned areas. This can happen near the end of a cycle when it is trying to reach spots it missed.
It may also move diagonally if:
The vacuum made contact with obstacles that are at an angle.
The docking station is at an angle.
The grain of the floor or ceiling is skewed in that direction.
The floor is slightly slippery as the vacuum turns, which affects its rotation. The navigation system will compensate for this and ensure that it cleans all reachable areas.
Why is the vacuum returning to the charger when it's not done yet?
If the vacuum returns to the charger before it finishes cleaning, that means it needs to charge due to a low battery. In Auto Clean mode (the default mode), it will automatically resume the cycle after it fully charges.
If the vacuum returns to the charging dock and stays there, that means it has cleaned every spot it can reach. The vacuum will try to reach any spots that it missed at least three times before it stops. More information can be found in the "Why didn't it finish cleaning that area?" section.
Note: Although every model has Auto Clean, additional modes on certain models work differently. For instance, Max Clean mode (applicable models only) will clean as much as it can on one charge, and then will return to charge. It will not resume the cycle after charging.
The vacuum returned to the charger and started cleaning again but went to a completely different area. Why didn't it finish the first area?
If the POWERbot's Auto Clean mode cycle remains uninterrupted (including when it returns to the charger), the POWERbot will remember where it has cleaned and will continue the previous cycle. More information can be found in the "Why didn't it finish cleaning that area?" section.
If the cycle has been interrupted in any way (such as picking up the vacuum to put it on the docking station), its navigational map will be erased, and the next cycle will start. More information can be found in the "Does the vacuum make a map of my home?" section.
Why is it taking so long to clean a certain area or spot?
Caution: The POWERbot is only for dry vacuuming. Wet spills or other liquids should be dried and cleaned before allowing the POWERbot near the area.
To have the POWERbot focus on a specific area, switch the POWERbot to Manual or Point Cleaning mode, and use the remote to manually clean the area. On some models, you can enable Spot Clean mode, where it will focus on a specific spot.
Avoid picking up the POWERbot when it is in the middle of a mode. This will erase the vacuum's navigational map and end the current mode. The vacuum will forget where it has cleaned previously and where the docking station is located.
Why won't the vacuum go under something?
The POWERbot has physical and IR sensors to detect obstacles. If it senses an obstacle may be too low and it could get stuck, it will not go there.
Why won't the vacuum cross a threshold?
The POWERbot may not cross over a threshold if there is a large height difference. Similarly, if the color of the floor is black or very dark, the POWERbot may think it is moving over an edge or cliff, so it will avoid that area.