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Thread: Barracuda MX 8 review

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Florida
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    3

    Barracuda MX 8 review

    I purchased the Barracuda MX 8 about 2 weeks ago. I just want to do a quick review for those that might be in the market for a new cleaner.

    This is the second year for the Barracuda and they have made one significant change. They include a suction meter to measure the suction of your system before you hook it up. Apparently, if it is hooked up with too much suction, it tends to have some parts fail. I mention this first just to note that I have it set to a just under the recommended 3 setting which I currently feel is a good balance between the cleaner and my two skimmers.
    I am using the Barracuda on a Pebble Tech pool with a designated pool cleaner intake. The pool is a free form style almost like a peanut shape and measures 32' x 16'. The hose is made up of small sections that have a quick connect system. I have 4 sections left over that I am storing for future replacement. It came with several adapters to fit different sized inlets and even a skimmer. The suction meter connects to the end of the hose and lets you adjust your valves to get it to the recommended 3 setting. As noted above, I have it set to just under 3. I would guess it is set at 2.75 as it only has whole numbers on it. Once I connected the Barracuda it took off and started cleaning. I found it amusing that it says to vacuum the pool before using it. I of coarse not only ignored this statement but had it cleaning a dirt and dead grass clipping bottom as a result of a recent storm that combined the level of my pool with the surrounding yard. Oh, I have not mentioned yet that I also have a sanded beach area that is 3 feet from the pool only separated by some stone pavers.
    The Barracuda took on the challenge with no problem. The bottom was so bad that I had to clean my pump basket every few minutes for the first hour or so. It never clogged of got stuck. I pulled it out and opened the top access several times to see nothing stuck or inhibiting the inner workings. It truly cleaned it better that I could have manually with the standard vacuum with the 8 rollers. It has 2 circular scrubbers underneath that stirs up the sediment and leaves nothing but pure bottom.
    Since the rain storm disaster it has worked flawlessly maintaining a clean bottom. Having a beach area with dogs and kids keeps a constant flow of sand in the pool which I no longer notice with the Barracuda running. I have a large deck area inside the pool that has stairs the full length of the shallow end. it will not climb the stairs or reach the deck which is fine because it is only about 4 inches deep on top. I can just brush anything on the deck and stairs to the bottom of the pool for the Barracuda to pick up. Just general use of the pool will circulate the stuff to the bottom anyway so I don't foresee too much brushing needed.


    Pros:

    Works very well
    Gets to tight corners by my steps
    Has scrubbers underneath
    Hasn't been stuck yet
    Comes with meter to help with wear
    Looks cooler than the Hayward
    Pinch a Penny claims they can get any replacement parts

    Cons:

    It doesn't climb my walls on a Pebble Tech pool even at recommended setting (I never manually vacuumed them either)
    I'm not confident the quick connect hoses will be good long term
    I hate dealing with rebates


    I will gladly report back after a more extended use period or at first falter.


    Russ

  2. #2

    Re: Barracuda MX 8 review

    I too just pulled the trigger on this cleaner. Having read the thread on TFP, as well as other web reviews and discovering the rebate offer ($100.00 Visa gift card), I decided to go for it. Being retired, I have plenty of time on my hands but have grown weary of manually vacuuming. My pool, for the most part, is void of leaves but lately I’ve been inundated with an inordinate amount of black grubs (caterpillar-like pests ranging from 2”- 4” each) that find their way into the pool by the dozens and disintegrate into a fine powder making a mess on the pool bottom.

    During a prior re-piping of the equipment pad, an old pressure only output (middle of a long wall) was converted to a dual-purpose outlet/inlet that I use 90% of the time as an additional return to the pool. When a manual vacuum was needed, the turn of a few valves converted the outlet to an inlet accepting the vacuum hose. My original intent was to use the cleaner in this inlet, with hopes of being able to keep the main drain and skimmer functional along with the cleaner. In order to achieve adequate flow (3.5 – 4.5) to the MX 8, it was necessary to reduce the main drain to 10% open and the skimmer 20% open. At these settings, the 1.5 hp pump was able to sustain all three devices.

    I did not use the provided 45° elbow to connect to the inlet opting instead to use the provided auto-adjusting skimmer attachment, set to the max flow setting. The random paths the cleaner generates provide good coverage of the pool bottom but it would not climb the walls, even after increasing the flow to max (6+). I attribute this to the fact that the pool surface is tiled and the cleaner cannot acquire a ‘grip’ on the slippery tiles.

    The drawback to this configuration was the loss of the additional return outlet, which I deemed a critical asset in assuring good circulation throughout the pool. With this in mind, I moved the cleaner to the skimmer and converted the inlet back to an output. With the cleaner attached to the skimmer, the main drain needed to be reduced to approx 30% open to get adequate performance from the cleaner. I am not concerned about losing the skimmer with this approach since I also have a Pool Skim operating.

    My original intent was to keep the cleaner connected constantly but I have concerns since I run high chlorine levels (low 20’s [CYA 70-90]) in my constant battle against mustard algae. My fear of destroying the cleaner by over-exposing it to these high levels of FC has led me to decide to use the cleaner a couple of times a week as needed. It is easy to assemble/disassemble. After removal from the pool, it is given a good rinse with fresh water, allowed to air dry and stored in an outside storage box that holds lounge cushions etc.

    Keeping in mind I have only had this cleaner for a few days, I believe I am going to be very pleased with my decision. At a final cost of $258.00, I feel I couldn’t go wrong. The only question I have now concerns the unit’s durability and that question will be answered in time.

    Here’s a video of the MX 8 in action in my pool:
    http://youtu.be/iMt5e-uHNbY

    Regards,
    -Gary
    12,000 gallon, tile finish, in-ground pool with spill over spa.
    Pump - Sta-Rite 1.5 HP
    Filter - Hayward Star-Clear C-1200
    SWG - AutoPilot Soft Touch
    Pool Skim
    Zodiac MX8
    BBB since 11/2008
    South Florida

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    phoenix
    Posts
    129

    Barracuda MX 8 review

    I too have the mx8. Have had it for about 11 months now. Found it on Craigslist for dirt cheap ($150) brand new in the box. So far my experience has been good with it but some of the things I see being an issue are
    -hose design is not that great for suction loss.
    -I have Rick landscaping an every now and then I get a small rock and jamming the cleaner
    -have had a tiny Rick stuck in it but did not stop it from running but at the same time it wore a groove in the middle where the ball turns
    One of the great things about it is haven't had to buy a replacement diaphragm in a year since it does not use one
    I have a pebble pool and you can see the scrapes where it runs on the wall or steps. Mine has no problem going up the pool walls
    13k IG pebble pool w/waterfall, 1hp whisperflow pump, pentair ccp320 cartridge filter
    Circupool SI45+ swg
    TF100 +speed stir Taylor 1766 salt test

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    697

    Re: Barracuda MX 8 review

    We've had our MX8 for just over a year and it's doing a great job in our pool. BTW, when we purchased it, it did come with the vacuum meter. I tend to run ours on a little bit more flow than suggested by Zodiac. For us, it took a while to fix the vacuum line plumbing for the MX8 and to purchase a proper leaf catcher basket (the large Hayward). But, now it is perfectly dialed in. Every once in a while, it will get stuck on a large leaf and I need to clean it. But for the most part, it just does a great job. Our pool is standard white plaster, if that makes a difference.

    I just replaced the rubber tracks because the original ones were really showing their wear and started to fall the wheels, which would jam the mechanism. The new tracks work great and I do recommend replacement about once a year. I purchased them off the web for about $10 each, so this is not an expensive repair. In fact, the one thing I'm very impressed by is how reasonably priced the repair parts are for this unit. We get tons of leaves from the trees surrounding our property, but this MX8 has really helped. Now, I don't have to vacuum very often (except in the attached spa and the tops of the steps). I still give this unit "thumbs up" and wouldn't buy anything else.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

  5. #5
    Member pikeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Pflugerville, Texas
    Posts
    32

    followup on my MX 8 review

    I've had my MX 8 for over a year now and some of the halo has worn off. The fittings provided for attaching to the wall vacuum line are poorly designed. The diameter of the adapter is too large to fit my line - I believe it's 1.25". It is clearly sized for much larger lines, which I doubt will be found in non-comercial pools. It's also too stiff. Even if I had the oversized vacuum line, it would not stay in the line. It should have been made smaller, and either of softer material, or provided with an o-ring or something with some "give" to let it stay stuck in the wall port.
    I also believe the hose design was a poor choice, unless it is intended to fleece us when they wear out and we need to buy the "special" replacement hoses.

    I found a hayward part that sort-of works, but every time the pump shuts off it pops out. I guess I'm going to have to secure it with a piece of rag. Pretty crude for what seems like a good machine.

    And their Customer Sevice email is ignored. I used the form on their site and followed-up with a copy sent from my yahoo account. Never heard back from anybody. Not a good sign . . .

    Pete
    15K IG Marcite pool, StaRite pump, Hayward DE filter, Zodiac MX8 vacuum.

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