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Thread: Automation electrical question

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    Automation electrical question

    Background
    This year looking to add a SWG but am now looking to jump to one of the integrated SWG/Automation systems for the minimal price difference and the potential added convenience. These systems are way overkill for my simple pool.

    I don't have a load center/subpanel on my pad and it won't be easy to wire for one. The pool has dedicated branch circuits from the main panel. 220V for the Pump and a separate 120V for the one light. Currently at the pad is a main disconnect for the 220V which feeds a timer then to the pump. The 120V circuit feeds through a wall switch inside the house then to the pool light. I "think" it would be very difficult to pull a neutral to convert the existing 220V circuit at the pad into a true subpanel.

    Here is my question.
    If my needs are simple any reason I can't just bypass the loadcenter function and wire my dedicated branch circuits directly to the automation system to enjoy the relay controls (with remote control) and also feed the SWG? I understand I would be prohibiting future expansion a subpanel allows.

    My needs are simple. Have a 2 speed pump to control on a schedule and a single pool light which could but wouldn't need to go through the system. I could simply go with a standalone SWG but I would really like to be able to control the pump schedule via a smartphone or similar which points to the automation system.

    I was looking at either the Pentair EasyTouch system or the Hayward Aquaplus system. Although it looks like the control panel on the Hayward system may only work with a 120V input?

    Any thoughts or help greatly appreciated.
    ~15k gal oasis shape, IG vinyl, 2 speed superflow 1HP ~6' above pool level, pentair TA60D 60GPM/325# sand, built 2004, intermatic 1353 and stenner chlorine injection pump, dolphin robot, and a filthy light niche

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    All the automation systems require 120 V AC somewhere.

    Look while technically you do not need a subpanel for your pool and what you are describing is allowed under the NEC its bad practice. All power near the pool should run thru a single subpanel with less than 6 breakers which acts as a disconnect for the pool. I'd strongly advise running a neutral through that conduit serving your pump and replacing the disconnect with a panel. You can then run the automation, pump and pool light off of that. I know that may not be totally simple. Hopefully you have conduit all the way back to the main panel.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Where is the breaker panel for the pool now? Why not put the new control panel close to it so you don't have to pull new wires too far. There is nothing that says that the new sub-panel has to go right next to the equipment although it is probably more convenient. But since you are planning for smart phone control, does it really matter?

    As for what you suggested, my thoughts are that probably doesn't meet code but you could check with your local building department. I think all sub-panels need both ground and neutral.
    Mark
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    Re: Automation electrical question

    I second gwegan's advice.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    All the automation systems require 120 V AC somewhere.
    The EasyTouch can be wired to run off of 220 VAC only. I agree it would make sense to have the ground so that you can have a 120 Volt outlet, but it is not a requirement for the EasyTouch to run.

    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.
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    Re: Automation electrical question

    So I did some digging around and I may have a couple options.

    1. Would be to use a combination of the existing wiring to feed the panel. Basically decommissioning the 120v run from the main panel and use its neutral wire with the 2 lines from the 240. All lines are 12g. The 240 breaker is a 20a. I think it's ok to do this accepting that the max capacity of the new subpanel will be limited by the feed. Plenty for my needs but couldn't add to much to the subpanel... I think it's clear from a code perspective though?

    2. Would be to try and pull larger conductors from the main panel but it looks risky I think it's a continous shot between boxes but there is likely 3 90s along the way with out un coupling anything. The path is shared by some other outside wiring. . The less I have to disrupt the better.
    ~15k gal oasis shape, IG vinyl, 2 speed superflow 1HP ~6' above pool level, pentair TA60D 60GPM/325# sand, built 2004, intermatic 1353 and stenner chlorine injection pump, dolphin robot, and a filthy light niche

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    There is no requirement that the neutral share the same conduit or raceway as the power. So you are ok there. How far is the pool pad from the service entrance panel? 20 amps is very very tight for a pump. I'd want larger wire and breakers so its not so tight and you have room for the margarita machine.

    I'd go back and look at your conduit again. There should be no more than 180 between pull boxes. You might want to insert a pull box or two in the run.

    I should also state that I can't find anything that says how to run an Easy Touch, or any other automation, without a neutral wire
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    The neutral should share the same conduit or raceway as the power, but that is not absolutely required. NEC 300.6 (I). So you are sort of ok there not the best but arguably ok. How far is the pool pad from the service entrance panel? 20 amps is very very tight for a pump. I'd want larger wire and breakers so its not so tight and you have room for the margarita machine.

    I'd go back and look at your conduit again. There should be no more than 180 between pull boxes. You might want to insert a pull box or two in the run.

    I should also state that I can't find anything that says how to run an Easy Touch, or any other automation, without a neutral wire, but I may be missing something.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    something else to consider in this scenario. Depending on how your local authority views pools, you may want to do the sub panel. In my area, the local authorities view pools as separate structures and thus you can have no more that 1 circuit running to it from another structure. (1 circuit in this case can be a MWBC, two hots, one neutral and one ground as long as the two hots are on opposite legs and handle tied in the feeding panel)

    How big is the conduit running to the pool now? If it is at all possible, I would try to at least upgrade to a 240 volt 30 amp circuit with a neutral wire to give you the option of 120.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    LOL nothing is ever easy... especially with pools and worse with boats. Reminds me of when I helped my dad replace a faucet in a >100yr old home once.. Dad always said start at the sink and end at the street after that. I think we ended up replacing all the plumbing in the house all the way to the street to fix that leaky faucet. ---> today... install a SWG... start at the pad end at the panel.

    1st off I really appreciate the insight and ability to bounce this off a few folks and to keep me on track. THANK YOU.

    I'm to the point that "if" I do this I'll do it right and not any funny business.

    To answer some questions.

    The existing neutral does share the conduit. Both pool circuits are in the same 3/4" conduit. The main panel that is feeding the pad is probably 40' of wire away.. like 30' plus bends etc. It's basically just on the other side of the foundation wall down the house a bit. Unfortunately, 95% of the conduit run is in finished ceiling/wall.. In the electrical closet the ceiling is open so I can see a little bit of what's going on. I can see 2 bends right in the closet ceiling area there would have to be another to go to the box outside the wall. So that's 270 worth of bends. There is a coupler above the panel that if pulled apart would bypass one of the bends for pulling ease but messy. Next step would be to see if I can push something through. Not saying any of this is right but it's what I have to work with. Pool/house was built around 2004. In general the electrical in the home is very robust but the pool seems a bit lacking here. I've got 2 - 200A service panels. That said from what I can see although not huge overkill the dedicated 20A/12g circuit to the pump appears fully adequate for my pump which is only rated a max of about 6A. But I agree that's not subpanel appropriate.

    That said there is plenty of room for the margarita machine.. not to worry. I have multiple patio/deck/outdoor outlets in the pool adjacent area. Also looks like the 120V Hot for the pool light just takes a turn in the outside box to another conduit that I assume would just land at the inside switch, basically down and back to hit the switch by the patio door. Always fun to reverse engineer someone else's stuff. It would be certainly nice to have a small panel out there as it could simplify some landscape lighting I'm considering.
    ~15k gal oasis shape, IG vinyl, 2 speed superflow 1HP ~6' above pool level, pentair TA60D 60GPM/325# sand, built 2004, intermatic 1353 and stenner chlorine injection pump, dolphin robot, and a filthy light niche

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Quote Originally Posted by zamboniman View Post
    LOL nothing is ever easy... especially with pools and worse with boats. Reminds me of when I helped my dad replace a faucet in a >100yr old home once.. Dad always said start at the sink and end at the street after that. I think we ended up replacing all the plumbing in the house all the way to the street to fix that leaky faucet. ---> today... install a SWG... start at the pad end at the panel.
    Been there - done that - got the T-shirt...several times

    Quote Originally Posted by zamboniman View Post
    The existing neutral does share the conduit. Both pool circuits are in the same 3/4" conduit.
    Tell us all of the wires in that conduit. The 240 circuit should be two hots (black red). The 120 should be 1 black, 1 white. There also needs to be a separate ground wire.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    Been there - done that - got the T-shirt...several times



    Tell us all of the wires in that conduit. The 240 circuit should be two hots (black red). The 120 should be 1 black, 1 white. There also needs to be a separate ground wire.
    Yes. 8 Conductors currently. This run feeds some various outdoor things off the back of the house that aren't connected to the house like exterior wall outlets.

    The pump circuit
    Red hot 12g
    Black hot 12g

    The light circuit
    Brown Hot (brown in this case) 12g
    White Neutral 12g

    240 Circuit for waterfront irrigation pump (30A gfci)
    Red hot 10g
    Blk hot 10g

    120v circuit for waterfront outlets (30A gfci)
    Blue hot 10g
    White hot 10g

    No grounds as in my neck of the woods all residential electrical is in EMT and its local practice to not pull a separate ground but rather use the EMT. Right or wrong.. preference or not that's the way it is in these parts. That said at the exterior box where the conduit penetrates the exterior wall it converts to PVC and goes underground where it resurfaces at the pool pad. At that exterior box a ground is there but I need to go back and determine where that originates.. possibly right there at the box.

    The fill ratio will get tight quick with larger conductors but looks acceptable. I would obviously have to pull the existing 12's out and replace with the larger. And yes could use them to assist with the pulling in the process. In theory it looks like I could pull 3 8's (2hot,1neutral) to the new panel along with the existing 4 10's for the other circuits. I shiver at the thoughts of trying to pull 3 8's though. I can hear the cuss words now as I take something that is well enough and cause myself a headache. Maybe I'll just haul the chlorine LOL.
    ~15k gal oasis shape, IG vinyl, 2 speed superflow 1HP ~6' above pool level, pentair TA60D 60GPM/325# sand, built 2004, intermatic 1353 and stenner chlorine injection pump, dolphin robot, and a filthy light niche

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    Re: Automation electrical question



    I probably would too. It won't take that much in that size of pool.
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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Chicago the magical land of EMT everywhere!

    From the main to subpanel I believe you have to have an insulated ground wire. That's somewhere in 680.25 if I remember correctly. 680.25 is confusing.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Keep in mind the NEC is a standard and not a legal statute or regulation, although many localities do adopt most of the recommendations as regulations. So just because something is in the NEC code, does not mean it is a local regulation and just because something is not in the NEC code does not mean you can ignore it. It is always best to check with your local building department to know for sure if you need something or don't need something. If you permit the work, then you can be assured it is up to code to pass.


    For Illinois:

    There is no statewide adoption of the NEC. The state adopted the 2008NEC statewide effective July 1, 2011 for non-building code jurisdictions. The following local jurisdictions have adopted the 2008 NEC: Bloomington, Danville, Decatur, Glenn Ellyn, Mattoon, Normal, Rock Island, State of Illinois Capital Development, Washington.
    Mike Holt NEC Adoption List
    Mark
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    Re: Automation electrical question

    Actually in Illinois it's more confusing than Mike Holt reports. Chicago and many of its suburbs require EMT in all residential applications. In other words metal conduit in all residences. No Romex. As the op pointed out because it's all metal conduct they generally don't use ground wires.

    Which poses a problem because the NEC generally requires insulated grounds for pools. Which means one should have a talk with the inspector before you start.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Automation electrical question

    I have done installations where the inspector requires an insulated ground to a sub panel and where I have been asked why I used one. (nothing in the code says you can't use an insulated ground) Since it can be real confusing and knowing the ability for conduit connections to lose continuity, I always pull an insulated ground from the main to anything related to the pool including the sub panel. Of course, here, I don't use metal underground or outdoors.

    As Gwegan suggested, it is best to ask your local inspector what he wants to see. If you have questions regarding what he wants, diplomatically, ask him to show you in the code book the code section requiring or banning it.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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