Inherited litttle boy Aquabot
by Chester Beebe
My wife and I bought this house at the end of 2010. In the agreement, we kept the aquabot, because I had never owned a pool and I liked things that did useful stuff. Besides, it had the word BOT in it's name. The previous owners said "Oh, you might have to replace the propeller, because it's getting old, but it's a good unit."
One summer later, my 'bot was going in one direction, and it wasn't pumping water through it's vent anymore. Also the brushes were in terrible shape and were beginning to tear off.
Being money conscious (that means cheap, folks), I fixed the brushes with some zip-ties I had around and that kept the little bugger at least brushing the floor.
But what to do about the pump? See, I was aquabot ignorant. So I searched the web and found replacement parts - the pump motor - for an ungodly amount of money. I knew someone must have written something about how to rebuild rather than buy and stumbled onto this site.
Lucky me! I was shown, with pictures, what needed to be done. This site said that the things that usually go out on pump motors are the capacitors inside the motor. I could fix that.
So, after getting incredibly messy taking the motor apart and replacing the 4 capacitors old Aquaboy was pumping like a champ. It cost me maybe 4 bucks plus another 2 for the mineral oil versus 200 plus for a new motor)
So, away he went on his merry way. A week later, he was cleaning fine, but only in one direction. And it wasn't consistent! Sometimes he's be bidirectional, sometimes he'd only go in one. Now, I don't judge. Folks can live their lives as they want, bi or not, but this wasn't right.
Again, to the web. Some idiots suggested that it was the cable twisted on the surface. Really? They must live very simple lives. Some suggested other stuff which also made no sense. So, again to this site.
Drive motor this time. Still hellaciously expensive. 200+ dollars. I figured out, narrowed it down to the PCB board inside the motor. One of the capacitors or a diode or some other thing had blown or was working at it. I just wanted to replace that little board. Heck, there were even instructions here with pictures!
I saw this link, right on this site. For used parts, contact nastybags, with an email. So I did. I explained what I wanted to do and asked if they had any of those circuit boards lying around. Heck, I didn't care if they worked. I would use it as a template, buy the parts and rebuild it.
Curt, the guy at Nastybags, a very nice fellow, told me he didn't have any boards around, but he had some motors, some good, some not so. He was honest enough to tell me he was just too lazy to take them apart. Gotta admire that in this day and time.
So I asked how much for a dead motor. He gave me a price, a darn good price, all considering. I said rock on, let's do this.
He sent me a motor for the price he quoted and I paid, and it wasn't exactly what he told me he'd be shipping. It was BETTER! He was gonna ship me a motor that might have been dead, but he didn't know. Instead, he shipped me a motor he KNEW was good.
After some tinkering and adjustments to the 'bot's body with a drill - the holes didn't exactly line up, the motor was for a newer unit, my bot was back on his legs again.
Oh, I didn't mention this, but those blue tracks he runs on? He only had one. I mentioned this to Curt and his response started with a "What? How in the heck is he moving?" Well, he was moving just fine, but I wanted to get him back to near new condition, so I got a VERY good quote on two good condition tracks, and a set of new TOMCAT brushes, to replace those held on with zipties.
Oh, and I shortened the cable about a foot, because the section up close to the body had twisted enough it was shorting out. Small price to pay considering how much cable came with the thing and how expensive replacements are.
My Aquabot is fit as a fiddle now. Granted, most folks may not want to spend the time and energy to rebuild them, but I don't mind. There's a small mineral oil leak on the pump motor, so I'll be taking a look at that soon, probably figuring out how to seal the whole unit after I top off the oil. And folks, don't let it run out of oil. It'll burn out the motor.
But yeah. I'm a happy Aquabot owner. Even loaned it to a friend who had no bot but an ugly pool bottom. He was impressed.
My bot went from a non-working, 1200 dollar piece of ugly sculpture to a valued member of my family for less than the half the cost of a new drive motor. Give Nastybags your business. Curt's a good guy. And to the owner of this site, thanks for being here. You are an invaluable resource.