Do Robots have "smart" navigation - does it work - better than vac cleaner?

hollywoodfrodo

Silver Supporter
Feb 20, 2018
194
Lakewood, CA
I keep reading about robot vacs that have "smart scanning" navigation to make sure it doesn't clean the same area 10 times and then totally miss another area. Currently, I use a Hayward Navigator Pro Vac cleaner - it does a good job of grabbing debris. The issue is it has a built in random pattern - I can run it for an hour and it will definitely cover the same spot 20 times while missing whole sections of the pool.

Our pool is freeform style with lots of curves and coves and two baja benches. I'm sure the Hayward would be more effective in a rectangle pool with straight walls. What I'm wondering is if a robot cleaner would to a better job of covering the entire pool more efficiently due to the "advanced navigation and scanning technology" they all claim to have OR if that's just a marketing phrase and in reality they run around the pool as randomly as my side vac one does.

Would love to hear your experience - especially if you have a freeform pool and/or a robot that claims to have the scanning and navigation smart features. I don't want to invest in one of these expensive machines if the gain is not significant over my current device.
 

pjku79

Well-known member
Apr 17, 2015
134
San Antonio
I did a demo on the Dolphin 300i and to me it seemed to be a random pattern. However, I didn't sit out there and watch it the entire time. I am still trying to decide which one I want to buy.
 

HeyEng

Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
428
Oklahoma City, OK
I have a CC Plus and as far as I know, it doesn't have a "smart pattern" but yet it seems to clean the pool thoroughly and I have a freeform pool. Of course, it doesn't really get on the steps or sun ledge, so I just brush them before putting the 'bot to work.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,855
Bedford, TX
H,

It is more of a marketing name than anything else...

I will say that if I have one dime sized leaf in the bottom of my pool, it will be gone every time....

It has no way to know where you put it in, so there is no way it can know where it is.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

TexasPool128

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2019
93
N. Texas
I have a CC Plus and as far as I know, it doesn't have a "smart pattern" but yet it seems to clean the pool thoroughly and I have a freeform pool. Of course, it doesn't really get on the steps or sun ledge, so I just brush them before putting the 'bot to work.
Same robot with the same results. I’d buy it again!
 

Cincicobra

Bronze Supporter
Apr 14, 2018
68
Cincinnati, Ohio
Same robot with the same results. I’d buy it again!
I will cosign for a 3rd Nautilus CC plus that leaves a pool SPOTLESS every time. My previous suction cleaner was described by my pool builder as "the dumbest hardest working employee you will have", and I replied that I want the smartest most efficient employee possible! Hence, the Nautilus CC Plus . HUGE difference in my pool maintenance routine.
 
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KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
593
Palm Desert, CA
New robot owner here, it uses a type of algorithm and sensors to respond to certain obstacles, and operate a certain way such as when it’s on pool steps or reaches pool line (so cool to watch it clean pool line). I’m so happy with my Active 20. I’ve been throwing it in the pool every 2-3 days and it keeps it much cleaner than the daily frustration of watching the Kreepy.

Had a Kreepy and it never got all the pool area, stuck on steps or main drain and never accessed the walls consistently like the robot. The suction and pressure side cleaners are decades old tech. My father sees my new robot as a gimmick, but I’m tempted to throw it in his pool and watch the debris his Kreepy left behind. Can’t say I blame him, he wouldn’t swim with a $30 water resistant Casio watch, and now I swim with my $$$ Apple Watch—‘you’re gonna throw a $700 robot where!!!’
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,123
Damascus, MD
They have sensors to measure things like tilt and shock and possibly depth but I don't think they have any real "learning" of your pool layout. And that is probably a good thing. When mine is done with a tile line process, it reverses to head back down to the bottom, it usually drops part of the way and gets turned a bit. I don't think there are any sensors that would let the robot know its relative position in the pool given that the water makes it buoyant enough to float off in an unknown direction. Now if the robot makers would team up with pool builders and put some sort of sensing grid in the walls of the pool, the robot could then take some position readings based on the wall sensors and truly be able to triangulate its position in the pool for a better cleaning!
 
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hollywoodfrodo

Silver Supporter
Feb 20, 2018
194
Lakewood, CA
I feel like the more I read and learn, the more confused I get! :) I love the idea of the CC Nautilus Plus because it sounds affordable... But it seems a lot of people say the slight $ step up to the S20 or S30 is worth the price. But when I called Marina Pools and described my very freeform pool, he suggested I consider the M400 as it would maneuver better around my curving walls. Of course that one is $1000 - way more than the CC Nautilus, though it does include a caddy which we will need for our use.

Hopefully tomorrow will be the day I finally win the lottery and I can just go for the M500...
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
902
I feel like the more I read and learn, the more confused I get! :) I love the idea of the CC Nautilus Plus because it sounds affordable... But it seems a lot of people say the slight $ step up to the S20 or S30 is worth the price. But when I called Marina Pools and described my very freeform pool, he suggested I consider the M400 as it would maneuver better around my curving walls. Of course that one is $1000 - way more than the CC Nautilus, though it does include a caddy which we will need for our use.

Hopefully tomorrow will be the day I finally win the lottery and I can just go for the M500...
No reason any robot can't deal with freeform pools
 

HeyEng

Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
428
Oklahoma City, OK
I feel like the more I read and learn, the more confused I get! :) I love the idea of the CC Nautilus Plus because it sounds affordable... But it seems a lot of people say the slight $ step up to the S20 or S30 is worth the price. But when I called Marina Pools and described my very freeform pool, he suggested I consider the M400 as it would maneuver better around my curving walls. Of course that one is $1000 - way more than the CC Nautilus, though it does include a caddy which we will need for our use.

Hopefully tomorrow will be the day I finally win the lottery and I can just go for the M500...
My "cheap" CC plus has no issues with the curves in the walls...going up the wall or around the wall. The only place it will not clean (and occasionally gets stuck) is the steps, but I don't think any robot will get the steps. Also, I have found that the caddy isn't necessary as long as you store it in a manner so it's not resting on the foam pads. I just put mine on it's side in the garage and loop the cord on top.
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
902
My "cheap" CC plus has no issues with the curves in the walls...going up the wall or around the wall. The only place it will not clean (and occasionally gets stuck) is the steps, but I don't think any robot will get the steps. Also, I have found that the caddy isn't necessary as long as you store it in a manner so it's not resting on the foam pads. I just put mine on it's side in the garage and loop the cord on top.
The caddy certainly isn't necessary, it's merely a convenience. It allows you to mount the controls at a convenient height and is a nice organizer. But you can certainly live without it.
 
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