I am writing this in hope that will be useful to people on the market for a robot. All the reviews I've found prior to purchasing a robot were somewhat insufficient to me in figuring out which one to get. so here is my experience so far. I decided on the Aquabot Turbo because of a certain website review/comparison and the lack of reviews/opinions on the other robots.
I have the Aquamax Jr HT, which is the commercial version of the Aquabot Turbo. They are almost exactly the same when I compared the parts/schematics at http://aquaproducts.com/pdfs/parts/Aqua ... r%20HT.pdf and I feel the differences wouldn't impact the performance one way or another.
The Aquamax came with 2 filter bags, replacement tracks/brushes and belt drive. It also has 2 small foam blocks to make it lighter and 1 H-block with the same purpose.
My pool is freeform, with a diving end 8+ feet and a shallow end around 4 feet. I have a round spa and all the walls of the pool are sloping (vs 90 degree corners), so the pool is kind of a bowl like. I am posting a picture for reference.
I have been using it for 2 months and overall I am happy with the way it cleans the pool. When I initially was looking for a robot, my intention was to use it once a week to replace my manual vacuuming/brushing. The reality is that Maxie is in the water almost every other day or every 2 days. I found out that my standards of a clean pool have changed quite a bit now that it is not me doing the work. Here are the issues I have encountered in no particular order:
1. Maxie eating the cord - happened couple of times. When it happened I found him just sitting in the pool, the motor was off, so I am guessing there is some safety built in not to burn the motor. The trick with the split noodle does work, but to me it was not worth the trouble.
2. Maxie trying to get out of the pool - this has been a constant issue and one that CS has been helping me resolve, albeit unsuccessfully. For whatever reason, he is too light for my pool, so he tries to clean the coping around the pool and that really wears out the tracks, not to mention it doesn't clean the tile (see picture). When I first contacted CS, I was told that he is "learning the pool". On my second call, I came across an exceptional CS rep, who asked for a video, which I sent. I received a set of weights, 2x4 inch metal blocks, that were supposed to weigh him down and prevent the climbing. I was also advised to keep the water level towards the lower level. The technician on the call blamed my water composition, though I couldn't find out any further info as to what the ideal water composition must be for Maxie to work properly. With both weights on and lower water level the climbing out of the pool has declined - I truly don't know why he climbs out sometimes and not other times. The downside of the weights is that once there is some stuff in the bag, he gets too heavy and rarely reached the tile line. From the amount of different weights CS has it seems that finding the right weight is and has been an issue with the AquaMax, not sure whether that applies to other robots too, but I would most certainly ask that now. I will post a video shortly and add the link.
3. Pattern - I can't figure that one out, it is completely random, I don't believe that the robot maps or learns the pool at all. The pattern in my experience is somehow connected to changing the handle position (before every cleaning you need to reverse the handle position) and that ensures the the robot doesn't miss any spots. I am yet to see Maxie consistenly missing a spot, so far he cleans the pool really well.
4. Stairs - He always gets stuck on the second step (so he never cleans the first step). The good part is that he reverses himself after couple of minutes. The bad part - my TA is out of wack because of the constant aeration when he gets stuck.
5. Spa - he can't clean the spa for the most part. The spa is completely round, probably about 6 feet in diameter and he always gets stuck in one place or another trying to climb the wall. On several occassions he would get stuck cleaning the wall vertically and keeps going in circles with no way of getting off the wall. This is one place where I could have used a remote.
6. Bags - they do get kind of nasty after Maxie has cleaned the pool - if you ever had a sock on your skimmer, it kind of looks like that, but dirtier. Since I have 2 bags I rotate and usually clean off the dirt with the hose and every once in a while I drop them in the washing machine, and they come out looking new. The bag has elastic on top that holds it to the frame and on one of the bags the elastic is completely gone. This has really cut on my filter backwashing, maybe 2-3 times so far in the season.
7. Other: The cord is a pain to keep straight, but even with that, setting him in the pool in the morning takes about 5 minutes and that includes attaching the bag, sticking him in the water, plugging him in. It has a timer that should turn the unit off after 7hours, but I have not seen it work, even though Maxie has been in the water for 7-8 hours on couple of ocassions. For the most part he does clean the pool in 5-6 hours.
I think that is all for now. I will write more when and if I have to do any repairs. Let me know if there are questions/issues that I have missed.