New Build - Dropping the suction cleaner

jcsmith

Active member
Nov 8, 2016
28
Peoria, AZ
This is again another post about what cleaner people wouldsuggest. I’ve read so many yet I’m still not solid on a choice. The main reasonI’m very hesitant to pull the trigger is I did a bunch of research on a suctioncleaner and it turned out to be a piece of shih tzu. I got an MX8 Elite and it literallybreaks down at the smallest hint of a tiny pebble and I have to run it at 3000+RPMs on my Intelliflo XP VS. The manualand website states it’s made to run off of low HP and pick up small and largedebris. SO IRRITATED as I just filled my new pool a few weeks ago andcannot use the suction cleaner. Called support and they were basically uselessas “the MX8 Elite is made to keep clean pools clean.” In that case it’s not acleaner, it’s a maintainer.

Now after a whopping three weeks of having my new poolopen, I’m back to looking at robotic cleaners which I wanted in the firstplace. I was talked in to a suction cleaner from a couple of pool “experts”. I can’tkeep dirt out of my pool when I live in the desert and have astro turf.

My list of things I want in a robotic cleaner:
1. Must be able to clean dust/dirt/pebbles withoutdestroying the cleaner and scrub well.
2. I have a deep end so has to be able to cleanthat and the walls/waterline.
3. I have a large shelf and several steps I want itto clean (16” deep shelf)
4. Caddy
5. Swivel cord ~50’ (20’x40’ with 12’x14’ L shape,40K+ gallons)
6. Good warranty (is 3 years really necessary?)
7. Top filter for easy cleaning
8. Is dual drive really necessary (I have an L poolso seems so?)
9. Programmable software either by phone orwhatever. A remote seems cool but if it cleans the whole pool I don’t care.

I’ve read about the Dolphins (S300i, etc.) but they don’tclean shelves. I’ve read about the Aquabots but not enough time in market (perreviews). Tiger shark, 9400, on and on… It seems like for each pro there is a countering con.


For everything I want to do, does anyone have a solidrecommendation? I don’t want to make another purchase mistake. Would reallyappreciate some insight please.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
My dolphin M4 is a few seasons older than what's available to you now, but I personally love it and feel it would handily meet your criteria.

With that said -- and I don't know because I don't ave a shelf -- it seems to me that the physics of cleaning a shelf might be beyond most cleaners, depending on shelf design.

The dolphin readily climbs my grecian walls to waterline and handles the deep end (8.5') and incline really well. It will attempt to climb my stairs until it essentially runs out of water, then back down.

In your shoes, you might wish to do what I did. I tried mine from a local pool store before buying it, which many local indie pool supply vendors will allow you to do. That way you can directly assess its fit for your pool.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,848
Tucson, AZ
If you're willing to drop the swivel cord and shelf cleaning requirement, the S300i will work. I'm not sure why anyone would want a swivel cord as the presence of a swivel connector is just one more weak-link to go bad and break. Also, no robot, nor cleaner of any type, will absolutely do shelves and steps all the time. My S300i occasionally gets up on the sun ledge but steps are typically too narrow for cleaners. I'm big believer that EVERY pool owner needs a pole, a brush, a leaf bag and a manual vacuum head because there is no automatic clean on the planet that will do as thorough a job cleaning as YOU. I still vacuum my pool once every 10-14 days by choice because I know it helps to keep the pool as clean as possible. I also brush my ledge and steps at least once per week and that's more than enough.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jcsmith

Active member
Nov 8, 2016
28
Peoria, AZ
I've read the aquabot turbo t will clean shelves and steps, however there aren't great reviews on amazon. Appreciate the feedback. Close to me I only have Leslie's pool supplies, so I can ask them and see what they say. If not I'll search around for some additional places.

I do have all my manual cleaning supplies, but with the size of my pool it gets to be a real chore when I don't have a good cleaner.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,407
Evans, Georgia
Your shelf at 16" is pretty deep, so a robot *might* work there. My Dolphin Discovery will climb my steps until the top two when it is half way out of the water so its not got enough "oooph" water power to do those top two steps. If the robot remains mostly covered in water it might work on the shelf.

Maddie :flower:
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
326
This is again another post about what cleaner people wouldsuggest. I’ve read so many yet I’m still not solid on a choice. The main reasonI’m very hesitant to pull the trigger is I did a bunch of research on a suctioncleaner and it turned out to be a piece of shih tzu. I got an MX8 Elite and it literallybreaks down at the smallest hint of a tiny pebble and I have to run it at 3000+RPMs on my Intelliflo XP VS. The manualand website states it’s made to run off of low HP and pick up small and largedebris. SO IRRITATED as I just filled my new pool a few weeks ago andcannot use the suction cleaner. Called support and they were basically uselessas “the MX8 Elite is made to keep clean pools clean.” In that case it’s not acleaner, it’s a maintainer.

Now after a whopping three weeks of having my new poolopen, I’m back to looking at robotic cleaners which I wanted in the firstplace. I was talked in to a suction cleaner from a couple of pool “experts”. I can’tkeep dirt out of my pool when I live in the desert and have astro turf.

My list of things I want in a robotic cleaner:
1. Must be able to clean dust/dirt/pebbles withoutdestroying the cleaner and scrub well.
2. I have a deep end so has to be able to cleanthat and the walls/waterline.
3. I have a large shelf and several steps I want itto clean (16” deep shelf)
4. Caddy
5. Swivel cord ~50’ (20’x40’ with 12’x14’ L shape,40K+ gallons)
6. Good warranty (is 3 years really necessary?)
7. Top filter for easy cleaning
8. Is dual drive really necessary (I have an L poolso seems so?)
9. Programmable software either by phone orwhatever. A remote seems cool but if it cleans the whole pool I don’t care.

I’ve read about the Dolphins (S300i, etc.) but they don’tclean shelves. I’ve read about the Aquabots but not enough time in market (perreviews). Tiger shark, 9400, on and on… It seems like for each pro there is a countering con.


For everything I want to do, does anyone have a solidrecommendation? I don’t want to make another purchase mistake. Would reallyappreciate some insight please.

Odd, I can get good performance out of my MX8 with 400 watts/ 2100 RPM of power. It will climb 2/3 of the way up my walls using this much power.

If I dont adjust the flow keeper it doesn't matter how much power I give the pump, it doesn't work well, but on the middle setting or closest to the top it climbs out of the pool with 500 watts of power applied and I still get skimming action with the flow keeper in the middle position.

Good luck with your endeavor and let us know what you end up with!

UD
 

foobert

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 19, 2013
143
Bay Area, CA
For what it's worth, I've had "thepoolcleaner" running continuously for the last 9 months. The only problem I had is it's a bit finicky on how much power it wants to climb the walls -- too much power and it climbs right up to the coping and very loudly sucks air. After that first week of getting it tweaked, it has worked flawlessly. The single-axle version works fine in my very oddly shaped pool, even with an extra section of hose for the in-line filter. I went through the fall trash season without ever getting out the manual vacuum to get the trash off the bottom. It hasn't ever jammed on me.

No, it doesn't brush the walls. Not a deal breaker for me.

My 1.5HP VS pump runs at 2200 RPM with largest nozzle provided in the kit.
 

jcsmith

Active member
Nov 8, 2016
28
Peoria, AZ
Odd, I can get good performance out of my MX8 with 400 watts/ 2100 RPM of power. It will climb 2/3 of the way up my walls using this much power.

If I dont adjust the flow keeper it doesn't matter how much power I give the pump, it doesn't work well, but on the middle setting or closest to the top it climbs out of the pool with 500 watts of power applied and I still get skimming action with the flow keeper in the middle position.

Good luck with your endeavor and let us know what you end up with!

UD
Unfortunately I've tried all of that. I've spent hours with different valve configurations and power settings. I cannot turn the valve all the way to suction or it will suck in air or it doesn't suck enough water, either way the pump will go dry. I've got it to a point will it will climb up the walls and it acts like it's the perfect speed (followed all of the instructions) but it continuously stops working. I took it to the repair shop and the guy said he'd never seen grinding on the housing like he saw on mine from dirt/sand. No one wants to say it's a bad device yet everyone agrees it's messed up. I guess he's going to call Zodiac and see what they can do because he said I need a whole new machine. I'm supposed to hear back in a couple of days. No matter where I put the valve, I couldn't get it to keep rotation at 2100 and I have a larger pump. Very frustrating as you can imagine.
 

jcsmith

Active member
Nov 8, 2016
28
Peoria, AZ
For what it's worth, I've had "thepoolcleaner" running continuously for the last 9 months. The only problem I had is it's a bit finicky on how much power it wants to climb the walls -- too much power and it climbs right up to the coping and very loudly sucks air. After that first week of getting it tweaked, it has worked flawlessly. The single-axle version works fine in my very oddly shaped pool, even with an extra section of hose for the in-line filter. I went through the fall trash season without ever getting out the manual vacuum to get the trash off the bottom. It hasn't ever jammed on me.

No, it doesn't brush the walls. Not a deal breaker for me.

My 1.5HP VS pump runs at 2200 RPM with largest nozzle provided in the kit.
I appreciate the feedback but I don't know if I want to try out another suction cleaner. I want to start a bonfire with mine right now. If I can find a good robot (still haven't decided and still researching), I'm just going keep my elite in storage if the robot breaks down. I don't have to have everything in my list, but it seems like for every good review there are several that have had a bad experience (don't clean the whole pool vs bad luck of the draw on a defect). I'd just like a really solid cleaner I'm happy with that does a good job cleaning/scrubbing. Starting to think I should've got a boat instead. haha Naw...
 

robl45

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2007
787
Parkland, FL
Good points here. Swivel connector is another potential point of failure. Dual drive is very nice for maneuvering especially in an L shaped pool, but you should talk to owners of the s series dolphins and find how that turns. I believe I read it is supposed to use some type of jets to turn. If it can make a nice turn, then that will save more complexity and parts to break. I researched the aquabot turbo T RC before getting this mostly because there is a rebrand of it with different bright colors (I think its called aquafirst) and there was an open box for very cheap, but after reading all the reviews like the OP likely read, I decided it was trouble waiting to happen.

If you're willing to drop the swivel cord and shelf cleaning requirement, the S300i will work. I'm not sure why anyone would want a swivel cord as the presence of a swivel connector is just one more weak-link to go bad and break. Also, no robot, nor cleaner of any type, will absolutely do shelves and steps all the time. My S300i occasionally gets up on the sun ledge but steps are typically too narrow for cleaners. I'm big believer that EVERY pool owner needs a pole, a brush, a leaf bag and a manual vacuum head because there is no automatic clean on the planet that will do as thorough a job cleaning as YOU. I still vacuum my pool once every 10-14 days by choice because I know it helps to keep the pool as clean as possible. I also brush my ledge and steps at least once per week and that's more than enough.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,848
Tucson, AZ
Yep, the S series has a single water pump in it. It executes a turn in an interesting way - essentially it pops a wheelie raising its front up and then redirects all water flow out of a side jet causing the unit to turn 90degrees. It's really an ingenious way to do it. The controller executes an equivalent number of CCW and CW turns every cleaning cycle to ensure the cord does not coil up and get tangled. I've been operating an S300i fir over a month now with zero cord issues.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
326
Unfortunately I've tried all of that. I've spent hours with different valve configurations and power settings. I cannot turn the valve all the way to suction or it will suck in air or it doesn't suck enough water, either way the pump will go dry. I've got it to a point will it will climb up the walls and it acts like it's the perfect speed (followed all of the instructions) but it continuously stops working. I took it to the repair shop and the guy said he'd never seen grinding on the housing like he saw on mine from dirt/sand. No one wants to say it's a bad device yet everyone agrees it's messed up. I guess he's going to call Zodiac and see what they can do because he said I need a whole new machine. I'm supposed to hear back in a couple of days. No matter where I put the valve, I couldn't get it to keep rotation at 2100 and I have a larger pump. Very frustrating as you can imagine.
Bummer and Id be totally frustrated as well.
Curious, how old is this cleaner?
I tried to find out myself by looking through your old threads but didnt see when it was acquired.

The pool cleaner is an excellent device, but it sound like you are ready to go robot which I totally get in your situation.

Even though I have the MX-8, I still prefer the very simple diaphragm/ Mat style cleaner that only have one moving part, and in my kidney shaped pool they work great.

Wishing you good cleaning and long life with whatever you end up with.

UD
 

robl45

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2007
787
Parkland, FL
Is it a sharp true 90 degrees? I had an older one that pulsed the motor to turn and it had trouble if it tried to turn on a part where the bottom was sloping.

Yep, the S series has a single water pump in it. It executes a turn in an interesting way - essentially it pops a wheelie raising its front up and then redirects all water flow out of a side jet causing the unit to turn 90degrees. It's really an ingenious way to do it. The controller executes an equivalent number of CCW and CW turns every cleaning cycle to ensure the cord does not coil up and get tangled. I've been operating an S300i fir over a month now with zero cord issues.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,848
Tucson, AZ
Is it a sharp true 90 degrees? I had an older one that pulsed the motor to turn and it had trouble if it tried to turn on a part where the bottom was sloping.
Not sure how to quantify it but it is quite sharp. Probably not as exact as two independent motors, but it's never been a problem in my pool. I have one, slightly tight corner in my shallow end and unit cleans there fine without ever getting stuck.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jcsmith

Active member
Nov 8, 2016
28
Peoria, AZ
Bummer and Id be totally frustrated as well.
Curious, how old is this cleaner?
I tried to find out myself by looking through your old threads but didnt see when it was acquired.

The pool cleaner is an excellent device, but it sound like you are ready to go robot which I totally get in your situation.

Even though I have the MX-8, I still prefer the very simple diaphragm/ Mat style cleaner that only have one moving part, and in my kidney shaped pool they work great.

Wishing you good cleaning and long life with whatever you end up with.

UD
I purchased the cleaner in Nov 2016 when I bought all the other equipment for my pool build. Zodiac is stating they may be able to replace my MX8 Elite with a Polaris 360. I didn't look in to pressure side cleaners at all, however it looks like it wouldn't get clogged. It kind of has a sweeper that trails behind it but it doesn't look like it'd do any kind of actual scrubbing, more pushing dirt around.

Does anyone have experience with the Polaris 360 or pressure side cleaners? It seems like it'd be a pain to switch out the eyeball fittings for restriction, plus I have returns for my venturi skimmers (those are restricted, but would it function for skimming at the same time or would I have to turn them off), and hooking it up every time I want to take it in and out of the pool. I'm not sure this would be a good fit for my pool since I have 6 eyeball returns and 2 venturi returns. It has a lot of great reviews but doesn't fit for the stairs or shelf cleaning either.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,848
Tucson, AZ
Depending on the model cleaner, some pressure side cleaners need a booster pump and some models can run off of a pool return with restrictions. Either way, I think you're still going to be disappointed. We have many people here that complain about their pressure side cleaners as much as we get complaints about suction side cleaners and the pressure side cleaners, in my opinion, require a lot more "tweaking" of flow rates and floats to get them to work right. Also, most pressure cleaners are not going to do as good a job with fine particles because the bags they use are usually standard mesh bags which are good at catching leaves and big debris, but not fine sand or silt. A suction cleaner works a little better in that regard because water is being sucked up and sent to the filter, whereas a pressure cleaner is using the flow of water to create a vacuum effect and then ejecting the water through a bag.

I would still suggest a robot. Pressure or suction cleaners all require your pump to be running, and usually at higher speeds, and that costs a lot more money than what a robot will use. I have been running my robot for over a month now and I can't believe how much energy I'm saving by not having to run the pool pump at such high speeds. My robot only gets used a few times per week and my water clarity and pool cleanliness are as good, or better, than when I had the suction cleaner.

Obviously up to you, but I see no real difference between pressure side or suction side cleaners, they will all have their own peculiarities and deficits.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
326
I purchased the cleaner in Nov 2016 when I bought all the other equipment for my pool build. Zodiac is stating they may be able to replace my MX8 Elite with a Polaris 360. I didn't look in to pressure side cleaners at all, however it looks like it wouldn't get clogged. It kind of has a sweeper that trails behind it but it doesn't look like it'd do any kind of actual scrubbing, more pushing dirt around.

Does anyone have experience with the Polaris 360 or pressure side cleaners? It seems like it'd be a pain to switch out the eyeball fittings for restriction, plus I have returns for my venturi skimmers (those are restricted, but would it function for skimming at the same time or would I have to turn them off), and hooking it up every time I want to take it in and out of the pool. I'm not sure this would be a good fit for my pool since I have 6 eyeball returns and 2 venturi returns. It has a lot of great reviews but doesn't fit for the stairs or shelf cleaning either.

Dave also known as Mr DGVB on youtube has a pretty solid review on the polaris 360 and most other cleaners as well.
He seems to think its in his top 5 cleaner choices, so I'm guessing that once well setup its a pretty solid device.

As a pool guy with a pretty high end route he gets to check out everyones toys although Im not clear with what he lives with himself or if he even has a pool.

If you went that way it would be a bit of pain plugging/ reducing many of those returns but you could probably get solid performance blocking most of them. I would only go to this type cleaner if I had very large debris because of all the downsides that Joyful mentions.
You can put finer mesh bags on them and catch smaller debris, but you really need to take a bag type cleaner setup out frequently or it will start putting broken down even finer debris back into the pool so if you are the " leave in type guy" anything but a suction side becomes sub optimal.

On the saving electricity part "your mileage may vary" and one size doesn't fit all.

I run a 24x7 pump and I'd be adding its load on top of my existing run so in no way would I save anything running a second electrical device.

I use my suction side vac when the solar is running and pull it out after a few hours so the cleaner hitches a ride on the pump thats running at high speed anyway and I get skimming action albeit for sure reduced level.

For my environment the biggest benny of the robot is that I can bottom clean and skim at 100% standard capacity concurrently vs compromise the skimming while Im bottom cleaning - and that they seems to do better in complex vs simple kidney shape pools.
The guys here have so much fun with their robots Im going to break down and get one just to join the club (Ive got a pool cleaner fetish)
but i did some cost comparisons for my use based on what I leaned here (1000 hour motor life and 3 year fresh ups) over say a 7 year life and the robots are quite expensive comparatively to the mat type cleaners.

whatever you end up with show it off for us and let us know what you think.

Uncle Dave
 
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