I first want to thank everyone on this site who helped me embrace the TFP way! I thoroughly enjoyed returning $190 worth of pucks and shock to Sams Club and picking up $30 worth of bleach. You guys helped me turn my swamp into a very nice oasis. Unfortunately, before I found this site I had continued to use the above products trying to clear the water. After reading here and scrambling to get my TF100 kit, I was able to test CYA. I got something well over 100 so I did the dilution method (by 1/2) and got something in the 160 range.
I noticed some saying that this test is a little tricky to do at first and I have fallen into that demographic. I finally ordered the 50ppm CYA control kit from TFTestKits so I can try and fix my test method with a known CYA value of water.
I began testing the sample under bright florescent light with the cylinder at my waist and stopped when I didn't see the black dot anymore. The value was 80. I then went outside with the sun at my back and continued again until the black dot went away and the value was 60. I then turned to where the sun was shining through the cylinder and could still see an outline of dot just barely. I added again until it went away and I got something closer to 50 but still not quite.
So this tells me 1 of 2 things. Either the Control sample they sent is not right (I bet this isn't the case) or I didn't know what I was doing. Apparently you really need to have the sun to do this thing right. I then retested my water to the same method (still using the 1/2 diluted sample) and after doubling got something between 100 and 120. I would call it 110 but I know its definitely not the 160 I thought I had.
So another couple of partial drains should fix this. In the meantime, I'm keeping my FC between 8 and 12 (about 3/4 a jug a day) so the family can enjoy the sparking pool that you guys helped me to achieve.
I just wanted to share this to show others that you might need to get the 50CYA Control sample so you can verify your test method. That dot has got to be completely and totally gone. If you think you still see it, you may need to add another couple of drops.