Setting expectations about a robot

Halzg

Bronze Supporter
Jul 26, 2021
19
Brighton Mi
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
We are nearing the end of our first season with our new pool (14,500 gallon, 30' X 18' rectangle, 6' deep end, vinyl), and something we are considering for the off season is buying a robot. We have neither a vacuum port nor booster pump, so a robot seems like the best choice. We currently manually vacuum with a skimmer plate.
With some online research, it seems that robots tend to be at best, maintenance intensive, and at worst, short-lived. I'd like to get opinions from the DIY folks, on which robots are easiest to maintain / repair. I've read that Aquabots were easier to repair, while the Maytronics robots were difficult to repair and parts are hard to get. Is that still the case? Once I'm out of warranty, I'd like to be able to do my own repairs as much as possible.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,693
Longview, Texas
I can tell you my experience with robots is opposite of what you've heard.
My Dolphin Nautilus lasted 7 years and never once did i have to replace anything on it.
Last fall, year 8, it finally gave up.

I replaced the old gal in November with a S20 and its ticking along just fine.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,093
Bedford, TX
H,

Not sure where you are getting your info, but it does not agree with my personal experience.. I have been using robots for well over 12 years.

I started with two very old and used Dolphin Diagnostics.. They lasted me about 5 years each.. I did have to replace a power supply and replace the drive tracks and bearings.

My next robot was a Dolphin Premier which lasted me about 7 years... I currently have three Dolphin S200 style robots. The difference between the old Diagnostics and the newer Premier were mostly cosmetics.. the internal guts were almost the same. The new S200 style robots are totally different and built for easy repair. I did not say cheap, but at least easy. The main problem is that other than a couple of minor things that can be a DIY repair, the motor assembly is a sealed unit that is basically unrepairable.

That said, I just don't care.. When one of my robots dies, I will have a new one on my door step within a couple of days.. My time is worth more to me that the cost of a robot.

My S200's are all less than 2 years old, so I do not have a feel for how long they will last. But based upon my older units I would expect to get 4 to 6 years out of each of them.

We will just have to wait and see.

Just to be clear... Robots are not going to clean your tanning shelf, nor will they routinely clean stairs. But they do a great just of cleaning the pool floor, the walls and the tile line.

If you don't mind manually vacuuming your pool, then a robot (or any cleaner) might not be for you. But it has more than paid for itself for me.. :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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atom519

Member
Apr 28, 2014
17
Kansas City, KS
I've had my Dolphin for 7 years now and it's one of the best purchases I've made for my pool. Some small wear and tear on the treads but still able to climb up the walls and cleans great with a ~40min runtime. Like Jim mentioned if it broke tomorrow I would have a replacement in a heartbeat. I wasn't a fan of the suction side cleaners that I used in the past.

Pulling it out and emptying/cleaning the filters can be annoying at times, but only takes a few minutes with a hose. I'm now contemplating picking up a battery powered skimmer but waiting for them to mature a bit first.
 
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PoolStored

Gold Supporter
Jun 24, 2021
566
Ashtabula, OH
Pool Size
31000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I will backfill my pool when/if robots are unavailable. Dolphin DX3, older, but same basic model as available today. Easy to service, just replaced climbing rings and tension/drive rollers. This robot is da' boss.

No issue getting Dolphin parts. 1-2 days, 7 days max.

Oh yeah, it's 11 years old!
 

Sarduh

New member
Aug 13, 2020
1
Manvel TX
I’m a novice regarding robots, but have had issues with the Hayward AquaVac 6 series. Ours was part of the package of the recommended equipment package from our builder. It worked fine until we had issues with multiple controllers. The first died after 8 months. The replacement died after two weeks. Technical support and warranty service are effectively non-existent. After leaving a negative review for the second controller at the pool supplier’s website I purchased it from, I was finally contacted by Hayward. I submitted their required documentation and it’s been silent after a week. No response from tech support after two weeks. From the Hayward Facebook page it looks like any resolutions may take weeks to months.

I’m considering the Dolphin now since they reviews from this site seem to be the opposite of my experience.
 

Halzg

Bronze Supporter
Jul 26, 2021
19
Brighton Mi
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Admittedly, most of my research has been through Dr. Google. I've read a lot here on TFP, and I know that Maytronics robots (and Marina Pool and Spa) have a good reputation here. Outside of TFP though, the Internet has lots of one-man "pool guy" websites and You Tube channels, and each of these folks has his / her own strong opinion about how best to clean a pool. One of the things I've come to trust about TFP is the way consensus forms around best practices and best products, so thanks for all the replies.
H
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,093
Bedford, TX
H,

Another great thing about TFP is that we are self-supporting, so we do not get kickbacks from the sale of things we recommend.

I personally like Pentair products, but if Pentair was a "sponsor" I would feel uncomfortable recommending their products because of the perceived conflict of interest.

Like most people on this site, I only recommend things that I have bought, or used, that work well for me.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,156
Long Beach, CA
I have a Dolphin S300i for about 4 years and the motor just died, I bought a new motor assembly replacement for less than $400. That is the only repair that I have had to make. Every now and then the impeller needs to be cleaned and that's about it. They are simple to work on and some repairs can be done if the motor goes bad. In my case I wasn't so lucky, some water leaked into the housing.
 

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borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,497
Pacific NW
4 years and still going strong on my refurbished dolphin e10. One thing you will want is the fine filters (like cartridge ones). For mine it was an add on/swap out accessory. Better than the stock screen filter.
 
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