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Thread: Cost Effective Salt System

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    dtrujillo63's Avatar
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    Cost Effective Salt System

    After a year with my new pool, I'm now toying with the idea of switching to salt. All of my pool equipment is Pentair with the exception of my Intermatic mechanical timer (T21004R). I don't use the timer in the Intermatic, it's really only being used as a power distribution panel since my IntelliFlow VS pump has a built in timer. With that said, I'm trying to find the most cost effective way to switch to salt. It's my understanding that if I want to add a Pentair SWG I will also have to invest in a power supply as well as an automation system. After some quick math, adding all of that would cost anywhere from $1500-$2000. Is there a more cost effective system out there, maybe one that is self contained with its own power and control system built-in? Also, I'm thinking the yellow area in the picture below would be a good place to add the SWG, thoughts?

    IMG_20150414_184701.jpg
    30 x 20 IG Play Pool + 7' Spa ~16K Gallons, French Gray Plaster, Pentair Intelliflow VS, Pentair CCP420, Pentair MasterTemp 400K Heater, Intellibrite LEDs.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    No automation system needed. My VS pump is wired to the breaker and my IC40 is wired to a timer. Works great, just make sure the times are synced up.
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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: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    No automation system needed. My VS pump is wired to the breaker and my IC40 is wired to a timer. Works great, just make sure the times are synced up.
    Good to know! So really I just need the power supply and SWG? Question on the mechanical timer, can I have more than one on/off schedule per 24 hours? I currently run my pump 4 hours in the morning, and 4 hours in the late evening.
    30 x 20 IG Play Pool + 7' Spa ~16K Gallons, French Gray Plaster, Pentair Intelliflow VS, Pentair CCP420, Pentair MasterTemp 400K Heater, Intellibrite LEDs.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Yes, power supply and cell. Yes, my Intermatic timer is mehanical and uses timer dogs.
    TFP Moderator
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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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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Cost Effective Salt System

    Well, if money is truly an issue, then I understand your reluctance. But, given your setup, a Pentair automation panel would "complete" your equipment pad. I know people always say, "Oh phooey! It's not hard to walk over to the pad and throw some valves and turn on the heater!!" But I say it's A LOT nicer and easier when you can do all that from the comfort of your home. I don't even have the full ScreenLogic package which allows you to manipulate your pool through your cell phone and I couldn't imagine my pool without automation. I'm very glad I have it and it's worked flawlessly for me for years now.

    You can certainly do it all through mechanical timers if you want, but automation really ties a nice bow on it all.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    While pooldv is absolutely correct... but, ..... here is the rest of the story..

    An IC40 and power supply run about $870 at Sunplay. Keep in mind that you will only be able to change % of output in 20% increments. And, you have to have two timers that are synced together, time wise. Will this work, absolutely!!

    But... if you add the EasyTouch 4 with IC40 and two actuators the total price at Sunplay is $1,650.. Wow, twice as much..

    So what do you get for the extra $800?

    1. The ability to control your IC40 in 1% increments
    2. The ability to schedule your pump without having to stand upside down over your pump's panel.
    3. The ability to automatically switch between Pool mode and Spa mode.
    4. The ability to control your heater in coordination with your pump.
    5. The automatic reduction in SWG output when in the Spa mode, so that you are not dumping high chlorine levels into your spa when in use.
    6. The ability to control external items such as landscape lighting, or your pool light.
    7. The ability to schedule what you want to come on at the times you want it on or off.
    8. And finally, in the future, you could add ScreenLogic2 (Another $375) so that you can control everything from your PC or phone.

    Just wanted you to hear both sides of the story. Value is not always about the amount of money that is spent, but what you get for it.

    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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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Well, if money is truly an issue, then I understand your reluctance. But, given your setup, a Pentair automation panel would "complete" your equipment pad. I know people always say, "Oh phooey! It's not hard to walk over to the pad and throw some valves and turn on the heater!!" But I say it's A LOT nicer and easier when you can do all that from the comfort of your home. I don't even have the full ScreenLogic package which allows you to manipulate your pool through your cell phone and I couldn't imagine my pool without automation. I'm very glad I have it and it's worked flawlessly for me for years now.

    You can certainly do it all through mechanical timers if you want, but automation really ties a nice bow on it all.
    I agree with you, having automation is definitely a wonderful thing. However, I don't know if that luxury is worth the additional $1000... I'll give it some more thought. Do you guys know if the new EasyTouch PSL4 systems have a built-in power supply for a SWG? I know the full EasyThouch systems do.
    30 x 20 IG Play Pool + 7' Spa ~16K Gallons, French Gray Plaster, Pentair Intelliflow VS, Pentair CCP420, Pentair MasterTemp 400K Heater, Intellibrite LEDs.

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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by dtrujillo63 View Post
    I agree with you, having automation is definitely a wonderful thing. However, I don't know if that luxury is worth the additional $1000... I'll give it some more thought. Do you guys know if the new EasyTouch PSL4 systems have a built-in power supply for a SWG? I know the full EasyThouch systems do.
    It should as long as you make sure the load center is configured with a IC power supply. The IC power supply is really nothing more than a 120VAC to 24VAC transformer. All of the SWG control logic is built into the IC.

    Jimrahbe is our Pentair expert and he's given you the full rundown on what you can do with an EasyTouch panel.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimrahbe View Post
    While pooldv is absolutely correct... but, ..... here is the rest of the story..

    An IC40 and power supply run about $870 at Sunplay. Keep in mind that you will only be able to change % of output in 20% increments. And, you have to have two timers that are synced together, time wise. Will this work, absolutely!!

    But... if you add the EasyTouch 4 with IC40 and two actuators the total price at Sunplay is $1,650.. Wow, twice as much..

    So what do you get for the extra $800?

    1. The ability to control your IC40 in 1% increments
    2. The ability to schedule your pump without having to stand upside down over your pump's panel.
    3. The ability to automatically switch between Pool mode and Spa mode.
    4. The ability to control your heater in coordination with your pump.
    5. The automatic reduction in SWG output when in the Spa mode, so that you are not dumping high chlorine levels into your spa when in use.
    6. The ability to control external items such as landscape lighting, or your pool light.
    7. The ability to schedule what you want to come on at the times you want it on or off.
    8. And finally, in the future, you could add ScreenLogic2 (Another $375) so that you can control everything from your PC or phone.

    Just wanted you to hear both sides of the story. Value is not always about the amount of money that is spent, but what you get for it.

    Jim R.
    Interesting... thank you for completing the story, I will definitely take a much closer look at including automation. The way you laid things out really help put it in perspective. If I want the system to also control my vacuum valve do I just have to add a third actuator or upgrade to the EasyTouch 8?
    30 x 20 IG Play Pool + 7' Spa ~16K Gallons, French Gray Plaster, Pentair Intelliflow VS, Pentair CCP420, Pentair MasterTemp 400K Heater, Intellibrite LEDs.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by dtrujillo63 View Post
    Interesting... thank you for completing the story, I will definitely take a much closer look at including automation. The way you laid things out really help put it in perspective. If I want the system to also control my vacuum valve do I just have to add a third actuator or upgrade to the EasyTouch 8?
    The EasyTouch controls four valves.. Two of them are dedicated to switching between the Pool mode and the Spa mode. The other two can be programmed to control whatever valve you want. The EasyTouch also has a "cleaner mode" which I am not too familiar with as I have a robot. But basically, in the cleaner mode, the EasyTouch would turn on the required pump or pumps and open the valve to the vacuum port. It would run for whatever time you had scheduled. And yes you would have to buy an additional actuator. The main difference between the ET4 and the ET8 is just the number of external control relays that are installed. (4 vs. 8)

    I'm sure your PB knows all this, but there are many versions of the EasyTouch, they are not all the same. The ones I have are all "Single Body Systems", because I don't have a Spa. With a Spa, you will need to get the "Dual Body System" which supports both the Pool and the Spa in one control panel.

    I suggest you ask your PB to show you a system that is already installed and see how it works. But.. be careful.... once you see it in action you won't be able to open your wallet fast enough.

    I don't think you'd be happy with the dumbed down version of the EasyTouch (PSL4). Let me dig up a few facts and get back to you.

    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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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Jimrahbe is our Pentair expert and he's given you the full rundown on what you can do with an EasyTouch panel.
    I believe that the "Expert" would be bdavis466.. I'm more like a fourth stringer, just hoping I can get on the practice squad.

    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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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    I have the Easytouch 8 with 3 valves and it is great.


    30,000 Gallon Pool IG (Pool 18' X 38' / Spa 7' X 7') - Pentair IC40 SWG - (1) Pentair Intelliflo 2 VST Pump - Pentair DE FNS-Plus 60 Filter - Pentair Mastertemp 400 Heater - Pentair Easytouch 8 - Pentair Electronic valves - Pentair 5G Color LED Pool/Spa Lights - Pebble Sheen Mini Tahoe Blue - Auto Fill/Over Flow - Taylor K-2006C - Completion 3/2016.

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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Quote Originally Posted by dtrujillo63 View Post
    I agree with you, having automation is definitely a wonderful thing. However, I don't know if that luxury is worth the additional $1000... I'll give it some more thought. Do you guys know if the new EasyTouch PSL4 systems have a built-in power supply for a SWG? I know the full EasyThouch systems do.
    This is my pet peeve with pool automation - it seems to cost an extra $1000 to automate your pool in 2016, which seems ridiculous when the cost of technology has come down so much that you can buy a Raspberry Pi Zero for $5. I guess the reason is that it is such a niche market.

    We need the hardware to have some standard interfaces and then have someone develop a Pool analogy to this OpenSprinkler Pi (OSPi, AC powered) | OpenSprinkler. It is kind of silly but the most cost effective way today to automate some parts of your pool system would be to point a webcam at some of your equipment and OCR the image.

    But think of the possibilities once you have such a system:
    • you could use weather information (amount of sun, rain) to vary the salt production.
      you could tie in pH and OR sensors to do some of your testing and send you alerts when levels got out of range
      you could heat or not heat your pool based on the weather forecast
      you could put a motion sensor in the pool to alert you that someone or something has fallen in
      you could have much more granularity in your pool timer or even tie it into other systems to determine when to run your pump based on excess output of your PV solar panels, etc
    And you could do this from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    After more research and thought, I decided to skip the Easytouch system and placed an order for just the IC40 SWG and power center ($779 shipped for both). To Wayner's point, being a systems engineer I should be able to build automation using arduino and raspberry pi for a fraction of the cost. Sure it will require my time, but I enjoy doing stuff like this. Thanks for the input everyone!
    30 x 20 IG Play Pool + 7' Spa ~16K Gallons, French Gray Plaster, Pentair Intelliflow VS, Pentair CCP420, Pentair MasterTemp 400K Heater, Intellibrite LEDs.

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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Good luck with that. Please feel free to post your system build in TFP's Automation subforum as it could be very useful for others.

    Both the IntelliFlow and IntelliChlor use a serial communication protocol with the EasyTouch panel. You'll have to contact Pentair to see if they release their communication protocol for open source access. My guess is they probably don't but it's always worth a try. Without access to the serial communication control, you'll be limited to only manual inputs/changes available on the control panels.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Cost Effective Salt System

    Yes, please keep us posted on your work as I am sure lots of other folks would find it useful.

    Any idea how to get info out of your equipment? Or will you have to build your sensors?
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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