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Thread: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Kingsville, Texas
    Posts
    6

    Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    I have purchased an older home that came complete with an older in-the-ground pool. I have no historical information on the pool so I am starting from scratch. I was also gifted with a Polaris 280 pool robot. After I cleaned all the gunk out of the pool and out of the robot (two inches of bleached algae) , I powered up the booster pump and gave it a try. After fixing several leaks around the booster pump and on the pressure hose to the Polaris, I tried again.
    The robot is turning within the RPM range described in the on-line owners manual found at the Polaris site but it doesn't seem to matter where I point the rear directional jet, the Polaris only goes around the edges of the pool. Once in a great while, when it bounces off of the steps, it will start to go into the middle but it will make a U-turn and go back to the edge instead. I have noticed that when it does bounce off of the steps and try to go to the middle, that the two front wheels will touch the ground first and that the rear (right) wheel never touches the pool bottom. When that happens, the Polaris will make a U-turn back to the edge. I have water coming from both of the central jets that push the debris into the bag but it doesn't seem to be enough to push the Polaris to the pool floor. I reduced the volume of water going to the whipping tail and thereby possibly increased the water to the vacuum jets. I have even tried adding 3 ounces of weight (just behind the trailing wheel) to the Polaris (no change).
    Observation 1: With the booster pump off, the rear wheel of the Polaris does not touch the floor of the pool.
    Observation 2: I put a big rubber band around the idler wheel (right side center wheel) and now both right side wheels a being driven. There was a small gap between the right side drive wheel and the idler wheel. The rubber band fixed that and now all the wheels go around.

    Question: Is there a way to increase the power of the two central jets so that the Polaris will be able to get traction on the pool floor and vacuum the middle of my pool? Is there some adjustment that I am forgetting?

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    29

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    check your head float (the float attached to the polaris it self) if that's full of water it wont track correctly through the pool (a new one is $5.99 at leslies)
    40,000 gallon ig gunite, Pentair Challanger Century Centurion 2.2 HP Pump, FNS 60 DE filter, Polaris 280, Century Centurion 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Attached ig spa - 1HP Centurion pump - Dual non functioning blowers

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    413

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    FWIW, with my booster pump off, the rear wheel of my 280 also does not touch the floor of my pool. And I recently replaced the head float, but that didn't help. But I do not have the problem you have. My unit does not climb the walls like it did when it was new, but it moves all along the pool bottom picks everything off the pool floor very nicely.
    9,200 gal. Gunite Luna Quartz French Grey pool with spill over spa, two fountains on tanning ledge (rarely used)
    Pentair Whisperflo 2HP, Pentair CCP Cartridge 420 Sq. Ft., Polaris 280 with booster pump
    Pentair EasyTouch 4, RayPak LoNox 266k Natural Gas heater, Aqua Rite SWCG T Cell 9, Borates, TF-100 test kit

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Kingsville, Texas
    Posts
    6

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    I have checked the head float and it does not have water in it. Since I am trying to reduce the tendency of the Polaris to float (suck down to the bottom better) I have even tried removing the head float. When I do that it tips over on it's side. I have about decided to aim my pool jets to the center of the pool and have the Polaris patrol the sides. Right now I have the pool jets pointing along the walls to bring the floating debris to the skimmers and the solids to the center of the pool for the Polaris to collect. Maybe that combination is a bad strategy for this model Polaris.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern Virgina
    Posts
    55

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    1. What shape is your pool?

    2. When you say it "only goes around the edges of the pool", is it only staying on the wall or does it go around the edges of the pool on the bottom?

    3. Have you tried adjusting the position of the head float? If I recall correctly, you may need to move the head float further away from the hose (increase climbing ability) in order to get the Polaris to run flat on the bottom. Even small adjustments can make a big difference.

    4. Is the Polaris always turning in the same direction? If so, how flexible is the hose? Over time, the hose loses its flexibility which impedes the Polaris' ability to hold a straight line. You can counteract this tendency by loosening the nut on the hose connection to the Polaris and rotating the hose 90 degrees and see if that makes a difference.
    22k gallon IG Anthony free-form pool and spa with PebbleSheen finish, Pentair WFDS-8 WhisperFlo Full Rated Dual-Speed 2HP pool pump, Sta-Rite S8D110 System 3 Grid D.E. 53 sq. ft. pool filter, Raypak R406A 399K BTU cupro-nickel propane heater, Polaris 280 pool cleaner with 3/4 HP PB4-60 booster pump, Goldline Aqua Plus controller and SWG, Inter-Fab G-Force pool slide.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Kingsville, Texas
    Posts
    6

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    This pool is kidney shaped with the stairs at the smallest end.
    The vast majority of the time it is at the base of the walls but occasionally it will go up the sides a foot or so.
    I have adjusted the head float and have not seen any significant difference.
    The Polaris does seem to want to go the same direction with a reversed direction once in a great while. I have not noticed a lack of flexibility in the hose but I will try rotating the connection. I have seen that one of the swivels on the feed hose leaks till I move it , it then stops leaking. The feed hose may just be old and be starting to stiffen up. At this point I am almost ready to drill out the two central jets and (hopefully) deliver more downward thrust.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern Virgina
    Posts
    55

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    It really sounds like your main problem is the buoyancy control provided by the head float: "I have noticed that when it does bounce off of the steps and try to go to the middle, that the two front wheels will touch the ground first and that the rear (right) wheel never touches the pool bottom."

    1. Does the rear wheel touch the bottom when it is running along the edges?

    2. You said you tried adjusting the head float. Have you opened up the Polaris to see if any debris is stuck inside that might be weighing down the front end?

    3. Do you have a limiter (blue or red disk) in the quick disconnect wall fitting? If so, try removing it and see if the rear wheel touches the bottom.

    4. Have you checked the wheel bearings and axles to see if they are loose? You mentioned that you had to put a rubber band on the idler wheel. This can happen if the one of the wheel axles is loose and not positioned close enough to the idler or if the bearings are worn out or the idler wheel is worn down.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Kingsville, Texas
    Posts
    6

    Re: Older Polaris 280 only does edges of pool

    Answers to above:
    1. Yes, the rear wheel does touch the ground (and sides) when the Polaris is going around the edges of the pool. Once the Polaris gets all three wheels on the ground, they stay there till it encounters an obstacle.
    2. I have opened up the Polaris multiple times. When I got it (and the pool) it was over an inch deep in muck. I had to completely clean the pool and the Polaris. Something may be missing from the rear of the Polaris (the exploded diagram on the Polaris website is somewhat fuzzy) but nothing extra is in the front.
    3. Both pressure limiters were gone when I got the pool. Without a limiter I am within the range specified by the on-line owners manual.
    4. All the wheel bearings appear to be OK. The right front and left wheels are driven by a single axle that gets its power from the single paddle wheel turbine in the center of the Polaris. When I first tried to use the Polaris, the rear wheel didn't turn at all. Upon examination, there was a small air gap between the front right wheel (driver wheel) and the idler and also between the idler and the rear wheel. I credited this gap to the worn soft rubber tires over the hard plastic tire rims on the front and rear wheels. Rather than buy new tires (since they were all worn evenly) I put the rubber band on the idler and thereby removed the gap and replaced it with the rubber band. After the rubber band, all the wheels were turning. There is a separate mechanism to open the gap from the idler wheel to each of the two right side wheels but I can see no way that this mechanism might be at fault. I can't even see what might possibly operate this mechanism in normal operation. I think it might be for some "add-on" that I don't have.
    Located in Kingsville, Texas - 1200 gallons (aprox.) of in the ground pool made from plaster (?or poured concrete ?) about 25 years old, Large Jacuzzi sand filter (250), main pump (size ? - no nameplate) with booster pump for Polaris 280 cleaner, 24 hour timers on both main pump and booster pump

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