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Thread: Polaris 380 running slowly and weak

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    Polaris 380 running slowly and weak

    I moved a few years ago and always accepted that the Polaris 380 that came with the house did an OK job at best. I always seems to miss spots and whenever the hose gets even the slightest bit tangled it doesn't have the power to untangle it (as a result it generally doesn't get very far).

    I did some research for this season and decided to figure out whats wrong with it. Sounds like the wheels should be running at 28-32 RPM - I'm at 20. My initial reaction is it must be a pressure issue. The pressure relief value always had a good amount of water coming out of it (even when fully tightened). I replaced it with a new one - no change in wheel RPM. The new one still leaks a bit, but it's not as bad as the old one.

    I also noticed that the backup value has water coming out of it even when it's not on the backup cycle. I replaced the backup value. While the new value still has some water that comes out of it all the time it's not nearly as much as what was coming out before.

    After these two repairs I've gone from 20rpm to 21 or 22 - basically no change. Any ideas on what else I should be looking for? I've also disassembled the thing and cleaned out the tiny jet (using a paper clip) that powers the wheels (so I believe it's getting full power in that regard).

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    BoDarville's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    DFW, Texas

    Re: Polaris 380 running slowly and weak

    Check for a thimble-size screen filter on the inside of the cleaner hose that attaches to the pool. If there is such a filter, it may be clogged which would reduce the pressure going to the cleaner. Clean it out and you should notice a big difference. This happened to me when I was new to pool maintenance and was relieved that it was an easy fix.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: Polaris 380 running slowly and weak

    Thanks Bo. I left it off my original post but this has been checked and cleaned. It had a bit of dirt but I would estimate it was 90%+ clear to begin with. I did not notice any material difference in performance after cleaning it.

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    ddrager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Springfield, PA

    Re: Polaris 380 running slowly and weak

    It seems like you have probably already done this, but my Polaris 360 was running sluggishly. I found out the screen was clogged, but also when I turned off the cleaner entirely, the pressure coming out of the normal pool returns was not strong at all.

    After a backwash, the jets were back to normal and the cleaner also returned to normal operation.

    Is it possible you need a backwash? Or that one of your pipes to the cleaner is clogged? If you leave it disconnected, how is the pressure coming out of the hole?
    22,000 Gal IG Plaster, 1.5 HP Jandy Single Speed
    DE 48 Filter, Polaris 360 Automatic Cleaner
    Taylor K-2006

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    Join Date
    May 2015
    collegeville, PA

    Re: Polaris 380 running slowly and weak

    The biggest performance improvements I've been able to achieve in dealing with my 380 over the years was when I replaced the tires. The low RPM could also be coming from an underperforming booster pump. Do you see any leaks there?

    I also installed the backup value in the wrong direction once. Took me half a season to figure that out

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