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Thread: Robot cleaners... too expensive

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    Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Why is it that these robot cleaners are so expensive? It's a plastic housing, a filter bag and an underpowered pump on wheels. All in all, a 500 dollar unit shouldn't cost more than 50 to make, and that's on the very generous end. Not to mention, all these things are made in China where labor is cheap. My better half is Chinese so I've had her look in the Chinese Amazon (taobao.com) for any alternatives, but there aren't any. There are however lots of options for filtration and pumps. Just no bots... what gives?

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Pool $tores and a limited customer base with lots of perceived wealth.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    pinguy's Avatar
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Even if they didn't cost much in materials (I have a feeling it's more than $50), there's still a significant amount of R&D that is factored into a products cost. 100% submersible electronics are harder than you might think, thus why there aren't many Chinese knockoffs.
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    They have electronics in them?
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    rdshackleford's Avatar
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Yes, they have electronics, probably an inexpensive microcontroller, small drive motors, power converters, etc. And plastic housing? What else would one use to build a submersible that must be lifted out of a pool by the owner? Don't forget warranty costs, tooling, and parts stock to avoid obsolecense issues. So many other factors.

    I for one am impressed with the level of engineering and build quality that went into my Dolphin Nautilus Plus robot. For the price, I was not expecting as much as I got. Hoped for it, but didn't expect it.

    -R
    29,085.1 gal inground grecian vinyl, Hayward Super Pump VS, Hayward S-240 sand filter, Dolphin Nautilus Plus (aka Agador Spartacus), Taylor K-2006 kit, nice pool brush, crappy leaf net, frogs

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Apparently I'm looking at different ones. Will do more research. The ones I've seen are all plastic gears and water power impellers. No electricity needed.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    Apparently I'm looking at different ones. Will do more research. The ones I've seen are all plastic gears and water power impellers. No electricity needed.
    those would be suction or pressure driven units. There is a whole world of Electric powered units such as AquaBot, Maytronics etc.
    IG Tear Drop, Dark Gray Gunite , 27,000 gallons -Age 50+-years, very old Hayward Split Egg Sand Filter with side mount Multi-port- Hayward SP2600VSP Pump- Hayward chlorine feed (not used since finding TFP) - Laars 315K BTU Oil heater- LoopLoc Safety cover- AquaBot RAPIDS 4WD- TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speedstir- 390 Gal Hot Springs Spa Envoy installed May 2017

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Cool. Thanks!
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    EVChargeGuy's Avatar
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Price range for Electric Bot's are from mid $200 to a couple of Thousand $'s. My AquaBot RAPIDS 4WD cost about $660. On my second season and very happy with it.
    IG Tear Drop, Dark Gray Gunite , 27,000 gallons -Age 50+-years, very old Hayward Split Egg Sand Filter with side mount Multi-port- Hayward SP2600VSP Pump- Hayward chlorine feed (not used since finding TFP) - Laars 315K BTU Oil heater- LoopLoc Safety cover- AquaBot RAPIDS 4WD- TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speedstir- 390 Gal Hot Springs Spa Envoy installed May 2017

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    I suppose it might be more useful on a bigger pool. It takes me longer to hook up the parts then actual vacuum time. I mean I'm only 8' x 21'

    Still neat to know what's out there, though.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Have heard good things Pool Rover Jr. for folks with small pools and AG pools... Think the Hayward Aquabugs get good reviews too and they're cute!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    I've owned 1 Aquabot Turbo T-Jet and my current one is an Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40. They do clean well. The T-Jet's control unit died on year 3, and the Pool Rover is still going, now on year 2. Will see what happens... but frankly, spending close to 500 dollars a unit just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Maybe the expensive ones may have some more components inside, but I opened the T-Jet after it died, and really, there's just 1 pump and plastic. The pump is unidirectional so the rover had flaps that open and close which control the direction the rover travels, but that function is controlled by the control unit that sits outside the pool. The Pool Rover has 2 separate pumps for the back and forth action, also with a control unit outside the pool. They do a great job, it's just that I don't feel the cost of what it is justifies the price. In a world where you can buy a 10 inch tablet for 300 dollars, buying a piece of plastic for 500 just doesn't seem right. So I've had an idea... take a good submersible pump (i have two of those things, for high water and low water) and attach it to a platform on wheels, with a hole in the bottom to accommodate the sump pump and an attachment for a pole to push it around. The pump's outtake can be fitted with a filter bag, one of the .02 micron ones that come with the pool robots. Essentially, a powered version of the hand operated pool sweep that connects to the skimmer, but a more powerful one. The way I see it, the pool pump shares the intake between the skimmer and the main drain so the power isn't quite enough. For some of us with smaller pools (mine's a 13x28 10k pool) this could work quite nicely. 10-15 minutes worth of sweeping around the pool and you've got an amazingly clean floor. It could even work well for those times when the missus decides to tell you about her day and you just don't want to sit there listening This way you do something and still earn the title of a great listener and a chore accomplisher.

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    The cord on my sump pump isn't long enough to stay out of the water when I'm near the deepest part. And my pool is only 4.5' deep there.

    But I like the way you think.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Anything with the word "Polaris" on it costs an arm and a leg. I've been keeping my Polaris 280 (requires a booster pump) going with rebuild kits. It does a great job but they don't last forever.

    Look into The Pool Cleaner. It doesn't need a booster pump and seems to get good reviews.
    ----Chris----
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    Think the Hayward Aquabugs get good reviews too and they're cute!
    +1 to that
    Lou - 13.5K Gal pool, AG Intex 24 X 52"
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    My wife wants me to get a red Aquabug and then paint it to look like a ladybug! Don't tell her they come that way!!!

    Do the Aquabug cleaners work with inground pools?
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    Do you have a deep end?
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    It's a big one!! 4.5' at the deepest point.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Robot cleaners... too expensive

    I have a pool rover junior for about five years - just loved it. It still works but not as well so this year, I bought a new one. They changed it. It's not as good. It doesn't pick up like it used to and the cord tangles like crazy. It also doesn't move in the pool like it used to. My old one would go from one end to the other and back and forth. The new one goes two feet and then goes back. I've tried everything to get it to work like the old one but for some reason, it just doesn't. I've heard many complaints about the new one. Wish they didn't change the design of it. I'm now on a lookout for a different brand but don't want to spend more than $400 on it.
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