Sunday, October 26, 2014

Larry's Dead, Long Live Sebastian

We had a hydraulically propelled pool cleaner that came with the 25+ year old pool in our back yard when we bought this house last year in October.  The concept of the cleaner was to pump water through him, via a dedicated pump, and through Bernoulli's principal he sucked up debris from the floor of the pool while a "whip tail" behind him drove him around the bottom.  The problem was, this "dumb device"
- cost $50 to $100 a month in electricity costs, to run the pump
- climbed walls at stairs, and then the whip tail Shot Water out of the pool, spraying the whole backyard (fence, windows, house, etc) before the cleaner re-submerged.
- was a pain to clean out the debris bag
- was 25 years old
- often got "stuck" in corners
- had a large floating umbilical cord that accumulated floating debris
When Ron's son G came to visit in July, he named the pool cleaner "Larry", and stated "Larry tries hard, but he is not very good at his job".  We kept Larry around during the summer, and near the end of August, he stopped moving forward.  The reducer gear train that turned hydraulic pressure into wheel motion had begun to seize, causing Larry to nose dive, whip tail wildly slashing, but the main cleaner unmoving.

So DDF and I went down to Leslie's Pool supply in Laguna Niguel, where Dave there explained that not only would a new Polaris 9450 robotic pool cleaner "learn" our pool, that it would cost 1/10th as much to run as Larry did, since it was low voltage, low amperage, no pump... and that if we didn't like it, we could bring it back within 30 days for a refund.   He is basically a "pool roomba".  We plunked down $1k for the 9450, and took it home.  I sank him in the pool that afternoon, and we named him "Sebastian" after the Caribbean hermit crab from little mermaid.

Sebastian does a good job in both the pool and the hot tub.  He sucks up leaves, dead earth worms, and scrubs the sides and bottom of the plaster pool very effectively, in less than 2 hours.  In the spa, he gets all the leaves and dirt debris that falls from our neighbor's trees, and does it in less than 20 minutes.  Dave assured us that Sebastian (the 9450) would "learn" our irregularly shaped pool... and I am still skeptical of that for the large pool, but Sebastian Does a Great Job of knowing he is in the circular hot tub; scrub and climb, back up, pivot, repeat.

And our San Diego Gas & Electric bill was $100 cheaper after getting Sebastian... and while we Did run the air conditioning less, we also never ran Larry again.  Throughout the winter, I am looking forward to leveraging Sebastian for saving me time (not having to scrub the sides of the pool myself), picking up debris automatically so I don't have to try and fish it out of bottom of the pool with a net, and saving money on electricity.


  1. The boy seemed a bit sad, "poor Larry"

  2. We have Larry in the pool box, stored with the Chlorine. I can't bring myself to sell his corpse on Craig's List yet... and I don't know what a "proper burial" would be for a broken poly ethylene and poly carbonate robot. If Asimov were still alive, I'd ask him....


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.