Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 44

Thread: Pool Automation Suggestions

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Pool Automation Suggestions

    Hi All,

    I have question sin regards to pool automation. Currently my pool has none, but I would like to add this as I am in the process of redoing most if not all of my pool equipment. What is a good system to look at? My dad has a Jandy system on his home, but I understand there are other systems that will do the same and for less money.

    A few of my requirements:

    - Supports wireless as pulling hardwire will be dificult
    - Can conrol outside landscaping lighting
    - Would allow me to take on in pieces to help reduce upfront costs

    Thanks for any help and/or suggestions.

    Chris

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Valrico, FL
    Posts
    536

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    There are several different manufacturers. Hayward, Jandy are two that come to mind. Look at their websites, and pick and choose the system you like the best.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Guest

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    I would personally look at Pentair (www.pentairpool.com) first. They are the industry leader, and are my first choice always. Hard to beat in terms of options and flexibility!

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,345

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Welcome to TFP.

    Wireless is going to be your biggest hurdle. I don't know if the pool companies have anything except wireless remotes.

    Post your questions on a few of the home automation forums and see what they recommend. Something in the Z-wave, X-10, Insteon arena is probably what you want to start looking at.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    I've got a Pentair Intellitouch system with the Screenlogic module. I had many of the same ambitions you list and am COMPLETELY DISAPPOINTED with Pentair and its closed, proprietary product. Unfortunately I do not have experience with other products and cannot suggest anything better.

    THE GOOD: If you are looking for something turnkey that will reliably do what the manufacturer allows it to do, the Pentair system is reasonably reliable and well supported by the pool industry. You can talk to it with your iPhone and control pool, irrigation and landscape lighting IF you stick to an ALL PENTAIR solution or work with their (expensive and proprietary) partners.

    THE BAD: If you have computer skills and are looking to do a nice integration into a home automation system my experience (and I would love to be corrected) is that Pentair is operating with 1985 technologies. There is NO EASY WAY to integrate Pentair products with MODERN HA components from companies such as Smarthome (Insteon devices for lighting and control), Universal Devices (inexpensive home control) and SimpleHomeNet (Irrigation and Sensor Automation). You CAN buy EXPENSIVE, proprietary solutions from Crestron and others.

    BASIC DESCRIPTION OF PRODUCTS

    The Intellitouch system consists of a Controller (A large box containing circuit board, circuit breakers and relays) which controls pumps, heaters and other equipment including lighting and (I think) irrigation. Various accessories include a variety of wired/wireless controllers for use inside the house and at pool/spa side.

    The Screenlogic interface includes a protocol adapter basically puts the Intellitouch controller onto your LAN. A small protocol adapter converts the native Intellitouch serial protocol to 802.3 (wired) ethernet. This can then be converted to wireless using 3rd party wired/wireless bridge product. Aps for the iPhone and for Windows allow pretty complete control of the pool/spa and other equipment.

    THE BIG STUFF THAT MAKES ME WISH FOR A BETTER PRODUCT

    1. No API's. Even though the protocol adapter puts the Intellitouch on the LAN, it is still a very stupid box communicating using a proprietary, encapsulated protocol. It does not expose a REST or SOAP API which would allow very simple integration with any home automation service. The only recommendation on the Pentair forum was to use an I-Link adapter. This adapter simply provides an RS-485 link to a computer for control. This is a terrible solution because it REQUIRES yet another computer to be up and active running the protocol stack. Compared with Smarthome INSTEON lighting and SimpleHomeNet irrigation products, which have published, open interfaces and protocols, the Pentair system is really infuriating to work with.

    2. No Granular User Control. This is HUGE if you rent your property to others (or let your wife/kids control it). There is one and only one user interface. A clueless user could set the pool to 90 degrees and walk away, leaving you paying the gas bill. The only way to disable this is by setting a "lockout" password on the keypad. With the password in place nobody can turn on the landscape lights or spa! You can solve this by adding another controller with locked down functions (a 4 or 10 button controller) but these are UGLY and don't have room for labels. It would be SO MUCH EASIER if an "Admin" level password were added or a "User" screen with basic controls was provided. The iPhone interface DOES NOT SOLVE this problem since it exposes all functionality.

    3. Pentair Support for Automation is not state-of-the-art (by a long shot). Automation support appears to be provided by one guy named Jimmy in North Carolina. When my protocol adapter malfunctioned I needed to go get it (200 mile round-trip drive to the vacation house), mail it to Jimmy to have it inspected/fixed, wait for return shipment, drive back to the vacation house (another 200 miles) to discover that firmware was outdated, schedule a Pentair authorized service guy to come out and do a firmware upgrade (no online upgrade available), drive back to the vacation house to meet him (total 600 miles and about 6 weeks later). Contrast that with a defective product from Smarthome - I gave them a credit card, they FedEx replacements to the property along with a prepaid return shipment label for the defective units. They arrived 2 days later, I downloaded the current firmware and was up and running right away. Pentair had no clue about how to do a cross-shipment, would not allow me to purchase a replacement (even at full retail) from their service organization, would not provide their own AUTHORIZED SERVICE REP with a unit for trouble-shooting and did not provide shipment tracking info.
    65K Gallon (24x60) Gunite Pool & 2K Gallon detached spa, Pebble Sheen, Aquamatic Cover, Paramount In-Floor Cleaner, Pentair Intellitouch Controller, 3 Intelliflo pumps (filter, cleaner and water features), Pentair Filter, 400K heater. 2 Pentair IC40 SWCG

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,690

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Pentair is good stuff. They support a wireless remote. I think sperok might be a troll?
    For landscpse lighting, i'd look at a stand alone system, however.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Guest

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    I think sperok might be a troll?
    He definitely has a grasp of the system and capabilities, and is aware of Crestron and probably Lutron automation as well, but fails to acknowledge them, other than to "bag" on them also. It sounds like he may be opposed to spending money on a quality system that may have some proprietary properties, and instead would rather hack in to a lesser quality product to save a few bucks.

    First post, out of nowhere and trashing the top product You may be on to something here, bk!

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Guest

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Pentair is the way that I would go, and you can start off with what you need and add on later. BK, he still could use independent lighting, but use the relays in the pentair to turn it on and off.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,690

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by salp
    BK, he still could use independent lighting, but use the relays in the pentair to turn it on and off.
    That is entirely true. You could use it as a timer to turn on the system and still use a light sensor on the main system to actually turn on the lights at dusk (i.e. CAST or FX system), then use the pentair to turn them off later in the night.

    However, for those of us who winterize, the Easytouch system is normally shut down. And i run my landscape lighting year round.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Guys - not trolling for anyone, just frustrated. Sorry to come off so strong on the first post.

    Sticking strictly to the facts - as I said in the original post - the Pentair product works reliably with an all-Pentair solution, or with HA partners that work with Pentair. As long as you want what they are selling, the solution is reliable. Pentair and Crestron are good companies, selling good products at premium prices.

    The SPECIFIC criticisms that I have, as the owner of a high-end rental property, is that for the custom solution that I want it is hard to get there with Pentair, and Pentair has not been nearly as supportive as other vendors. With 25 years of software development experience under my belt, and knowing what I want to accomplish, my goal is to have a very customized and customizable system based on OPEN, INDUSTRY ACCEPTED standards. I can accomplish this with my selected vendors for lighting, HVAC and irrigation control, but CANNOT GET THERE with Pentair pool products, for the reasons given in the prior post. I would love to be corrected on the specific points raised.

    What do I want? An Ap that works with iPhone and Android phones, freely distributed (so anyone at my house can load it - not so that I don't have to buy it) that allows me as the administrator to control everything (lights, HVAC, irrigation, Sonos music system, pool, spa) and lets my guests/renters have a completely intuitive interface to USE these same systems WITHOUT the ability to screw something up. All the products selected for this project work GREAT (Sonos music player, SimpleHomeNet Irrigation, Universal Devices Controller, Smarthome Lighting) with PUBLISHED AND EASILY USED Web Apis for those willing to write code, and packaged Aps for those that want functionality out of the box. I only wish that Pentair would adopt an open interface like these others so that their quality products (and I do respect them) can be EASILY integrated without requiring a standalone computer system.

    Very specific, factual issues:

    - Remote Access via ScreenLogic Connect or iPhone Ap is a CLOSED, PROPRIETARY system running through Pentair servers. This makes it IMPOSSIBLE to change the user interface to either restrict or simplify functionality for guests. Pentair's Indoor Control Panel also lacks any ability to restrict functionality. Guests have the ability to cost me LOTS of money by inadvertently changing heat and pump settings. This is real pain I have felt to the tune of over $1500 in propane and electrical costs. I have had to relocate and lock the control panel and disable iPhone access for guests as a result.

    - Programming landscape lighting and watering schedules with Pentair is painful because there is no programming language. With my other controllers the built-in scripting capabilities include concepts like "sunrise" and "sunset" as well as conditional logic (if-then) for defining when to turn on lights. Pentair lacks any sort of scripting or programming language and has very primitive timers.

    - Pentair cannot differentiate between a button being pressed and a button being held down - these are very useful for doing things like opening and closing a pool cover. Legally a pool cover switch must stop when released - you can't get there with any Pentair control and must have a separate switch. I've passed code with my solution only after convincing the inspector that my implementation of the cover control was at least as good as that provided by the cover vendor. With the camera on the pool I can retract or close the cover from my remote location, which is VERY HANDY when the renters don't do it.
    65K Gallon (24x60) Gunite Pool & 2K Gallon detached spa, Pebble Sheen, Aquamatic Cover, Paramount In-Floor Cleaner, Pentair Intellitouch Controller, 3 Intelliflo pumps (filter, cleaner and water features), Pentair Filter, 400K heater. 2 Pentair IC40 SWCG

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Guest

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Sperok,

    I think you have great ideas, but I think you are asking a lot. I think if you are that passionate about interfacing, then you should develop your own system and market it. But as I expect, it would probably be more expensive and you would find that most pool owners are happy with whats available. Just my two cents.

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    sperok...have you seen this thread?
    open-source-pool-controller-t25840.html
    25k gal vinyl AquaRite T-15

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,690

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    What Sal said. I'm not sure you will find a lot of help, conversation, etc here about all that. Folks here tend to use whats out there are happy with it. All that stuff is pretty complicated and voer the heads of most homeowners. I'm happy with my Pentair, CAST lights, and hunter irrigation control as it is
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    4JawChuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    223

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Seems like most of the objections regarding the Pentair is the inability to remotely control and cheaply integrate into another control system while living 200 miles away. Proprietary software and communications protocol? Dude every company does that!

    If so I would say you fit into the 0.001% of pool owners that want to remote control a pool by satellite from your couch in another state.

    Ever heard of a live in landlord or giving someone a break on their rental to take care of the pool?

    Seriously, you are controlling the opening and closing of the pool cover by remote camera surveillance 200 miles away? Recipe for a lawsuit if you ask me.
    55 Kilolitre in-ground 18'X36' vinyl lined kidney shape, 1HP pump, Jacuzzi 250lb sand filter, RayPak Delta T 200K BTU natural gas heater. New PoolWerks "Blue Diffusion" liner on May 26th-2011
    Avatar is my pool!

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    I don't think I am alone in wanting more from Pentair. A quick scan of Home Automation forums this evening turned up multiple people looking for pretty much the same thing, including developers at some of the well-known HA companies, all with no luck. Several friends owning vacation rental properties face similar problems with their pools and rag about them all the time - nobody has the pool guy come by more than 1/week and problems don't always occur when he is on site. This forum is probably the wrong place for these questions, so I'll end my participation here and switch over to one of the forums with active discussion on the topic. My apologies for any inconvenience to anyone.

    Chuck - I am not crazy. I do use the remote control cameras to close the pool cover ONLY when the property is vacant and the cover has been left open (and heater left running). With weekend vacation rentals the two options you mentioned don't work. The liability of leaving the pool open is much higher than closing it carefully with a full view of the pool deck - and I don't give this interface to anyone but me.

    Sal - The solution I am describing has VERY LOW cost and does not need any new development. Today I can send a renter an e-mail with 2 links in it. They can click on these links from any browser or phone to set the house up in "Welcome" mode prior to arrival or "Vacant" mode on departure, setting interior and landscape lights, music playlist, sprinkler schedules, and heat/ac controls appropriately (wouldn't it be great to have the Spa hot as well?). They can't mess anything up. This is accomplished with a $300 controller from Universal Devices, 1 day of configuration using their admin tools and ZERO programing. The total cost for automating 50+ lighting circuits, sprinklers and HVAC for a 4200 SF building was under $5,000. That is a fraction of the cost of Crestron or Control4 systems, and any changes can be handled by anyone skilled enough to write a spreadsheet and wire a light switch. ($45 per lighting circuit, $110 per 8 sprinkler zones, $120 per thermostat, $50 per landscape transformer, $2000 for 5 Sonos music "zones"). I can control full functionality of all of this stuff remotely using the built-in Universal Devices web server (the interface is not great, but it works).

    There is no additional cost involved for Pentair to provide the required interface. The ONLY thing Pentair needs to do is DOCUMENT the interface so that vendors such as Universal Devices can write to it over the LAN, like they can with the I-Link today over RS-232. There is nothing additional to design, build or buy. It is only Pentair's luddite mentality that keeps their interface locked-up. Opening the API does not create any risk that is not already there today since you can't (or shouldn't be able to) do anything over the API that you can't already do with the Windows or iPhone apps, or the aforementioned I-Link.

    BK - Hunter has an open API for their irrigation controllers that Homeseer and others take advantage of. It uses the same protocol adapter as Pentair, but Hunter will tell you how to use it.
    65K Gallon (24x60) Gunite Pool & 2K Gallon detached spa, Pebble Sheen, Aquamatic Cover, Paramount In-Floor Cleaner, Pentair Intellitouch Controller, 3 Intelliflo pumps (filter, cleaner and water features), Pentair Filter, 400K heater. 2 Pentair IC40 SWCG

  16. Back To Top    #16
    benavidescj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Fleming Island, FL
    Posts
    431

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Sperok, as a programmer and engineer I see where you are coming from and would like the ability to do the things you are talking about. I also get frustrated with companies that sell proprietary products and tend to stray away from those, Itunes comes to mind. I am surprised with the reception of this forum to your comments because we tend to be pretty anal about how we take care of our pools. In other words, we like accuracy and you are trying to be very accurate with how your automation works. I hope you do not go to another website for this discussion because I for one like the ideas you have. I also do not like companies that are so closed. Google has started a wave of open sourceness (hope that's a word) that I for one am enjoying. I hope other companies in the future see the benefits of being more open and I believe they will find out that being open makes them more money in the long run.
    Carlos
    Pool: 28,000 gallons IG; IC 40 SWG; Pentair 120 gpm cartridge filter; Marble finish; Pentair Wisperflow 1.5 hp; Polaris 360
    Spa: 350 gallon; Bromine
    How to shock your pool

  17. Back To Top    #17
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,345

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Just to chuck my 2 pennies in here. I have been disappointed by the major pool companies unwillingness to provide a way to control their systems.

    I for one am glad to see you come here and give your opinion. Stick around and maybe before long we can have Homeseer controlling our SWCG's and VS pumps.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Guest

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    @ Sperok, I think your ideas are great! ctcline was asking what was available, not what was not. Jason might be able to chime in here, he is a software programmer...

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,690

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    I guess I live in the dark ages. As long as my pool pump comes on at 7 am and goes off at 8 pm, my landscape lights go on at dusk and go off at midnight, and my sprinklers run from 4 am to 6am, i'm good. I set all this stuff when it went in and havent touched it in 3 years. Dont want to mess with it, dont care too. As long as it works, im happy. If something goes haywire, I call my landscaper or pool guy and they fix it. So far, everything works like it was designed to and have had no issues.
    Then again, I'm not an engineer that likes tinker with everything they have

    I didnt mean to imply your discussions weren't welcome. What I meant was that you will probably not find a lot of interaction here with the detail your probably looking for.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Valrico, FL
    Posts
    536

    Re: Pool Automation Suggestions

    Interestingly enough, Hayward is no marketing an interface to their system. They document the interface, but you will have to write your own drivers to what ever home automation system you have. So maybe Hayward/Goldline may be a path forward in this respect.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •