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Understanding the Automatic Pool Cleaner

Automatic pool cleaners have revolutionized pool maintenance, offering convenience and efficiency. Understanding their inner workings, potential issues, and different designs helps pool owners optimize their cleaning routines.

There are usually easy to solve solutions to a cleaner that is not crawling along the pool floor. Whilst the robotic cleaners are a little more complex, the old disc and diaphragm design is really quite simplistic.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into how automatic pool cleaners operate, why they might encounter issues, and compare popular designs like the Great White pool cleaner and the Dolphin, examining the differences between skirt-based and robotic designs.

How Does an Automatic Pool Cleaner Work?

The Mechanism and Driving Force

Automatic pool cleaners operate using different mechanisms based on their design. Some cleaners utilize suction to navigate and collect debris, while others employ brushes and scrubbers for a more comprehensive cleaning.

  • Suction-Based Cleaners: These cleaners attach to the pool's filtration system, relying on suction to move across surfaces, trapping debris in a filter or bag.

  • Robotic Cleaners: These self-contained units operate independently, utilizing motors and brushes to clean the pool. They are equipped with their filtration system and navigation technology.

Potential Issues and Troubleshooting:

Common Problems and Solutions

Automatic cleaners can encounter various issues during operation, leading to inefficiencies or complete stoppage. Understanding these problems aids in troubleshooting and maintaining optimal functionality:

  • Debris Stuck in Diaphragm: Debris lodged in the cleaner's diaphragm impedes movement and suction.

  • Low Suction Pressure: This can result from a clogged filter, hindering the cleaner's effectiveness.

  • Incorrectly Seated Vacuum Plate: A misplaced vacuum plate affects suction and hinders movement.

  • Holes in Cleaner Hoses: Leaks in hoses diminish suction and affect cleaning.

  • Foot Slipping on Smooth Surfaces: Loss of traction on smooth surfaces disrupts movement.

  • Hose Coiling or Being Too Short/Long: Improper hose length or coiling disrupts navigation.

Speed Control and Suction Pressure

The speed control in automatic pool cleaners regulates their movement pace, crucial for efficient cleaning. Excessive suction pressure can cause issues such as climbing walls and breaking the water surface, leading to air intake and potential pump cavitation.

Skirt vs. Robotic Design:

Comparison - Great White vs Dolphin Robotic Cleaner

Great White Robotic Cleaner: Design and Mechanism:

Skirt-Based Design: The Great White utilizes a skirt to control suction, moving across surfaces and capturing debris into its filtration system.

  • Suction Power: Relies on the pool's filtration system for suction, utilizing it to navigate and collect debris.

Cleaning Efficiency:

  • Coverage: The skirt design allows it to cover a wide surface area efficiently, making it suitable for larger pools.

  • Traction: Might face challenges with traction on smooth surfaces or when navigating tight corners.

  • Debris Collection: Effectively collects larger debris but might struggle with fine particles or corners due to its design limitations.

Operation and Maintenance:

  • Connection: Requires attachment to the pool's filtration system, necessitating proper setup and maintenance of the pool's filtration system.

  • Maintenance: Regular cleaning of the skirt, inspection of hoses, and ensuring proper suction are essential for optimal performance.

Dolphin Robotic Cleaner: Design and Mechanism:

  • Independent Operation: The Dolphin operates independently, equipped with its filtration system, brushes, and motors for navigation and cleaning.

  • Advanced Technology: Utilizes smart navigation technology to map the pool and optimize cleaning patterns.

Cleaning Efficiency:

  • Precision Cleaning: Offers precise and comprehensive cleaning due to its independent navigation and advanced technology.

  • Maneuverability: Navigates efficiently around obstacles, corners, and steps, ensuring a thorough cleaning of the pool, including walls and waterline.

  • Filtration: Can filter finer debris with its independent filtration system, providing a higher level of cleanliness.

Operation and Maintenance:

  • Easy Setup: Requires minimal setup, as it operates independently of the pool's filtration system.

  • Low Maintenance: Generally requires less maintenance than skirt-based cleaners, with fewer components prone to wear and tear.

Conclusion & Considerations:

Pool Size: The Great White might be more suitable for larger pools due to its efficient coverage.

  • Surface Type: Dolphin’s independent navigation makes it ideal for pools with varied surfaces and obstacles.

  • Cleaning Precision: The Dolphin provides more precision and thorough cleaning, especially around corners and steps.

In summary, while the Great White offers efficient coverage for larger pools, its skirt-based design might face limitations in maneuverability and precise cleaning. On the other hand, the Dolphin, with its advanced technology and independent operation, excels in thorough and precise cleaning, making it suitable for various pool sizes and surfaces. The choice between the two would depend on specific pool requirements, such as size, surface type, and desired cleaning precision.

Automatic pool cleaners offer unparalleled convenience in pool maintenance, but understanding their mechanisms, potential issues, and design differences is crucial for effective operation and troubleshooting. Whether opting for a skirt-based cleaner like the Great White or a robotic cleaner like the Dolphin, each design has its merits and potential drawbacks. Regular maintenance, proper troubleshooting, and selecting the right cleaner design for your pool's needs ensure a clean and inviting swimming environment year-round.


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