We have a polaris 380 pressure-side automatic pool cleaner. It's been running great for years. Lately, I've been noticing that the cleaner is not picking up the debree on the bottom of the pool as good as it has in the past, so I fired it up to observe and noticed that it was running extremely slugish. I started investigating and I can not seem to make sense of this.
I have a dedicated plumbed pump (Penatair 4x160), with it's own intake, and a dedicated line installed for this cleaner. Well, almost dedicated pump. I use it for some basic water features with a jandy valve actuator to divert the flow when wanted, but 95% the time it stays int the one position, which is dedicated to the cleaner. I noticed that the pump did not seem completely full, so I pulled the basket out which needed a bit of cleaner. A significant amount of algea/mold had accumulated on the rim of the basket and in the flow path, which I found interesting. That told me it probably hasent had a good prime in some time. I gave it a good cleaning, and gave it another go. Still noticed that the pump did not seem to fill up, and therefore probably didn't have the best prime. I disconnected the cleaner from the wall, and a few seconds later the the pump seemed to fill up and the pressure from the return on the side of the pool increased very dramatically. Pressure from the return seems to be very, very good when the cleaner is disconnected. This lead me to beleive that it had to be with the cleaner. I started by cleaning the filter on the hose that goes to the cleaner, which didn't seem to help. I checked the pressure releif valve to see if it was perhaps stuck open, but didn't feel anything. I disconnected the hose at the backup valve to see if it was something with that, but all looked good. I left it unhooked and fired up the pump to see what kind of pressure would come out of the hose, but I was surprised to see low pressure. Again, unhooking the hose fromt he return while it was on showed low pressure from the return as well and then dramatically increased within seconds.
So it appears that something is happening when the hose it hooked up to the return, where i cause the pump to loose a good portion of it prime, and therefore has teriible pressure and only returns when the hose is disconnected. I can't seem to make sense of this.
Anyone have any ideas?