Robotic pool cleaners

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
Hi All!

I've been looking at robotic pool cleaners. I have a 26 year old IG concrete pool - don't know if it is plaster or gunnite (How do you tell the difference? - the pool was already here when I purchased the home)

I'm interested in the Dolphin Dynamic at Costco online. I've also been reading about the Aquabot Turbo T4.

Has anyone tried one or both? The price difference is dramatic with the Dolphin Dynamic at $999 and the Aquabot $1799.

I had a Hayward suction type - it was okay, but I had to babysit it all the time because I have old fashioned toe stubbers from the old inground cleaner system. They are stationary and not popups. The Hayward got stuck on top of them all the time.
 

hzz

Member
Apr 9, 2007
20
Toronto Canada
I have an Aquabot Turbo, that is about 7 or 8 years old, and a Dolphin Dynamic 2002 that is 3 years old.

I like the remote option that the Dolphin has. Very handy for spot cleaning.

The dolphin is a much heavier unit than the aquabot, which may be a factor for you depending on who has to pull it out of the pool.

The aquabot has worked very well for me over the years-I keep thinking it's got to die soon, but it keeps on going. I have had to replace a few small parts on it, but nothing major.

The one big difference between the 2 units is that the aquabot will work in cold water, the dolphin will not. That's important to me, may not be to you. When I first open my pool(I did just a few days ago) the water is about 45 degrees and the pool is fairly dirty with worms, a few leaves,etc. I just throw the aquabot in. Can't do that with the dolphin-at that temperature it doesn't move.

To sum it up, you are looking at a big price difference, but you get what you pay for in this case. I would go with the T4

If you need any more info let me know.

Zane
 

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
Zane,

Thanks so much! That is some great info.

Why on earth would one not work in cold water? I don't understand that at all. I wonder what makes the difference. I'd think an electric motor would run in any temperature - unless of course it is frozen.

The Turbo T4 now has a remote. I definately want one with a remote. I can see where that would be important.
 

mwsmith2

Member
Mar 28, 2007
15
Katy, TX
I too am looking for a 'bot type pool cleaner. I currently have a Letro Legend, and was looking at the dolphin. I'd be interested in hearing other folks experiences too...'cause that's a fair bit of cash to throw down for a cleaner!

Michael
 

CarlD

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2007
104
I have very mixed feelings about the Dolphin Dynamic. When it works, it's about as good as they get. It climbs walls, avoids ladders and never once has caused any damage to my vinyl. It's a very slow cycle (8 hours) but very thorough. The bags are heavy and expensive and the remote is VERY sophisticated. It can handle round, rectangular and odd shaped pools.

But...once I started having trouble with it, after 3 seasons, it was a problem. I had to struggle with their agent here in the US (the intelligent robotics are ALL an Israeli design and most are made there, no matter the brand. ) and finally go back to the Israeli mother company. It took months and I shipped the unit to them two or 3 times because it wasn't getting fixed. Finally, they sent me a brand-new unit instead and THAT works the way the first one did when it was new.

In the meantime, I got a Blue Diamond, w/Remote. This unit is much lighter than the Dolphin and runs much faster--it can do the pool in 3 hours. While the filter bag is much thinner, lighter and less expensive than the Dolphin's (spares are great) it filters just as well. The B/D came with foam rollers, the Dolphin with soft plastic ones. The foam rollers need to soak for about 20-30 minutes when they are dry to get them soft enough, but then they've been fine on my vinyl liner too. It also runs OK in very cold water.

The problems with the Blue Diamond is that, while faster and more powerful than the Dolphin, and lighter, it's more primitive. I have to take my ladder out when I run it or it will get caught under it. It's easy, but it's an additional pain. The B/D won't initially climb walls--you must start it, then push a button on the remote to get it to do it--everytime. The B/D won't do odd-shaped pools no matter WHAT you read--when they say you need the unit with the remote what Blue Diamond does NOT tell you is that you must control the ENTIRE cycle via the remote--and it's not a very good joy-stick for that. But if you have a rectangular pool (and I do) it handles it automatically beautifully.

The control unit for the B/D is much more primitive than the Dolphin's and I have trouble believing it will remain weatherproof as long as the Dolphin. The D is a single slipover plastic case where the handle loop is the antenna loop as well but the BD is a metal case with fittings for the antenna and the handle. BTW, to control R/C units you point the handset at the power supply, not the unit under water. The power supply has the antenna and the logic control.

Friends I know with the Aquabot units are VERY happy with them.
 

hzz

Member
Apr 9, 2007
20
Toronto Canada
It is crazy that the water temperature would affect the unit, but of course I didn't believe them and tried it for myself.

Sure enough, in cold water, the dolphin barely moves around. The aquabot moves the same no matter what temperature the water is. That is something I didn't know before I bought the unit.

If I had to buy right now, I would go for the aquabot T4, based on my experience with the aquabot turbo. It seems to be a very durable unit that will last a long time. Big bucks to lay out, but hopefully you pay once and be done with it for a long time.
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,624
SW Indiana
My biggest concern with the robots is that they are mostly made in Israel, and some people have had customer service issues. I'm reluctant to spend that kind of money on something that might not last. iRobot is now marketing the non-US products made by Aquabot, and I kind of hope they might improve the level of customer service.
 

CarlD

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2007
104
JohnT said:
My biggest concern with the robots is that they are mostly made in Israel, and some people have had customer service issues. I'm reluctant to spend that kind of money on something that might not last. iRobot is now marketing the non-US products made by Aquabot, and I kind of hope they might improve the level of customer service.
I've had good luck with the company selling Blue Diamond--they also are the service company for Pool Busters and they have been great for that.
 

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
CarlD and Hzz, thanks again for the great info. I guess I'll be saving up for a while.

I just don't understand why an electric robot wouldn't run in cold water.
 

CarlD

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2007
104
Buggsw said:
CarlD and Hzz, thanks again for the great info. I guess I'll be saving up for a while.

I just don't understand why an electric robot wouldn't run in cold water.
Certain plastic belts and lubricants don't do well in the cold-they get hard.
 

cliff_s

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2007
93
I have a Zodiac Barracuda G4 and it works well, has only one moving part. It looks really weird.
If you tie the slots on the pad together with some copper wire it will hop right over the drains
and old cleaner heads. I had to buy mine because the supposed in floor cleaning system was
worthless($2500 wasted).

Cliff s
 

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
Interesting about the Barracuda, Cliff. I cannot imagine how you mean to "tie the slots together". Did you do this to yours? If so, can you share a pic of it?
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
I bought a dynamic from Costco last year. Used it a half dozen times and then returned it to Costco. It would work for a while and then start walking the bottom in a 10' strip back and forth and just kept doing that one section over and over. If I turned it off and then back on it would work for a while but revert to that behavior.

I bought a Blue Pearl for around $600 (or so, don't recall exactly) and it works great!
 

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
Kirbinster, Thanks for that info.

I see now that Costco online also has a couple of Aquabots - however, they look like the older models with no remotes.
 

TarheelPool

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
86
Burlington, NC
I also bought the Blue Pearl last year and have been very pleased. I have a rectangle pool and it climbs the walls fine and doesn't get stuck on the stairs or drains. I still brush the walls manually because the pearl occasionally misses random areas on the walls but otherwise it takes care of everything else. I've had my pool open for about a month now and I haven't used the manual vac once.

Kevin
 

hzz

Member
Apr 9, 2007
20
Toronto Canada
As an update, I posted in another thread that my dolphin has officially died.

I looked into the aquabot T4, and was told by a reputable dealer that the aqubot viva is the best model to get at the present time.

Also, check it out on ebay-the viva can be bought for around 1300 with delivery and remote.
A lot better than 1700 bucks!
 

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
I just ordered the Blue Diamond RC. I struggled deciding between the Aquabot T4 and the Viva as well as the BDRC. I think the Viva and the BDRC are a lot alike.
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
The Blue Pearl is a great unit. My pool turned totally milky on saturday due to pollen - chlorine was fine. I put the blue pearl in my 20 x 40 pool for two cycles (6 hours total today) and its filter bag polished the water and itis sparkling again. It was able to take the tiny pollen particles out that seem to just go through my DE filter.