I have successfully managed to rig up an el' cheapo vacuum system for just a hair under $10.
I hate the Intex venturi, garden hose operated vac for 2 reasons.
1. It wastes water, lots of it, 300+ gallons on a thorough vacuum and it dilutes my CYA quite considerably, thus losing some when I drain or have the nieces splash major.
2. It's pretty good at picking stuff up, actually quite good, but it's all light stuff, the head is small, so lots more work, but mainly it just doesn't trap things well enough, even with a knee high over the bag, it's still not good enough. Water gets cloudy and then in time, it all settles back to the bottom when done.
So here's what I did, I'll list why at the end.
Bought this hose @ Slowes "Lowes", Home Despot "Home Depot HD" has them too, but they cost more, so that's a no brainer.
Utilitech 1-1/4" Discharge Hose
I discovered that my Intex is more along the lines of 1-3/4" hose ID. I have the exact numbers of all the intake connections measured with a micrometer if anyone wants it. I'll post later when I have time.
So what I did was take the 1-1/4" > 1-1/2" NPT adapter and ground the threads off, as well as some plastic, leaving about 2 rows or so of threads intact, then filed those into a hose barb.
I take the factory barb end and attach it to the black hose that I bought, then I disconnect the translucent Intex hose at the bottom of the skimmer and attach it to the other end of the black NPT adapter that I modified.
It's not airtight, but it works fine underwater and will stay there at the right water level. I had to bleed it a few times until I got the hang of things.
**DON'T RUN YOUR PUMP DRY, AT ALL!! Please.
I then attached the other end of the 24' long hose to the Intex pole /w velcro straps, 1 at the very end and 2, side by side at the top of the 1st section of pole.
I took enough slack and shoved it into the venturi water exit hole on the included "garden hose powered" vac, of course leaving the garden hose off, then away I went. Trying to stick with forward motions only, otherwise the brush on the back, on a backstroke, pushes the dirt away sometimes, leaving a small cloud and the vacuum can't grab it all.
Why I did this, why didn't I just buy a real vacuum hose and head you ask?
Well, all this Intex junk is proprietary, so I don't want to buy into their accessories.
Also, this works pretty well, it's not fantastic and nowhere near as good as a real vacuum head, but hey, it's cheap. I'll replace it with a real one that's not all Intex proprietary when I change out my pump next year at setup.
This way I didn't have to double buy; purchasing all the Intex stuff that only fit's their attachments, then later having to buy "real" IGP/AGP vacuum heads, hoses, etc..
Not to mention the Intex pump @ 12.5GPM is pretty pathetic suction, nothing that can power a bigger vac hose & head. So it just made more sense to go this route.
It grabbed all the fine little dusty stuff at the bottom and sucked it right into my filter, covered with pantyhose, even all the fine fire ash, none went out the return that I could see.
The filter was soooo gross!!
Shows you it's inefficiency, it was all in the bottom 1/2 to mostly 1/3 of the cartridge. Top was almost as clean as when I started.
I vacuumed at dusk with a flashlight, very tiring due to the bottom corners/edge of the pool being underneath & behind your head, toward your feet, so you have to leaaaaan in and get your arm down in the water, holding the pole down lower to get at all the edges, being careful not to let any water out over the ring you're leaning into/on. Not like a 90deg. sided pool, this thing's a PAIN!! Sooo much easier to vacuum a clean spot by the ladder to stand, then get in and do it from the inside. But not when the water is 60/65deg. BRRRR
I'm not 12 anymore, the water was a lot warmer back then.
I now have maybe 5% of the dirt I started with on the bottom, simply from stuff I missed or getting tired and cheating, doing backstrokes with the vacuum, instead of forward strokes. I'm confident that when I do it once more, maybe from in the pool, I'll get it all.
Hopefully this helps some folks that have these cheap, pathetic Intex venturi vacuums and don't want to spend a lot of money to replace them for now.
**Note, not that venturi vacs are per say a bad thing, but garden hose operated ones are, based on my experiences as outlined at the start of this post. There is a venturi vac that is suction side operated, it seems awesome for spot cleaning, but I haven't personally used one yet.