Solar Powered Robotic Pool Skimmer makes a splash
By Mick Webb
July 21, 2009
For many a pool owner, removing the assorted leaves, bugs and other foliage that finds its way into the water can be a drain on their time in the backyard. Enter the smart Solar Powered Pool Skimmer, which not only takes the elbow grease out of keeping the pool sparkling, but as the name suggests, adds the bonus of being powered by the sun.
Two solar panels sit on top of the skimmer collecting energy which is then stored in rechargeable NiMH batteries.
The device is driven by dual paddle wheels that collect debris and send it to the stainless steel filter as the skimmer makes its way around the pool. Four wheels on the side panels enable the unit to make turns and navigate around the often dirty pool perimeter.
The skimmer’s power levels are monitored by an internal microprocessor, and when they start to wane, the microprocessor prompts the unit to move around the pool in search of a “sunny spot” to recharge. Once this is located, the on board computer slows the rear paddle wheel. This allows the solar panels to collect the maximum amount of energy, after which time the cleaning process is returned to normal pace.
If the robotic skimmer becomes jammed or clogged with a particularly cumbersome piece of flotsam the paddlewheel’s rotational direction is reversed automatically, causing the offending item to be dislodged. In overcast weather or when evening arrives, the skimmer conserves energy by automatically reducing its speed and continuing to clean around the clock. A full charge is worth about eight hours of operating time.
The compact skimmer reduces power usage from traditional pool pumps, and can also house two slow release chlorine tablets that dissolve as the unit makes its way around the pool.
The Solar Powered Pool Skimmer is priced at approximately US$500.