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Thread: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

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    2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    I've just tried the Dolphin Nautilus on my rectangular, concrete, painted pool. All the ads say that it climbs (and cleans) the walls, but not so in my pool. Once in a while it climbs to the top, but the rest of the time it inches up the wall and then falls back down as if it's just too tired to make the move all the way up. My walls are at a 90 degree angle to the floor.

    Here are my questions:

    Am i fooling myself if i think that a robot will really clean the walls, and should i just give up trying to find one?

    If not, which robots actually clean the walls consistently, so that i don't have to sweep them?

    Also, since I have a concrete, painted pool, do I need to look for a specific type of robotic cleaner that does not clean off all of the paint in my pool? I seem to be seeing a lot of white powdery stuff floating in the water when the Nautilus finishes its work.

    I appreciate your help.
    Pool: In-ground; 18,500 gallons; painted concrete (I think -- it was built in the 1940s); Triton II Sand Filter, pre-1991; Hayward Super Pump II; Pentair heater

    Spa (separate): in-ground; cartridge filter, 3 Hayward Super Pump IIs (1 for circulation, 2 for jets);Pentair heater

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    EVChargeGuy's Avatar
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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    Does the cleaner have any adjustment to help it climb walls?
    You may also need to give it some time to ‘figure out’ your pool

    As I only had AquaBot Cleaners, it the only brand I can talk about.
    On top of that there are so many different types of AquaBots, they have many private labeled Bot’s as well, that I can only talk about the 2 models I’ve owned.

    About 10-12 years ago I got a AB turbo and it did a good job climbing the qunite walls and steps- it went right up to the waterline and cleaned the tile. They still make this model. BUT it didn’t hold up well and always needed something. I also didn’t like cleaning the Filter Bag

    This year I picked up an AB Rapids 4WD (also sold as Breeze 4WD, Doheny AWD, iRobot Mirra etc)- Price range from $600 to $1000+. I paid $620

    Although I only had it month I’m very happy with it and it’s ability to clean the Walls all the way up to the waterline. The only performance issue I have is it has problems with the upper steps because of their tighter radius. Its also a breeze to clean having basket filters not a bag. BTW: when I first put it in the pool, it acted like it was Dizzy until it got a handle on the pool layout. I see no ’pattern’ as to its path but it seems to clean just about everything

    Whatever you decide to get you maybe better off getting a cleaner from a vendor that allows returns, even if you pay a little more
    IG Tear Drop, Dark Gray Gunite , 27,000 gallons -Age 50+-years, very old Hayward Split Egg Sand Filter with side mount Multi-port- Hayward SP2600VSP Pump- Hayward chlorine feed (not used since finding TFP) - Laars 315K BTU Oil heater- LoopLoc Safety cover- AquaBot RAPIDS 4WD- TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speedstir- 390 Gal Hot Springs Spa Envoy installed May 2017

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    May 2014
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    I have the AquaClean Aclean1. Very happy with it. Climbs/cleans the walls very well.
    19k gal, IG, Rectangle, Pebble, Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge, Intelliflo VS Pump, IntellichlorSWG, Aquacal SQ-155 Heatpump, Aquaclean Aclean1 Robotic Cleaner, TF-100, Dec 2013, Jacksonville FL

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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    Thanks for your responses. You've given me some good alternatives.

    I'm buying mostly through Amazon and they've been great, because these machines really don't seem to climb my walls, despite their promise. (So far, they have been great about returns.) Maybe it's because I have a truly rectangular pool with a 90 degree angle at the corners or maybe it's the paint on the pool or...? I've tried the Nautilus for a few weeks, so it's had a chance to adjust to my pool. The instructions are very limited, but it seems the only adjustment is making sure the filters are really clean, which I've done.

    I found it really surprising to read that one of the reasons for the Nautilus failing to climb could be algae or sunscreen on the walls! Here's what the troubleshooting section said:

    "Sometimes, buildup on the walls and/or slope of the pool from body
    oils, sunscreen, even liquid solar blankets can prevent your Dolphin
    from climbing properly. If your unit is attempting to climb but slipping
    and sliding on the wall as it does so, try brushing the walls and/or slope
    down manually once to loosen this buildup. The Dolphin should then be
    able to grip these surfaces and maintain them on its own going forward.
     Pool chemistry matters! Make sure that your pool water is balanced
    (especially pH), and that no algae exists on the surfaces in question.
    High PH can inhibit the ability for the brushes to “grip” the sides of the
    pool as unit attempts to climb, and algae makes surfaces slick so the
    Dolphin will slip as it tries to climb."

    I guess I'm not looking for a machine that only climbs the walls if I've brushed them! (And I have brushed the walls right before I've used the unit and it still doesn't crawl up them in a consistent way.)

    Thanks again for the suggestions.
    Pool: In-ground; 18,500 gallons; painted concrete (I think -- it was built in the 1940s); Triton II Sand Filter, pre-1991; Hayward Super Pump II; Pentair heater

    Spa (separate): in-ground; cartridge filter, 3 Hayward Super Pump IIs (1 for circulation, 2 for jets);Pentair heater

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    Long Beach, CA
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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    Your problem might be with the paint and the 90 degree corners. Have you determined what the white powdery stuff is? Paint usually only last a few years and if the chemistry is off the paint will not last even a couple of years.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    I'm wondering if that could be the case. The paint is at least 4 years old. when we moved in, we would get a white powdery film on our hands when we touched the walls. Is this typical? Now I think a lot of it has worn off.

    These are my readings:

    TC: 6, but falls to 3 or less by morning
    TA: 90
    CYA: 25
    CH: 200
    PH: 7.5

    Also, if I have a painted pool, do I follow the instructions for a plaster pool? Do i have a plaster pool if I have a painted pool?

    Thanks for your help.
    Pool: In-ground; 18,500 gallons; painted concrete (I think -- it was built in the 1940s); Triton II Sand Filter, pre-1991; Hayward Super Pump II; Pentair heater

    Spa (separate): in-ground; cartridge filter, 3 Hayward Super Pump IIs (1 for circulation, 2 for jets);Pentair heater

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
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    Longview, Texas
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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    THere are some of the more expensive robots that have settings on them for different cleaning options. Such as walls only, tile line only, etc...
    there are also some that are remote controlled so you can guide it around. One of these may be what you need in order to satisfy your expectations.

    Your post sounds to me you are expecting the cleaner to clean 100% of the walls. I dont believe any of them will do that 100% of the time, but I may be wrong about that.

    When the nautilus seems to "get stuck" at teh 90 degree spots in your pool then backs away, its supposed to do that. If you will watch it, you will notice that at these times, the track is not trying to turn. If the clearner were trying the climb the wall but couldnt the the tracks will still keep turning but be slipping for lack of traction.

    Mine does the same thing when it gets to the walls. Sometimes also the thing get up agains the wall in a vertical position but not climb. Its supposed to that too. Its cleaning the 90 degree corners when it does this.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: 2014: Is there a robotic cleaner that REALLY cleans the walls?

    I returned the Nautilus and bought an Aquabot Breeze AW. It works great!!! It climbs the walls and cleans up everything without making my water all cloudy. The only thing I don't like about it is the cord, which is more difficult to plug in to the power unit than the Nautilus and seems to get tangled more often. Otherwise I'm really happy with it. My pool looks great!
    Pool: In-ground; 18,500 gallons; painted concrete (I think -- it was built in the 1940s); Triton II Sand Filter, pre-1991; Hayward Super Pump II; Pentair heater

    Spa (separate): in-ground; cartridge filter, 3 Hayward Super Pump IIs (1 for circulation, 2 for jets);Pentair heater

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