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Thread: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

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    Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Hi , Iam in Australia and just bought an intelliflo VF , the solar is on a single story house , when the solar controller actuates the valves will the pump adjust the flow and will it be enough ? .

    I have an 4000 gall (18000 liters ) pool , in filter mode i think its was 20gal per min for a 4 times turnover in 10hrs would this give me PSI to run solar ? or do i need to run an external program from the intellicomm and set the flow higher ?
    Could someone tell me what componants they are using if they have solar to please .
    These pumps are very new here in Australia and not much tech support from the retailer (it was the one he had seen) the retail price here is A$3990.00 Yes !!! I got mine for $2395.00 after pointing out the prices in the US .

    So any help would be much appreciated .

    Your wet friend in Australia David .
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Welcome to TFP!

    I have an Inteliflo VF and a single-story solar system, though my pool is 16,000 gallons. I have 12 Fafco solar panels, most are 4'x8'. The key for heating is to have enough total panel surface area exposed to the sun, ideally angled to be near-perpendicular to the sun during peak times (near noon or 1 PM, depending on daylight savings time). Of course, one may want to use a steeper angle so that the efficiency is higher when needed most during the spring and fall "outlier" seasons.

    As for the flow rate, that depends on your specific panel and how many you have. Panels are usually connected in parallel. Mine require a minimum flow rate of 3 GPM and recommend 4 GPM for reasonable efficiency. If you are using similar panels, then 20 GPM would mean around 5 panels at 4 GPM each. That sounds like it's more than enough for your sized pool so it does sound like your pump will work at 20 GPM with panels in your situation.

    You don't have to worry about the PSI unless it gets extraordinarily high. It's the GPM that is relevant through the panels for efficiency. The higher is more efficient, but there are diminishing returns since pump electricity costs get higher at higher GPM. You should note that your pump electricity cost could be significantly higher when using solar since there is more resistance to water flow, depending on the total length of your pipe runs. Using larger pipe to/from the solar panels will help as will using panels that have larger headers (e.g. 2" pipe vs. 1.5").

    If you give us more details about your panels, perhaps with a link to the manufacturer website with specs, then that would be helpful.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Hi thanks Chem geek , cant find who makes the panels , but there the fairly standard (for here ) 4 0r 5 rubber tubes on a strip about 8in wide , there are 10 of these that run 36 foot along the roof and back to the inlet manifold , all pipes are 1.5in .... I would like to change over to 2in , is it worth it seeing as all the inlet and outlets in the pool will still be 1.5in ? . Also if I run the pump in filter mode will the extra flow to compensate for the solar shorten the filtering time seems to say that in the manual .

    On the plus side I have alot of panels for the size of the pol so it doesnt have to run for long for the pool to heat up .

    well thanks agian David
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    At 20 GPM, the 1.5" is not much of a problem so I wouldn't worry too much about that so long as you intend to keep such slower flow rates. In my larger pool with 12 panels at 4 GPM each for the recommended flow rate, that's 48 GPM so 2" is much more important in that case.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    ok with the pipe sizing its not just the solar i want to change but all piping , but it would still be pulling and pushing water thru 1.5in on that last 6in where its connected near the pool is that a problem ? ...... and really gathering from your statement about low flows , smaller piping isnt as critical . I just want to make sure I get the most out of the system .

    Thanks
    David
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    One thing to be aware of is that 20 GPM will probably not be able to generate enough pressure on a one story install to keep the vacuum release valve closed, assuming you have one and it is installed at the top of the panels. The priming mode in the VF should allow you to prime the panels at a higher flow rate but if the pump then drops down to 20 GPM, the pressure at the top of the panels may be too low to keep the valve closed so you may need to have a higher flow rate.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    yeah I think I have a vacuum release valve but its abot half way up the wall on the pipe leading to the solar panels , I was told its was so the air could return to the panels when the pump stopped which would make sense given its position .when the solarpump starts the air in the panels just get pushed out into the pool .
    Well Iam trying to get someone from Pentair Australia to ring me back to give some tech help with the intellicomm and solar controllers .

    Dave
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    To answer your original question real quick, you can accomplish this two ways.
    1. setting the pump to maintain a particular rate (gpm) it will compensate when the solar comes on.
    2. You can set a speed that the pump will ramp up to when the solar comes on (thru the Intellitouch)

    You can find the information to perform this in the owners manuals that came with the pump, and the Intellitouch.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Ok thanks Pool Clown , ive think ive worked out how to use my solar controller (http://www.asconpool.com/news.php?readmore=4 ) with the intellicomm and use an external program on the pump , but does the intelliTouch control when the solar needs to heat the pool as well as the pump , if so the sounds a more intergrated option .

    david
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    The IntelliTouch does have a temperature sensor input so would control the solar on/off based on actual temperature differences between the solar panel and the water temperature. However, you could accomplish the same thing with a separate temperature controller that fed the IntelliCom (i.e. a controller that had temperature sensor inputs from the solar panels and on the pipe for the water temperature and had an on/off output for your valve with such output also driving the IntelliCom for a different speed/flow if desired/needed.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Yes the intellitouch seems a bit over speccd for what i want , what i need to know is do the program relays 1-4 required a constant current or just the current from the valve actuator circuit to turn it on and off .

    IE : when program 1 get current from the valve actuator on the solar controller it starts external program 1 to run at say 50 Gal/min, when it turns off the valve it then turns off program 1 . ?

    OR
    Do i need run a feed from the 240 volt plug where the pump would normally plug into to program 1 , ..the Intellicomm wiring diagram shows it can take 15 -240 VAC 1mA and 15 - 100 VDC 1mA .

    It would be simple if I could just run a 240 V feed to the intellcomm to start the program , other than that i could use a 240V - 24V transformer .

    Ive ask for the Pentair Rep here to ring me for tech support but not heard from him yet . so you guys are all Ive got lol .

    thanx David
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    ok all sorted talked to pentair and can run 240v directly to intellcomm .

    to easy ... thanks for all your help guys

    David .
    7 meter by 2 Meter pebblecrete , VF intelliflo , Pentair ECO-CHLOR 25 , 5 helicol Sunx 40 solar panels & a Associated controls solar controller with an intellicom 3 to control the VF and relay to switch to valves .

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Found this through the search feature and I have similar questions. Thread hijack alert !!!

    I'm installing a 13,000g pool with a single story (11' high roof) solar system with 10, 4'x12' Hi-Tec brand panels.

    I'm seeking to upgrade to the Intellifo VF but both my pool contractor and the solar installer say that I'll need to run the IntelliFlo on max speed when the panels are on... so they believe that it is not worth the upgrade.

    This is my wrinkle... I'm looking for the pool to be manual (no automation, no automated valve on the solar.) as I am in Orlando (*lightning). So I won't have the chance to automatically "rig" the Intelliflo to goose up for priming.

    But my question is... If I set the Intelliflo for gpm anyway... Won't it just 'rev up' to perform the priming function on its own???

    Would the 10 panels require so much gpm that I'll be running the pump "flat out" most of the time anyway?

    Other data...
    • tried calling the Hi-Tec company... they couldn't / wouldn't give an exact gpm requirement. saying that it's between 4-6 gpm per panel.
      The system is all 2" pipe.
      the solar panels have 2" headers
      The pool equipment will be about 20 feet from the pool


    Thanks in advance for any input....
    pool building thread... http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-po...re-t18130.html

    13,000g pool in startup phase
    VS-3050 Intelliflo, 420 sq.ft. Cartridge, EasyTouch
    Waiting to be installed: IC 40, solar, urns

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Welcome to TFP!

    I can tell you from my own experience that you won't have to run your pump at full speed unless you go for the 6 GPM per panel. I have Fafco SunSaver (and one Revolution) panels where the recommended flow rate is 4 GPM per panel. I have 12 panels so have 48 GPM. My pump is able to handle that without a problem at around 3000 RPM and 1500 Watts. I have VERY long runs to/from the house and especially down the length of the house for the panels since the roof is segmented. So I very much doubt you will have any problem. At maximum pump RPM of 3450, I get around 58 GPM or 4.8 GPM per panel for my 12 panels at around 2500 Watts. I have 2" pipe and 2" headers.

    If your panels really need 6 GPM per panel for 10 panels, then yes that will be a lot for your pump to handle and may max it out. However, I suspect you will be fine with 4 GPM per panel and will save energy doing so. At 4 GPM per panel, my Fafco panels are around 80% efficient. The only problem with slower flow rates is that the efficiency drops as more heat re-radiates as the water heats up too much, but the efficiency doesn't drop as fast as the energy savings and RPM of the pump as the GPM gets lower.

    It is true that I don't get as much savings in energy with the IntelliFlo VF when the solar is on, though I do still save some going from what used to be 1840 Watts to what is now 1500 Watts. I get most of my savings when the solar is off going from 1840 Watts to 275 Watts at 26 GPM, and it WILL be off part of each day during the summer as the solar is on only 4-6 hours out of the 8 hour pump cycle and that's keeping the pool at 88F (with a thin opaque safety cover). I also was able to get rid of a pressure-side cleaner booster pump and use the IntelliFlo VF at 15 GPM for The Pool Cleaner. All in all, I cut my electricity cost for pumps in half from around $1400 to $700. For me, it was definitely worth it.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Welcome to TFP!
    Thankies ! I plan on being here a long time. Our first pool -- we are insanely excited!!!!

    Lots to read on my end This site is wonderful.

    You mentioned that your solar is only on 4-6 hours.... What is the least amount of automation that I need to execute this type of programming... My understanding is that it goes Suntouch -> Easytouch -> intellitouch (good, better, best). But as I mentioned I really don't want anything... Would the Suntouch do it?

    I understand about the thermal transfer and flow speed. Personally, I think 10 panels is overkill. Should I consider a lower number of panels? I know it was just a sales pitch, but the company was running a "special" if I bought 10 panels . I wasn't thinking about the intelliflo at the time, so I thought more was better on the solar end. All input welcomed



    I have a hip roofed house that they want to place 5 and 5 on.... they are 4x12 panels. my pool is 420 sq.ft.
    pool building thread... http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-po...re-t18130.html

    13,000g pool in startup phase
    VS-3050 Intelliflo, 420 sq.ft. Cartridge, EasyTouch
    Waiting to be installed: IC 40, solar, urns

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Well the least amount of automation would be none, just a manually operated valve! (Ok, I know you really need a little or you're running out to change the valving every time.)

    Second to that would be an electric valve and a switch that you turn on and off manually.

    Third would be a timer operated electric valve.

    Fourth would be a valve operated by a differential temperature controller. (This would prevent the solar from actually cooling the pool if it clouds up, rains, etc.)

    Beyond that is all the solar controllers out there which more or less do what is described in number four.

    Search for solar pool controller for some examples.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Thx for the response! Makes sense.

    Yes it's loooking more like the Suntouch will be in my future... Now to figure out what to do with the 4 relays. More junk to buy
    pool building thread... http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-po...re-t18130.html

    13,000g pool in startup phase
    VS-3050 Intelliflo, 420 sq.ft. Cartridge, EasyTouch
    Waiting to be installed: IC 40, solar, urns

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Though I have IntelliTouch in my system, the most important would be the temperature differential controller since that makes the most difference switching a valve to go through vs. bypass the solar system depending on whether the solar would heat the water (i.e. if it's sunny enough). The 4-6 hours I quoted is done automatically. I have my pump start at 9 AM and usually the solar is on by 10 AM unless we have fog in the morning. During the summer, the solar is usually off by 2 PM or 3 PM, sometimes at 4 PM and the pump goes off at 5 PM. The pump on/off is based on time. The IntelliTouch lets me set different flow rates when the solar is on vs. off and that is what saves me the most money.

    I don't know if SunTouch will do that for you -- if it can switch between two different programs on the IntelliFlo pump, then that should work -- one program would be set with a flow rate for solar on while another would be set for solar off. Then, the controller would switch both the pump program and a valve at the same time (the valve directs the flow to the solar vs. bypassing the solar).

    I don't think you will regret the extra solar panels (especially if they didn't cost much). In most cases, one cannot have too many solar panels unless one likes swimming in cooler pool water. The extra panels may not be needed during the peak of summer, but will come in handy during the spring and fall parts of the season, extending the swim season for you, assuming you don't mind the cooler air temperature. Don't forget that the pool will lose heat overnight, though a pool cover cuts that down substantially, so if you wanted to swim in warmer water earlier in the day, then more solar panels will get you to your desired temperature faster. Your 10 4'x12' panels are probably around 460 feet (effective area is less than panel dimensions) while your pool area is 420 feet so this is definitely more than usual. In my pool, which is 15.5'x32' so 496 square feet, I have around 375 square feet of panel (10 are 4'x7.5' effective area; 2 are 4'x9.5' effective area) so around 75% overall coverage. In the spring and fall, we could use more heating, but that's because my wife prefers to swim in the morning and uses the pool as a therapy pool at 88F which we can't achieve in the morning in the off season with solar alone.

    If you find that your pool maintains temperature very well and that the solar does not need to be on very long during the day, then you could always bypass or remove some of the panels and then lower your flow rate which would reduce your pump energy cost.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    Thanks again for the detailed response. I have a better understanding of what your setup is...

    In reading the pentair suntouch manual -- page 30 (pg 38 of the pdf) http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/suntouchUG.pdf Seems to indicate that there is communication between the suntouch and an intelliflo pump for up to four speeds. But, these are the preset speeds defined at the pump.

    The easytocuh and intellitouch allows control of 8 speeds, and also allows the REMOTE control of those 8 speeds.... the suntouch just has 4 and no remote control. Page 7 of this pdf http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/Inte...and4x100OM.pdf.

    Hope I'm reading everything correctly, as my pool builder is a great nuts and bolts guy -- but I wouldn't put him at the top of the list for automation.

    I'm just delighted to have a forum to bounce these types of ideas around. Thanks guys.

    Other equipment planned are:
    • pentair IC40 SWG
      pentair 200 sq ft cartridge filter


    as always, all input welcomed... first timer here -- so throw anything in that I should be adding (example -- someone mentioned threaded fitings at the equipment area instead of hard piping). Also -- my pool builder mentioned using a pre-formed concrete pad for the equipment (can't recall the dimensions, but it seemed small...). Should I get him to pour a larger slab?

    My pool builder will perform minor add-ons without change orders. I just have to pay the materials difference. so please feel free to add the "I-wish-I-would'ves" I already got him up to 2" pipe on the returns after reading the hydraulics 101 post....

    Thanks again
    pool building thread... http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-po...re-t18130.html

    13,000g pool in startup phase
    VS-3050 Intelliflo, 420 sq.ft. Cartridge, EasyTouch
    Waiting to be installed: IC 40, solar, urns

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo and solar

    If you have the IntelliFlo VF and not the VS, then those preset programs at the pump should be able to be preset flow rates, not speeds. If, in fact, you have an IntelliFlo VS, then using preset speeds will still work, but you'll have to figure out the speed that gets you to a certain flow rate. The easiest way to do that is to have a flow meter installed in a reasonably long straight section of pipe.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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