Robot Becoming Sentient? Climbs on Bench and Quits

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Hi,

She/it is a Maytronics Dolphin, and does a good job until crawling up on an 18" high step or bench. She then spins her treads for a bit, and quits. This can be 5 minutes or an hour into the cleaning cycle, whenever she gets on the ledge. Occasionally she climbs down and goes back to cleaning, but typically once up there she stays.

1667916536983.jpeg


Does any one have experience with this, or know what to do? Maytronics wants me to return it for a warrantee repair, but per the warrantee I pay for packaging and shipping. And I suspect there's nothing wrong with her, other than some programing that is shutting her down. She works fine on a friend's pool that has different steps.

I of course sympathize with her wanting to kick back and soak in some sun, but still...
 

Jimrahbe

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John,

I also doubt that the robot is bad. I suspect once it gets on the bench it thinks it is out of the water and shuts off.

I can't think of anything easy that would solve your issue.

As you said, "She works fine in another pool".

Does it happen no matter how high or low the water level is?

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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KJohn

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Hi Jim,

Thanks for the reply.

It happens consistently within the 2" or so range of water level.

I thought it might be only when the cover was closed, but it shuts down regularly with the cover open also.
 

SecoSteve

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Does the other end of the pool have those type of steps as well? If not, maybe you could have the cord enter the pool at that end(if electric connection allows), and only allow enough slack in the cord to allow the robot to reach the troubling steps, but not climb to the top of them.
 

KJohn

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That's a great thought, using the cord as a "leash". I wonder they make invisible fences for pool robots??

The other end doesn't have steps, but does have the auto cover housing. I've always fed the cord from the shallow end (with the bad bench) so it could be cleaning with the cover closed.

I'm waiting to get some tech info, but if there's no tech help, your workaround may be the way to go. Thanks again!
 

Dirk

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Huh. Is the cord made for that? It seems like a possible bad idea to set the robot up such that it will be regularly tugging on its own cord. I know what would happen eventually if you tried that with most other corded appliances...
 

BMerrill

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Most robots require a minimum water depth to operate properly. Our Dolphin M600 aka Ariel doesn't like the tanning ledge with 15" of water so it will do the same thing as you mentioned. We usually just set Ariel to clean the floor and brush the sides and tanning ledge unless we are pool side.
 

Dirk

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That's a good point Dirk. Instructions have you pull the robot to the side of the pool with the cord, but using it as a regular tether may be too much.
Plus, it's likely the force on the cord when the robot is off and you're gently pulling it through the water is considerably less than when the thing is vacuuming and in full-traction mode. If I understand correctly how they work, they're able to climb walls because the suction is providing enough down-force to give the treads enough traction to work on a vertical wall. (It's the same principal that would allow a Formula 1 car to drive upside-down.) And I think your Robot's down-force and traction, and so its "pulling power," are full time, not just when it goes vertical. That's a lotta tug!

I think you're on the right track with trying to alter its programming. If that can't be done, then maybe a robot with that capability is in your future. My Roomba can do that, there must be a pool Robot that can be taught. Has your return/exchange window expired?

It's also possible that if you paid it a better wage it wouldn't be so lazy! ;)
 
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KJohn

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Hmm, maybe I'll renegotiate her contract...offer a retirement plan...come to think of it, she may be headed for early retirement;)

Found this on the Maytronics website (disturbingly NOT in the owner's manual):

Our Dolphin robots are not programmed to clean steps, benches, and tanning ledges.

Our robots need a minimum depth of 31-41 inches to function properly, if the water level covering the robot is less than this, the Dolphin will shut down as a failsafe.

The Dolphin will only be able to clean the stairs if it has room to stand on them entirely and if the water level is deep enough.

We recommend brushing dirt on the stairs onto the bottom of the pool, for the robot to be able to clean the debris.


This does seem to confirm that the robot is fine, and returning her to Maytronics would be a waste of my money and theirs.
 

SecoSteve

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Huh. Is the cord made for that? It seems like a possible bad idea to set the robot up such that it will be regularly tugging on its own cord. I know what would happen eventually if you tried that with most other corded appliances...
In my setup, my electrical outlet is far enough away from the pool that I need ALL of the blue cord to reach the far end of the pool. If my caddy is positioned too far away from the pool(ie. the robot's black electric cord is not stretched to nearly the max) , then, sometimes it will pull on the cord. But, I don't think it is enough force to do any damage to the cord.
 

KJohn

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Good to know SS, thanks. The strain relief seems pretty rugged where the cord connects on mine. Some additional insurance might be securing the cord to the handle with zip ties, so strain on the cord would hit the handle rather than the cord connection.
 
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Dirk

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This does seem to confirm that the robot is fine, and returning her to Maytronics would be a waste of my money and theirs.
So that part is solved.

Good to know SS, thanks. The strain relief seems pretty rugged where the cord connects on mine. Some additional insurance might be securing the cord to the handle with zip ties, so strain on the cord would hit the handle rather than the cord connection.
That seems like a good simple solution to try. I was going to suggest another possibility, but it's not as simple as that. Some sort of strain relief. My first thought was a rope between the 'bot and where it plugs in, that would eliminate the pull on the cord or its strain reliefs, but then you'd have to somehow attach the rope to the cord so that they stayed together... it'd be quite a project and would likely end up fouling somehow. But all you'd really need is a line that attached to the last foot of the cord, then to the robot, with just a bit of sag in the cord. The rope would take the strain and maybe not adversely affect the 'bots performance.

bot-tether.jpg

But zipping the cord to the handle seems like the way to go, if it doesn't affect how the 'bot does its thing.
 

dschlic1

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I have an Active 30i named Wall-e. My pool has a seat at one end which has about 2 ft of water above it. Wall-e regularly goes on that seat when cleaning walls. The seat does not affect the operation of the unit.
 

KJohn

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Dirk, great graphic, that would be another good way to protect the cord-robot connection, thanks for working on this!

Good info dschlic1, thanks. And cool name btw, Wall-e. Ours is Flipper, not the most original maybe but it fits her.

My bench has about 14 inches of water over it. So your model may have a different shut-down routine, or if the programing is the same as mine, 14" may just be too shallow. I'll try to find out about that. My guess is it's the water depth. It seems like with 10" more water Flipper could go from horizontal to vertical without getting hung up.
 

KJohn

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I heard back from Seth at Marina Pool who has been pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. He contacted Maytronics tech and was told there's a slight chance of a motor malfunction. They'll send me a motor, and if the problem persists, will take her back and credit me for the purchase price less shipping and cost of a filter. Can't get more reasonable than that - above and beyond what I expected. I'll have the option of keeping her and tethering, or looking for a model that can negotiate the bench.

Thanks everyone - so nice to be able to post here and get real help with this obscure off-the-wall problem!
 
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Dirk

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Thanks everyone - so nice to be able to post here and get real help with this obscure off-the-wall problem!
I think you meant off-the-bench problem! ;)

Amazing service from Maytronics. It may be just that, or you're experiencing a known issue. Either way, we hope a fix is in store for Flipper...
 
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Toxophilite

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I heard back from Seth at Marina Pool who has been pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. He contacted Maytronics tech and was told there's a slight chance of a motor malfunction. They'll send me a motor, and if the problem persists, will take her back and credit me for the purchase price less shipping and cost of a filter. Can't get more reasonable than that - above and beyond what I expected. I'll have the option of keeping her and tethering, or looking for a model that can negotiate the bench.

Thanks everyone - so nice to be able to post here and get real help with this obscure off-the-wall problem!
I'm not sure the Maytronics models, but the Polaris has an out of water sensor for beach entries and ledges. Mine would go half way across ledge, stop, then back into the pool again. It's only done it a couple of times and seems to avoid going over the top for now.
 

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