Improving Polaris 380 performance

dalehilemanNovember 30, 2010

For the last decade or so we had run our main pump as well as our Polaris 380 for three hours a day until just recently when to save electricity we switched to Intelliflow vf at the suggestion of our excellent engineer buddy Ike who then also has so kindly overseen its installation. Cost of upkeep, operation and replacement also suggested cutting back sweep time, especially considering power consumption of its separate booster. Accordingly thanks to the remarkable versatility of the vf system we requested Ike to program it to cut down Polaris run time from three hours to only one without disturbing circulation time. Now however the bottom's dirty, especially for an extended period after a windstorm

....which we had of course anticipated owing not only to the shorter run time but presumably a slower flow of flotsam toward skimmer port. We then considered, say, doubling the sweep time in spite of increased power consumption. However in the process of installation we also learned that at a low flow rate the vf couldn't meet the requirement of our Polaris booster* and so Ike further programmed it to double circulation during the sweep. Thus given the prospect of both these increased power requirements we opted to consider other approaches, even tolerating some debris

But owing to habits of the Polaris sweep it spends more time in the shallow end so a week after the last storm the deep end bottom is still largely covered with detritus. Thinking therefore about means to make it more efficient, to spend more time in the deeps, or to make its path more nearly random I had considered fashioning a sail, attaching to the tubing where it emerges so that any breezes at the surface would disturb its path. However our prevailing wind from deep toward shallow would most likely only make matters worse

Of course pulling it up every so often to reset the rear jet can change its habit slightly, perhaps cleaning up the bottom at one spot at the disadvantage of another but this requirement constitutes a nuisance and besides it's winter, the water is cold. Thus we are interested in comment from other users of 380 (or 280) regarding such matters

Thanks all

*Despite vehement denials by some "experts" in several other pool forums, we had been advised by our Friendly Local Bill's Pool and Spa that that if the booster should suck air for even a few moments, it could self-destruct. Thus it was necessary to boost circulatory flow rate ensuring positive pressure at its input and while we realize we could have approached this problem by other more complex means, it's been our experience as you can infer from the post above that every hardware change introduces new and unforeseen difficulties which in the autumn of my life I'm unwilling to undertake but thanks anyway

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thejimbar

Wow, you are obsessed with that Polaris. How do you feel about your leaf net?

OK, comment time: If it's winter and the water is cold, close and cover the pool. I've calculated that will save 100% on your energy costs.

I don't know about others, but I've had my 280 for 5 years, throw it in when I open the pool, run it for 2 hours a day and my pool bottom is always clean. Pull it out in the Fall and sleep like a baby until Spring.

Had to replace the bag for $30 once. Never took it apart, thought about taking it apart, and for sure I never took it sailing.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:50PM
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goyom

My man Dale.
Get out the leaf scoop... you must do it. Or pay someone.
Scoop and dump. The polaris cannot possibly do it all, at least in my neck of the woods, where everytime someone has massive flatulence or a breeze comes by, 1 ton of leaves seem to drop in the pool.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 7:48PM
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dalehileman

"Wow, you are obsessed with that Polaris."

Yea Jim, it does get to be an obsession

"How do you feel about your leaf net?"

What's a leaf net

"OK, comment time: If it's winter and the water is cold, close and cover the pool. I've calculated that will save 100% on your energy costs."

I'm sure Jim that you're right about that. Since switching to vf, however, this consideration has dropped in importance. Besides we like to keep an eye on the water. Then there's the possibility of wildlife slipping in around the edge

"I don't know about others, but I've had my 280 for 5 years, throw it in when I open the pool, run it for 2 hours a day and my pool bottom is always clean. Pull it out in the Fall and sleep like a baby until Spring."

Thank you for that report as am considering replacing my aging 380 with a 280. Not only is it half the price but it gets better customer ratings on Amazon. My only concern is that the lower price portends Polaris discontinuing this model with consequent parts shortages

"Had to replace the bag for $30 once. Never took it apart, thought about taking it apart, and for sure I never took it sailing."

After several such replacements at a cost of $33 each, upon learning that its base comes apart I learned how to replace it with one of my own making for just a few cents' worth of material

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:39PM
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dalehileman

"My man Dale."

My fellow victim Goy

"Get out the leaf scoop... you must do it."

You're absolutely right about that. Fortunately much of the flotsam is carried to the skimmer port during the hour of sweep time during which circulation is jacked up to 2300 rpm. Have since learned that the 380 can be made to spend more time at the deep end by setting its jet to lowest position

"Or pay someone."

Nevah hachi

"Scoop and dump. The polaris cannot possibly do it all, at least in my neck of the woods, where everytime someone has massive flatulence or a breeze comes by, 1 ton of leaves seem to drop in the pool."

Welcome to the club

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:50PM
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dalehileman

I might add for the benefit of PB's that the disposal of flotsam can be further facilitated by orienting your pool so your prevailing wind helps carry it to the skimmer port

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 1:08PM
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busboy

I have found the Polaris does not seem to operate nearly as well when the water is cold.. Pull it inside for the season and use the leaf gulper to get the big stuff..don't sweat the small stuff. After 20 years of wintertime maintenance I have just installed a Loop-Loc cover. Later this week there will be a final cleaning, water balance and system draining untill spring.
BTW when your Polaris seems like it is on its last leg, you can rebuild it for a fraction of the cost of a new replacement.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:47AM
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dalehileman

"I have found the Polaris does not seem to operate nearly as well when the water is cold.."

Bus I have noted that also and thank you for confirming my suspicion

"....,you can rebuild it for a fraction of the cost of a new replacement."

Thatk you too Bus for the suggestion, that's what I've been doing on and off for the past decade and I'm getting really discouraged. It uses too many moving parts poorly made that don't fit together well while the choice of materials is unforgivable. For instance many of the screws are made of a metallic substance dissolved by chlorinated pool water. Because it's on its last legs I'm sorely tempted this time to replace it

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 12:14PM
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dalehileman

....so why don't I replace it with something else? Well, it does clean up pretty well, at least in the summertime

Interesting to speculate on Bus' comment above; my theory being that its reluctance owes to stiffening of the tubing

Polaris are you listening

Do you ever listen

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 1:27PM
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busboy

The screws used by Polaris are Stainless steel. They seem to work ok. I have replaced some with regular zinc coated screws and yes, those will rust. Dale, I have replaced my Polaris once in last 20 years so if you got 10 years out of it, maybe it's time. You do get a trade-in credit. It used to cost $400 for an exchange-I think it's up to $550 now. Dave

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:49AM
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dalehileman

Thank you Dave for that rundown. Yea after 7 years a replacement seems called for. Incidentally I had made several repairs in which the original screws had corrode away to nothing whereupon I drilled out the holes, re-threaded for a bigger pitch, then replaced with plastic ones

Last I heard though, that the trade-in credit applies after 12 years while I don't expect mine to last five more but I was considering replacing it with the 280 which surprisingly enough gets a better Amazon customer rating than the 380 and costs only a shade over $400 brand new

I fear however that the lower price may forebode it's out of production, a harbinger of difficulty finding spare parts

Any and all other comments herewith solicited even if OT

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:28PM
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just-a-pb

Dale,

Have you considered hiring King Triton.

I have heard he is very good at getting rid of Flotsam, and Jetsam for that matter.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 11:57AM
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dalehileman

For those in a similar endeavor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Triton#King_Triton

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 2:06PM
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