Pool Cleaning Robot Rebuild Works Like A 3 Dimensional Roomba

Pool Cleaning Robot

Pools are great – Cleaning them, not so much. [Davide Gironi] had a pool cleaning robot, but years of working in a chlorine environment resulted in one of its gaskets failing, destroying the electronics inside. Instead of replacing it, he decided to try his hand at rebuilding it using an AVR ATmega8 microcontroller.

But wait! Wasn’t there a warranty? Expired. Couldn’t he just get a new board from the manufacturer? Costs almost as much as a new robot – time to open it up!

He’s broken the project into two parts, the out of water timer circuitry, and the robot itself. The timer is responsible for converting 220VAC to low voltage DC for the robot, and for turning it on and off based on a schedule (duh). He’s using an ATmega8 based countdown programmable timer which he designed himself for a previous project.

The robot on the other hand is even simpler. It has two motors, one which sucks the water to filter it (also creating the suction effect so the robot can scale the pool’s walls), and the second one to steer it around. All [Davide] had to do here was replace the motor driver!

26 thoughts on “Pool Cleaning Robot Rebuild Works Like A 3 Dimensional Roomba

  1. I had the ambition to try and design a 3D-printable suction-side-cleaner to clean the pool floor since i hate having to do it manually, but unfortunately summer never really took off in Northern Europe this year, and I had plenty other projects to work on.
    But these devices are still outrageously expensive for what’s actually inside them, so I’m hoping someone else has made one by next year ;)

  2. I’m compelled to point out that the surface of the pool is still two-dimensional. For this to be a “3 Dimensional Roomba” it would have to float around in the pool, not just crawl along the outside.

    (Finally, my engineering education is paying off! :D )

    1. If it were a CNC machine, this would be referred to as 3-Axis, not 3-D (3-D implies much more control over the output).

      So this could really be a “3 axis Roomba” – it’s got X & Y on the bottom of the pool, and Z when it goes up to the top… but i’m not even really sure that the bot switches modes between wall and floor. It may only be aware when it finds air. It may actually be treating the pool as a 2D surface only! (traveling along the width of the pool which happens to bend in the Z direction).

      Like you, from the description I was expecting any value of X,Y, and Z to be possible – but that’s not the case – calling it 3D is a stretch.

  3. 220VAC and water scares the crap out of me … although I gather that: “The timer contains the 220 AC to low voltage DC current, and it is out of water” means, that the only electricity in the water is low voltage DC — still it scares the crap out of me.

    1. sand, and whatever else kids put in the pool accumulates on the bottom, in the grooves oc the tiles. yeah, sometimes algae start to grew on the pool sides. this litgle guy rubs the walls with sponge rolls snd sucks up the small dir particles from the bottom.
      it also has a pretty dense filter bag inside where all the dirt gets caught while it pumps the water through itself.
      it’s a lot less messy then the traditional pool vacuuming and it also uses a lot less power compared to the pump operated vacuums where you have to run the filter pump continously or even add an extra pump to support the vacuum.

      it’s pretty expensive though.

      selv 24vdc or not, noone goes into the pool while the robot is working.

      compared to roomba: well this one has no sensors at all, so the operation is totally random. basically the mc drives two motors. the pump runs all the time to provode the vacuum effect, and the tracks are driven back and forth w/o any intelligence. it may stuck on pool lights for minutes. at least mine does.

      1. I grew up with a pool. You definitely need to scrub the sides with something. Being pre-robot days we used a brush on a long pole. The skimmer gets the dead bugs but without scrubbing you would have a slimy mess within a few weeks.

  4. I have a pool cleaning “robot” that relies completely on the suction to run it, no electronics in the water. the suction pulls in debris, and also spins a small turbine inside, and with gears works the feet to keep it crawling along. when it hits a wall, it either goes up or turns around and goes off in another direction.

    1. RF sucks in water – you might be lucky to keep a connection at 1 metre. any deeper (so any in ground pool with a deep end) and you just lost contact with your robot. You could go with a floating antenna though, or just go simple and stay tethered, since you already have a connection with it via the suction hose…

    1. Plot Twist: The mirra and their other pool unit isn’t made by iRobot. It is simply a re-branded Aquabot, made by Aquatron. The same folks who make the majority of the pool robots. Sad that iRobot didn’t actually design one of their own and disrupt the industry.

  5. Love this site, so much info. to read…I am jumping from one article to the next. As a homeowner with a pool…this is informative. We currently have a Polaris on a long hose that is always getting tangled up or getting stuck. Honestly the thing is on its last leg…will not work next summer. I was reviewing this very item on http://www.roboticpoolcleanerscompared.com/ and now here I find more info. Keep the good topics coming! Thanks.

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