Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

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TSH Tech

Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

Postby TSH Tech » Mon 20 May, 2013 00:29

Pool professionals, give me your honest unbiased opinions about this cleaner. Your observations, type of pool environment and roughly the amount of time between breakdowns.

Pool owners, what say you? :?:

This cleaner has sort of intrigued me, the underside turbine paddles are unlike any other pool cleaner I've seen in decades, yet is sort of a "baby" robotic cleaner with vac side power assist. There was an updated gearbox put into this cleaner early 2013. The first generations were stripping gears. I'd like to hear any input about the later generations with the update about reliability and overall cleaning ability.

Can the Baracuda MX8 hold its own against the robust and reliable Poolvergnuegen and Navigator? Or is it just the pool equivalent of a Range Rover; looks good, but always breaking and in the shop.

TSH Tech

Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

Postby TSH Tech » Sat 25 May, 2013 00:11

Before I begin, I want to say that what is said here is just my opinion as a pool service tech in the industry, Zodiac had no influence though I suspect their prying eyes are viewing this thread for unsolicited feedback. :lol:

First Impressions: Good cleaner, I like it. Different, but I like it. :thumbup:

I had an opportunity to install a Baracuda MX8 in a clients pool and if you can imagine, I had great enthusiasm to see how this new, and mixed reviewed pool robot cleaner would perform. When I say mixed review, roughly half of the people that supply feedback to their purchasing web site hate this cleaner and call it junk. The other half love this cleaner and say it was the best money spent. Ok? 50/50 chance, so here we go!

The pool chosen for this cleaner was a perfect real-world pool. If you were a pool service tech and came to this pool to clean it, it would need a good vacuum and a Leaf Mastering. Or a good all day session with a full sized pool auto robot. This pool had a layer of silt and pollen on the pool floor in addition to a light assortment of small shrub-like leaves. A palm tree nearby deposited some long shaped debris in the pool. I dropped the MX8 in this pool as is to see what it could do, if it was going to choke and lock up during cleaning, this was the pool it was going to happen. By all accounts this pool really needed the Polaris or Letro JetVac pool sweeps due to its medium leaf deposits, but the client insisted on a vac type to replace the aged and dead Hayward Navigator. The MX8 cleaned this pool! Even I was shocked. The pool’s timer is set for an 11 hour runtime, it took 3 filter(cartridge) cleanings and only one episode of locking up the cleaner. You guessed it, the palm tree long stringy matter wrapped itself around the engine assembly and put the MX8 to a halt. But then again, any stringy palm tree matter would have stopped a Navigator and Pool’n’grooven. Out of the box on its first day, the MX8 conquered this dirty pool.

Pump: 1 hp single speed
Filter: 138 sq ft ‘Silver Bullet’ cartridge
Control: Dedicated Jandy valve for skimmer, side-wall vac

Calibrating flow rates
If you follow like the manual says, you use the included flow meter to set your flow rate. Which is good until the filter loads up then the MX8 comes to a screeching halt. I think this is the part where online buyers write and gripe about the MX8 not moving and piece of junk and so on and so forth. Let me say this, some of the other brand vacs can get away with smaller cartridge filters and ¾ horsepower pumps, but the MX8 really does need a larger filter to work and a little more robust pump to keep this thing moving even during a loaded up filter. On my test pool, soon as the filter loaded up, it stopped. Just for fun, I moved the Jandy valve to get a little more suction and the MX8 started moving again. For this pool, I will keep the Jandy valve set at the loaded up setting to ensure the cleaner does keep moving until the pressure ultimately reaches 25psi for cleaning.

Algae and wall cleaning
It does climb the walls. On my client’s pool, there was a spell of yellow algae on the walls. The MX8 paddles were able to swirls it right off the walls. Now I realize there are two types of adhesive yellow algae, one type that comes off very easily and the nasty embedded type that takes a wire brush to break loose off the plaster. The MX8 like the rest of the vacs will get the easy stuff off just as effectively.
PHOTO: You can see the soiled areas versus the clean paths the MX8 has made
PHOTO: Despite the slimy yellow algae walls, it climbed and cleaned
PHOTO: It doesn't suck air when it gets to the top, at some point it either drops back down when it reaches the tile or does a turn and then works its way down again.

Kids and the MX8
Over the years, I’ve seen the damage kids can do playing with pool sweeps. The most notorious is tying up the Polaris hose in a knot because it’s in the way or putting the Navigator on the deck because it’s in the way and the pump is sucking air the whole time. No, seriously, they do this! The MX8 is not the kind of cleaner you want to put in a pool that has kids that love to play with the cleaners. Once the kids see this thing resembles a toy tractor or Tonka toy, the MX8 is done for. The little wheels, tracks and paddles are fragile and will break. Being one of the more expensive cleaners, this is meant for the adult pool where it can be respectfully left alone. Even for me, pulling this thing out of the water, I learned right away to grab the handle in the back, as grabbing it anywhere else could break something.

Leaf jams
All pool vac’s jam with leaves and other hard little objects. Some jam worse than others and are difficult to get to, like those diaphragm types and the occasional rock or acorn that jams up the Navigator turbine. The MX8 has the easiest access to un-jam the cleaner. I laugh, because in a way, it reminds me changing the toner on a personal HP printer, where you push the button and the lid pops up. Pretty simple to clear and put it back into action. I don’t know why people that write in and complain that the MX8 jams too much and is a piece of junk, at what point do they realize maybe a vac wasn’t the best option for their leaf magnet pool? Boggles the mind.
PHOTO: The YouTube videos drive me crazy showing their nice, squeaky clean pretty pristine pools and the MX8 moving around. Well that's nice, but does it pick up dirt! and leaves! Here, the MX8 gulped down this pile of leaves effortlessly. You can see the clean trails in the back ground.

Using Your Old Leaf Catcher
I will admit, I’m not too fond of the lock-hose, but the bag of adapters that comes with it will let you use your existing leaf catcher. If you use the blue 45 degree lock elbow, you’re going to suck air when the canister bobs up and down in the water. The blue elbow was designed for under water adaptation. Use the Flowkeeper valve and you’re in business.
PHOTO: Out of the box, you can use your existing Hayward leaf catcher without having to buy any additional adapters as shown here.

Final Impressions
Upon picking this MX8 up from our supplier, I was told this was the updated version that had the gearbox fix. Not sure if Zodiac has a way to identify which is which, but that sort of info would be helpful to those of us out in the field. This sweep performed very well in a dirty pool, if I discount that palm tree string object jam, this sweep has performed flawlessly in the dirty pool. In my personal opinion, if a pool is equipped with a small pump and a small filter, it’s probably not going to do well, which most likely explains the hate-mail in the online reviews. A strong pump and a large filter, this thing will definitely zoom along effortlessly. If you were to ask me about reliability, it’s too early to tell. Poolvergnuegen is the reigning champion of pool vac reliability, I’ve seen one go almost 4 years without needing any repairs only changing the tires. Poolvergnuegen has earned that spot. The Zodiac MX8 will have to cut its teeth in this industry to see how it pans out in the arena of pool vac robots. Just what I've seen so far, I'm impressed by the MX8 :thumbup:
TSH Tech

Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

Postby TSH Tech » Fri 30 Aug, 2013 00:49

** Product Update Note **

Spoke with the Zodiac representative today, as of this time stamp, and he stated that the MX8 will include another feature update to newer models. That update is a built-in flow control at the hose connector attachment on the MX8 cleaner itself. The purpose of this is to work with variable speed pumps that operate on their highest speed, allowing bypass to not damage the cleaner. I speculate that this feature will eliminate the suction collaboration steps with the included suction meter. This will possibly allow pool owners to quite literally plug it in and let it go on its cleaning mission.

Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

Postby DAVID G » Fri 11 Oct, 2013 02:26

It Is rubbish , i have been through 3 off them !
The MX-8 looks great and its different robot look attracts attention but im being totally honest here , every little twig or leak stalk that gets sucked up either jams inside or it scores the inside components creating damage that just gets worse until the machine cant operate.

I tried 3 different units hoping that they were defective and one would work great but sadly not. I then opted to try the Kreepy Tiger shark , the more conventional type pool cleaner and it works really well. Sadly the more expensive MX-8 had the looks and was impressive when it drove around bad it is a very temperamental and too sensitive.
THS Tech

Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

Postby THS Tech » Sat 12 Oct, 2013 00:40

That's most unfortunate David, like all things, there is no silver bullet that will work for everything, at every instance.

As a pool pro, I always recommend qualifying every pool cleaner for the swimming pool it will be placed into, as leaves and other dropping factors will push out certain cleaners for the very reason you brought up.

Zodiac Baracuda MX8 Thread

Postby Guest » Sun 26 Jan, 2014 13:44

Junk !!!! in the shop more than in my pool You want to trouble shoot Look at the video here shows you how to replace the drive So it still does not move lots of suction BUT sits like the dud it is !!!! again JUNK!!!

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