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Thread: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

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    Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    I have had a Pool Pilot installed for approximately 1 year 1 month. The installation was smooth without any problems. Last summer I was able to maintain a 4 ppm FC by running the Pool Pilot about 3 hours per day. Early this spring the SWG was maintaining the Cl level.

    About two weeks ago I noticed that the Cl level had dropped to 1.5 ppm. I kept increasing the per cent run time and added bleach. When I reached 100% purifying output level I knew I needed to research what was wrong.

    My water chemistry is as follows:
    FC: 1.5 Cl tested with new FAS-DPD powder.
    CC: 0
    pH: 7.7
    TA: 110
    CYA: 70+ tested with a view tube
    CH: 220
    Borates: 30
    Salt: 3,300

    I did a overnight test and lost no FC or less than .5 FC. No organic problems. The pool is crystal clear.

    I have completed an acid wash of the plates. The plates look good; no sign of scaling and no erosion of the end plates. The cell strainer is free of debris. The Check System light in not on. There are no error messages. The tri-sensor appears to be working properly. The salt reading of 3,300 is consistent with test strips. The temperature reads 85 degrees which is close. Originally I had the Cell Power at 1 with a 20 volt and 5 amp reading. This volt and amp reading has not changed since my installation day. I went into the Installer Menu and changed the Cell Power to 2. The Test Menu now shows Power Level 2 with 20 volts and 6.2 amps.

    When I place the SWG in Boost Mode I do not see small bubbles in the water stream from the return. Previously I would see a milky stream of small bubbles from the jet. A water sample taken from the return shows FC levels of 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 over the past two days.

    Summary: I have sufficient CYA and no algae. All the Pool Pilot displays appear normal and the plates appear to be in good condition. Minimal Cl is being produced. What should I check or do to resume Cl production?
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Update

    After I posted the above topic I went into the pool with a mask. I looked at the return that would normally show a heavy stream of bubbles when the SWG was operating.

    Currently when the SWG is on there is a very very light steady stream of bubbles. The stream of bubbles is so light that the bubbles dissipate before the bubbles reach the surface.

    My observation shows that the SWG is generating some Cl but the amount may be one twentieth the normal amount.
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    You have been very through and seem to be doing everything correctly. I only see one thing that doesn't look right. The cell voltage can't be 20 when the amps are 5 and also be 20 when the amps are 6.5. The voltage has to be higher when the amps are higher. But I don't know what that means in this case.

    Have you checked the screen in the manifold to make sure it is clean? If the screen was mostly blocked and the flow switch was broken the cell could be getting very little water. That seems really unlikely, but it is easy to check.
    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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    Voltage Level

    Based on Jason question I checked the voltage level.

    I ran the Test Pool Pilot again. The results were:
    Salt: 3,300
    Temperature: 86
    Power Level 2
    21 volts and 6.5 amps

    When I cleaned the cell plates I cleaned the screen in the manifold. There was a minor amount of debris which I cleaned with a hose. The screen is completely clean.
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Do you know how much higher the cya: 70 +, is over 70 ppm? If it's too high, it may be hindering the chlorine but usually doesn't result in a low FC reading.
    Do you have alot of trees or pollen that may have falling into your pool? Phosphates may be a possibility but usually doesn't create much of a problem until you have visible algae.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    I poured the combined CYA test fluid into the view tube two times. One time the black dot was not visible at 70 and another time my result was between 70 and 80. The CYA level is over 70 and less than 80.

    We do have leaves that fall into the pool every day. We remove the leaves daily. Pollen was a problem 2 to 4 weeks ago. We have filtered out the pollen. I have not tested for phosphates. The water is crystal clear and the overnight test showed no loss of FC.

    Even if I have a tree, pollen, and phosphate problem I should see a heavy stream of bubbles from the return when the SWG is on. There is a constant very small stream that can be seen only when you are underwater wearing a mask.

    Poolsean, I appreciate your comments but I am still at a loss on what to check to increase the Cl generation.
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    I wouldn't judge the chlorine production by the amount of bubbles you see going back to the pool. I was more concerned with you having to increase the output to 100%.
    What are you running the % on now? Are you still running 3 hrs/day?
    Remove the timeclock tripper and run a boost cycle and see what the chlorine level increased to.
    If your phosphates are high, add some phosphate remover. It's possible that it's causing some problems.
    According to your amps and volts, it should be generating chlorine, as they are within the proper operating range. Usually when it's making chlorine but you're not able to maintain a FC residual, there's an "unknown" chlorine demand, that requires shock levels to overcome the demand.

    You haven't added anything to your pool other than maybe some chlorine or acid have you?
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Last year I ran the pump 6 to 8 hours per day. I found that I could maintain 4 ppm with the per cent run time 40% to 50%. I made my first post in this thread on Tuesday after I placed the SWG in boost mode for 7 hour pump run time and could not maintain a sufficient Cl level. Yesterday the per cent run time was 90% for a 7 hour pump run. I have not found CC on any test this spring.

    Starting three weeks ago we added about 20 pounds of calcium over a three week period.. 16 pounds were added by mixing the calcium in a bucket of water and pouring the solution in the deep end of the pool. 4 pounds of calcium were added to the pool by placing the calcium in a sock in the skimmer basket. Since this could cause scaling we later acid washed the cell plates for 20 minutes. In the beginning of May we added CYA through the skimmer basket.

    At noon today I checked the chlorine levels:
    FC 3.0
    CC 0
    TC: 3.0
    pH: 7.8

    The results for Test Pool Pilot are:
    Software: V4.2
    SC-60
    Salt: 3,300 ppm
    Power Level: 2
    Temperature: 84
    22 volts 6.5 amps

    Sean I appreciate your hanging in and making suggestions. I will do another overnight Cl test to determine if the pool shows any signs of algae. I do not believe that I have algae problems because:
    1. Last Friday night I conducted an overnight Cl test which showed no FC loss.
    2. When we opened the pool in February I added poly algaecide to prevent algae growth before we started to monitor the pool chemistry on a regular basis.
    3. My testing this spring to date has not shown CC.
    4. The pool is crystal clear. I can easily see the bottom in the deep end.

    I would like to try something to demonstrate the amount of CL being produced by the SWG. My reason for believing that the SWG is not generating a normal amount of Cl is:
    1. When the Pool Pilot display shows that the unit is ON I do not see bubbles from the return. Last year the bubbles were obvious.
    2. I captured a water sample directly from the return. I would expect this sample to be highly chlorinated water; this sample had a FC of 3.0 and 3.5.
    3. I changed the cell power to 2 and still cannot maintain a 4.0 FC level.

    Anyone please advise me if there is another test than the overnight FC test to verify that organics are not the problem in maintaining the FC level. I thought that an overnight test was the gold standard to determine if there are organics causing a Cl demand.

    How can I verify that the Pool Pilot is not generating the expected FC? What FC level should I expect a water sample taken directly from the return to have?
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    If you know your pumps flow rate and can measure the difference in FC level between the pool water and the water coming out of the SWG cell, you can calculate the amount of chlorine that the unit is producing and compare that to the spec for the cell. It will all be a little approximate, but it should be able to distinguish between basically working or way off.
    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: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    I know nothing about SWG so take this for what it's worth regarding the overnight loss test...

    In some cases, and in my most recent experience, sometimes the overnight test is the ONLY way to get a heads up that there are organics at work. I passed less than a week ago. Nothing else gave a clue that there was a problem. No CCs, no algae, diamond sparkle, but I was going through too much FC loss, and still I passed until 5 nights ago. Shocked for four days and finally passed this morning.

    In my pool, as far as I'm concerned, if there's .5 loss overnight, then I'm going to consider there something at work. Because by the time I failed the test I was a loss of 1.5...

    Point is..trust the overnight FC loss...
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Jason, your idea of calculating the ppm from the return intrigues me. But I am not sure that I have done the calculation correctly.

    The SC-60 cell produces 1.92 lbs/day or 0.08 lbs/hr (1.28 oz/hr) at maximum output. You need 1.3 oz of Cl to increase 1 ppm in 10,000 gallons.

    I have a Hayward Super II Pump which pumps about 50 gpm or 3,000 gph. 10,000/3,000 is 3.33.
    So I calculate the FC should be 3.33 ppm higher than the pool water for the water coming from the return. So, if I have a 3.0 ppm FC in the pool my calculations, if they are correct says the FC from the return should be 6.33 ppm.

    Thus 6.33 ppm Cl level from the return would say that the Pool Pilot is working properly. A sample that is close to 3.0 ppm would indicate that the Pool Pilot is not producing Cl at the maximum daily Cl2 output.

    Jason & Poolsean are my calculations correct?
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    If you crack open the union after the cell and take a water sample (AFTER the cell has been activated for at least 2 minutes), it "MAY" show 1 -5 ppm higher than your pool water sample. I say may, because with the 5 and 7 blade cells, you may be capturing the water flowing through the cell, but not necessarily between the blades. With your SC-60 cell, pretty much all the water is flowing through the cell blades.

    Which may be the reason why the calculations may not work.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Your math is right. Another thing to remember is that the 1.92 lbs/day is at power level 3.
    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: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Is the production of Cl linear?

    Cell Power 3 is 8 amps
    Cell Power 2 is 6.5 amps
    Cell Power 1 is 5 amps

    So does a Power level 2 produce 6.5/8 or 81.25% of the Cl as Power Level 3?
    Power level 1 produces 5/8 or 62.5% of the Cl as Power Level 3?

    Thus I would see 2.7 ppm higher Cl from a return at Power Level 2?
    I would see 2 ppm higher Cl from a return at Power Level 1?
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    I ran another overnight Cl test. Last night the FC level was 5.0 ppm and CC was 0. This morning the FC was 4.5 and CC was 0.

    More interesting a pool sample taken at noon the FC was 3.0. 9 hours later the FC was 5.0. Yesterday was very cloudy with some rain so the Cl reduction by the sun would be less than a normal day. It is raining very hard as I write this posting so my water tests today might be affected.

    Previous to starting this thread I thought that the Cl from the return would be very high. When the rain & lightning stop I will do a very careful water test of the pool water away from the return and the water from the return to determine if I find a 2 ppm or 2.5 ppm higher Cl level in the return water.

    I am now wondering if the SWG is generating Cl, maintaining my Cl level, but not increasing the FC level. Perhaps I needed to add more bleach after a previous swim party!

    I am still confused about one area. Last year I could see a milky stream of bubbles from the return. I have not seen the milky stream the past few weeks. Poolsean wrote “I wouldn't judge the chlorine production by the amount of bubbles you see going back to the pool.” OK, why not?

    Why would I see the bubbles last year and not see the bubbles this year?

    Thanks for your help!
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    There are several factors that affect bubble production, flow rate, water temperature, various chemical levels, and minor impurities on the plates can all affect the number, size, and visibility of bubbles.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Any update on this?

    Doug

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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Doug I have not made an update since I not not understand the difference between the generation of Cl this year and last year.

    I do not have a reason to believe that the Pool Pilot is not operating per specifications.
    1.The amps and voltage appear normal.
    2.Taking a water sample from a return I found that the Cl was 2.0 ppm higher than the pool. I calculated the difference should be 2.7 ppm. So this is close. I may have under estimated the flow rate of the pump.
    3.I did a bucket test and found that my pool lost 2 ppm FC over a 24 hr period. My SWG would therefore requires 6 hours to generate 2 ppm. I am operating the Pool Pilot about 6 hours per day.
    4.I have been able to maintain a FC of 4.0.

    However, the Pool Pilot generated more Cl last summer. Last summer, the first year with the Pool Pilot, I operated the SWG for four hours at Cell Power 1. This year I am operating the Pool Pilot for 6 hours at Cell Power 2. So I have increased the amp-hours by 95 per cent (39/20). Based on my calculations the SWG was producing more Cl than I should have expected last summer.

    I have learned that I should not judge the Cl output by the amount of visible bubbles. I could see bubbles early in the Spring when the water temperature was around 60. My water temperature now is closer to 87. The lack of bubbles now may be due to the change in the water temperature.

    Perhaps only the Pool Gods can explain the difference in Cl production from last summer to this summer. At least I am able to maintain the FC level with a moderate operation time of the SWG.
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    You know, everything is behaving exactly as if the CYA level was lower than you think it is.
    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
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    Re: Pool Pilot is Not Producing Sufficient Chlorine

    Whats your water temp? Do you have solar heating? I had a similar issues with my goldline aquarite. First year it worked great, by the third year I could never keep up with chlorine demand. I was running my pump for 10 - 12 hours a day during the summer and I still needed to ad liquid CL. I did shock my pool multiple times and that did seem to help, but I really think warm water temps play a big factor. We added solar the second year and my pool temps were around 90 degrees.and at that temp, I was asking for algae to bloom. I did try another SWG that worked but I was still running my pump to long and finally switched to liquid CL as my electric bills were running in the $700.00 per month range for July - September.

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