Hi all, my first post here as I found this forum last night
I've been in the pool industry over 10 years now so I've seen/worked with/know of quite a variety of equipment. As I got some free time before the summer hits, I decided to produce my own salt system due to the various problems that occur with other brands. In this task I would aim for low cost reliable system, rather than fancy and expensive alternatives.
To give you an example of what the system should perform like, I would use one of the known good systems in the market - the Autopilot controller with one SC-60 cell (their biggest for residential purposes) for up to 50k gallon pool. That combo you can buy for about 1,450 USD as per google shopping search of the lowest prices.
Pros of my system:
- will cost considerably less, at about 750 USD top, including the cell.
- will produce more chlorine, up to twice as much as a single SC-60 cell, as it will have twice the electrode area of a SC-60 cell.
- the cell could eventually and most likely be enough to cope with bigger than 50k gallon pools, or 50k gallon pools with heavy bathing load.
- will not use impulse power supply so will not overheat or experience other power failure.
- will use less electronics so fewer parts could possibly fail.
Cons of my system:
- will not look as good, more like an industrial type metal box or two, with the cell being as 3" PVC pipe with 2" line connections.
- will not be so flexible with control options - most likely there would be on/off switch, output level knob, retractable fuse, and active light.
- will not have feedback so you will have to test the water to see if you need to adjust the output for the desired level.
- will be heavy somewhat, at least more than equivalent controller and one cell from other manufacturers.
- will not be certified but I'll look into that later.
About the cell: I plan on using thick stainless steel electrodes from the highest grade commercially available stainless steel - 316. However, as all metal parts in salty water, it will degrade over time so eventually you'll have to replace the cell with new one in couple years. Based on this fact I decided on using thick electrodes so that the cell would last much longer. To give you an example, I plan on using 1/16 inches thick steel plates, which are a good 3 to 4 times thicker than what you have in a SC-60 cell. I think they use titanium alloy for their plates but those are not that much better than SS 316 and do fail as well over time. On the bright side of the things, my cell would be cheaper as I plan on price of 250 to 300 USD top for replacement cell. My hope is that it will last up to 5 years before needing replacement. SC-60 cells we usually replace on every 2 to 3 years, rarely they last 4.
Let me know what you all think about this project. I plan on making one prototype to use it at some pool over this summer, and if all looks good then I'll mass produce. Being an el.engineer I can make the system more fancy with adding LCD display, more control options, ORP and PH feedback for automatic control, etc. but all that will make it more expensive and the low cost objective will be gone.
Suggestions for design improvements are always welcome