Finally getting a robot cleaner

Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
740
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Well, in my efforts to be the laziest pool owner ever, I ordered an Active 30 cleaner from Marina Pool and Spa on Saturday. I called to talk to them, and left a message. Within a couple of hours I received a call back from them. Spoke with Margaret who was very helpful. I pretty much had settled on the Active 30, since I knew I wanted a caddy with it. But she listened to me ramble and confirmed that was a great selection for my application.

My main objective in getting the robot is for it to brush the pool. If it had no cleaning function on it, I would still be purchasing it. I have an IFCS, which I absolutely love, but I do not brush my pool as much as I should. The IFCS keeps the pool clear of leaves and other lighter dust/debris. I do get some small areas of heavier debris (small stones, pebbles, sand etc.) that is just too heavy to make it all the way to the main drain, and just keeps getting blown around the same areas. I currently have 4 little spots of this debris in my pool, and I haven't ran the manual vacuum since last August, I think. So the added bonus is that the robot will also help to keep those little spots clean.

Just wanted to chime in and add my opinion on the exceptional service provided by Margaret @ Marina Pool and Spa!

(Edit - changed gravel to pebbles. For some reason that word was evading me when I was writing this. I knew gravel wasn't right, but it was bigger than sand. LOL)

--Jeff
 
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Hadiguy05

Well-known member
Mar 19, 2021
98
Kentucky
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
@Turbo1Ton, I couldn't agree with you more on Margaret at Marina pool. She helped me understand what was best for us and our needs. Definitely didn't try to upsell us, even though I did buy the M600 (I was very interested in the greater suction power). Transaction was fast, shipping was quick, interaction was awesome and price is amazing....
 
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Newdude

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TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,173
NY
I'm always equally impressed at how quick they jump to fix problems. Because, hey, stuff happens. Defects happen, shipping backlogs/errors happen, etc. But its reported time and time again that they jump back in with that same service. Even if I found it $75 cheaper elsewhere, I'd use them solely for all the real world people testimonials here.
 

Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
740
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Because, hey, stuff happens. Defects happen, shipping backlogs/errors happen, etc. But its reported time and time again that they jump back in with that same service.

You are exactly right. It's how they respond to the issues that will really define their service. I hope to never need it because of a defect/issue, but I have a good feeling that if I do, I will get the same level of service as when they sold me the unit.

--Jeff
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,173
NY
I hope to never need it because of a defect/issue, but I have a good feeling that if I do, I will get the same level of service as when they sold me the unit.
I have seen many a post that they did right by someone after the fact..... sometimes long LONG after the fact. And again these are real world people reporting and not some fantom bot or hired reviews on Amazon.

Now, some of our OG members might have longstanding relationships with Marina 15 years later, but @Hadiguy05 above is brand spanking new and they didn't know him from Adam.
 

Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
740
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Alright, thought I'd update with my first impressions.

Dropped Rosey in the pool this morning and started her on a 2 hour cycle. It was interesting watching her go back and forth and to and fro in a mindless manner. After the 2 hour cycle, I went out and checked on things. Rosey had seemingly missed every bit of debris that has my IFCS has been pushing around the pool. So I started a second cleaning cycle and then drove it towards one of the spots. It took probably 10-15 times, or more, of going over the spot, to get Rosey to collect it. At this point, I had to leave for my sons lacrosse games, so I left it on the cleaning cycle.

Came home around 3pm, Rosey was sitting there, silently waiting for something to happen. I walked around the pool and noticed that, while she had gotten some of the aforementioned debris, she still left quite a bit laying around. So I started up another cleaning cycle, and drove her to one of the piles, and worked on that. Again, about 10-15 times of back and forth to collect most of that pile, and then I let her run for a bit. Went back out a little while later and drove her to the worst of it, which was most definitely the heaviest stuff, A lot of flakes from my flagstone, and larger sand/pebble bits. I drove over that pile at least 20 times, didn't get much of it at all. I finally let her take off and grabbed the leaf rake and scooped most of that stuff up.

So, finished the 3rd cycle, and pulled it out. Was using the fine filters, and there was a good bit of sand and small pebbles in there. The water was definitely dirty, as the filters were brown. Rinsed them off and put it away.

I should note that all of the piles of sand/gravel were at the wall/floor transition, which from what I saw, was a much more difficult area to pick up debris from, since the tracks will lift the brushes away from the pool surface. So it wasn't like I was making it easy on her!

The one thing I did notice, Rosey was unable to get onto the baja deck/tanning ledge, and I never saw her on the steps. She did get onto the deep end bench/swim out.

That was a pretty good test, since I hadn't vacuumed the pool since sometime last August. I think I will be happy with it. I will be curious to see what a once a week cycle will do to keep the heavy debris away. Might do it twice a week, Saturday and Sunday mornings. We will just see.

--Jeff
 
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stevo777

Bronze Supporter
Mar 25, 2021
54
St George, UT
Pool Size
18300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The IFCS keeps the pool clear of leaves and other lighter dust/debris. I do get some small areas of heavier debris (small stones, gravel, sand etc.) that is just too heavy to make it all the way to the main drain, and just keeps getting blown around the same areas. I currently have 4 little spots of this debris in my pool, and I haven't ran the manual vacuum since last August, I think. So the added bonus is that the robot will also help to keep those little spots clean.

Still on the fence with regard to IFCS vs robot, or maybe both. We live in the desert southwest, which means not much tree leaves, but the wind can blow a fair bit of sand in. I'm planning an automatic cover which hopefully helps, but for sure some sand will come in. What's your opinion on what method might work best with sand?
 

Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
740
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
@stevo777

A robot cleaner will cost way less in the long run, both for initial cash outlay, and cost to run over the life of the unit. I don't know the lifespan of a robot cleaner but I think if you get a good quality one, and replacement parts are available, they can last a decade or longer.

I went with the IFCS because I had never even heard of such a thing, and there was no way to add one later, to give it a shot. I can always toss in a robot at a later date, with no modifications. I said it in another thread, I'm not sure I would do it again. I love it, because I don't have to think about cleaning my pool, ever. Sure there are a few spots where some sand and pebbles sit, but if I were more diligent about brushing, I'm not sure those would exist. Where I am in this stage of life, I am glad I don't have to think about tossing in a robot to clean.

In my previous post, you'll notice that the robot didn't seem to do so well with the sand either. However, had I been tossing the robot in a few times a week, that sand might not have been there in the first place. While my initial impressions were not as good as I was hoping for, I believe that if I use the robot weekly to brush, I may never see the sand again.

If I had an automatic cover to help keep debris out, I don't think I would go with an IFCS. My IFCS was in the $6k-$7k range (one PB broke the cost out during the bid phase, the one I went with did not). From what I've read on here, that is roughly half the cost of an auto cover.

I haven't searched for auto covers on here or even noticed a discussion about it, but I'm sure there is one on how much debris an auto cover will prevent from getting in a pool.

The last thing is plumbing. IFCS's will take the plumbing complexity to a whole other level. More shell penetrations to leak, more pipes to potentially have issues, and more stuff to have to winterize. I don't know the climate where you are in Utah, but I would assume you will be winterizing. I don't winterize, so with the exception of Canada's climate moving down for half of February this year, I'm not really concerned about needing to winterize that system.

Long story short, I love my IFCS, but not entirely sure I'd do it all over. Especially considering you will have an auto cover.

--Jeff
 

FlaRod2

Member
Apr 5, 2021
5
Florida
I have had (2) Dolphin robots over the years. The one that I have now is the Sigma and I absolutely love it. It was expensive, but it cleans the pool insanely well and I would also say that with the particulate filters (not the leaf filters), it filters the pool water really well also. If there is any downside to this robot is that it likes to grab onto the main drains when the particulate filters are being used which can be annoying. I did not have this problem when I used the leaf filters, but I rarely use those anymore because our pool is screened in.
 
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bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
7,009
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We have an autocover and an Active 20 robot. When using the autocover, it stays very clean, though with use (and dog use included) it does still get debris. However, we don't use the cover for 2-3 months in midsummer. But I love our robot. The pleated filters do a fantastic job at removing the dust-like debris that gathers. No chance I'd get an IFCS with an autocover (or even without for that matter).
 

Nordy-que

Active member
Apr 2, 2021
33
Florida
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I just bought the warrior SI from Margaret. Did all correspondence via email, shipping was prompt and the price was right. We had a suction side rebel before, that basically ran all the time because it was a pain to take it in and out, adjust valves, etc.
2 runs with the robot so far, and it’s amazing. Had a ton of sand from paver cleaning/sand addition that it cleaned up between the two runs. Being in Florida and having a screened in pool we don’t get a ton of leaves, but mass quantities of tiny bugs and oak seeds. Couldn’t be happier with the robot or Marina so far. Thanks TFP community for helping me find them!
 
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