Hello, all. Long time reader, first time poster. Originally I found TFP when I was looking for a solution to a rising CYA problem. My pool is used about twice a year so it didn't take long for the pucks to get the CYA to astronomical levels. The BBB system is simple and works great for those diligent enough to do it. I am not. So, having a seldom used pool and being lazy, conversion to a salt water system seemed the best solution for me. I know that SWG does not mean maintenance free but at least the chlorine part is taken care of more easily. Here's my experience, hopefully it will be of value to others about to convert or thinking about it. Sorry I didn't think to take pictures along the way (I can take some finished product pics if anyone is interested.)
I read about a lot of systems before deciding on the CircuPool RJ-30. The deciding factors for me were that it is reasonably priced, comes with a long warranty, and had enough positive reviews to make me feel comfortable. I bought it online from a seller offering a free upgrade to the next larger size so I got it for the price of the RJ-20 (if you want to know where I bought it send me a PM.)
In preparation for the install I dumped in 400 lbs. over the week before I installed. Based on what I thought the size of my pool was, I figured I needed 500 lbs. Without being able (read, 'smart enough to buy strips') to test it myself, I took a sample into my local pool store and was told I was 7,700 ppm! Wow! I didn't expect that. Glad I got it tested.
Here's a tip, buy test strips and test along the way. Alternatively, this tip could be know your pool. After this debacle, I got out the measuring tape and I now think my pool is closer to 12K gallons, not 16K-18K gallons like I used to think.
So first thing Saturday morning, I head off to the hardware store to rent a pump and pump half of the pool. While its refilling, I start installing the SWG. For the most part, I followed the article, "How To Install an In-Line Salt Chlorine Generator" I found on the Inyopools website. The author is installing a slightly different system but its detailed enough that I expect it could be adapted for almost any system.
My pump and filter pad is just behind my garage so I mounted the control unit to the back of the garage. The control unit is heavy so reinforcement was required. Since the inside of my garage is not finished, it was easy for me to secure 2x6 boards between the studs on the inside where the control unit would be mounted (the 2x6 boards were overkill, I just had them already.) I hung the bracket by drilling through the garage wall and the reinforcing boards and using long machine screws with nuts.
In the how-to I was following, the cell was being put in the return line replacing an in-line tablet holder. I did the same except my tablet holder was long gone (removed a few years ago because it was leaking.) Installing the cell is just gluing PVC together but be careful with your measurements. It didn't hurt that my father-in-law (a retired master plumber) was helping me and he can eyeball this stuff better than I can measure it.
Next came wiring it the timer. Not much to this part, just remember to turn off the power at the breaker if you install one so you can come back here and tell us all about it. 240 volts is serious business. The control unit is right over the timer so I cut a couple of feet out of the line. The cable to the cell was also a lot longer than I needed but I wasn't about to cut that. Its curled up and tucked behind another cable to keep it out of the way.
That was it, the SWG installation was complete. The pool wasn't completely full yet but it was full enough that I could start the pump. I flipped the switch and was overcome by joy when the SWG lit up (if you knew my level of mechanical dis-inclination you would better understand.) The manual said the control unit goes through a few test when it starts that take a couple of minutes so I waited to see the results. It reported the salt at 4,400 ppm but the pool was still filling. Through the smoked plastic housing of the RJ-30 cell I could now see the cloudy gas coming off the cell that indicated it was doing what its supposed to. My joy was now great joy.
When I started the pump the next day the control unit reported salt at 3,800 ppm, a little over the ideal level of 3,500 ppm for RJ-30, but well within range. I took another sample to the local pool supply store where they tested salt at 4,400 ppm. While that's high, its still not out of range for my unit so I'm not pumping anymore. I may put more water in and maybe give the filter a couple of extra cleanings to flush some more water out but as long as its happy, I'm happy. FC tested at 6 (the SWG ran at 70% for most of the prior day,) CYA was 20 (I knew it would be low,) and pH was 9. I added a bottle of liquid CYA and muriatic acid. I later tested pH at 7.2 and I'll take another sample to the pool store to check for CYA in a few days (yes, I'll order the TF-100 to I can test all of this myself.) I don't recall all the other numbers but none of them were too far out of whack. Before the weather starts getting warmer, I'll probably add borate because I like what I've read on here about it. I'm in the Houston, Texas area so I never close my pool and it doesn't usually get cold enough that I can ever stop thinking about the green demon for too long.
So that's my story. If you're thinking about installing one but your installation skills are holding you back, I hope this encourages you. It really is an if I can do it, anyone can. The how-to I mentioned above is very good and has lots of pictures. The installation instructions in the RJ-30 manual will not be much (any) help (it can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.) If the electrical part is a little intimidating just make sure its off before you start. That way if something is wired wrong, you'll probably just pop a fuse.
If you have any questions for me, just post. Oh yeah, while the in-laws are visiting I have a project lined up for next weekend. We're making an enclosure to keep the sun off the new SWG and the poor filter housing that been getting baked in the Texas sun.