Maytronics A30 aka Dolphin S300 Nightmare

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
We purchased our robot in May of last year as per the recommendation of this board. We bought it from Marina which was quick and easy. However this robot has been a nightmare and I’m at a loss as to what to do. Last year we got 3 weeks out of it before it stopped moving. 1st with customer service they had me check the impeller and it was all clear. Then we took the time to mail it to them since they couldn’t help us beyond the impeller. They claimed it was repaired and sent it back. Literally nothing changed. I called back and they said I wasn’t supposed to get it back and we were supposed to have a replacement. Well finally a month later (mid-July), our replacement came. We used it for a little over a month before closing the pool.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when we opened the pool. Everything worked great. However as of last night the robot circles in place, tried to climb the middle of the pool but can’t climb the walls, and gets itself so tangled from all the acrobatics that it’s completely useless. I called tech support today and the guy told me to check the impeller...done...and then send in a video. Video is sent in and now I’m sure they’ll tell me to mail it back to them which is an utter nightmare especially as I’m in NJ during a pandemic. I’ve tried resetting with the crappy Bluetooth app and on the power board, but it made no difference.

So I’m at the point of complete anger and frustration over the $800 that keeps proving itself to be money down the toilet. I’ve googled this issue but no solutions. Has anyone had their robot constantly spin and lift been able to fix it themselves?
 

Pool Amateur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2015
602
Central, NJ
I have Active i30 I bought locally and paid a lot more for it, I had to have it repaired 2X, the second time it was a few days out of warantee. Both times the local shop did it for free, It did take them a week or 2 but always came back working better than new. The shop really stood behind the product. On 1st problem, it was end of season, the second time it was very early into the following season. I am also in NJ but a bit farther south. When I 1st started to have trouble I contacted Maytronics and just got a run around but when I went to store they advocated for me and everything was covered and fixed. I had bought this before I found out about Marina, and would have saved money but now I am glad I bought it locally. However many people have bought them and have had no issue for years. Just curious, do you have a swivel on your cord? Although I would not expect a swivel to keep up with constant circles. Constant circles could be a track that has unseated or the drive is stuck or blocked on one side, may be worth while taking a look to see if you see something obvious.
 
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BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
I have Active i30 I bought locally and paid a lot more for it, I had to have it repaired 2X, the second time it was a few days out of warantee. Both times the local shop did it for free, It did take them a week or 2 but always came back working better than new. The shop really stood behind the product. On 1st problem, it was end of season, the second time it was very early into the following season. I am also in NJ but a bit farther south. When I 1st started to have trouble I contacted Maytronics and just got a run around but when I went to store they advocated for me and everything was covered and fixed. I had bought this before I found out about Marina, and would have saved money but now I am glad I bought it locally. However many people have bought them and have had no issue for years. Just curious, do you have a swivel on your cord? Although I would not expect a swivel to keep up with constant circles. Constant circles could be a track that has unseated or the drive is stuck or blocked on one side, may be worth while taking a look to see if you see something obvious.
No swivel on the cord (at least it doesn’t appear that way). And I don’t think it is a track because it will move forward but then moves in a somewhat large circle. So it’s a little hard to describe but it’s like the memory is all messed up or it’s it’s confused and it tries to find the shape of pool but ends up back and forth. I’m not making much sense I know but this entire thing doesn’t make sense.

In hindsight if I had known I would have all these issues, I would’ve purchased locally, but you can’t get local service having purchased from Marina (as great as they were). You live and learn. Maytronics does send me a pre-paid label but then this is maybe day 30 of this robot being run and at this point I’ve spent more time having it sent to and from their service department than I actually have been able to use it.

I’m sure they will cover all repairs since I haven’t even owned this a full year, but I’m incredibly frustrated at the loss of use. And now I will have to wait to even here from their service dept since the phone tech support yesterday was useless.
 

Pool Amateur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2015
602
Central, NJ
One of my big problems was the cord twisting and was a major reason for my 1st return. The local store did put a swivel on it. Also, I thought I read that the new Active 30 had a swivel but maybe it was an Active i30. It did help a lot to reduce the line twists but not perfect. Please post how you do with this as I am interested. While my robot is working ok now I do not have a lot of confidence in it and if it breaks want to know where to get a new one from and which model. So your experience with Marina is of interest to me and I have seen other threads of people asking where to buy.
 

Pool Amateur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2015
602
Central, NJ
@Babsmnk:
If you have a swivel there should be a white float on the cord about 3" away from the robot, If you do not have a swivel it would appear that you got an old model and I would push for the new model. @geko29 has a swivel on his Active 30. Maybe at least 1 thing good will come out of your nightmare.
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
@Babsmnk:
If you have a swivel there should be a white float on the cord about 3" away from the robot, If you do not have a swivel it would appear that you got an old model and I would push for the new model. @geko29 has a swivel on his Active 30. Maybe at least 1 thing good will come out of your nightmare.
I have the white float. If that’s what is considered the swivel I have that. The cord just doesn’t swivel in the housing, it’s fixed.

Maytronics had me bring this locally to be assessed. Since it was my warranty replacement, it is allowed to be serviced in-store vs. sending it to them like I had to do with the Marina purchase last year. I’ll update after I hear back from them.
 

Pool Amateur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2015
602
Central, NJ
You have a swivel, it is a little hard to swivel but it does. The float keeps the cord up, before I had the swivel installed I did not have a float. If you think your cord tangles with the swivel (and it does in my pool still) it was really bad before I had swivel put in. After about 3 cycles I usually take the robot out and clean it, because it picks up a lot of dirt even when it looks clean, and untangle it, then either put away or back in pool depending on my plans. Also here is a Thread that will tell you how to put it into "Automation Mode" where you can have the robot start and stop several times a day (or night, which is what I want). You can put it on a cheap $5 timer from HD or use a $10 WIFI plug and program it to start and stop when you want. I just found out about it. Unfortunately mine won't do it, I think it is too old or Active 30i app interferes, but it should work for you. It is the best kept secret but with this, no need to buy the 30i just the 30 or 20. So things are looking up, hopefully they will have it fixed within a week. Keep us informed
 
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BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
Just to update, my robot was at the local authorized repair shop for a week (nobody found it was necessary to call me to pick it up). During that time they ran it in their above ground pool multiple times and it worked fine according to them so they didn’t find it necessary to do anything else. I picked it up today, back in the pool, no change. And actually this time when I removed it from the pool it sounded like the motor was still running even though it wasn’t moving and the cycle was over.

So after my 3rd call to them today (1 was over 40 min, one was disconnected, this one finally went through after 30 min), I need to once again ship it to them for diagnosis.

This sucks.
 

jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
218
albany, ga
Always thought I was going to go the robot route. My polaris 280 came with the pool. I've replaced parts here and there and even swapped out the motor. The more posts like this I read, the more happy I am I never went that route. I know some people love them, but man, when they go bad - they go really bad and doesn't sound like a dang thing you can do but suffer. Just ordered a rebuild kit for my polaris - $130, 30 minutes worth of time, and she'll be good as new. I pull her out of the pool and rarely need her in the summer... for what it's worth, I know people on this site love their robots, but they don't make a bit of sense (financially or otherwise) to me
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
Unfortunately it’s a huge life saver to have one for us. I just can’t take the time to vacuum daily (3 kids 7 and under and one on the way), and worms love our pool. I guess the saving grace is that these things keep breaking while under warranty. I’m just pretty ****** I’ve yet to be able to use one more than a month.

Always thought I was going to go the robot route. My polaris 280 came with the pool. I've replaced parts here and there and even swapped out the motor. The more posts like this I read, the more happy I am I never went that route. I know some people love them, but man, when they go bad - they go really bad and doesn't sound like a dang thing you can do but suffer. Just ordered a rebuild kit for my polaris - $130, 30 minutes worth of time, and she'll be good as new. I pull her out of the pool and rarely need her in the summer... for what it's worth, I know people on this site love their robots, but they don't make a bit of sense (financially or otherwise) to me
 
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Pool Amateur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2015
602
Central, NJ
WOW you are having a nightmare, I just had a thought, Is the outlet you are using protected by a GFI? I know I tried mine once on a non protected GFI circuit and it did not work for long before it stopped, I was surprised. The second thing, if it really did run fine for the pool store ( and I am skeptical about that), Check your voltage coming out of the outlet. Just to make sure it is between 110-120.

@jtpipkin: when I 1st inherited my pool the previous owners had 2 robots and various parts laying around. The pump was gone. I had a pool store come out to teach me about the pool and how to run it. He told me that by the time I bought the pump and had the Polaris rebuilt/repaired it would cost me ~$700 and suggested I get a robot instead. Looks like a DIY would have been cheaper from your #s, but as Divin Dave says " Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!" However, seeing the collection bags of the Polaris, it does not even compare to the rough filter in my A30i. The fine filter catches much more and until this years start up when I opened late and had a swamp, I had not brushed or vacuumed my pool in 3 years. So while I long to be able to run my robot for more than 3 cycles before I have to clean filters and untangle cords, It does get a lot of dirt out that I would have never gotten out with the Polaris and vacuuming myself, so after my 1st season of vacuuming almost everyday and still not doing half the job of the robot, I bought one and even though I am very critical of Maytronics for their false advertising and poor customer service, as soon as I find something better I will buy it. Maytronics is very close to having a great product with a couple of tweaks, some of what they have made since I bought mine. I have not found a better alternative for me. If I thought the Polaris would clean as well as my fine filters of the robot I would replace it because of the set it and forget it type of automation.
 
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jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
218
albany, ga
WOW you are having a nightmare, I just had a thought, Is the outlet you are using protected by a GFI? I know I tried mine once on a non protected GFI circuit and it did not work for long before it stopped, I was surprised. The second thing, if it really did run fine for the pool store ( and I am skeptical about that), Check your voltage coming out of the outlet. Just to make sure it is between 110-120.

@jtpipkin: when I 1st inherited my pool the previous owners had 2 robots and various parts laying around. The pump was gone. I had a pool store come out to teach me about the pool and how to run it. He told me that by the time I bought the pump and had the Polaris rebuilt/repaired it would cost me ~$700 and suggested I get a robot instead. Looks like a DIY would have been cheaper from your #s, but as Divin Dave says " Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!" However, seeing the collection bags of the Polaris, it does not even compare to the rough filter in my A30i. The fine filter catches much more and until this years start up when I opened late and had a swamp, I had not brushed or vacuumed my pool in 3 years. So while I long to be able to run my robot for more than 3 cycles before I have to clean filters and untangle cords, It does get a lot of dirt out that I would have never gotten out with the Polaris and vacuuming myself, so after my 1st season of vacuuming almost everyday and still not doing half the job of the robot, I bought one and even though I am very critical of Maytronics for their false advertising and poor customer service, as soon as I find something better I will buy it. Maytronics is very close to having a great product with a couple of tweaks, some of what they have made since I bought mine. I have not found a better alternative for me. If I thought the Polaris would clean as well as my fine filters of the robot I would replace it because of the set it and forget it type of automation.
I don't disagree, it all depends on your current situation I guess. I was a little set back with the constant replacement of parts to keep it running smoothly. Still am, really... But the TFP method has definitely impressed upon the that the KISS method works best in a pool. I also struggled with my main pump replacement knowing I needed to either mover to a dual speed or VSP. The deciding factor for me was manual vs. computer in an outdoor, humid environment. I ended up with a simple, cheap, manual switch option on the back of my pump - same end result with less hassle. I love technology, please don't get me wrong, but introducing computers into a pool environment is just not as simple to correct or troubleshoot as a simplistic polaris 280 at the end of the day. My pool stays clean and spotless and the unit is removed when I don't feel like looking at it. I honestly don't feel that the robot can do any better for the most part and I don't have the hassle of dealing with a dead electronic cleaner that I can't repair myself...
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
251
Katy, Texas
I know I'm risking a big time jinx, but here goes anyway. It seems to me that two chemicals that are really destructive are chlorine and salt. My pool is not a SWCG pool, but the salt tests at 1200 anyway. Free Chlorine is always 3-5ppm, or I bring it back to that. That said, I feel like anything left in that pool of chemicals 24/7 is going to be destroyed. Seals, plastic and metal parts, and a low voltage motor are going to be victims of CHLORINE or SALT sooner or later. Since my Dolphin M500 cost me $1200 even from Marina, I'd like for it to keep working until later. I run a long cleaning cycle--3.5 hours. Then I take it out, clean out the filters, rinse the cleaner and cable with the water hose and store on the caddy until dry. Then I cover the whole thing with a canvas/vinyl chair cover. It is stored on a covered patio where the power supply and caddy sit all the time, including when running. I run it twice a week most of the time. The cleaner works really well, which I attribute at least partly to the third brush placed amidships between the two vacuum slots. It is fascinating to see it creeping along and slightly above the water line. Will my labor-intensive handling help this thing to last longer? I surely hope so. Oh, and yes the iPhone app is almost useless. Doing this again, I'd have bought the M400.

I'll post a followup tomorrow when the jinx kicks in, and my cleaner goes tracks up.
 
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BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
Yup! GFI. I don’t even have an inkling as to why this could be happening. Maytronics sent me the RMA and forgot the FedEx label. Now they are closed for the weekend. So the waiting continues.

WOW you are having a nightmare, I just had a thought, Is the outlet you are using protected by a GFI? I know I tried mine once on a non protected GFI circuit and it did not work for long before it stopped, I was surprised. The second thing, if it really did run fine for the pool store ( and I am skeptical about that), Check your voltage coming out of the outlet. Just to make sure it is between 110-120.
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
Yeah I won’t leave it in my pool. We have a swg but with our first robot last year that maytronics replaces, the cord was stripped so quickly that I decided with the replacement to be extra cautious. Generally I run it a few times a week and take it out almost immediately after. I don’t rinse it though. I wonder if this has done some damage, but at the same time I’ve used it maybe 30 times. Nothing should die after 30 uses.

I know I'm risking a big time jinx, but here goes anyway. It seems to me that two chemicals that are really destructive are chlorine and salt. My pool is not a SWCG pool, but the salt tests at 1200 anyway. Free Chlorine is always 3-5ppm, or I bring it back to that. That said, I feel like anything left in that pool of chemicals 24/7 is going to be destroyed. Seals, plastic and metal parts, and a low voltage motor are going to be victims of CHLORINE or SALT sooner or later. Since my Dolphin M500 cost me $1200 even from Marina, I'd like for it to keep working until later. I run a long cleaning cycle--3.5 hours. Then I take it out, clean out the filters, rinse the cleaner and cable with the water hose and store on the caddy until dry. Then I cover the whole thing with a canvas/vinyl chair cover. It is stored on a covered patio where the power supply and caddy sit all the time, including when running. I run it twice a week most of the time. The cleaner works really well, which I attribute at least partly to the third brush placed amidships between the two vacuum slots. It is fascinating to see it creeping along and slightly above the water line. Will my labor-intensive handling help this thing to last longer? I surely hope so. Oh, and yes the iPhone app is almost useless. Doing this again, I'd have bought the M400.

I'll post a followup tomorrow when the jinx kicks in, and my cleaner goes tracks up.
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
I just received it back from the repair center. It appears as though all they did was replace the cord and now it’s working fine. Nobody called to update me so perhaps something in the cord was unnecessarily tugging on the equipment? I have no idea. But just as a future reference if this happens to anyone else, it might just be a cord replacement. Who knew.
 
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BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
47
Cranbury, NJ
Another update. The robot is still doing wheelies in the pool. Apparently nobody looked at that issue when it was in service last time and they thought the only issue was not scaling the walls despite my 3 calls and emails to them. So I have to pack it up and fed ex it back yet again. This is getting really really old and their customer service is either filled with incompetent people or just lacking overall.