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Shark Vacuum Keeps/Not Docking

Robotic vacuum sensing surroundings

Shark makes very competitive robot vacuum cleaners akin to the popular iRobot Roomba models. Similarly, the robot undocks itself, cleans your home, and goes back to the dock to charge; it’s a simple concept that uses impressive technology and has been worked on for over 20 years. But sometimes things can go wrong, and some users experience issues with their robot not docking or docking too early.

If your Shark vacuum is suddenly not docking, it could be a problem with the sensors. You can give them a quick wipe-down with a microfiber cloth to clean the sensors. It might also be that objects are in the way and it can’t find the dock. If it keeps docking too early, it could be low on battery.

Keep in mind that if your home is especially large, your robot may not be able to clean everything in one session. For example, the Shark ION has a run time of 120 minutes, which sounds like a long time, but robot vacuums clean a lot slower than humans (the point is convenience, not speed). We will be going over the various docking related issues, so read on if you want to learn more.

Shark Vacuum Keeps Docking: Causes / How To Fix

Robotic vacuum at docking station charging

As we mentioned above, your Shark Vacuum might keep docking too early if the robot isn’t holding a charge or your home is too big to clean in one go.

Unlike iRobot, Shark is relatively new to the Robot vacuum market, with their first-ever model being the 750, which debuted in 2018. Because of this, it isn’t very likely that your robot holds significantly less of a charge due to aging, and so we can pretty much weed that possibility out. Still, if you would like a new vacuum, the newer models have made some major improvements since then.

Anyway, the first thing to check is if your robot is getting a charge when it docks. The connectors do get dirty over time, and so over time, the vacuum has a difficult time receiving a charge. You can clean these connectors with melamine foam, such as a Mr.Clean Magic Eraser.

Also, the contacts on the dock itself should be cleaned the same way; doing both usually solves the issue, but if not, we suggest contacting Shark about an RMA/replacement if it’s still in warranty.

Some homes may also be too large to get a complete cleaning in one session. Robots will go from room to room, which can take a lot of time depending on how large your living room is and how many/how big the other rooms are.

To mitigate this, you can set “no go” zones for the robot via the app or tell it to go to a specific area. This is a great feature for large homes as you can easily clean a whole house in about two cleaning sessions, sure, it’s an extra step, but it’s a lot better than having a vacuum you can’t utilize.

Shark Vacuum Not Docking: Causes / How To Fix

Robotic vacuum cleaning on white carpet

If your robot is wandering around aimlessly and not docking, don’t jump to conclusions about it being a manufacturer defect just yet! Although that may be the cause, you just need to make some adjustments on where you place the dock more often than not.

The dock needs to be an area where the robot can easily get to it, which means nothing can be in the way. Additionally, dark floors make it difficult for the sensors to find the dock, and so if the dock is on a dark carpet, either try placing a light rug under it or move it to a hard floor.

The dock can’t be near stairs either since the robots are designed to avoid falling down them.

In a nutshell, the dock’s best place is on a hard floor in an open area with plenty of clearance from furniture and walls.

Shark Vacuum Can’t Find Dock: Causes / How To Fix

Robotic vacuum cleaning on laminate floor

You may need to clean the sensors if the above troubleshooting tips aren’t helping. A microfiber cloth is typical—all you need to get off any dust that may have accumulated.

If you have recently moved the dock, it may help to factory reset the robot via the app. Simply go to settings and tap the Recovery Reset option. This helps the robot get a fresh start and should have an easy time navigating your home and docking on its own.

If you want to test the robot, start a cleaning session and recall the robot to its dock within the app. Remember, you need plenty of clearance for the robot to effectively find the dock; if you are sure you set everything up properly and it still isn’t docking, please contact Shark about a replacement/RMA as your model may be defective.

Shark vacuums have a warranty of 12 months by default, which is usually more than enough time to catch anything wrong with the device, thankfully.

Shark Vacuum Dock and Clean Blinking: Causes / How To Fix

Robotic vacuum with blinking red lights on a rug

If the Shark vacuum lights are blinking, this indicates an error. A red flashing light indicates that the brush roll is jammed or the vacuum is overheating.

From the manual:

“CLEAN (RED) + DOCK flashing together Cliff sensors are reporting an error. Wipe cliff sensors with a clean cloth. Robot cannot start due to an error. Turn off the power switch on the side of the robot, wait five seconds, then turn power back on.”

This error can range from a jammed brush, dirty sensors, or overheating. As the instructions state, clean the sensors with a clean cloth; you’ll also want to check to ensure that the brush isn’t jammed or the tray and filters aren’t too full/clogged. Many people may forget to maintain their robot, given it’s largely a hands-off device that doesn’t require input from the user if you set a schedule for it.

How often should you maintain a Shark robot? Once every two weeks to a month for the filter and tray are sufficient. For the filter, ensure it is left to dry for 24 hours before putting it back into the vacuum.

The post-motor filter should be cleaned every nine months with water and dried for 24 hours before putting it back into the robot.

If you’d like to know more about cleaning your Shark Vacuum, we’ve linked a video below showing everything you need to know.

Don’t Pick Up the Robot or Physically Stop It When Cleaning

Woman picking up a robotic vacuum for maintenance.

In a nutshell, robot vacuums work by exiting the dock and mapping out the home while it cleans. It knows where the dock is on its own because that area of the home is noted, and it can detect the home base.

You’ll want to start the cleaning from the base for the best results and avoid picking it up. Some people might be tempted to take it to another room while running, but you don’t want to do this as the robot will become confused and have a hard time finding the base.

If you want the robot to clean a specific area of your home, you can tell it to go there via the app. You can also set “no go” zones to waste its battery life cleaning a recently vacuumed room. If your home is large, this is a very handy feature and one that can solve your “it died during cleaning” woes, assuming the issue is the home size and not a faulty battery/connector.

Final Thoughts

Most issues concerning a Shark vacuum robot, not docking, can be solved by rearranging your home’s setup or simply moving the dock to a more appropriate area. Wiping off the sensors once in a while also helps prevent this problem from randomly happening when you don’t expect it.

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