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Thread: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

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    Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    I wanted to throw this out to the group. After much research I am going to purchase an SWG for my pool - IG approximately 34K gallons. I am leaning toward the AutoPilot system for no reason other than many people seem to like it and after speaking to a couple of dealers that sell both AquaRite and Autopilot they have both suggested that AutoPilot is built better/more reliable.

    If I decide to purchase the AutoPilot should I get the 40K gallon rated unit or 60K gallon rated unit? The difference in price is only $150 at this point in my search. Seems like I could run the 60K rated unit at a lower setting which would provide for a longer lifespan and also allow me the option to provide additional chlorine boost if desired.

    My second question is the AquaRite 40K rated system seems to get good reviews as well and I can pick one up for $300 less than the 40K AutoPilot. My neighbor has had his AquaRite on the same size pool as mine for 3 years and loves it. Any reason to spend the additional $300 (40K rated unit) or $450 (for 60K rated unit) for the AutoPilot? I live in the Northland where our pool season is very limited May - September if that is at all a factor.

    Thanks in advance for any and all input and/or additional ideas. This is really a great site and one that has helped tremendously

    Best Regards,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    Join Date
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    IMHO, The AutoPilot 60K unit will far outlast the Hayward.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Between the AutoPilot 40K and AutoPilot 60K, I would go for the 60K without question. The small additional expense will more than pay for it's self over time as the 60K cell will last much longer than the 40K cell will.

    Between AutoPilot and Hayward it is much more debatable. I picked AutoPilot Digital because it has some extra features: full text display and automatic temperature compensation, that I found very desirable. Of course the AutoPilot unit costs more, and many people go with the less expensive solution regardless of the advantages. The Hayward unit have a much clearer advantage if you are integrating them with a Hayward automation system, since the automation system already includes the SWG power supply, reducing the price even further.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Thanks much for the replies and advice. I am not integrating this with any existing automation system so the AquaRite does not offer an advantage in this area. I continue to lean toward the AutoPilot.

    Thanks again,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    After a bit more research I was wondering if the temperature compensation might be an issue with my setup. The output of my heater only has about 3' of total pipe before the manifold back to the pool. There is about 1.5' of straight section just before the manifold. This would mean the cell manifold would be installed about 1-1.5' from the output of the heater. When the heater is running won't this confuse the temperature compensation in the AutoPilot to produce too much chlorine? Will I have to shut down the AutoPilot while the heater is running?

    Thanks,
    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Temperature compensation won't be an issue with the heater. When properly sized and installed a heater should only be raising the output water temperature by 2 or 3 degrees over the input water temperature. Even if it is raising the temperature somewhat more than that, it isn't a big deal. The Autopilot might produce slightly more chlorine than it should, but the difference will be small, a couple of percent at most, and won't affect the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Thanks for the info. Very helpful.
    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Thanks for the response and help with this. I went ahead and ordered the AutoPilot Digital 60 today. Any installation tips and tricks? Using the pool calculator it looks like I need 20 - 40lb. bags of solar salt and 176oz. of stabilizer. This is my plan.

    1. Open the pool for summer - start up all equipment vacuum and clean out winter dirt. This always wastes a couple thousand gallon's of water.
    2. Install Dig 60 - Leave off for now.
    3. Balance pool water and maintain proper levels of FC, PH, TA, CH, CYA
    4. Once pool water is above 50 degrees start up AutoPilot and adjust output.
    5. Monitor water balance.

    If I have left anything out let me know. Does anyone have a comment on using the built in timer in the Dig 60 or should I just connect if up to my existing pump timer? No automation on my system beyond a simple mechanical timer.

    Thanks,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    The AutoPilot unit makes a nice timer

    Remember to let the SWG tell you the starting salt level before calculating how much salt you need. The starting salt level is never zero.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    After installation and before starting the unit is there a way to do this? Does the water temp have an effect on salt reading?
    Thanks,
    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Once the unit is installed you can turn it on and set the percentage to zero. Then, once the pump has been running for a while, the salt readout will show up. It is best to give it 24 hours to get an accurate reading. The salt meter is temperature compensated. I find that it drifts just a tiny bit with temperature, nothing too significant.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    The AutoPilot unit makes a nice timer
    Remember to order the timer relay when ordering your Pool Pilot Digital if you plan on using this feature. It is no longer built-in into the power supply you now optionally add it.
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Another startup question here for my situation. I am converting from a copper Ionizer. I know I will have to dump quite a bit of my water and refill to lower the copper level in the pool. What is an ok level of copper before adding chlorine to avoid staining? Just tested my level today and it is at .5ppm prior to draining back. This is the normal level I have been operating the system at prior to closing last fall. I would of course prefer to drain as little water as possible but was thinking around 50%.

    Thanks,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    After some research it also appears that I could drain back to lower the level and then shock the pool with chlorine to oxidize the metal which will cause the metal to settle out of solution and I can vacuum it up. Would this be preferred to a major drain back of the pool or should I use a combination as I first planned?

    Thanks,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Shocking with chlorine to get the copper to precipitate out of solution doesn't work reliably. The copper can stain the pool just as easily as forming particles. Once you have copper stains, it isn't always possible to remove them and it is never easy.

    For vinyl liner pools a copper level of 0.2 should be reasonably safe. You could instead just start using sequestrant to hold on to the copper and keep it from causing problems. Sequestrant does have on going costs, but it might be worth it if you want to replace water more slowly.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Thanks Jason. I normally dump quite a bit of water in the spring during cleanup anyway. What I will do is cleanup and then test. If I am not below .2ppm I will just dump until I get below that level. How much sequestering agent do you think I will need for my size pool and at that level?
    Thanks,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

  17. Back To Top    #17
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    You shouldn't need any sequestrant if you get the copper level down to 0.2 in a vinyl liner pool, unless you have fiberglass stairs. Fiberglass will stain at that level, but vinyl won't. If you have fiberglass stairs you will want to go down to 0.1 to avoid needing sequestrant.

    Because there is always some uncertainty in any water test, I would add a standard startup dose of sequestrant in any case. Then, you can watch the pool over the next month to see if there is any sign of staining. If you add more sequestrant and lower the PH at the very first sign of staining, the stains should lift right off. I expect you won't have any problems and won't need a second dose of sequestrant, but the sequestrant does give you an extra safety margin just in case.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Between the AutoPilot 40K and AutoPilot 60K, I would go for the 60K without question. The small additional expense will more than pay for it's self over time as the 60K cell will last much longer than the 40K cell will.
    Is there a limit to this logic? With a pool half the size as OP, would it still make sense for me to upgrade to the larger (largest) cell?

    Also, it wasn't mentioned here, but does anyone have any experience with the Cubby?

    edit: I just noticed that the SC-36, which tends to be referred to as the "20k" cell is really rated for 34,500 gallons. It seems like that would be ample for me.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

  19. Back To Top    #19
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    I don't recommend using a cell that is rated for larger than three times the size of your pool. You can do it, but it gets more and more inconvenient the larger the cell gets. The issue is that SWGs are adjustable by +-1%. If you start out at 50% a single step is 1/50th of the range. But if you start out at 12% then a single step is suddenly 1/12th. The larger the cell the less control you have, because you always have to go a full step, even if what you really want is 1/2 a step or 1/3 of a step.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Opinions on which model SWG to Purchase and sizing

    Jason,
    Related to that I was reading in the setup instructions that the cell power setting could be too high based on amount of free chlorine being generated. It appears that if the cell power is correct the output setting will be somewhere between 25-75%. There is no mention of how this relates to pump run-time. Would it be better to leave the voltage as is, keep the output setting in range 25-75 and adjust pump run-time to produce less chlorine or should I just continue to stick with a 6-8hr run time and adjust the cell power to stay within the proper setting range.

    Thanks,

    JD
    20x44 IG with vinyl liner - 34,000 Gal.
    AutoPilot SWG
    Coverpool auto cover
    Hayward 1.5HP Northstar pump
    Hayward 244T Sand Filter w/glass media
    Raypak Digital 250K BTU heater
    Arctic Tundra Ultra Spa

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