How Does iRobot Roomba Virtual Wall Works?

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Are you wondering how the Roomba virtual wall works? Because we have reviewed dozens of Roombas and helped many people along the way, we are often asked how the Roomba virtual wall works. These little, black towers, as it turns out, work like magic to help a Roomba move neatly and efficiently.

How does the iRobot Roomba virtual wall work? Roomba virtual wall barriers work by emitting an invisible infrared beam up to 10 feet that signals and prevents a Roomba from going to another room or area. Essentially, it creates an invisible wall that only a Roomba can see, keeping it in places you want.

However, did you know that iRobot has three different virtual wall models? In this post, we will explain to you how a Roomba virtual wall works. This guide was written with beginners in mind to help everyone understand the amazing features found in a Roomba. Understanding them is the key to maximize your beloved Roomba.

How Does Roomba Virtual Wall Work?

iRobot has three similar, yet different types of virtual walls. In essence, every virtual wall works by emitting an infrared beam that only a Roomba can see. However, these containment methods have evolved over the years and work in slightly different ways. Here’s how each virtual wall works in greater detail:

1. Virtual Wall

The Virtual Wall is the first and original physical containment method from iRobot. It works by creating an invisible infrared beam (up to 8 feet) that a Roomba will not cross. This makes it easy to contain a Roomba in a specific room or area, and avoid it from bumping into anything delicate or dangerous.

Instead of activating the virtual wall manually, you can set it to “auto” mode. It will continue to work until the battery runs low, which should last around 6 months. Unfortunately, the virtual wall is only compatible with very old models including the Dirt Dog, Roomba 400 Series, Discovery Series, Original Series, and Create.

2. Virtual Wall Lighthouse

The Virtual Wall Lighthouse is the successor to the Virtual Wall. It was originally created to go along with the older Roomba 500 Series. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is only compatible with select Roomba 500 Series models, Roomba 780 and 790, and Roomba 877 and 880. The lighthouse has two modes:

  • Virtual Wall Mode: Blocks off-limit areas in your home. You can place it in doorways to prevent a Roomba from going into a room.
  • Lighthouse Mode: Contains a Roomba in one room until the room is completely cleaned, before letting the Roomba move onto the next room.

The best part of the Lighthouse Mode is that it acts as a timed gate. Once a Roomba passes the barrier, the infrared beam will prevent the Roomba from leaving the room for up to 25 minutes. After the Roomba has completed cleaning each designated area, the lighthouse will guide the Roomba back to its Home Base.

3. Dual Mode Virtual Wall

The Dual Mode Virtual Wall is the latest and most advanced form of physical containment method. It gives you greater control over where a Roomba cleans, far better than the two previous virtual wall versions. Similar to the lighthouse, the Dual Mode Virtual Wall has two modes which include:

  • Virtual Wall Mode: Blocks off-limit areas in your home. You can place it in doorways to prevent a Roomba from going into a room.
  • Lighthouse Mode: Creates a protective circular zone, up to 24 inches in diameter, that a Roomba will not enter. You can place it to protect objects.

The Halo Mode is useful to protect things you don’t want a Roomba to accidentally bump into, like dog bowls, plant vases, or small furniture. Under normal use, the batteries should last for up to 12 months. The Dual Mode Virtual Wall is compatible with Roomba s, i, e, 900, 800, 700, 600, and 500 Series.

How Do You Use the Roomba Virtual Wall?

Setting up the iRobot Virtual Wall is very easy to do. However, because only the Dual Mode Virtual Wall works with all Roomba models, we will only focus on showing you how to use the iRobot Dual Mode Virtual Wall. Fortunately, the virtual wall can easily be found on Amazon. Here’s how to use it:

1. Using the Virtual Wall Mode

To set up the Virtual Wall Mode, install two AA batteries. Then, slide the switch to the UP position. The top ring will pulse 5 times, then stop when the Virtual Wall Mode is turned on. Even though the light stops pulsing, the virtual wall is still active. Be sure that the indicator on top is pointing in the direction you want blocked.

Please note that the next time the light comes on and blinks repeatedly, it will be because the batteries are low and need to be replaced. 

2. Using the Halo Mode

To select Halo Mode, slide the switch to the DOWN position. The top ring will pulse 5 times, then stops when the Halo Mode is turned on. Even though the light stops pulsing, the Halo Mode is still active. Once it’s set, place the virtual wall in the center area of objects you want a Roomba to avoid.

Please note that the next time the light comes on and blinks repeatedly, it will be because the batteries are low and need to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Question on Roomba Virtual Wall:

1. Do Roomba Virtual Walls Work With All Models?

The latest Roomba virtual wall, the Dual Mode Virtual Wall, is compatible with Roomba s, i, e, 900, 800, 700, 600, and 500 Series. Basically, it is compatible with all Roomba models newer than the third generation. It is not compatible with Dirt Dog, Roomba 400 Series, Discovery Series, Original Series, and Create.

2. Do Roomba Virtual Walls Work With Braava?

The latest Roomba virtual wall, the Dual Mode Virtual Wall, is compatible with the Braava jet m Series Robot Mop. However, it is available as a separate accessory. The Virtual Wall is perfect for keeping a Braava robot mop away from potential objects that can cause a mess like pet bowls and plant vases.

3. Which Roomba Comes With Virtual Walls?

So which Roomba comes with virtual walls? While you can always buy the virtual wall separately, it’s nice to receive a bonus with a Roomba purchase. Some Roomba models come included with a virtual wall, while some are optional. Here’s the complete list of Roombas that come with virtual walls:

  • Roomba 614 (optional)
  • Roomba 675 (optional)
  • Roomba 677
  • Roomba 690
  • Roomba 960
  • Roomba 980
  • Roomba e5

As long as you buy the above Roombas on the official iRobot Amazon store, then you can expect to find virtual walls included with the models mentioned above. Please note that newer Roombas with more advanced mapping technology can easily be controlled by using the Keep-Out Zone feature.

Final Thoughts

And there you go, the complete beginner’s guide on: how does the iRobot Roomba virtual wall work? A virtual wall is an underrated and useful tool to keep your Roomba in places you want and from places you don’t want. By understanding how to use it, you’ll be able to tap your Roomba to its full potential. 🙂

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