Dolphin robotic cleaner which needs a “robotic finger” to operate

2 February 2020

I rent a house which has an absolutely brilliant robotic cleaner called a ‘Dolphin’. It works well except you have to switch it OFF, wait 20 seconds and then switch it ON again for it to operate.

Apparently the next model up has a bluetooth interface for many hundreds of dollars more. If I want that option, after the fact, I would have to replace the whole cleaner…not great news!!

I thus set-about making a “robotic finger” to mimic this action every day, at a set time.

I use the famous Raspberry Pi 3. The first version of the ‘Robotic finger’s was, ummm… unreliable mechanically, I thus redesigned it. It also has a camera which shows me that the pump is running and the LCD display of the Davis pH meter. The first version is shown below:

RS485 which communicates with the Zodiac variable speed filter pump. A relay which operates the mortice lock which pushes the touch panel ON and OFF switch of the pool cleaner – this is the ‘Robotic finger’. A relay also operates the master controllers input contact for the Zodiac (which is the most reliable method to start and run the pump)
The RPI 3 takes a photo everyday of the Davis pH meter and the indication of the pump master controller and publishes this photo to a Jekyll website

The ‘Robotic finger’ work-bench tested as follows:

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