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Thread: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

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    New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I've read dozen of threads and I've actually owned 2 different dolphins on my previous pool (the bright colored one that died after 5 years and then the M4). I'm now building a new pool and the PB has offer the 280 as standard, but would sub out a M4 if I prefer for even money (since I would not then get a booster pump either). I have no experience with any pressure side cleaner. In my last pool, I also had no leaves to contend with. My new pool does have an Oak tree that will give me some leaves in the fall and I suspect an occasional acorn will get blown over.

    Ease of maintenance is the highest priority. At first I thought the M4 would be a no brainer and I'm still concerned I'll be disappointed with a 280. My pool will be about 26k gallons, free form with mini-pebble. My concerns are:

    -the M4 will not do well with many leaves, but I do have 2 skimmers and would run them 24/7 in the fall.

    -I'd like to leave the M4 in the pool to take advantage of its daily/weekly timer, but I've read this isn't recommended.....why in the world would they have a timer then?


    a) Does anyone know about how many oak leaves an M4 can carry?

    b) Is it more practical to leave a 280 in the pool over an M4? (I'll have the Hayward Omnilogic to automate it's cycles).

    c) Does a 280 pick up any sand or does that pass through its leaf bag?

    d) How weather resistant is the M4 power supply really?
    Last edited by dmann33; 05-28-2014 at 02:53 PM. Reason: typo

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I can't answer your specific questions but I have observed over the last five years how all the technology and new development is now geared towards robots. I think new (not replacement) models of pressure side cleaners are almost non-existent.

    The 280 has always been the best of pressure sides over time.

    I can answer about submersing them, too. The 280 needs nothing really water tight. The M4 has to protect that motor so immersing it completely for a long stretch may well start to break down the motor seals and that an expensive fix if the motors go bad. Why they let the timer program go for days is clearly beyond all logic so they must not be too serious about it.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I have a 280. It was installed last fall with my new pool. I love it. With the patio build I have going on, it has done a great job picking up the pieces of mortar and sand that's fallen in the pool. At times, it's picked up so much stuff that the bag made the unit top heavy. I'm sure I could pick up more silt and fine stuff if I lined the bag as some have done, but it's really never been an issue. My pool doesn't have a right angle in it and this cleaner has performed VERY well, especially with leaves. I have the AquaPlus system, and it runs once a day for 3 hrs. Pool is spotless. The ONLY downside I can think of is the extra noise from the booster pump. It's not as quiet as the filter pump. Not horrible, but I wish it was quieter. I also like the idea, as Dave mentioned, that there's no electronics in the water at all. Just plastic that is pressure driven. I just leave it there most times.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    @ Duraleigh -

    Thanks. I know you've written many replies on this topic...including the pool school. Is there a general consensus result of 280 owners who went Dolphin or vice versa?

    @steveg_nh
    I do like the idea of just leaving it in the pool and forgetting about it. That might be my biggest concern at this point.
    CPO (15 years) 23K freeform Aqua Blue Mini, Omnilogic, Echostar, Colorlogic (2x12v), Jandy Laminars, Polaris 280, Dolphin M4

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Mine is in there unless we're swimming. I don't know if this is something to consider too, but someone else today posted that a particular Dolphin said it was only rated to run up to chlorine of 4ppm. Not sure how CYA levels m might change that, or why it matters, but something to consider. The only thing my 280 doesn't do is "scrub" the walls like the robot style cleaners.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Is there a general consensus result of 280 owners who went Dolphin or vice versa?
    JNo.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    C) you will need a sand and silt bag to pick up fine particles.
    Pool Details: 25,440 Gal IG Vinyl 21x40 Mountain Pond (Graphex)
    Filter: Hayward Micro-Clear DE (48 Sq Ft)
    Pump: Hayward SP2603VSP VS Super Pump
    SWG: Circupool Si45
    Cleaner: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler 820

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    If one has an echostar VS pump, what the minimum speed it needs to run when using the 3/4 hp booster pump for the Polaris 280 cleaner?
    CPO (15 years) 23K freeform Aqua Blue Mini, Omnilogic, Echostar, Colorlogic (2x12v), Jandy Laminars, Polaris 280, Dolphin M4

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    If one has an echostar VS pump, what the minimum speed it needs to run when using the 3/4 hp booster pump for the Polaris 280 cleaner?
    Holy Benoli! If someone knows the answer to that rather complex question, I may have to buy the beer!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Hard question? I'd have figured such a topic would have been hashed out in all the energy analysis 280 vs robot threads. I understand that the booster pump primarily increases pressure on the pressure circuit pulling water from the return side of the main pump. Only seems logical to ask how much you need to ramp up your VS pump when going from a low speed filter only mode to cleaner mode. Since i read that the booster pump only needs about 8-10 GPS to send to the 280, I'd guess the main pump can run pretty low and still keep that booster pump supplied. If I'm right, then that only speaks to another advantage of a VS pump compared to a dual speed. (Not having to ramp up to high speed just so you can run the cleaner). Of course, if a 280 and booster pump can get by with a 2-speed pump on low, then it's not an advantage. However, I think I'd need to run the ecostar at least above the low speed rate of a 2-speed pump.

    So all you variable speed pump owners- do you ramp up your main pump when running the pressure cleaner. How much?
    CPO (15 years) 23K freeform Aqua Blue Mini, Omnilogic, Echostar, Colorlogic (2x12v), Jandy Laminars, Polaris 280, Dolphin M4

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Every system will be different due to different friction losses thats caused by differences in piping/plumbing.

    Pool Details: 25,440 Gal IG Vinyl 21x40 Mountain Pond (Graphex)
    Filter: Hayward Micro-Clear DE (48 Sq Ft)
    Pump: Hayward SP2603VSP VS Super Pump
    SWG: Circupool Si45
    Cleaner: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler 820

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I know the 280 will pick up the grand kids dive toys. I find one in it every time they leave.
    14.3k, 3 1/2-5 1/2, IG, Pebble Wet Edge Northshore Tahoe, Jandy 4 cartridge, Jandy 2hp variable, Pentair 320 inline chlorinator fed by a Stenner, Polaris 280, K-2006 test kit, Built 9/13
    Fill water: TA=90, PH=70, CH=90

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Quote Originally Posted by acamato View Post
    Every system will be different due to different friction losses thats caused by differences in piping/plumbing.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
    True, nevertheless, I'm still curious as to the range of applicable answers to the question.
    CPO (15 years) 23K freeform Aqua Blue Mini, Omnilogic, Echostar, Colorlogic (2x12v), Jandy Laminars, Polaris 280, Dolphin M4

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I run my Hayward VS at around 2800rpm when running the polaris booster. No rhyme or reason for 2800rpm, just something a bit more than normal filtering rpm of 1500rpm.
    12k gal IG gunite, hayward cartridge filter, hayward ecostar VS pump, prologic controller, swg, polaris 280, built July 2012

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I think as long as you are getting the right RPM on the wheels, you would be ok. Should be easy enough to test. Run the VS on low, and you can measure RPM with both discs (the red and blue disc)...might take some trial and error, but I would imagine if you are getting the right RPMs, the Polaris is getting enough pressure.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    I should add too, that my 280 is doing a bang up job cleaning up sand in the pool from the patio work. I'm wondering if the bag is a newer design or something, because it has a very tight weave, and it seems to catch most everything.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Based on the wheelies my Polaris likes to do I would go robot.

    Mine needs tuning ...
    TFP Moderator Chris V. ~16K Pool & Spa, 48NSF DE, IG Plaster Circa 2000, Intermatic PE653, Challenger pump with a 2 speed B2984, 20gal stenner chlorine injection, Houston, TX
    One cannot follow Islam and Christianity at the same time, nor can one follow pool store methods and TFP at the same time.
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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Quote Originally Posted by steveg_nh View Post
    I should add too, that my 280 is doing a bang up job cleaning up sand in the pool from the patio work. I'm wondering if the bag is a newer design or something, because it has a very tight weave, and it seems to catch most everything.
    You may have the sand and silt bag.
    There's a few different bag avail:
    - All Purpose Bag (Velcro or zipper close)
    - Leaf Bag
    - Sand and Silt Bag
    Pool Details: 25,440 Gal IG Vinyl 21x40 Mountain Pond (Graphex)
    Filter: Hayward Micro-Clear DE (48 Sq Ft)
    Pump: Hayward SP2603VSP VS Super Pump
    SWG: Circupool Si45
    Cleaner: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler 820

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    No idea. I certainly didn't order anything special from my pool builder, unless he did it without me knowing. I'll have to look on the website and see if I can tell. I do have a zipper close.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New Build Debate - Polairs 280 or Dolpnin M4

    Quote Originally Posted by steveg_nh View Post
    I think as long as you are getting the right RPM on the wheels, you would be ok. Should be easy enough to test. Run the VS on low, and you can measure RPM with both discs (the red and blue disc)...might take some trial and error, but I would imagine if you are getting the right RPMs, the Polaris is getting enough pressure.

    I'm sure this is the way to find out for sure. However, if you recall, I'm the OP with the debate. Since energy consumption appears to be one of the biggest factors on VS pumps and robotic pool cleaners, I figured someone would have precisely figured out how low they could run their VS pump and keep the 280 happy. I'm still guessing the most run their VS pump higher than needed for the 280.


    While I am a solid Dolphin guy myself (I've only used them, never a pressure cleaner), I think I am going to go Polaris 280 on my new pool. The deciding factors were:

    1) I have an big oak tree nearby (6 foot diameter trunk, big). My other pool has no trees, and after looking at the tiny space my M4 has for debris between the cartridges I can't see it picking up but a couple oak leaves.

    2) I'm lazy (pool cleaning lazy anyway), and I'd like to leave the cleaner on the timer without worrying about potential water damage by "storing" it in the pool or a rain storm popping up and soaking the power supply on the deck.

    3) VS pump - with a VS pump, I think I can continue to run it pretty low and still keep the 280 happy.

    4) I have my M4 (at my other pool) which is just 4 miles away (long story). So I can run and get it if I ever feel the need to run it or want to get really small fines off the bottom that might be left by the 280.

    Now, the tough part for me was knowing how many leaves will sink before the skimmer can catch them. If I was confident that the skimmer would get nearly all of them, I would have probably went M4. I'll soon know, but the 280 seemed like the safest option for me.

    P.S. When I get the pool open, I'll be sure to drop in the M4 with clean cartridges in a cleaned pool and will report back what the dolphin got that the 280 didn't. I'll also post back what kind of RPM or GPM I can get by with my VS pump to get the RPMs needed on the Polaris.
    CPO (15 years) 23K freeform Aqua Blue Mini, Omnilogic, Echostar, Colorlogic (2x12v), Jandy Laminars, Polaris 280, Dolphin M4

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