Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage Robotic Pool Cleaner
Good to Great Pool Robot
Using this device is relatively a no-brainer. You drop in the robot's main unit, you hook the robot's 20 meter (~61 feet) power cord to the included power supply, you plug the power supply into a 110v outlet (house current), turn on the rocker switch, and the little teal-and-purple android begins its rather intimate tango across your pool's surfaces.
The Dolphin Diagnostic works better than I had expected, I had an Aqua Queen robot previously, which simply died of old age and hard use. I could have probably rehabbed it with some new parts yet again, but I decided to go for something new. I'm glad I did.
Within minutes (no assimbly required!), the robot had discovered the pool's steps and climbed up to the top, picking up all traces of debris as it went. I was about to run for a shovel to beat the device back into the water where it belons when it backed away, sank to the bottom, and continued vacuuming the bottom. I was mesmerized. My wife and I promptly named the device Roamin' Poolansky, an admittedly esoteric reference to a notorious Polish film director - Rosemary's Baby, Knife in the Water, and others -- who began his work in the '60s.
As it goes, the robot picks up nearly everything it encounters. As another reviewer noted, it can have some trouble with leaves (as it turns out, some leaves, like magnolia leaves, are a bit too large and stiff to enter the Dolphin's two rectangular bottom vacuum ports). So when I've had a hefty leaf fall into the pool, I make certain to rake up the big chunks in advance, so that Roam' doesn't get a hernia. Once the big stuff is out of the way, the robot picks up virtually everything else that's visible to the naked eye.
Dolphin claims that use of its machine extends the life of your filter medium. I can understand why. After one two to three hour session, I noticed that the water was cleaner than it had ever been before.
Becuase not too many products are "perfect," this one gets a mere four stars. There are only a few reasons why. OK, so the filter bag can be a pain. But unless your water is particularly dirty, you can get at least two and maybe three or four cleaning sessions without removing the bag assembly from the robot's body, turning the bag inside out, and wiping/shaking off the accumulated debris. If you have the time and discipline to let the bag air-dry out of the machine, everything comes off by simply shaking out the bag as you might do to a throw-rug. Just do that downwind from the pool and nearby living creatures. The product manual says you can launder the bag in your washing machine. That's true. But if you do so, do it with nothing else except maybe some old towels, because the robot picks up enough plaster dust on your pool's surface to leave an unsightly layer of dust on anthing else that might be in the same load as your filter bag. I launder mie about every two weeks or so during pool season.
Putting the bag back in can be a little tricky, given the somewhat flimsy design of the removable frame that carries to filter bag into and out of the body cavity of the Dolphin. I've found that positioning the bag properly before starting its replacement is vital to success. Once it's on the frame and properly aligned, simply tuck the bag around the frame guides, slide the assembly back into the Dolphin, and latch the two latches. Then Roamin' is ready for another swim!
Every visible part is plastic, which is not necessarily a knock on the device, given that it spends its working hours in water, which is hostile to many metals. It seems to "learn" some facts about your pool (.e., its shape and size, its deep and shallow parts, and the quality of the water) through its onboard sensors and software.
I think that the device is well-enough designed and built to be around for at least five to ten years, with reasonable care and maintenance. I'd be careful about leaving the power supply out in the weather for extended periods (just my engineer's skepticism about the effects of long-term exposure of electrical devices to water). I purchased a plastic deck chair cover, which fits comfortably over the robot and it's rolling cart (LOTS of assembly required!). Roamin' probably deserves Gore-Tex, but vinyl will have to do.
My acid test is not whether I'd recommend it to someone else (which could depend on whether I like them or not!), but whether I'd buy it again. I would.
October 2, 2007
we have a 30x45 rock pool with a large deep end-11.5ft max depth. I have only used manual vac. once in 2 years. i have used the dolphin summer and winter. it cleans well, cimbs walls until heavy with debris, and filters water. cleaning the bag is a minor hassle but takes only 10 or 15 minutes then the unit is back in action and will run for 6 hours unless it fills with debris sooner--extreme conditions. we have a few leaves but lots of blowing sand especially in the spring. the only other con than listed above is a poor design on the transformer end of the power cord- it tends to loosen over time but is not terribly difficult to fix.
October 28, 2009
Worked well for 2 years, then broke
The first two years it worked great. This season it runs for 10 minutes then stops. I called Maytronic and was told that to fix the motor you need to ship it to the company and spend over $600. I read a number of reviews online that all had the same issue and solution. To top it off, the tech at Maytronics told me that I should expect to replace pool cleaners every few years. When I expressed concern that their product had such poor durability he said that all cleaners only last a few years and that pools are expensive. I guess I will find out if other cleaners have this product because I certainly won't be buying another Dolphin.
August 18, 2009
Fire your pool guy
I purchased this machine after my pool services increased its rates twice in one season. This machine is very easy to use and cleans the pool well. It sometime has difficulty getting the corners in the shallow end. Just drag it over to the area in need and it works well. The bag that collects the debris is recommended to be hosed off. I've found that if you let it dry, then shake out the dry debris you will be able to wash it easier than when it’s wet. Also I throw it into the laundry every few uses to make sure it’s extra clean...
August 2, 2009