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Thread: What do YOU use automation for?

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    What do YOU use automation for?

    I've been reading up on automation and am trying to justify the price of investing. I don't think I'm going with a vs pump and won't have an attached spa. Sure I'll have a heater, but I assume I will be home when I decide I want to heat the pool for a swim. I would like to know what YOU use your automation for, in an effort to convince myself to invest. Thanks in advance for your experiences.

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I use it to schedule run times for my pump, switch between pool and spa, turn my heater on and off and also set temperatures, control my 3 intellibright LED lights, control landscape lighting, control my Stenner pump and much more. I have an Easy Touch 8 system along with ScreenLogic so I can control all functions from my PC or tablet/phone both Apple and Android. Soon will be getting a VS pump and my system will control that, too.
    38000 Gal, IG, Plaster, 20' x 40' x 10', Attached Raised Spa, Intelliflo VS 3 HP (011018), Pentair Quad DE 60 Filter, Raypak (Rheem) 400,000 BTU (407a low Nox), Easy Touch 8 upgrade, Screenlogic 2 with wireless, IS-4 Spa Side Remote, Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15 gal tank, Intellibrite 5g (3), Dolphin Triton Plus robot with PRO remote, Water Tech Catfish handheld vacuum for spa, TF100 with SpeedStir.

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Sounds like having more features really makes it worth it. Essentially it's a master remote control so I wouldn't have to go to the pad to switch settings.
    Coming soon: 16x35 14,000 Gal. Freeform IG Fiberglass, Aquarite SWG, 425 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter, 250K "H" Series, 1.5 HP Pump

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I look at my pool as more of a hobby, or luxury, rather than an investment. I did not buy my EasyTouch System because it made financial sense, but then again none of my other hobbies ever did either.

    I do not "need" an EasyTouch, but would buy another one today if this one broke. Here a some of the things that make it worthwhile to me..

    1. Serves as my poolside Circuit Breaker panel.
    2. Takes the place of timers and timer boxes
    3. Make it possible to control my Pentair SWCG in finer increments.
    4. Allows me to have external control over my Pentair VS pump.
    5. Allows me to have an externally controlled pool light
    6. Provides me with a GFI duplex output.
    7. Provides freeze control
    8. Provides automated valve control
    9. Lets we have the ability to control landscape lighting
    10. Lets me access and controls functions from my PC
    11. Lets me push a button to add water to my pool.
    12. Provides a clean looking installation.

    I've been to several pools in the local area where the owners did not have automation. The owners were happy and the pools worked fine. The one thing I did notice is that almost all of them had a hodgepodge of circuit breaker panels, timer, and outlets that appeared to have been added over the years. Something that I did not want to see at my pool.

    ROI = None. Pleasure Rating = 10 out of 10.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I don't have a Spa, or LED lighting, and the cost of the Automation compared to the whole build is peanuts. It's well worth it to have schedules, remote operation of everything, and being able to do it all at the tip of your fingers. It's a no-Brainer when you're talking about spending this kind of money anyway. IMHO...
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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Max, I understand where you are coming from. We haven't pulled the plug on automation, either. Would it give me more pleasure than, say, a new teak sectional with Sunbrella cushions for the patio? Because the costs would be comparable.
    My Pool Build (2015): inground 12K gals gunite/plaster pool, SWG, 2-speed pump, cartridge filter, gas heater, and polaris cleaner (Jandy). TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTheCharger View Post
    I've been reading up on automation and am trying to justify the price of investing. I don't think I'm going with a vs pump and won't have an attached spa. Sure I'll have a heater, but I assume I will be home when I decide I want to heat the pool for a swim. I would like to know what YOU use your automation for, in an effort to convince myself to invest. Thanks in advance for your experiences.
    How crazy do you want to get with this? I use HomeSeer and though I don't use the plug-in, they have one for pool controllers. This is sort of the Swiss Army Knife of home automation..... some assembly required.

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Helen203 View Post
    Max, I understand where you are coming from. We haven't pulled the plug on automation, either. Would it give me more pleasure than, say, a new teak sectional with Sunbrella cushions for the patio? Because the costs would be comparable.
    I am still very much on the fence after reading your post, although Patrick almost had me convinced, lol. It may come down to whether I value convenience or another tangible item more.

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    How crazy do you want to get with this? I use HomeSeer and though I don't use the plug-in, they have one for pool controllers. This is sort of the Swiss Army Knife of home automation..... some assembly required.
    This seems pretty cool although I'm not sure how easy it would be to sync with the pool equipment. I know sticking with the same brand would be the ideal situation regarding automation.
    Coming soon: 16x35 14,000 Gal. Freeform IG Fiberglass, Aquarite SWG, 425 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter, 250K "H" Series, 1.5 HP Pump

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    We're under construction, but, for me, the plan is to use it as a simple timer to run the pool and spa as needed to generate chlorine (SWG) and filter the water. Other than that, I am doing the iAqualink so that if I am sitting at work in the afternoon and want to use the spa later, I can turn it on and have it ready when I get home. We're doing a heat pump, so, it will take a while to heat up.

    At my old house, I had a simple pool with no features. A timer served my needs just fine there to filter the water.

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I am actually working on developing a automation package for pools, though I am quite a ways from a commercially viable product at this point. For me automation adds the ability to fine tune pump times, automate the pool lights each night, freeze protection if the temperature drops, and generally relax about the pool. I don't currently have a spa or heater, so I don't need valve automation. Integration with my current salt water generator will be limited to turning it on and off at first, though I intend to either broaden that integration or include a SWG control as an option on the final product. The reason I am looking into developing a unit is that my current automation unit (iAquaLink) is that 1) its expensive and 2) it is built in a way that an internet connection is required to control the pool. If the internet were to go down I would not be able to adjust the pool. Not a big worry, but something I think should not be done the way it is.

    I am very interested in the answers above and hopefully other responses as it helps me prioritize development. My hope is to offer a few test units to DIY'ers here on TFP to help me beta test the units as development continues.
    - Matrioux

    2007 18K pebble IG pool - Wincor Pool Systems automation & SWG (under development) - DE Jandy DEL60 Filter - Jandy 1HP Pump - TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Quote Originally Posted by OrlandoBull View Post
    We're under construction, but, for me, the plan is to use it as a simple timer to run the pool and spa as needed to generate chlorine (SWG) and filter the water. Other than that, I am doing the iAqualink so that if I am sitting at work in the afternoon and want to use the spa later, I can turn it on and have it ready when I get home. We're doing a heat pump, so, it will take a while to heat up.

    At my old house, I had a simple pool with no features. A timer served my needs just fine there to filter the water.
    Thanks for your reply...I am seeing that automation really isn't a necessity, but it makes having a pool much more convenient and easier. I have been pretty much convinced I want to go with some type of automation, but all of the options and specs seem to be very confusing and it's hard to get a clear answer. Yes, it's great to know what is possible with automation, but getting answers on the how, and the specific details is lacking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matrioux View Post
    I am actually working on developing a automation package for pools, though I am quite a ways from a commercially viable product at this point. For me automation adds the ability to fine tune pump times, automate the pool lights each night, freeze protection if the temperature drops, and generally relax about the pool. I don't currently have a spa or heater, so I don't need valve automation. Integration with my current salt water generator will be limited to turning it on and off at first, though I intend to either broaden that integration or include a SWG control as an option on the final product. The reason I am looking into developing a unit is that my current automation unit (iAquaLink) is that 1) its expensive and 2) it is built in a way that an internet connection is required to control the pool. If the internet were to go down I would not be able to adjust the pool. Not a big worry, but something I think should not be done the way it is.

    I am very interested in the answers above and hopefully other responses as it helps me prioritize development. My hope is to offer a few test units to DIY'ers here on TFP to help me beta test the units as development continues.
    I think you are on to something great. As I said above getting clear concise answers regarding automation is difficult so this is something I think you should focus on as well. One of the difficulties I am having in my research is what specific pump to use, and what the different capabilities are with the different pumps when using automation. In addition, which automation system to get when trying to accommodate a certain setup, and possibly planning for the future. It would be great to set up a automation system that could be interchangeable with the different brands. Pool companies would probably push back because they want their specific automation system to be purchased. Keep us updated on your progress as it sounds very interesting.
    Coming soon: 16x35 14,000 Gal. Freeform IG Fiberglass, Aquarite SWG, 425 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter, 250K "H" Series, 1.5 HP Pump

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    The Homeseer plugin is compatible with both Pentair Intellitouch or EasyTouch controllers and Jandy/Zodiac controllers. Thus, the pool/spa can be controlled by telephone, voice, and/or Internet. May be good reference material, but I have no personal experience with the plug-in. Joining their forum may give you access to user guides and screen shots.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    No automation for us either. If you spend a little more on a VS pump it will give you the ability to set timers for pump run times, control the waterflow and eliminate the time clock. We do have a solar controller to control the solar panels which is a necessity for solar IMO.

    A pump like the Superflo would work great, Pentair SuperFlo VS Pump 342001 | Pentair 342001
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    The Homeseer plugin is compatible with both Pentair Intellitouch or EasyTouch controllers and Jandy/Zodiac controllers. Thus, the pool/spa can be controlled by telephone, voice, and/or Internet. May be good reference material, but I have no personal experience with the plug-in. Joining their forum may give you access to user guides and screen shots.
    Thanks for that heads up about homeseer - one of my biggest issues is talking to equipment that already exists, especially SWG and variable speed pumps. If others have already mapped out the communication protocols it would allow me to integrate current equipment instead of having to produce a full line of compatible equipment. The disadvantage of the homeseer solution is that you already have to have one of the over-priced controllers (Jandy or Pentair etc, not a comment about homeseer pricing models), I'm hoping to eliminate that.
    - Matrioux

    2007 18K pebble IG pool - Wincor Pool Systems automation & SWG (under development) - DE Jandy DEL60 Filter - Jandy 1HP Pump - TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matrioux View Post
    ....you already have to have one of the over-priced controllers (Jandy or Pentair etc, not a comment about homeseer pricing models), I'm hoping to eliminate that.
    My bad..... for not mentioning that there are plug-ins for RaspberryPi and Arduino....

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I don't have a sophisticated automation system. I just have a simple X-10 remote that operates three switches. Two are for my pool and spa lights. The other switch turns on the pump and heater for my spa. Since the spa is on a second dedicated pump loop, the valves are all preset to spa mode, no actuators needed.

    My main pool pump is a Pentair Inteliflow, and is preprogrammed with several speed changes throughout the day to, clean, chlorinate and circulate. In addition I have a solar controller that will ramp up the speed and open the solar valve anytime heat is called for and available. I'm not sure how much control I would gain with a complete automation system. I guess I could raise and lower the temp setting on the solar and the spa or activate a manual cleaning cycle, but that seems like small peanuts for the cost and complexity of a full automation system.
    chiefwej
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    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I totally understand where you're coming from. There are no simple solutions for the bells and whistles. I just found out with Hayward along with the automation system, an antenna, and also another system for remote connectivity (depending on the system) is needed. Then depending what you are trying to automate (e.g. swcg, led lights etc.) other items may need to be purchased.
    Coming soon: 16x35 14,000 Gal. Freeform IG Fiberglass, Aquarite SWG, 425 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter, 250K "H" Series, 1.5 HP Pump

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Don't forget to count how many valve actuators you will need. I only have one for the solar and was surprised what it cost when I had to replace it.

    The fact that I don't have automation is an intentional decision on my part. I chose to keep it simple. One timer for the SWG, a solar controller connected to one valve actuator, the built in VS pump controller and the X-10 remote operating three switches, for lights and spa, provide all the automation I really need.

    My pump comes on in the morning, runs two full cleaning cycles on the in floor system then SWG comes on, pump shifts to a lower speed to chlorinate the pool for several hours and finally SWG off, pump to a very low speed until late night for extra filtration. If heat is called for and available, the solar control ramps up the speed of the pump and opens the valve to the solar panels. That all happens automatically. To use my spa or control lights I have a simple remote with just three switches, spa, pool lights, spa lights. Pretty simple, but it works.

    In addition to the cost, added complexity and added potential vulnerability of a sophisticated system, add the factor that it is easy to lose track of exactly how everything works. I have a neighbor who just knows which button to push for a feature and has little to no understanding of what each valve in his system operates. When something doesn't work at the touch of a button he's completely lost.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    I'm back on the fence regarding the issue...I just got off of the phone with Hayward and there is a lot of other items that need to be purchased besides the actual automation. As a matter of fact all of their automation devices need to have a separate antenna purchased in order to use them remotely which is crazy because that's how they are marketed. No wonder why you chose to keep it simple.
    Coming soon: 16x35 14,000 Gal. Freeform IG Fiberglass, Aquarite SWG, 425 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter, 250K "H" Series, 1.5 HP Pump

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    Re: What do YOU use automation for?

    Even as a home automation nut...... I'm going to have 2 relays: water pump off/on and Stenner off/on. Going far beyond that (IMHO) yields needle$$ complexity with dubious results.... YMMV.

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