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Thread: The PoolCleaner experience

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Fairfax Station, VA
    Posts
    52

    The PoolCleaner experience

    After many years of faithful service, I thought it was time to retire my Jandy RayVac. I like the design in that it has no moving parts except for the wheels, moves quickly and effortlessy and does a fine job with light debris. Also, people were mesmerized watching this thing go around. Unfortunately, it had been increasing circling the deep end, and not getting into the shallow end of my pool and had not been as effective cleaning. I needed a pressure side cleaner that did not need a booster pump. I spent a lot of time researching pool cleaners and read all the posts on this forum. I decided that the pressure side PoolCleaner was my best choice.

    Admittedly, the manual for the cleaner clearly states that it will not work with a 3/4" constriction. My pool return for the RayVac starts out at 1 1/2" at the pad and goes underground but changes to 3/4" somewhere near the pool wall, I suspect. I took a (costly) chance to see if it would work (another member here has had success with this for his customers). I made a PVC coupling that went from 3/4" to 1 1/2" and attached the cleaner. I had more than enough flow at the end of the hose where it attaches to the cleaner head. I could regulate the flow from the Jandy valve between the required 25gpm up to a max of 40gpm. The wheels turned at the required rate and moved at normal speed. However, I had two significant issues.

    1. There is a buoyancy problem. Without the bag attached, it works perfectly. With the bag, the front wheels do not stay down. Customer service has been great and they have been working with me on this. They said this can be caused by air bubbles in the line that can accumulate in the bag, but I cannot see any even at night with lights on in the pool when they should be easy to visualize. I have been experimenting with weighting it down and may be able to get this resolved but is very frustrating. I have been attaching various lead weights with duct tape and I am trying to find the right balance. Not a very elegant solution.

    2. I have a small wading area that has two steps that lead into the shallow end of the pool. The lower step curves in at the corners to meet the higher step. When the cleaner reaches one of these curved corners, it gets hung up on the mouth of the cleaner and the wheels do not reach to touch the step and just rotate but cannot catch. It cannot even get off the corner when it tries to change direction. It will just stay there if I do not push it off and return there again and gets hung up again. It has caused a lot of abrasions on the bottom side of the cleaner.

    Initially, I was excited about the PoolCleaner and expected it to do a better job than my RayVac and would get into the shallow end more often and climb steps. At this point I am very discouraged. I know from the posts on this forum that many members are very happy with it and I am disappointed I can not get it to work properly.

    I ended up replacing the front castor wheel on the RayVac and it is working better. Hopefully, I will get more service from it before I have to think of replacing it again.

    If I cannot get the PoolCleaner to work correctly for my situation, I will be putting it up for sale here.
    35K gallon plaster IGP, free form, spa with spill-over; Sta-Rite 2HP pump; KDI American 48sq.ft., 144GPM DE filter; Pentair MiniMax heater; pressure side The PoolCleaner; Circupool RJ45

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Parkland, FL
    Posts
    727

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    even the blue diamond and other robotic cleaners get stuck near my steps sometimes, if they manage to wedge themselve in the right direction, both tracks will be spinning freely. kinda like a 4x4 without positraction, get two wheels up and its done. nothing you can really do about that except try something different.
    8000 gal diamond brite pool with 650 gal spillover spa, Pentair 3hp VS pump. Jandy Cartridge filter and Jandy Heat Pump. Jandy PDA automation system with 2 Pentair Laminars. SmartPool NC74S Robotic Pool Cleaner.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fremont, CA
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    294

    The PoolCleaner experience - My PoolCleaner 4x Suction

    I thought I would add my experience, as I just got my PoolCleaner 4x (suction model) yesterday.

    Previously, I had a Hayward PoolVac Ultra. It was many years old, and actually never really worked perfectly. It would get stuck in the corners of my pool, and also got stuck on the shallow end wall. And it really did not clean the shallow end well, as it spent most of the time in the deep end. I have a 40 foot by 16 foot pool, with the skimmer at the deep end.

    Since the Pool Vac had seen many years of use, I decided to try something new, and went with the recommendations of many here on the board, and bought the PoolCleaner. I went with the 4x model, since I need a long (over 40 foot hose) to get to the shallow end.

    How does it work? It works great. The Pool Vac had been in the pool for several days, and I took the cover off, and found spots where it had missed and debris was still at the bottom of the pool. Hooked up the PoolCleaner, and it started away cleaning up the debris left behind by the Pool Vac. At first I ran it a bit slow, but later sped it up to the suggested 11-13 RPM. It runs faster than the Pool Vac, cleaning the pool must faster and better. It seems to go to the shallow end as much as the deep end. I just love it. And it's fun to watch, especially when it "dances", and does turns up to 540 degrees. The "dance" watching experience is enhanced by a glass of wine.

    (Any market for used Pool Vac Ultra? )
    40 x 16 (28k gallon) plaster pool, Intelliflo VF pump, Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, using Purifiber, using BBB, TF-100 test kit

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    San Rafael, CA USA
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    12,082

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    In my pool shown here, I have a ramp where The PoolCleaner™ can get stuck if only one side tries going up the ramp. It too has trouble reversing when it gets stuck, but it doesn't always happen.

    As for buoyancy, if I take the cleaner out of the water and put it back in, then it can be too buoyant, but that is from air in the pressure hoses and is solved when the cleaner is running and water pushes out the air in the hoses. The buoyancy is adjustable with the styrofoam-like clasps that go onto the hoses (I assumed you moved it up higher or removed it to see if that helps). I found that the bag would sometimes get caught in the wheels and tear, but I put in a ping-pong ball in the bag and that problem is now less frequent. I also noticed that the more recent bags seem to be of a stronger material and do not deteriorate as quickly.

    I figure that it's not a perfect cleaner, but it saves me a lot of money not needing a separate booster pump and being able to run it with my IntelliFlo VF on a dedicated line. Overall, I'm very happy with it.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Fairfax Station, VA
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    52

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I have tried all kinds of configurations with the floats, could not find one that did the trick. The new bag has a loop on the top tOoohat attaches to a sliding hose float with a hook so that it won't sink and get caught in the wheels.
    35K gallon plaster IGP, free form, spa with spill-over; Sta-Rite 2HP pump; KDI American 48sq.ft., 144GPM DE filter; Pentair MiniMax heater; pressure side The PoolCleaner; Circupool RJ45

  6. Back To Top    #6

    In the Industry

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    Jul 2009
    Location
    London and France
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    574

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    Yet to find a cleaner that does the job better/quicker than me manually. After 3 seasons it still hasn't "lerned our pool" takes far too long and cleans the same bit's over and over.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I am having the same problem with my new cleaner. I "upgraded" from an old school polaris when I had my pool remodeled and now have the 4 wheel pressure side The Pool Cleaner. It's a beast when you run it without the bag. It climbs the walls even in the deep end, it hits every corner, it climbs up to the shallow end, it even climbs multiple steps to clean the tanning ledge. But running it with the bag gives it the same floating problem that you are experiencing. That causes it not to climb walls, it doesn't climb into the shallow end, much less the steps, it gets stuck in corners because not enough of it is touching the pool bottom surface to allow it to back up, and it's performance is just generally lousy. One problem is my ozonator is putting enough air in the cleaner line to cause a bubble to collect in the top of the bag. I called poolvergnuegen and asked them what to do about this and they said you need to install the solid heavier tires to overcome the effect of the bubble which they sent me for free. That helped it a little but definitely does not solve the problem. Additionally, simply cutting the ozonator off does not make it perform any better.

    I've adjusted the nozzle in the back. I've tested it to make sure it's running at the correct rpm (it is). I've adjusted the floats. Nothing seems to help.

    My new theory is that my booster pump is too powerful. It's a PB4 3/4 hp pump. The amount of water that it pushes up through the debris hole is a ton and I can see how it would be enough to push the cleaner off the bottom of the pool when it's got the bag on it.

    Not sure what I can do to fix this problem. Seems to me that adjusting/decreasing the pressure of the pressure relief valve at the wall is going to make the rpms drop, therefore hurting already sub-par performance. Putting a reducer in the line is going to likely do the same thing. That might not work anyway because a) i'll have to retrofit a polaris reducer somewhere in the line since the pool cleaner doesn't offer them, and b) polaris reducers are made for polaris lines which are smaller and I doubt that the pool cleaner line can be pressurized after putting a reducer so far away from the pump. I guess if the above attempts so resolve this issue do not work, my next step is going to be to buy a less powerful pump, which is going to be a pain and not inexpensive.

    Very frustrating.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Jul 2009
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    262

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I have the same problem. This is my first season with this cleaner and I noticed that it is always doing a wheelie. When moving forward, there would always be too much space between the suction port and the pool bottom and the cleaner would miss a lot of debris. When moving backwards, the front drops down and it seems to clean better.

    I spoke with tech support on Friday and was told to remove one of the front wheels and see if it floats. The company recently switched to weighted wheels that do not float. They are sending me a set to see if it solves the problem.
    Free-form concrete walls with vinyl liner, 18,000 gallon capacity, Jandy 1.5HP e-Pump, Jandy DEV48 DE filter (using cellulose media), Jandy AE2500 heat pump, Jandy Aqualink Power Center with 14-blade cell kit and Jandy PDA-P8 wireless control system.

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    May 2010
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    Fairfax Station, VA
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    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    They sent me the wheels, did not help. Then they recommended I experiment with adding weights. I went out and got some fishing weights and tried duct taping them to the cleaner with varying results. At this point I got tired with fussing and gave up. I did not want or expect to have so many problems. Personally, if the buoyancy is so critical and there isn't some sort of adjustment, just poor design.
    35K gallon plaster IGP, free form, spa with spill-over; Sta-Rite 2HP pump; KDI American 48sq.ft., 144GPM DE filter; Pentair MiniMax heater; pressure side The PoolCleaner; Circupool RJ45

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Mar 2007
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    San Rafael, CA USA
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    12,082

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I wonder if there is something in the water making the cleaner more buoyant. It doesn't sound like you've got a salt pool, but your pool is large so is it deep? Perhaps it has trouble with deeper pools or do you find the buoyancy issue occurs in the shallow end as well. I also wonder if perhaps your particular unit got some sort of air bubble in some plastic pocket somehow (even in manufacturing).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    May 2010
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    Fairfax Station, VA
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    52

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    OK, here are my final thoughts. I have had to deal with several issues with the pressure side PoolCleaner. This has been extremely frustrating, and I am at the point where I can not use it.

    1. Buoyancy: The front of the unit frequently raises up and the wheels come off the pool surface making the cleaner ineffectual. I don't know it this has anything to do with the fact that I do have a 3/4" return. It shouldn't, I get adequate flow (up to 40gpm), and the wheels turn at specified speed. I have experimented, varying the flow to the return, trying to get the flow closer to 25gpm, but no help. There are no air bubbles and the unit works fine without the bag on it. I think it has something to do with the design of the water entering the bag and causing it to raise up. I have sent it back to the company and they say there is nothing wrong with the unit.

    2. Slow: Perhaps this is fine for a small pool. The unit moves excruciatingly slow (wheels revolving at proper speed), at least compared to the RayVac, and takes a long time to cover my pool (35K gal).

    3. Design: I have a step where the radius of the curve of the step is smaller than the width of the front wheels. The mouth of the unit rides onto the curve of the step and gets caught and will not back up from it because the wheels are not touching anything and the wheels just spin hopelessly. It will stay there until I actually move it. The company said I can try to weight it unevenly so that it may turn. This does not seem like a real good solution. There is no warning that this can happen if your pool has this design.

    For now I have put the RayVac back in and brush the debris from the shallow end into the deep end where it resides most of the time. This is adequate for the time being. I think my choices are going to be to get the Polaris 360 or a robot. I am probably going to try the latter next year. Unfortunately, there is no way to try out these cleaners and return them if not satisfied, unless I get the Kleen Machine from Costco. The PoolCleaner was over $400 and I hope to sell it and get something.
    35K gallon plaster IGP, free form, spa with spill-over; Sta-Rite 2HP pump; KDI American 48sq.ft., 144GPM DE filter; Pentair MiniMax heater; pressure side The PoolCleaner; Circupool RJ45

  12. Back To Top    #12
    fofa's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    75

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I have (had, just replaced it last weekend) the 4X4 suction side. I have been using it for 5+ years. I have always had issues with it hanging up my stairs which sound a lot like yours. A curve coming into the side of the step, the cleaner coasts right onto the lip of the stair, and wheels are not touching anything. Usually the back wheels are, but don't seem to have enough traction to make any difference.
    30,000 Gallons, Hayward C5030 cartridge filter, IG, Plaster, SWG

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    May 2010
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    Fairfax Station, VA
    Posts
    52

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I believe the wheelies are caused either by air bubbles in the return line (that is what the company line is) or the actual force of the water pushing up on the inside of the bag and lifting it up. The unit works fine without the bag on. I do not see any air bubbles at all.

    I constructed a bag using fiberglass patio screen door material, which has a larger mesh, similar to a leaf rake. This seems to have solved the problem, whatever the actual cause is. Stays down fine, does not quite climb the walls as well as without a bag at all but collects leaves and large debris just fine, silt will get through. I tried adding weights but that was a PITA and it would not climb at all and was not making it out of the deep end.
    35K gallon plaster IGP, free form, spa with spill-over; Sta-Rite 2HP pump; KDI American 48sq.ft., 144GPM DE filter; Pentair MiniMax heater; pressure side The PoolCleaner; Circupool RJ45

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: The PoolCleaner experience

    I've never had a pool before so the PoolCleaner is the first cleaner I've had and I cannot complaint. It works great. Doesn't get hung up anywhere and cleans not just every in of the bottom but also every inch of the sides. It doesn't do steps tho. The service guy that sold it to me is a Hayward dealer and says that the PoolCleaner is better. Two other pool service guys (one who works for the city on public pools) have seen it in operation and are both very impressed.
    Sirena~
    Phoenix, AZ
    35-40K gals; Sand Filter; In Ground; Plaster; Sta-Rite System3 130 GMP.

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