Hey everyone, now that I got some things straight with the admins, hopefully this post makes a bit more sense and adheres to the rules. I wanted to talk to you about my new pool controller. I'm trying to start a home automation company and the pool control portion of it is the first part. I'm offering a beta test, more info at http://www.infusix.com.
Anyway the system I created actually is rather different than the current solutions (otherwise why bother right?). As far as I know the current ones can principally control devices, read temperature sensors and control valve actuators. Mine has one more component to start which is pressure sensors. To begin with, utilizing a pressure sensor on the suction side of the pump combined with the output side you can use your pump's head curve to calculate a flow rate. This is without one of those expensive flow sensors which seem to cost like $600 everywhere I've seen. The interface is actually pretty clever, I use curve fitting and just 3 data points from your pump's head curve to recreate the curve equation. Who says you won't use math in real life? Anyway, there are two main benefits to this. One is that you can monitor your pump's condition to make sure it is not clogged or running dry and shut it down, which will protect it from overheating and ruining seals. The other more interesting thing is that you can actually run your filter based not on just a schedule but based on actual gallons pumped. As your filter clogs up, the run time will grow to suit. This isn't quite done but will be as part of the beta and is considered a first version feature.
Another difference that I know you can do with some systems in some situations but standard on mine is that everything is currently commanded and controlled via a web browser and a nice web interface. It's also wireless between your home and pool equipment standard so you don't need to string any RS485 cabling.
My system has no load center component while the others do. I'll probably offer this in the future but I have to get some experience with what people actually have in order to know what to offer. If you look on the site, there are videos that show the installation on my system. My existing load center had plenty of space to install the components so I thought maybe it so happens that other people who want automation also have the space and don't need a separate load center.
It will have what I call switch group modes but it's not quite yet implemented. (for instance a party mode). Currently mine DOESN'T do chlorination whether via a pump or a salt cell and it doesn't do ORP sensing but this is definitely the next step and something that interests me. I'm actually more interested in pumping liquid chlorine but I suppose the salt cell would be cheaper in the long run.
The final difference is is that instead of all the intelligence being at the pool, the part at the pool doesn't do very much and instead there is a small server that goes in your home. It's kind of similar in size to a wireless router and it's silent like one. It runs Linux and it's open to customization. This is different than what I developed before and was in another thread in here. In that case I put literally everything in a box at the pool and it DID work well but it would be expensive to offer something like that with new components. I built it with used items from eBay. Anyway, the Linux and web back end is interesting because you can actually add content, change images, etc on your installation. Also I plan to add lots of new content to the web interface which will be free, especially for the beta testers going forward, so hopefully it's kind of more interesting to a more adventurous person. Also can provide remote technical support with a button you click in the web interface. It will actually ask your wireless router to open a couple ports up for me to access your system. When finished, you can click another button to close them.
Anyway, I'm happy to be able to type this. This has been years of work for me. Hopefully you guys like what I've made.