Robotic Pool Cleaners


Robot Cleaners:  All Pool Types

Self-contained, low voltage electric cleaners which are put into the pool when there is a need for cleaning.  Common brand names include Aquabot, Dolphin, and AquaVac. Please visit our swimming pool cleaners page for a complete list of robot cleaners. A transformer is plugged into a wall outlet and a 50 ft long {cord length varies by cleaners} cord from the unit plugs into the transformer. The transformer takes 110volts from your outlet and "transforms" it, or "steps it down" to the much-safer-around-water 24 volts. This low voltage power operates the cleaner. This power operates two motors; a pump motor which draws debris into the unit's filter, and a drive motor which moves the unit around the pool.

The advantage of owning a robot pool cleaner includes their self contained filter, which is easily cleaned. They also do quite well with their pool coverage and speed. Some units are computer chip controlled and some even have remote controls so you can steer the unit from a lounge chair! Being that they are the only cleaners not attached in any way to the pool's circulation system, they produce no resistance or back pressure on the filtering. In fact, the process of pumping your pool water through the internal filters of the cleaner can reduce the work required of your pool filter. Robot pool cleaners are also mini pool filters, and some models filter down to 2 microns!

On the downside, the cost of a robotic pool cleaner can be more than suction or pressure side cleaners. They are somewhat heavy to handle, and some repairs can be costly. Not the best choice for heavy debris, with large sticks, leaves or acorns.

A new type of Robotic pool cleaners, known as Jet pool cleaners, are still very much robotic, but with high flow and a simpler design with fewer parts. Also available at a lower price point than original robotic pool cleaner designs, Jet Robotic pool cleaners have gained a strong foothold in the marketplace. is one of the Washington D.C. area service center for the Aquabot cleaners. Listed below are some common troubleshooting tips from our help file.


Aquabot does not move?

Is the indicator light glowing on the transformer? If not, be sure that transformer is turned on and that the 3 volt fuse is not blown (the indicator light can be glowing even though the fuse is blown). Check the electrical outlet with another electrical appliance to be sure that power is available. If the power is available, and the fuse is good try wiggling the power cord plug from the unit to the transformer. Older units may begin to short out at the plug; a new plastic female plug is available.

 Inspect the unit itself while it's partially underwater. Is the pump motor receiving power? Is there water gushing out of the top of the unit? This would indicate that power is reaching the unit. Is the pulley on the drive belt side turning? If the pulley is not moving this could indicate a shorted drive motor or a corroded drive T, which would also require motor replacement. 

Are the drive belts tight and in good repair? Drive belts become stretched and weaken over time. If your belts are "skipping" and are not locked into the grooves of either the drive pulley or the wheel tubes they may need to be replaced. Check that the wheel tubes are in proper position with bushings in place on either end. If the tubes are not straight the drive belts will not be tight. Drive Tracks also can be checked. These are the treads that contact the pool surface. Over time they will wear down their raised pads. If they are loose, check that all of the wheel tube end bushings are in place.

Do not pull the unit towards the side of the pool, or lift the unit out of the pool by the power cord. Try to reach into the pool and lift the unit only by the handle.

Aquabot does not pump?

If the unit moves, but does not pick up any debris, lift the unit up near the surface of the water. Does water gush out of the top? If not, the pump motor may be shorted. Unplug the unit and pull it out of the water. Remove the vent cap on top of the unit and check that the impeller does not have string wound around the base. Turn the impeller by hand to check spin. Plug in the unit and check spin. If there is no spin the pump is probably shorted. Another indication that the pump motor is not working properly is if the unit won't climb the walls very far before falling off. The pump motor provides the suction it needs for climbing.

AquaVac Tigersharks have a one piece motor assembly that serves the dual purpose of a drive motor for propelling the unit and a pump motor to do the vacuuming and provide wall suction during climbing. All motors for robotic units are not meant to be serviceable, and they are replaced whole.

Aquabot does not vacuum well?

Some debris can be too large for robotic cleaners, which tend to perform better with smaller debris. If you have large leafed trees nearby, after storms you may need to use a leaf rake or leaf master to get the larger debris, before lettting your robotic pool cleaner do the fine clean-up of the pool.

As a robot pool cleaner fills with dirt, it's vacuum power or suction will decrease, and this is usually a sign that you need to clean out the internal filter bag or cartridges. Either one can be quick rinsed in a skimmer, or hosed for a more thorough cleaning.

If you filter is clean and your Aquabot still passes over dirt, make sure that the bottom assembly is tight, and that you are not missing any intake valve flaps that most models use. These flaps are important also to prevent debris from falling out when the unit shuts off or you lift the cleaner out of the pool.