Iíve developed a pool control system for my pool and am looking into the feasibility of marketing it. I currently have it controlling my pump and lights and am coming to you to ask how you use yours, what features I need to add to make it a viable product and if there is a market for competition with the major players in pool automation.
I now have control over single and 2 speed pumps as well as lighting (jandycolors light currently, but can easily program any power controlled light). The unit will also be able to control automatic valves that use the 24v three wire control interface.
I can easily add anything that is controlled though on and off but do not have communication protocols to talk with manufacturer specific smart equipment, though if anyone has a spec sheet for communication, I have the ability to interface with external equipment.
My next major addition is to work with an existing salt cell system using my controller. My hope is to select an existing manufactures cell, and control it directly from my unit. You would use my control unit and their cell, but not their controller. I had initially planned on the Jandy AquaPure unit as I liked their sensor puck and thought I could interface with it easily (and have one in my backyard). In reading the boards though it might be better to focus on a different cell (Hayward?) and design or source a flow/temp/salt sensor to go with it. I would extend a warranty to the cell, as I imagine using my controller with their cell would void their existing warranty.
As for working with the unit itself, it currently has a web interface that is available locally. The finished product would also have the ability to control from a manufactures portal, but NOT require it. This would allow you to securely monitor/control your pool from anywhere in the world without having to open a direct port on your firewall/router. Because it is a web based interface, it can easily be controlled from any phone/computer and has been designed with a small screen in mind.
My hope is to eventually have a line of automatic valves, VS Pumps, Salt Cell, etc. but for now I want to be able to control existing product so I can concentrate on bringing the item to market with most bang for the buck and the least amount of new equipment purchase for existing pools.
Here is where I need your help/advice:
- How do you use your automation equipment currently and what does it control?
- What current salt cell range would be the best to concentrate on utilizing?
- Is there room in the market for a lower priced controller that allows DIY installs?
- Do I need to develop a VS pump that I can communicate with, or is there a good one already on the market that has published/open communication protocols?
- If there is an option to upgrade to a touch screen on the unit itself, for pool service use or owner convenience, would you pay for that option? My research has led me to believe that adding a 7Ē touch screen duplicating the web interface would add around $100 - $150 to the cost.
- I donít have a pool heater, how do heaters work with automation controllers, is a simple on/off at given water temp acceptable, or do I need to communicate directly with the heater and if so, who has an open/published communications protocol?
Thanks for taking the time to read this!