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Thread: Finally Converted to Pool Pilot Digital SWG

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    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Southwestern Michigan
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    Finally Converted to Pool Pilot Digital SWG

    I finally converted to a SWG pool yesterday. We had our pool built about 12 years ago and we have always used the New Water Cycler paks and Frog Mineral pak as recommended by the pool builder. For those unfamiliar with the New Water paks, they are filled with tri-chlor tablets and for our installation would last several weeks (depending on weather, etc.). I would used dichlor granular and liquid chlorine, as needed and liquid acid to control high Ph. Over the past 5 years we have had increasing problems with high CYA due to the tri-chlor tablets and inconsistent levels of chlorine ppm. Trouble Free Pool has been a wealth of information for me over the last 3 years trying to better understand pool management. I know that many experts on TFP are proponents of liquid chlorine management, but that was simply not a fit for my lifestyle and desire for not watching chlorine levels daily (I may not be home every day). So, for three years I have studied the thought of SWG. I know that there are some who love it and others who don't. I did not make the conversion for cost. I estimate that the payback will be 3-5 years. I made the conversion primarily for ease of sanitation management (chlorine levels). Since I am just 24 hours from converting I cannot provide a testimonial to satisfaction of SWG vs. the New Water paks. Instead I can say that the conversion was rather simple and worked as the manual described. Three years ago I read many of the TFP threads on SWG conversion (pros and cons), products, etc. I also kept reading about Josh at SaltPoolGuys. Two years ago I first spoke to Josh about the conversion and again last year and almost made the change in 2014. After two episodes of cloudy water due to low chlorine while on weekly vacations last summer, I swore I would make the change this year. In April I ordered the Pool Pilot Digital/RC-42 from Josh at SaltPoolGuys. I delayed conversion until I used up my final New Water Pak. I did the entire conversion myself and it took about 5-6 hours for mounting the controller, electrical wiring and plumbing. Yesterday morning I was at our local big box store buying the electrical and plumbing parts on my list, started the conversion by noon and was finished about 5pm. I decided to buy Morton Pool Salt (for a few extra dollars vs. other salt, I didn't want to risk the conversion) and began dumping bags at 5pm. That salt dissolves almost immediately. At 7 pm I crossed my fingers and flipped on the circuit breaker. The Pool Pilot fired up with no problems (Yes!). I have wired my single speed pump through the Pool Pilot relay (included when purchased through Josh). I had to change the default program from external timer to single speed pump, hit the boost button and the pumped turned on (Yes!). Electrical was working and no plumbing leaks! I went through the entire installer programming menu to set to my likes and I was done. This morning I spent 15 minutes on the phone with Josh to ensure that all was working as expected. I could not see a change in chlorine levels since I purposely had my chlorine level high right before the conversion in case I had a problem and it was still high after the conversion. My RC-42 cell output is 30V/6.5A, which Josh confirmed was ideal and confirmed that the Pool Pilot was generating chlorine. My hope now is that I can sit back, enjoy the pool, eliminate the chlorine level problems, enjoy vacations without worrying about the pool and relax. I will know more in a few months or next summer. So, why this posting? If you have thought about SWG for awhile the DIY conversion process is not that difficult. I researched Pool Pilot and really felt good about their product (just my opinion and I am sure that there are other good SWG products). I absolutely can recommend Josh at SaltPoolGuys. He always answers the phone! He always gives you plenty of time! He always answers your questions confidently and without hesitation. If anyone has questions about my DIY experience, I am happy to reply.
    Modified mountain lake in-ground gunite pool with raised in-ground gunite children's/fountain pool, 24000 gallons, waterfall, fountain, jetted seating/table area, Sta-rite S8M150 modular media filter, Sta-rite Max-E-Therm 333HD LP heater, three Sta-rite Max-E-Glass U27-880 1 HP pumps (filtration, fountain, jets), Pool Pilot Digital SWG

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    Re: Finally Converted to Pool Pilot Digital SWG

    My only concern is if your CYA is still way high from all those years of puck use, you might still get problems if your CL level isn't kept above that CYA number. Please refer to the CYA-Chlorine chart in Pool School.

    Good job on the install! Gives me encouragement that when the time comes for us to renew our SWG Skippy will probably be able to handle it easily.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: Finally Converted to Pool Pilot Digital SWG

    Quote Originally Posted by Neal View Post
    I researched Pool Pilot and really felt good about their product (just my opinion and I am sure that there are other good SWG products). I absolutely can recommend Josh at SaltPoolGuys. He always answers the phone! He always gives you plenty of time! He always answers your questions confidently and without hesitation. If anyone has questions about my DIY experience, I am happy to reply.
    Thank you for the great review and recap of your installation. It was a pleasure working with you. Please call or e-mail me anytime you have a question. Always happy to help!
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Southwestern Michigan
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    Re: Finally Converted to Pool Pilot Digital SWG

    Thanks for your comment YippeeSkippy. I know that my CYA is high and that I need to dump water to lower it. I plan to do that at the end of this swim season when we winterize. I use the CYA-chlorine chart to set my FC goal with the higher than desired CYA. Next summer, with a lower CYA, I will be able to run at a lower FC level. I am now one month into my conversion and quite satisfied. No pool problems and we have just come through a couple of weeks of hot, humid Michigan weather, which is when I typically had cloudy water problems. Once again, I appreciate your comment.
    Modified mountain lake in-ground gunite pool with raised in-ground gunite children's/fountain pool, 24000 gallons, waterfall, fountain, jetted seating/table area, Sta-rite S8M150 modular media filter, Sta-rite Max-E-Therm 333HD LP heater, three Sta-rite Max-E-Glass U27-880 1 HP pumps (filtration, fountain, jets), Pool Pilot Digital SWG

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    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Southwestern Michigan
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    Re: Finally Converted to Pool Pilot Digital SWG

    Well, it has be just about one month since converting my pool to the Pool Pilot DIG220 and RC-42. Now that I have about one month experience, I can give my impressions:

    I already stated in my original post that I did the entire conversion myself. I am not an electrician or plumber, but have done simple wiring and PVC DIY jobs in the past. In summary, the conversion was fairly easy and took about 5 hours. I am sure an experienced pool person could have done it faster, but I took my time.

    I have had no problems with the Pool Pilot in the first month. It is working as advertised, no failures, no stoppage, etc. If anything it seems to work too well! More on that in a moment.

    I stated in my original post that I converted to SWG primarily for ease of maintenance. It seemed that if we were going to have a problem with our previous New Water/Frog tri-chlor pack setup, it was when we were away for a few days or a week. I did not convert for cost savings, although I do believe it will eventually be less expensive, after the initial pay back of the equipment. Lastly, I knew that I had high CYA (>100 ppm). This may have been part of my prior year problems with chlorine levels, but simply lowering the CYA by dumping water, and then continuing with the tri-chlor was continuing an ongoing cycle.

    So, now to my one month results and what I meant by it may be working too well. I purposely elevated my FC level to about 20ppm prior to the conversion to, hopefully, give me some time if I had problems during the conversion and had no water circulation. Fortunately, this didn't occur. I added enough salt to get to 3200ppm. I decided to run the Pool Pilot in Boost mode for about 48 hours after installation to make sure I had no chlorine problems. I was at power level 2. I didn't need to do this because my FC went up to 26ppm. All other TF-100 tests except CYA were in range (I won't list them) and Ph was 7.3 (little low, but I expected it to rise). In that first week I was having difficulty getting the FC to decrease. I continued at power level 2, decreased the purifier to 50%, pump runs 12 hours/day and I even decreased the purifier % to zero and finally got back to about 20ppm for FC. I spoke to Josh at SaltPoolGuys and I had already decided to go to power level 1, purifier at 40% and the pump continues to run 12 hours/day. I am now at 12ppm of FC/TC and it has been very consistent. I have checked the FC/CC/TC every day that I am home and the FC ranges from 11ppm to 13ppm. The Ph has increased to 7.5, which is where I would like it. I am now at power level 1, purifier at 35% and still 12 hours/day running the pump. I did have a concern that I may be running the Pool Pilot at too low of a level, but Josh confirmed that it was fine and should result in the cell lasting longer (I had purposely oversized with the RC-42 cell).

    In summary, after one month I could not be happier. During the past month we were away from the pool for a 5 day and a 4 day period with no problems. I don't expect the SWG conversion to be totally maintenance free, but I am not getting the inconsistent FC levels from before the conversion.

    Final two comments. I mentioned that I am at 3200ppm of salt. Obviously, I don't drink the pool water, but I can get a slight taste of salt on my lips. My wife likes the feel of the water, but I don't really notice a difference (I was already using a borate). My daughter tastes no salt, but my grandson (who lives in the water) immediately said it is salty. Lastly, I decided to add a zinc anode. I was planning to use one of the in-line anodes, but after reading many TFP posts on the subject decided to not put it in line. I bought a 1.5 pound zinc bar off of Amazon (about $6.50 including shipping), connected it to my bonded wires with the 8 gauge copper wire I had left over from the Pool Pilot installation and buried the zinc bar in moist soil outside the pool house. Josh said it was notnecessary and I suspect he is correct, but I thought $6 is cheap insurance.
    Modified mountain lake in-ground gunite pool with raised in-ground gunite children's/fountain pool, 24000 gallons, waterfall, fountain, jetted seating/table area, Sta-rite S8M150 modular media filter, Sta-rite Max-E-Therm 333HD LP heater, three Sta-rite Max-E-Glass U27-880 1 HP pumps (filtration, fountain, jets), Pool Pilot Digital SWG

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