Polaris Cleaners Troubleshooting Guide

Whether you own a Polaris 280, Polaris P825, Polaris 9550 Sport, or any of the other Polaris Cleaner models out there, we’re here to provide some answers when you’re troubleshooting. This guide should give you some more insight when you come across an issue with your Polaris Cleaner. As always, we encourage you to be safe when dealing with parts in order to avoid getting hurt or damaging a product permanently.

Issues Relating to All Polaris Cleaner Models

Issue: My cleaner is not picking up debris, is losing suction and/or the filter canister indicates it’s clogged or dirty when I know it’s not.

Possible Solution(s):

Fine debris may be collecting in your cleaner’s mesh. Follow these steps to determine if that’s the case.

  • Remove the filter canister and run the cleaner. If the cleaner performs well without the canister, fine debris may be coating the canister’s inside wall.
  • To clean the filter, use a soft brush or sponge, and a mild detergent to lightly scrub the filter until clean. Be sure to rinse the filter thoroughly with a hose.
  • If you live in a high-debris or high-pollen area, and continually notice that your cleaner isn’t performing efficiently, you can purchase filters with larger mesh so the fine debris can pass through.
  • If your pool was recently built, manually vacuum your pool to remove all construction debris before using the robotic cleaner. Fine construction dust, marble dusting, excess aggregates from patio pavers, tile and Pebble Tec finishes can clog the surface of your canister.

Alternatively, this issue could be caused by an improperly installed filter canister.

On the 9550/P955, 9450/P945 or 9350/P935, the canister’s lips must protrude from the bottom of the cleaner. Check that your canister is properly installed by pulling the canister out and reinserting it by following the grooves in the cleaner’s body. If the canister is installed right, it will slide in easily with little resistance and will sit comfortably in the cleaner’s cavity. If the canister’s lips are badly worn, the cleaner will not pick up debris, so be sure to purchase a replacement filter canister.

If you try all the above techniques and the cleaner is still showing blinking lights and error codes, the issue could be the propeller. Easily check the propeller by opening the cleaner lid and removing the filter canister. You will see a small grate. Remove the screw(s) and remove it. You can then carefully clean the propeller to remove debris or any trapped hair. CAUTION – the propeller is very sharp. If the error codes persist, visit your local dealer or pool service professional for a complete diagnostic check-up.

Issue: Why are there error codes and/or flashing lights on my cleaner’s control Unit?

Possible Solution(s):

Try this out first: If the flashing indicator light or error code appears right after you started your pool cleaner, reset the cleaner and select a new cycle by pressing the power button off/on and selecting the desired cleaning cycle.

If the flashing light or error code persists, this indicates that the cleaner has detected an issue, so you’ll want to check the following:

  • Check the cable connection on the control unit because it may not be plugged in correctly. Unplug the cable from the control unit and reinsert the cable. For 9550/P955, 9450/P945 or 9350/P935, make sure that the gap between the cable connector and the receiving end isn’t larger than the thickness of a nickel because this indicates a poor connection. If there is a gap, tighten the connection until secure. For the P825, the cable connection is correct when you hear a “CLICK.”
  • Make sure the cleaner is not being run on an extension cord because this can cause voltage loss issues that will prevent the unit from working properly. Remember that your robotic pool cleaner must be plugged into a GFCI-protected outlet.
  • Remove the filter canister and test if your cleaner runs properly without the filter canister. If it does, this can mean the filter mesh is clogged with fine debris such as algae, silt or dust that builds up on the inner mesh and restricts flow causing the cleaner to shut down to protect itself. Scrub the canister with a soft brush or sponge and mild detergent to eliminate buildup and then rinse the canister thoroughly with a hose.
  • If the cleaner is floating at the top of the pool, lift it from the pool and hold it vertical with the handle facing up and then push the cleaner into the water until it is fully under water. Hold and shake the cleaner slowly from side to side and watch the cleaner release air bubbles. Then let the cleaner sink toward the bottom of the pool.

If you try all the above techniques and the cleaner is still showing blinking lights and error codes, the issue could be the propeller. Easily check the propeller by opening the cleaner lid and removing the filter canister. You will see a small grate. Remove the screw(s) and remove it. You can then carefully clean the propeller to remove debris or any trapped hair. CAUTION – the propeller is very sharp. If persistent flashing lights appear during the cleaning cycle, this indicates that the cleaner has been ingesting air for at least 60 seconds and you will need to re-submerge the cleaner as described above.

If the error codes and flashing lights persist, bring the cleaner in to your local dealer or service professional for a diagnostic test.

Issue: My cleaner’s floating cable keeps tangling.

Possible Solution(s):

After each cleaning cycle, remove your cleaner from the pool and straighten the cable out on the pool deck for a few minutes. This will help eliminate any tangled memory from the cable. Then, unplug the cable from the control box and loop the cable loosely around the hook on your caddy, taking care not to over tighten the cable while looping as this can put undue stress on your cable connections.

It’s recommended that you place the caddy and control unit near the center of the pool deck during a cleaning cycle to limit the amount of cable floating in the pool. Be sure that the control unit is still positioned at least five feet from the pool’s edge.

Limit the amount of cable you throw into the pool because the less cable, the less chance for it to tangle. Feed just enough cable into the pool to allow the cleaner to reach the farthest end of the pool, plus three feet or so, and then lay the rest of the cable on the deck or hang it on the caddy.

If tangling persists, lay the cable out straight on the pool deck for a few hours to allow the cable to warm. This makes the cable material more pliable so any memory in the cable is removed by the sun’s heat. Running the cleaner mainly on the floor-only setting may also be recommended to reduce excessive cable tangling.

Issue: My cleaner isn’t climbing the walls.

Possible Solution(s):

For the P550/P955: The issue could be that the proper cleaning setting wasn’t selected. On a 9550/P955 the three cleaning options are “Floor Only,” “Floor and Wall,” or “Waterline Only.” You can cycle through settings by pressing the button below the floor and floor/wall LED area. Be aware that when you unplug your cleaner and plug it back in, it will default to the cleaning cycle you last selected. If you would like a different cycle, select it after you plug the unit back in.

Another possible cause of your cleaner not climbing walls could be hard-to-see fine debris collecting on the filter canister mesh.

For the 9450/P945 9350/P935 P825: The issue could be that the proper cleaning cycle wasn’t selected. Select a cleaning cycle by toggling between the two images near the bottom of your control unit. This button will cycle between “Floor Only” and “Floor and Wall” cleaning settings. Be aware that when you unplug your cleaner and plug it back in, it will default to the cleaning cycle you last selected. If you would like a different cycle, select it after you plug the unit back in.

Another possible cause of your cleaner not climbing walls could be hard-to-see fine debris collecting on the filter canister mesh.

Issues Relating to Polaris P825

Question: My cleaner isn’t reaching the waterline.

Possible Solution (s):

The issue could be that the proper cleaning cycle hasn’t been selected.

Select a cleaning cycle by toggling between the two images near the bottom of your control unit. The button cycles between “Floor Only” and “Floor and Wall” cleaning settings, so select the one that you want.

If the cleaner is in “Floor and Wall” mode but still is not reaching the waterline, you may need to increase the Surface Control System™ (SCS) Setting. Use the SCS button to adjust between four settings indicated by the amount of LED lights illuminated. 1 LED is the lowest SCS setting and 4 LEDs is the highest SCS setting. The SCS setting will help to ensure proper suction when climbing walls in order to reach the waterline. Do not set the SCS too high as this may cause the cleaner to suck air at the waterline and lose contact with the wall.

Question: My cleaner is sucking air at the waterline.

Possible Solution(s):

If the cleaner is sucking air at the waterline causing it to lose contact with the wall and float back to the floor, you may need to decrease the Surface Control System™ (SCS) Setting. Use the SCS button to adjust between four settings indicated by the amount of LED lights illuminated. 1 LED is the lowest SCS setting and 4 LEDs is the highest SCS setting. The SCS setting will help to ensure proper suction when climbing walls in order to reach the waterline.

If the cleaner is in the lowest SCS setting and it is still sucking air at the waterline, run the cleaner for a few cycles in Floor Only mode and then try the Floor and Wall setting again.

Question: I can’t get the filter and lid to fit back into the canister area.

Possible Solution(s):

The issue could be that the filter is being inserted backwards. Flip the orientation 180 degrees and see if the filter easily falls into the canister area.

If the filter seems to fit, but the lid will not lock into place, release the lid handle by pressing the Push’N’Go® button. This will allow the filter and lid to lower into the appropriate area. Then push down the handle to lock the filter and lid into place on the cleaner.

Question: The track fell off of my cleaner.

Possible Solution(s):

The issue may be that the cleaner got caught on an obstacle in the pool during a cleaning cycle causing the track to be pulled off. Check the water for any pool toys, rocks or large obstructions that can be removed.
Replace the track by stretching the track around the three wheels in a triangular shape. Make sure that the track is set UNDER the two bumpers on each side to ensure it is held in appropriately. While the track may still appear loose, this is ok.

If the track falls off multiple times and you notice it comes off of the same side, switch the tracks onto the opposite side and run the cleaner in Floor mode a few times before using it again in Floor and Wall mode.

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Rachel Godoy
Rachel enjoys talking pool shop and sharing her knowledge of the industry to anyone who's willing to listen. Aside from her love of pools, Rachel enjoys travelling the world, watching under the radar films, playing video games, and fostering animals of all kinds.