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Thread: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

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    Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    So, what is the exact differences between the Autopilot Digital and the Aqua Rite? I was considering getting an Autopilot Digital 42K for my 18K pool, but the Aqua Rite 40K is $400 cheaper and the cells are about $125 cheaper.

    What will the Autopilot Digital give me that the Aqua Rite won't, and is it really that important? The only thing I found was temperature compensation. Is that a big deal?

    BTW, I'm going to get a Pentair Intelliflo VF installed, and won't have separate automation.
    15k gunite pool. Intelliflo VF. Autopilot SWG.
    2k separate spa with waterfall (ie: pain in the rear maintaining a separate body of water). 2HP Hayward Tristar pump.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Here's some things....

    I will pass by temperature compensation since you already mentioned it. Here are some other things to consider:

    Unit Cooling/Fans
    The Pool Pilot Digital has two cooling fans inside of the unit to keep the boards cool. They Aquarite unit does not and they've had some problems with boards going bad because of this. Hayward said they corrected this problem by changing the board to a new design but still no fans inside of a standard Aqaurite unit. They do make a special unit at an up charge that they say can handle the heat better but I've never seen one installed to add my two cents on that version.

    Cell/Tri-Sensor
    AutoPilot uses a tri-sensor to detect water temperature, water flow and salt level. This provides you a very accurate salt level reading. Goldline doesn't actually use salt sensors to test the salt level instead they go off of the conductivity of the water in the cell - this doesn't always provide for an accurate salt level reading which can cause confusion between the actual salt level of the pool and what the system believes the salt level to be.

    Cell Cord
    I've had people accidentally destroy a cell cord (dog chewed, weed eater, etc.). On a Goldline unit you will have to buy an entire new cell to fix this. With an AutoPilot unit you can replace just the cord.

    Salt Level Calculation
    A nice connivence feature of the Pool Pilot Digital is that it will tell you exactly how much salt to add.

    Cell Replacement Cost
    The going price for a RC-42/SC-48 cell should be right around $450.00. Goldline cells are typically in this price range or often higher.

    Those are some of the main points I would consider. If you have any other questions please let us know. I'm sure others here will chime in with their opinions also.

    (Disclaimer: I'm an AutoPilot dealer.)
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Josh, how much does PoolSean pay you for these posts? :P

    I was a Goldline 'authorized service tech.' and I agree with everything you said (though we had some 'work arounds' for the cord issues)

    The extra utility and 'bells and whistles' on the Autopilot are impressive and good, but I also want to say that the Goldline unit is a very good piece of equipment.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    In addition to what they said, the AutoPilot has a nice alpha numeric display that says things in english instead of indicator lights and code numbers.
    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: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Josh, how much does PoolSean pay you for these posts? :P

    I was a Goldline 'authorized service tech.' and I agree with everything you said (though we had some 'work arounds' for the cord issues)

    The extra utility and 'bells and whistles' on the Autopilot are impressive and good, but I also want to say that the Goldline unit is a very good piece of equipment.
    So let me ask: if it were your pool, which would you get... Autopilot Digital or Aqua Rite?
    15k gunite pool. Intelliflo VF. Autopilot SWG.
    2k separate spa with waterfall (ie: pain in the rear maintaining a separate body of water). 2HP Hayward Tristar pump.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    I'd probably get the Autopilot

    However, if money was so tight as to make the Hayward the only option, I'd get one in a heartbeat

    **I've never seen the Autopilot but, being a faithful follower of PoolSean's posts, they sound like the way to go **
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    One big thing I didn't see mentioned was the Auto-Pilot has a manifold that will only allow so much water to pass to the cell. Anything in excess is bypassed. This helps to ensure the flow through the cell is at an optimal speed for production and minimizes the friction related erosion higher speed water flow the other brands of cells endure.

    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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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Ted... you're kidding right? Josh is my Go To Guy!

    In addition to what's already mentioned;
    - No HIGH salt limit shut down, which means that any accidental overdose of salt (such as at start up, or when the salt level is incorrectly displayed and you should happen to add salt (BECAUSE THE UNIT SAID SO)), the AutoPilot will continue to operate while the Goldline will require you to drain your pool down to dilute the salt level.
    - Temperature Compensation - not only adjusts the output for you automatically, under cold water conditions, most system will shut down when temps fall below about 60 degrees or less, AutoPilot will continute to operate, so you don't have to add chlorine by hand over the winter months, if you should happen to continue to run your pool. You didn't mention where you are so I don't know if this is applicable.
    - Adjustable Reverse Polarity - which accomodates improper water chemistry balance to prevent scale formation on the cell blades.
    - Adjustable Cell Power - which allows you to increase, or in your case, lower the output of the system so as to avoid overchlorination
    - Two Boost Modes - 24 hrs and 72 hrs, which also has a memory to recall how many hours are remaining in the boost mode. When the pump shuts off, the AutoPilot knows how hours are left, so it will start back up in Boost Mode. I believe Goldline cycles off when the pump turns off... Ted? Scott? Is this correct?
    - Cell Life - Lets say that they estimate cell life like ours, approx 10,000 hrs of operation. Simply due to the fact that their larger cell produces 1.4 lbs/day vs our RC42 cell at 1.78 lbs/day, means you will run the AutoPilot cell less time, to maintain your desired chlorine level. The result of which is our cell will last longer. Therefore, does the minimal price difference really factor in? We may cost more for the replacement cell, but you don't have to replace as often...
    OK, I'm off now. Fringe is back on the TV!!
    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: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Ok, you've all convinced me... will go with the Autopilot Digital. Now is this thing difficult to install myself? Mind you, I have zero plumbing and electrical experience, but am great at following directions... Should I hire someone?
    15k gunite pool. Intelliflo VF. Autopilot SWG.
    2k separate spa with waterfall (ie: pain in the rear maintaining a separate body of water). 2HP Hayward Tristar pump.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    That depends on how comfortable you feel working with electricity and PVC. Neither is all that difficult, but the electrical work can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing, and PVC work does require careful measurement. If you are generally handy and do other DIY projects, then installing a SWG is very reasonable. But if you don't have any previous electrical experience or are at all uncomfortable with electricity, it might be better to leave the whole thing to a pro.
    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: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    How much does it usually run to have something like this installed?
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
    The Pool Cleaner 4x, PoolSkim

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Prices vary quite a bit from place to place and situation to situation. Many installers will do it for "free" if you purchase the SWG from them and are having other work done at the same time. Others will charge quite a bit just because they can get away with it. $300-350 is plausible for a straight install with no purchase or other work involved, but again that will vary from place to place.
    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: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    I hope it's okay to simply piggyback on this thread. I was researching and came across it, and the OP said he was planning on using the 42k-rated cell for his 18k pool, but no one asked why, as opposed to the 35k-rated cell.

    As I have a 17k pool, and 35k is still twice as much, wouldn't the 35k-rated cell be fine (best?) Or is it more cost-effective in the long run to go up more and let the autopilot throttle down the cell output more to allow the cell to last longer? That the longer life is thought to make up for the $170 price of the larger cell? I'm not sure how the math would be figured with that, but also I would imagine there's a limit as to how much the autopilot can reduce the output, or that it's best if it doesn't have to do it too much?
    Thanks in advance for any advice on this.
    17,000 g.; fiberglass; SWG; cartridge filter.
    Tampa, FL.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Up until you pass 3x the pool size with the cell size, there are usually no problems. Depending on the price difference, getting a larger cell is usually cost effective because the cells are rated in amp-hours of life so if you run it at a lower percentage then it lasts longer in years. I'm sure that someone has a formula for figuring where the break point is but I don't have it.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Quote Originally Posted by jackj
    I hope it's okay to simply piggyback on this thread. I was researching and came across it, and the OP said he was planning on using the 42k-rated cell for his 18k pool, but no one asked why, as opposed to the 35k-rated cell.
    Yeah, I had considered just the 35k cell, but living in Texas and already having a 2 ppm chlorine decrease per day, I figured I would need more chlorine output when summer hits. That, mixed in with the longer life of the bigger 42k cell helped me make my decision to go bigger.
    15k gunite pool. Intelliflo VF. Autopilot SWG.
    2k separate spa with waterfall (ie: pain in the rear maintaining a separate body of water). 2HP Hayward Tristar pump.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Thanks for the responses. I believe I have a 17k pool, but it's kindney-shaped, so not sure. How accurate does one need to be when figuring gallons? And I imagine with the autopilot you enter in the # of gallons, and it adjusts its output based on that and the water temp? So it does the throttling down for you? Thanks again!
    17,000 g.; fiberglass; SWG; cartridge filter.
    Tampa, FL.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    You don't need to be exact when figuring out your pool size. Ideally you want to get it within +-10%, but +=20% is usually fine.

    The AutoPilot only uses your pool size to determine how much salt to tell you that you need to add. You need to manually adjust the percentage based on your pool. One nice feature the AutoPilot has is automatic temperature compensation. You generally need more chlorine when the water is warm and less when the water is cold. With any other SWG you need to adjust the percentage setting every week or two as the average water temperature changes. The AutoPilot units automatically adjust the percentage for you, turn it up as the water warms up and turning it down as the water cools 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: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Sorry for my ignorance on this... So, do I still need to test for chlorine level, and adjust the output accordingly to get it at the right amount (particularly with a larger cell), at least for a given temperature of water. And from there it will adjust the output up and down for warmer and cooler water. But I still test the chlorine level weekly or so to confirm it's correct, and tweak accordingly?
    17,000 g.; fiberglass; SWG; cartridge filter.
    Tampa, FL.

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    Re: Autopilot Digital vs. Aqua Rite

    Yep. When you first install the unit you will want to test and adjust daily. Then as you get more comfortable with the unit you can switch to weekly.
    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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