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Thread: Understanding intellichem and its options

  1. #41
    Senior Member MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    yep, brushing every day, but quickly....I can just feel the heat leaving the pool when water is heated to 65-70 and air temp according to pump is in the 50's or lower....and in fact, in early evening, I can sometimes see what appears to be water evaporating into the air.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

  2. #42
    Senior Member MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    OK, it's been about 3 months since we installed intellichem and I thought I'd post an update and some new suggestions for those setting one up:

    We're running the ph mgmt with ph set to 7.6, low sensitivity, and a maximum of 4 ounces muriatic acid injected every 45 minutes. The main benefit to the ph management seems to be that it lets me know when I screw something up (e.g. forget that adding cya drops ph....thank goodness for those alerts...has saved me on a few occasions). Also, for a new pool that needs constant acid injections, this is a huge time saver (no having to worry about dumping acid into pool or brushing floor after acid in). Plus I can get a 2 month record/graph of ph via screenlogic and see trends. That said, our pool needs much less acid now and I suspect that in a few months, the only real need for acid will be to counteract swg ph increasing due to chlorine. The ph reading has been relatively accurate, and usually doesn't disagree by more than 0.1 from the tf test kit.

    ORP has been another story. It is extremely fragile. The more you run the SWG, the more depressed ORP readings get. Weather, sunlight, and water temperature greatly impact orp readings. That said, I think I may finally have it configured and mostly working properly so that it ensures the pool is keeping a FC of 3.5-5.0 even on hot days and when pool cover is opened.

    My best suggestions for setting up the ORP is to not use the default config which just runs the SWG at 100% until ORP level is reached. Odds are you can get a major negative feedback loop in that case. It also is just incorrect if your ORP setpoint is for pool when it is covered. You do not want SWG running 6hrs straight at 100% if you open up the pool for most of the day as opening up cover automatically drops ORP readings between 50-150 pts.

    So, what needs to be done is a) get a larger swg than you think...I have an ic60 for 24K gallon pool. b) manually configure intellichem to use dose by time value (a time setting of 18 minutes swg on followed by 20 minutes swg off cycle works for me in keeping the SWG running until FC reaches correct point, while not depressing ORP values due to over running, or causing FC to go too high when cover is opened for an extended period). c) despite the warnings that pentair gives you, cya is needed and a value around 35 seems to give the best results. If the system seems to be running the swg more than needed, double check that nothing has been eating your cya....this confused me for quite awhile (cya had disapeared from pool).

    Most days, the pattern is that SWG does not run until the pool cover is opened (as FC is stable in covered pool)...than while swimming the SWG begins to run and keeps running for 3-4hrs after swimming is done and pool is re-covered. On a particular hot day, SWG may need to run for an hour or two in the afternoon. But in general, SWG is dormant in morning and may not run at all on some days, but goes on when it should and keeps running until FC is brought to right value (it can tend to overshoot, but by limiting the runtime that isn't as much of a problem now).

    So, I think the intellichem can meet its general selling value of controlling ph/swg and providing excellent/data reporting via screenlogic, but it certainly isn't plug and play and can take a long time to find the sweet spot config. It certainly provides some extra protection against messing up the pool by accidently impacting ph (it caught when the plastering company came out while I was from the house to fix some tiny defects in the pebble sheen, they put some acid on those spots..tech left, but when I got home I saw an alert on the main intellichem panel and that ph was 0.5 less than it should be..might not have caught that for another 24-48hrs without the intellichem).

    One still needs to take regular manual readings of FC to verify the orp readings are correct, but I'm hoping this will only be a few times/week rather than daily. It would also be nice if pentair supported allowing a ph setpoint of 7.7. Right now, 7.6 is the max.

    My greatest concern is the acid canister and piping...a leak in those can really pay havoc and potientially damage other pool equipment nearby. My pool builder cut a pipe in half to form an aquaduct to catch any acid that might break free from the main unit and redirect it away from the main pool pump/etc. I'm still nervous about anticipating having to change the canister, acid pump, and tubing every few years. This seems quite a hassle. When our pool ph stabilizes a bit more, I'll probably begin to use diluted acid to make the equipment last longer.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

  3. #43
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Can you tell me what CYA level you're using and how often your pool is currently uncovered? The Chlorine / CYA chart starts at 60 for SWG pools, but I got the impression you were at a lower level. Wanted to understand how your IntelliChem might have influenced your decision. I'm starting up a newly plastered pool (so no salt water for 30 days) with similar equipment to yours so am interested in info you can share.

    Thanks, Brian.
    14,000 gal Gunite pool/spa combo, new DiamondBrite Tahoe Blue, Intelliflow VS-SVRS, IntelliChlor IC40, IntelliChem, MasterTemp 250K NG, Clean & Clear Plus 520, Intellibright 5g color pool/spa, Easytouch Compool Upgrade w/Easytouch 8 keypad, Screenlogic 2 w/wireless, Polaris 360

  4. #44
    Member acaciolo's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Hey Brian,

    We keep all of our intellichem pools at 40cya. Above 50, the orp sensors get a little whacky. 40 works perfectly, and that is what I have been using on my personal pool for about 8 years.
    tony c
    42,000 gallon gunite pebble pool with 1500 gallon spa/grotto and 500 gallon outdoor spa; Pentair i9 Intellitouch with i10x expansion panel. Controlled by Screenlogic 2/iPhone
    Intelloflo SVRS main pump, 6 whisperflow pumps 2hp to 3hp, Intellichem auto pH and ORP system, ic60 salt water cell, Sta rite 400k btu max e therm heater, Pentair 120k btu heat pump
    Monogram Custom Pools

  5. #45
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    I wouldn't exceed 30 ppm on the CYA or the ORP's valid usable range is exceeded. There is a huge difference in the valid range. For example, a 600mv reading with 30 ppm of CYA can go down as much as 25 millivolts and still offer enough FC to safely oxidize or sanitize but at 50 ppm of CYA, you would only have a range of a couple millivolts. This makes it very difficult to regulate the FC level.

    Any demands, such as an unexpected bather load can put the swimmers at risk needlessly. The existing FC available is used by the swimmers and the Intellichem won't realize it and adjust the chems accordingly.

    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.

  6. #46
    Senior Member MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    I've changed my thinking somewhat since getting the intellichem.

    The reason to get the intellichem is not for the ORP. It is the combined ph + swg management + configuration options + data reporting of orp levels and ph to screenlogic2 (including alerts for high/low ph and high/low csi).

    I don't actually care that much about the ORP levels while the intellichem runs, I've now configured mine to emulate a non-orp setup most of the time (run SWG at fixed percentage) but I do have the unit check to make sure ORP values don't get too high and there are numerous options that intellichem provides for controlling when the SWG runs. The real-time ph readings are generally pretty good, and if I notice a long downward or upward trend in ORP it generally matches FC changes in the pool.

    I initially tried to run my pool with CYA <=30.....cya was not stable there and I ended up having to shock seveal times....now, I'm maintaining CYA at a minimum of 40 and max of 55. CYA levels and FC are much more stable. The ORP, for my purposes, is tolerating this fine....it gives >800 when FC is very high and SWG should shut down, 700-800 when pool is covered FC is relatively in the range I want, and <575 when the cover is open and FC is very low (conditions which should alert me to the need to add bleach).

    Either my kids or I are swimming in my pool every day. I think we are getting about 20hrs/week of usage combined now and it isn't unusual for us to have 5-10 kids (neighborhood friends wanting to swim) simultaneously in the pool at least once/week. Temp is nearly always between 84-89 degrees. Cover is open for at least 3hrs/day in the afternoon..but pool is otherwise closed unless I'm trying to get airation to reduce TA.

    The only real downsides to the intellichem as I'm using it is that we now have a huge canister of acid sitting by the rest of the pool equipment and this acid needs to be topped off every 3-4 weeks. Opening up the lid gives huge amounts of fumes which can be reduced by putting water in the canister before filling, but yes...acid drops are lingering on the lid and the lid has to be moved when filling. The acid pump and piping probably also has to be changed every few years and we put in a diverting path for any acid that might drop from it due to failure of either. So, it complicates the equipment setup some. Still, I feel much safer with the whole config as any major changes to CSI, ph, or ORP are easily visible and can trigger actions/alarms....SWG stops running when ph high, I can see instant changes to ph when adding chems like cya or bleach/etc....and if it is a very hot sunny day with lots of swimmers, I can see the ORP slowly trend downward and recover when the SWG is run more or bleach added. Well worth it.

    Currently, I have my intellichem running for about 11hrs/day with up to 5 ounces/acid set to be dispensed no more than every 90 minutes if ph > 7.3, and SWG in a continuous 15 minute cycle where it is on for about 1/3 of the time except if ORP > 800.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

  7. #47
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Thanks for the rapid replies!! This helps a great deal. This gives me a solid starting point for CYA and has reset my IntelliChem expectations a bit. This is what has continued to impress me as I read these boards!!!

    I'm going to start off at CYA of 30 for the time being, with the expectation that at some point I'm probably going to need to move to 40. 28 days to go until we add the salt and remove the bypass to insert and start the IntelliChlor. Once we get the salt in and start trying to calibrate IntelliChem/IntelliChlor to play nicely, I'll post test results, and what does and does not work for me in the Dallas sun!!!

    Thanks again!
    Brian.
    14,000 gal Gunite pool/spa combo, new DiamondBrite Tahoe Blue, Intelliflow VS-SVRS, IntelliChlor IC40, IntelliChem, MasterTemp 250K NG, Clean & Clear Plus 520, Intellibright 5g color pool/spa, Easytouch Compool Upgrade w/Easytouch 8 keypad, Screenlogic 2 w/wireless, Polaris 360

  8. #48
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    benedib, when you do, you should start your own topic.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  9. #49
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Matt,

    Thanks for keeping this thread updated. It has been an interesting read.

    I have a couple questions:

    1) Having gone through it, would you do everything the same if you were to do it again - if not what pieces would you add or remove and what else would you change?
    2) I am having trouble understanding the difference between IntelliChem and IntelliPh. Do you have both or just one? Does the IntelliChem provide a superset of the IntelliPh's functionality?
    3) You said that the reason to get IntelliChem is not for the ORP - doesn't that suggest getting only IntelliPh?
    I am new here.
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  10. #50
    Member acaciolo's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Hey Garet,

    We have about 50 intellichems installed at our customers now, and they really love the fact that they don't have to test chlorine or pH. Orp absolutely fluctuates a little 10% or so each way....but it doesn't cause an issue. pH is also rock solid.

    Intelliph is basically a dumb pump that will pump a preset volume of acid into your pool, regardless of whether you need it or not.

    Intellichem uses probes to monitor the water and only dispense acid (and sanitizer) then the cells detect that there is a need.

    tony c
    monogram custom pools
    42,000 gallon gunite pebble pool with 1500 gallon spa/grotto and 500 gallon outdoor spa; Pentair i9 Intellitouch with i10x expansion panel. Controlled by Screenlogic 2/iPhone
    Intelloflo SVRS main pump, 6 whisperflow pumps 2hp to 3hp, Intellichem auto pH and ORP system, ic60 salt water cell, Sta rite 400k btu max e therm heater, Pentair 120k btu heat pump
    Monogram Custom Pools

  11. #51
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    I still don't like the use of ORP and cells together. The CYA levels a cell works best with are too high for ORP to give a usable range. ORP doesn't like CYA at more than 30 ppm. The cells wind up with a shortened life as a result, especially in Southern climates where the Sun is stronger. Chlorinating liquid works more effectively since it doesn't need the CYA level a salt cell is happier at.

    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.

  12. #52
    Senior Member MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Quote Originally Posted by Garet Jax
    1) Having gone through it, would you do everything the same if you were to do it again - if not what pieces would you add or remove and what else would you change?
    2) I am having trouble understanding the difference between IntelliChem and IntelliPh. Do you have both or just one? Does the IntelliChem provide a superset of the IntelliPh's functionality?
    3) You said that the reason to get IntelliChem is not for the ORP - doesn't that suggest getting only IntelliPh?

    I haven't worked with the intelliph, but my understanding is that the intellichem and intelliph were products that were released at the same time, seem to share some parts, and the intellichem seems to add significantly more intelligence, dosing options, and the ORP probe. If I was doing things over again, I'd still get the intellichem - it works fine enough if you have realistic expectations for it and if you live in a climate where you can get by with less CYA.

    I'm in SoCal, and if I didn't have the intellichem, I'd bump up CYA to 60-70 - but I'm doing fine enough with a CYA of 45-55 (50 target). My normal FC range is 7-10 which is slightly high on the cya/fc chart, but within reason given that I get significant spikes in usage of the pool (I plan for 3-5 kids swimming, and find out that my wife has invited more of the kids friends over and suddenly we have 12 kids in the pool with many in the 6-10 age range). I also hate having to shock and I find that keeping slightly higher FC helps greatly with that. The automatic pool cover also reduces FC loss substantially so the SWG is not working overtime.

    The intellichem is more than worth it when paired with the screenlogic and intellitouch, and given that I'm doing all the maintenance for a less than 1yr old pool myself means that I like as much automated as possible. The system automatically adjusts the amount of acid dispensed to maintain my targeted ph range and it keeps the FC from getting too high. Plus, there is at least a 30 day record of all the times that either the SWG was running or acid was released so if the pool is having issues, I can look through the recent past and see if something wasn't doing what it should. I can also set the SWG for a higher rate and have the intellichem shut down the SWG if FC gets too high rather than constantly moving SWG run levels up/down.

    What I'm not getting that many other users might expect is fine grained control of FC...I'm not setting a target of FC 7 for instance and having the SWG run up/down as needed.....instead, it's more that if FC goes much over 10 the unit shuts off and based on my own daily FC testing, FC is usually modestly less and the intellichem turns on the SWG in the morning when the pump starts, reaches its desired level and stops, and then around noon as UV kills off FC and as swimmers enter the pool throughout the afternoon turns back on the SWG and keeps it running until at least early evening when FC levels recover or the pump shuts off.

    The only real downsides to the intellichem are that it has an acid canister and you probably will need to replace the acid pump and tubing every 1-2 years. I've also put in a runoff tray to control where acid might end up if the pump ever leaks...this I think should have come with the unit - the pump will fail eventually or the tubing might have a problem and without a runoff you might have acid dropping down into your main equipment area and hopefully not the main pool pump. I have a clear area near the acid canister that the runoff goes to and only needed to use it once but I was glad that it was there then. Putting new acid in the canister is also an annoying chore to do every 6 weeks or so but I think goes hand in hand with owning a pool.

    Without the intellichem, I wouldn't know about sudden ph changes and it would be harder to estimate how much acid is needed to counteract other chem changes. The intellichem has excellent ph accuracy (I've compared it with several other ph measurement sources and I've come to believe it much more than anything else). If something changes in the pool, the intellichem lets me know about 10-15 minutes later - either by displaying a significant drop in the ORP level or a major deviation in ph to 2 digits. The local water here has high CH, and with the pebble surface in my pool, I do get concerns about scaling down the road -- but I am much more comfortable knowing that ph/csi is being tracked by the intellichem and that if I set a ph target of 7.2, than pool p/h will stay between 7.18 and 7.26 throughout the entire day.

    So, whether the intellichem makes sense to others I think would come down to:
    a) whether they are also getting the intellitouch and screenlogic which make it much more useful
    b) intellichem is an investment that makes more sense the longer you plan to own the pool and if you have a new pool with increased p/h variability
    c) if you have a wide enough equipment area that you can set aside a dedicated space for the acid canister and keep the canister away from other equipment given acid fumes. A runoff for the intellichem should also end here.
    d) intellichem works better with an oversized SWG and in climates where the SWG will not require more than 50 CYA. I'm pushing it by using it in San Diego, but my auto cover makes that possible. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it in Texas or anywhere else where people have to use pool water coolers.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

  13. #53
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    With CYA levels over 30, the range of millivolts that meaningful shrinks. For example, 600 to 625 at a pH of 7.5 may reflect 3 ppm but with 50 ppm CYA, that may only reflect 1 ppm FC, which, when the CYA is 50, is certainly not enough FC. The CYA tricks the ORP probe into thinking there is more ORP. Additionally, the actual availble range of meaningful ORP info is significantly shrunken. For example, at 750 mv, you may have 5 ppm FC but at 745, it may only be 2 ppm. This is my biggest concern and why I don't like a cells on the Intellichem. At least when dosing with liquid, the CYA is kept lower giving the ORP more range to work with. The Sun and bather load will cause greater actual fluctuations in FC values than ORP indicates. Remember, ORP doesn'tr measure the FC available, it measures the oxygen reduction potential and CYA messes with that value and the useful range.

    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.

  14. #54
    Senior Member MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Just as an update --

    We've had the intellichem for over a year now and just had the first annual maintenance done.
    * PH meter has been super accurate, always staying within 0.1 of taylor and responding quickly in realtime to upticks from the SWG or changes from any other chems added to the pool. You even see ph tick slowly down or stop moving when the sun burns off chlorine.
    * We've moved to diluting the acid put in the feeder container as our pool no longer needs the high doses since the plaster is now worn in. Hoping this makes the plastic tubes and container last longer. So far, no leaks or other issues with it.
    * Whether you agree with ORP or not, the intellichem is still worthwhile for its ability to provide fine tuned control of the SWG cycles, limit how long the SWG runs each day separately from pump runtime, and ensure the SWG automatically shuts off in the presence of abnormally high ph.

    As for maintenance, it seems that:
    * always click on the menu->configuration->hardware to temporarily pause the intellichem when acid container is being refilled.
    * The tube in the motor needs replacing more than anything else, and this needs to be done at least every year.
    * Every 2-4 years, the plastic tubing and motor itself might need to be replaced.
    * The container, I'm not sure how long that will last. Probably at least 4-5 years.

    I had a tech out to help out with the annual maintenance, and I think he left the probes out too long during it and they degraded...but pentair was excellent about sending us a replacement.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

  15. #55
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Excellent thread. It has really helped me understand the IntelliChem. Thank you.

    One question... it would seem there is no reason I could not just run the IntelliChem without controlling a feed pump, correct? ie. while I am learning and getting comfortable with things, just having the IntelliChem control my IC-60... and I would still get the Salt, pH and ORP readings on ScreenLogic and the graphs and alerts, correct? Then I could just enable the acid pump at some point down the road, and manually add acid for now? Am I understanding this correctly?

    Seems like it is cheaper to just buy the pump and tank with the IntelliChem instead of separate down the road if i choose to use it.
    32K gal, gunite, French Gray DB, IntelliFlo VF, IntelliFlo, WhisperFlo, Quad DE 100 filter, IntelliTouch, IC-60 SWG, IntelliChem, Dolphin M5

  16. #56
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    jtech1, you are correct, all of the features of the IntelliChem except automatic PH adjustment will work even if you don't have a PH adjustment device (typically an acid pump or a CO2 system). Personally I don't see any point in doing that, but it will work (or not work) as designed without the PH adjustment portion.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  17. #57
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    Thanks for the advice... I just received my IntelliChem with one pump and tank... already had the IC60. I will not be hooking it up for a month or so... just getting plastered in a week. But, in reading the instructions, it says that when used with IntelliTouch, the IntelliChem and IntelliChlor should both be powered off the pump relay... so, I guess my question is... if the IntelliChem is sensing levels and deciding when to turn on both the acid feed and the salt gen, I guess it only senses this when the pump is running? I have a VF... and was planning on running it at around minimum flow rate for as long as necessary each day... I have all 3" plumbing for low resistance. Does this mean I should have the pump running on and off through out the day, and not just all at one time, since when not runing, IChem is off and not sensing and not feeding Intellitouch any data... and when it is off, do I still get readings on ScreenLogic?
    32K gal, gunite, French Gray DB, IntelliFlo VF, IntelliFlo, WhisperFlo, Quad DE 100 filter, IntelliTouch, IC-60 SWG, IntelliChem, Dolphin M5

  18. #58
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    Re: Understanding intellichem and its options

    I am getting ready to hook this all up... I'd appreciate nay feedback on the questions above. Thanks!
    32K gal, gunite, French Gray DB, IntelliFlo VF, IntelliFlo, WhisperFlo, Quad DE 100 filter, IntelliTouch, IC-60 SWG, IntelliChem, Dolphin M5

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