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Thread: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

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    Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Hello, Lots of great info here and I appreciate all of the useful posts I have found thusfar.

    I'm Looking for some recommendations, as I am planning to get out the sawzall, and re-do my pool pump and filter equipment this year.

    Existing setup:

    Somewhat large residential pool, (I guess), built by previous owner in ~1988 (Swan Pools was the builder) and resurfaced in 2002. it is about 40' long and a free form style with 11' deep end/diving board, a large area of 3' deep shallow end, pebble-tec finish, one small waterfall feature.

    Here are a couple pics to help:











    Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq.ft. DE Filter

    2.5 HP Hayward Northstar Pump (single speed pump) which just runs off an old-school intermatic mechanical timer

    Solar heating (Harter HiTec) 12 panels. very simple (Compool) Solar controller w/three way motorized jandy type valve:



    About a 50 foot run, each way, all 3" PVC, from the filter out to the solar panels (up on roof of a single story ranch), and back down to valves/ back to pool

    Letro Legend pool sweep, which runs off of a return port to the pool (no booster pump is used) works OK

    Very Dry, windy, and dusty Northern California summers (farm fields close by, I get plenty of airborne dust/silt)


    Main objectives:

    1. Switch to a variable speed pump to reduce my utility costs; I am paying dearly on a tiered rate structure, at 30 cents per kWh for more than half of my total household usage.

    2. Get a better filter with better flow characteristics, longer lasting internals that is easier to maintain

    Questions:

    1. Variable Speed pumps. Which one is best for my situation?

    2. Automation. What is the best simple system for controlling a couple of three way valves and managing the pump? I can't afford, nor do I want, a really fancy system; simplicity of use for my family members and reliability are key. I really don't need a wireless handheld remote, etc.

    3. Filtration. I really hate the design of the FNS Plus DE filter that I have now, whomever designed that manifold, and method for getting all the grids connected to it, should be strangled. Every maintenance session with that thing is a curse-fest. Anyway, I don't think there are any viable options, apart from a DE....?

    4. Backwash Valve. I currently have a vertical slider that came with the FNS, and I know that the port sizes on it are killing my flow rates, the ports are so small, about 1.5". Does anyone make a Backwash valve that flows better?

    Rob
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Welcome to TFP!

    I like the Pentair IntelliFlo, though there are a couple of others that are also good.

    Low end automation systems start around $400. It is a very good idea to get an automation system that is the same brand as the variable speed pump. For Pentair the entry level system is the SunTouch.

    The Pentair Quad DE filters get rave reviews. There are great filters using sand and cartridges. Everyone has their own favorites. DE tends to be the most work and gives you the best water quality. Sand is the least work and still good water quality, cartridge is somewhere in-between on both counts.

    A modern multi-port rotary main valve is a big step up from an old vertical slider. Most brands have versions designed for high flow high efficiency that only cost a little more.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Thanks, Jason. I am considering the Intelliflo VF, But I must say, reading the manual for it online, and watching a couple of online vids about it that I have found, it looks like comprehending the user interface on the pump is a project in itself...?

    Is there any Pentair controller for this pump which interfaces to it and provides a simpler interface and eliminates the need to crouch over the pump and navigate all of those menus directly on the pump?
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Any of the Pentair automation systems are easier to use than the UI on the pump. Still even the automation systems take a little puzzling out. Once you get the hang of it, it isn't too complicated. The main thing is that they give things strange names that can be misleading sometimes.
    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

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: New Intelliflo VS pump.

    I am planning on an equipment upgrade and I have this new pump (#011018) in mind.

    Question: I understand that this model of pump can operate at 8 different speeds. I plan to use a Pentair SunTouch system to automate. Can the SunTouch access all eight speeds? I read somewhere that the SunTouch could not manage more than four different speeds...Is this the case?

    Thanks,
    Rob
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Intelliflo VS pump.

    Correct, the SunTouch can only switch between four speeds, however they can be any four speeds out of the hundreds of different speeds the pump is capable of. It is quite unusual to need more control than that.
    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

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Hi Jason, I am looking at the new Intelliflo pump, the 011018. Can the SunTouch control all eight speeds that this pump can run at? I recall reading somewhere that the SunTouch was limited in this regard (4 speeds). Either way, at $839 or so, shipped, this is the pump I am going with.
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Posts merged back into your main topic. Please only ask each question in a single place, preferably in your own topic. Thanks JasonLion
    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

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Thanks, Sorry about that Jason!
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    In order for a Sun Touch system to operate an Intelliflo pump (like the 011018), is the "Pentair IntelliComm II Interface Adapter - 521109" required?
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    No, just an appropriate data cable. That adapter allows you to change speeds from a non-Pentair automation system.
    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

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    After looking it over, I decided to start sketching the layout. This is how my system is currently laid out. Would a SunTouch be capable of running this? I have read that when in "single body of water" mode, the SunTouch can only actuate valves A and B in tandem, and not independently?

    I am going to be re-plumbing everything on the pad, so I am open to suggestions!

    Valve A = Waterfall or Sidewall Jets selector for returning water (when not running the pool sweep). Manually Operated
    Valve B = Pool Sweep Valve, Pool Sweep is pressure side (return water) driven, no booster pump. Manually Operated
    Valve C = Solar Valve (Currently managed and actuated by Compool LX220 and Actuator)

    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    The SunTouch can only really control two independent valves. Valves A and B always switch together.

    You don't really need the check valve on the way up to solar. Turning solar off with valve C serves the same purpose, plus you want the panels to be able to drain down when the pump is 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

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Thanks Jason. I'm wondering if I could use one of the AUX relay outputs to drive a relay that would switch the Valve A actuator's polarity (like the actuator's toggle switch does), thereby changing the flow direction of just that one valve.
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  15. Back To Top    #15
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    The relays are single throw (on/off) double pole relays, so you can't use them to reverse two wires, which takes double throw, double pole.
    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

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    Hi Jason, Yes, what I mean is, not using the relays which come with SunTouch, but getting an appropriate DPDT relay, with the proper coil voltage, to be driven by the suntouch.
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  17. Back To Top    #17
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    That could work, but programming it will be very confusing.
    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

  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    We have an Easy Touch with an Intelliflow VS pump. (read the signature for model #s and full listing). Our system allows us to control the full range of pump speeds and automates everything on our system including the solar. We shopped online (Amazon.com - sold by Amazon & shipped from a pool dealer) and got them both relatively cheap. Just check with Pentair (if you go with their products) to ensure that whoever you are buying it from is an authorized Penatir dealer. The warranty is void if it is not a Pentair dealer. I don't know why, but that's what I learned when we were shopping for our pool components back in December. Also, when we bought ours, if you installed 3 Pentair components they extended the warranty for 3 years automatically. We are pretty much all Pentair on our pool. So far we have no complaints with any of our Pentair equipment and find it fairly easy to operate and maintain. In fact, we had one of those Intex inflatable ring pools for years before we installed our inground and we have noticed that this much larger and complex pool is way easier to maintain than that one was. Perhaps that is the difference that automation and higher end equipment makes.
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    The more I read up on the SunTouch (and, no offense to folks that have and love them) the more I am looking at other options. I was just reading the installation manual for the Goldline (now Hayward) PL-P-4. That system looks like it will do what I want, at about the same price point. And from reading the manual, I could understand the menu structure.
    38,500 gallon free form pool, Gemstone finish by Burkett's, FNS Plus 60, Pentair Intelliflo Pump #011018, Solar, 12 4x12 panels w/Compool LX220....Soon to be adding automation.

  20. Back To Top    #20
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Need to plan my equipment upgrade!

    The Pentair manuals leave a huge amount to be desired. The devices themselves work fairly well once you figure them out. The SunTouch is also a bit more limited than it's hardware makes it appear.
    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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