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Thread: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

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    Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    I bought a house with a very old refurbished in ground pool and no pool cleaner. It didn't take me very long to figure out I have better things to do than vacumm the pool once a day as we live on a hilltop in Arizona and the pool accumulates dust daily. I tried a Kreepy Krauly diaphragm cleaner which worked ok but spent most of its time against the walls and missed a lot. I was given a Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, which I eventually rebuilt and have tried numerous combinations, but still lives by the wall. The only thing that seemed to work was a dedicated suction and return line, and run it 8-12 hours a day. I am sure my problem is the plumbing is undersized for the flow I need to run it correctly. Rather than wasting more time and money tinkering with it, I have decided to go Robotic. I actually enjoy tinkering with it, but completely re plumbing the suction and return and probably replacing the pump is not a good option as I do have a concrete deck.

    Like most I get more confused the more I research the many brands and models. I had kind of narrowed it down to the dolphin S300 or Pentair 930, but was confused about whether to buy from a dealer for the support or internet to save money. Then it dawned on me I live 2 and 1/2 hours from any kind of a pool cleaner repair facility and would wind up shipping it anyway, if it needed repair. So I decided to call Dolphin, Pentair, Hayward, Aquabot, and Smartpool and ask about Brick and Mortar versus internet purchase warranty. I was pleasantly surprised at the response time, but however realize I was not speaking to an actual technician, but a service customer service associate. They were all courteous and quick to answer my questions. Then I called Aquabot whom I had previously ruled out due to no dealer support even close to me. The gentleman I spoke to was extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to talk to. He then referred me to a dealer that who sells the Fury, Bravo and Viva cleaners, which the aquabot Rep recomemded due to my tile walls and 90 degree pool to wall transition. The pricing seemed competitive.

    My question is what kind of energy consumption savings can you expect by changing to a robot, and does any one have any experience with the above mentioned cleaners or a particular recommendation. I am thinking my budget is around $1200. It seems like most of the features when you go above that are just frills. I just want a reliable long lasting cleaner that cleans the pool, can climb my tile walls with 90 degree transitions, and above all good service if I do have a problem.
    14k 14'x28' oval pool, tile walls, concete floor, Hayward 3/4 HP super pump, Hayward sand filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    I will trade you information for a pic or 3 of your pool! LOL

    There are many threads about all kinds of cleaners. Here is a good one:

    Aquabot vs dolphin

    You can do a search in the white box at the top of the page. You will get lots of hits.

    I am still looking for the one I can't find.........it has a good price for the dolphin in it so of course I cannot find IT! I will keep looking.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    As a service technician, I can say do not buy a Bravo or Fury. The Bravo is my nemesis in the shop. I don't know if you plan on servicing it yourself but it is literally the biggest pain in the rear to take apart and put back together. You have to take the side plates off to service the most basic components and both of the side plates are attached to each other with the handle, and they use 8 screws instead of the normal 4 to attach to the body. In my shop I charge an extra $10 to service one because it takes so long to get back together. Plus across the board Aquabot has been proving themselves to be making unreliable machines as of late. Their quality control has really tanked in the last 5 years or so. For example in 2017 alone I had ~120 Aquabot Warranty repairs versus less than 10 for Dolphin. It makes up like 1/6th of my work. Even if you take into account I'm the only warranty center in my area for Aquabot and there are 5 Dolphin service centers here Dolphin doesn't even come close to Aquabot's warranty repair numbers.

    The Fury and Viva are both part of Aqua Product's Aquatron line which have Isreali made motors. They are a little bit better made in general but with the Aquatron stuff I have seen pump motors go out in 3-5 years like clockwork, and that motor costs $400+ just as a part. Plus they are extremely complicated to diagnose and troubleshoot.

    If you're looking at the S300 or 930 they're both Dolphins so you're doing pretty good with either. It's worth it to buy from a dealer because a lot of dealers won't service machines not purchased from them, so you may be stuck shipping a internet unit out for repairs in the future. Also certain Dolphin's warranties will be void if you purchase them online. The rule of thumb is if it's on maytronicsus.com, you need to buy it from a non-online dealer.
    Aqua Products Certified Premier Service Technician, Maytronics Elite Service Technician, Hayward Authorized Robot Technician. I also dabble in pump, filter, and automotive repair.

    Need help choosing a Dolphin? Check out my thread on the features of each model.

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    I’ve had the Hayward Tiger Shark QC for five years. It’s been a tank. We use it at least 3 times a week during the swim season. I leave it in the pool all year, even in the Winter when the pool is closed/covered. I cycle it every so often to clean in the Winter. I will replace the filters for the first time this year. It climbs the walls of my vinyl pool like crazy, maybe too good. One thing I wish I would have gotten was the remote control ability. Power consumption is low voltage, which is nothing compared to a conventional Polaris pump style.
    I manually clean my pool twice a year, opening & closing.
    26k gallon inground vinyl liner pool, 8'-3.5' depth, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, basic 5 chem kit.
    Hayward: DE-60 filter, Pentair Superflo VS, AquaRite salt chlorinator w/T-Cell 15, TigerShark QC robot.

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    To Thebombardier,

    Thank you for the info. I viewed your thread on the Dolphin features. Which models have the waterline only feature? What are your thoughts on the swivel? I am wondering if they added just because people expect it on a higher end Dolphin.

    Between your thoughts, the fact Aqua-bot does not have a single repair center in AZ, and the fact that the the Manufacturer and their single location "premier distributor", who is also the only one who sells the Fury line, were a little too close for may taste, I decided against the Fury or Bravo.

    I finally found a Dolphin dealer in Tucson who was willing to talk to me on the phone (I live two and a half hours away), and has demo units. I tried last years model S300. I was very impressed. It had no problem with my 90 degree floor to wall transition and tile walls, which was a big concern. The first cycle it left some mid sized leaves and pea gravel with the ultra fine filters in it. We do have a lot of fine dust here, thus the dealer said that he typically uses the ultra fine filters. So, I installed the standard mesh in the basket and the pool was spotless afterwards. It did suspend some really fine material in the water though, by no means cloudy, just enough I knew it would settle out. I definitely see the advantage of media choices. I wonder though, will the new style basket still pick up the pea gravel? My understanding is the basket has the fine media and you can add the coarse liner to help prevent plugging the fine media. I am thinking the unit picked up the heavier debris due to better flow with the coarse media. Any thoughts? Just trying to decide between last years model and current unit. I really value your opinion, as I think you see a lot more volume than the dealer I found. Trust me, I have a ton of questions for him.

    To complicate things, while in Tucson picking up the S300 demo, I stopped at a very large chain supplier's store that I had not been in. They actually were fairly knowledgeable and gave me good customer service. They have a 965IQ demo that is 25% off. I am trying to decide if I even want to try it, since it is a 5 hour trip to take it back. I have always been drawn to the easy lift feature. Reviews here and elsewhere are definitely mixed on the Polaris 9000 series. Do you have any experience with the reliability of the Polaris robotic cleaners?

    I would say I am leaning towards the Dolphin due to features as well as they have been at it longer that just about any body else. Being a Snap-On tools Franchisee, I understand the value of quality and experience. However no manufacturer is perfect and excellent customer service and support are priceless! PS, if you , or any one else reading this is not a Snap-On fan, I am sorry, as I am aware there are some Snap-On dealers who do not understand this concept.

    I really appreciate you and this forum and I became a supporter today.
    14k 14'x28' oval pool, tile walls, concete floor, Hayward 3/4 HP super pump, Hayward sand filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    Thank you for becoming a supporter!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    Quote Originally Posted by Cgmflsaz View Post
    To Thebombardier,

    Thank you for the info. I viewed your thread on the Dolphin features. Which models have the waterline only feature? What are your thoughts on the swivel? I am wondering if they added just because people expect it on a higher end Dolphin.

    Between your thoughts, the fact Aqua-bot does not have a single repair center in AZ, and the fact that the the Manufacturer and their single location "premier distributor", who is also the only one who sells the Fury line, were a little too close for may taste, I decided against the Fury or Bravo.

    I finally found a Dolphin dealer in Tucson who was willing to talk to me on the phone (I live two and a half hours away), and has demo units. I tried last years model S300. I was very impressed. It had no problem with my 90 degree floor to wall transition and tile walls, which was a big concern. The first cycle it left some mid sized leaves and pea gravel with the ultra fine filters in it. We do have a lot of fine dust here, thus the dealer said that he typically uses the ultra fine filters. So, I installed the standard mesh in the basket and the pool was spotless afterwards. It did suspend some really fine material in the water though, by no means cloudy, just enough I knew it would settle out. I definitely see the advantage of media choices. I wonder though, will the new style basket still pick up the pea gravel? My understanding is the basket has the fine media and you can add the coarse liner to help prevent plugging the fine media. I am thinking the unit picked up the heavier debris due to better flow with the coarse media. Any thoughts? Just trying to decide between last years model and current unit. I really value your opinion, as I think you see a lot more volume than the dealer I found. Trust me, I have a ton of questions for him.

    To complicate things, while in Tucson picking up the S300 demo, I stopped at a very large chain supplier's store that I had not been in. They actually were fairly knowledgeable and gave me good customer service. They have a 965IQ demo that is 25% off. I am trying to decide if I even want to try it, since it is a 5 hour trip to take it back. I have always been drawn to the easy lift feature. Reviews here and elsewhere are definitely mixed on the Polaris 9000 series. Do you have any experience with the reliability of the Polaris robotic cleaners?

    I would say I am leaning towards the Dolphin due to features as well as they have been at it longer that just about any body else. Being a Snap-On tools Franchisee, I understand the value of quality and experience. However no manufacturer is perfect and excellent customer service and support are priceless! PS, if you , or any one else reading this is not a Snap-On fan, I am sorry, as I am aware there are some Snap-On dealers who do not understand this concept.

    I really appreciate you and this forum and I became a supporter today.
    The S300i, Active 30i, and M500 have a waterline only cycle through the MyDolphin app, so if that's what you're looking for those are the ones to look at. Also if you want to suck up pea gravel, the standard pleated filters may not offer enough suction to do so. There are mesh filter panels you can buy separately (which oddly enough come standard with the S200/Active 20) that will probably give you enough suction to get the gravel, no promises though.

    The swivel I can give or take. You should technically not need it but depending how the robot runs in your specific pool it may be necessary. It's a nice plus on the consumer end and yeah it may be a thing consumers expect at that level. However they are prone to leaking if the cleaner is left in the pool 24/7, especially so with bad chemistry. Having it opened up every year or two and lubing the o-ring helps, or replacing it outright. Once the swivel is breached very rarely can I save the cable, and a replacement is $300+.

    I have no experience with Polaris 9000 series cleaners. I've heard mixed things but then again people who are happy with their units very rarely have something to say, only the people who have issues.

    I wish I could afford Snap-On, that's my only qualm with them haha. Being an amateur mechanic working on mine and my friends' cars sometimes using the cheap HFT stuff gets annoying when you have to replace it. But I barely scratched up enough dough for the Craftsman and Ryobi tools I do have.
    Aqua Products Certified Premier Service Technician, Maytronics Elite Service Technician, Hayward Authorized Robot Technician. I also dabble in pump, filter, and automotive repair.

    Need help choosing a Dolphin? Check out my thread on the features of each model.

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    My understanding from talking to aquatron and beta testing a robot for them years back is the bravo and viva are essentially blue diamond cleaners. My blue diamond was fantastic but parts and repair on that are a hassle as its not DIY friendly at all.

    i'm not a huge fan of dolphin personally as I didn't think my last dolphin lasted as long as it should and the swivel feature appeared to be a very bad design. The smartpool swivel is actually replaceable and separate from the cable if it needs to be replaced and more importantly actually works. My dolphin swivel I could barely turn by hand, maybe it was defective.

    At any rate, I know that smartpool will honor warranty on internet as I called them about it and confirmed. Mine is still going strong over a year later.

    If you want something fancier than smartpool then Dolphin would probably have my vote as the machines are somewhat easier to repair if need be.
    8000 gal diamond brite pool with 650 gal spillover spa, Pentair 3hp VS pump. Jandy Cartridge filter and Jandy Heat Pump. Jandy PDA automation system with 2 Pentair Laminars. SmartPool NC74S Robotic Pool Cleaner.

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    You can buy any dolphin from marina and they provide full warranty, you just have to call them
    IG / 14x28 / Roman_Grecian Shaped / 12000 Gallons / Pebble Sheen / Hayward SP32900VSP TriStar VS Pump / Hayward DE4820 DE Filter / Hayward aqua rite 900 Salt System / Hayward Color Logic LED Light / Hayward HP21404t heat pump / Intermatic T40000RT3 / Built 02-18

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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    Thought I would update you on my Robot purchase research. I really appreciate all your input and this forum. I am one of those people that wants to make the perfect purchase and will drive the suppliers and particularly my wife nuts!

    I decided against Aquabot just because of lack of a service center in AZ, and I am really a brick and Mortar kind of person.

    So, I demoed last years Dolphin S300I and was very impressed. You can read more about the demo in my previous post. When I went back to look at the 965IQ I found a closeout 955 for $800. I made it clear they would be getting it back if it did not perform well. Well, it didn't, however Leslies is working with me to resolve the issues. It picks up all the large debris, but stirs up and suspends quite a bit of super fine material. We are getting the Ultra fine basket to attempt to resolve that. In its standard cycle which is under 2 hours it appears to miss areas, it could be from fine material that has settled someplace it cleaned early in the cycle. I adjusted the cycle up to 3 hours and I am fairly sure it doesn't miss anywhere, but just moves the fine material around. However the cord tangling gets worse the longer it runs, and since I am out of town for several days each week that is going to be a major problem. The dealer is going to replace the cord under warranty with the updated swivel cord like the 965 uses. Time will tell. I made it clear they were still getting it back if these two problems were not resolved.

    As far as comparing the S300 to the Polaris P955, If I were paying full price for the Polaris, I would have to take the Dolphin at this point. Even without the swivel, the cord did not tangle, the mapping system works well and it comes with the ultra fine and standard filter media. I liked the way the Dolphin climbed and cleaned the water line a little better. Probably just because it is cool the way it uses the jets to move sideways. I do like the easy lift feature on the Polaris which seems to work fairly well. The remote also works fairly well, and I think better than it would on the S300I, since the Polaris uses drive wheels to turn versus the jets on the Dolphin, The Polaris definitely does a better job on the steps, but it is going to be hard on the corner of the steps, as well as the bottom of the cleaner between the wheels. My steps are 90 degree, so it might not be a problem on steps with a rounded nose. However, I will keep the Polaris as long as the swivel cord works as it should and the Ultra fine basket resolves the problem of it not completely cleaning the pool, as it is going to save me money up front.
    14k 14'x28' oval pool, tile walls, concete floor, Hayward 3/4 HP super pump, Hayward sand filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take the Robot Plunge, considering Aquabot Fury or Bravo

    Thanks for the follow up. Let us know if the two fixes work please!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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