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Thread: Trouble with flow from Solar

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    Trouble with flow from Solar

    I am new to the forum and new to pool care in general. I've already learned a ton from this site over the last few weeks. I think i'm close but my setup is still not quite working correctly.

    Our pool is at least 15 years old, in ground and plaster. I think the equipment is about 2 years old and consists of a Suntouch controller, Intelliflo-VS pump, CVA-24 Solar Actuator; "Clean and Clear" filter. We have a heater but our intention is to only heat via solar. There is also a "kicker pump" which was used to run the pool sweep however we no longer use the sweep and plan on using a "dolphin" pool vac.

    My first question is understanding the correct orientation of the CVA-24 solar actuator. The actuator is shaped like a "T", with the water from the filter flowing into the "top right port" of the "T". The "bottom" of the "T" has a pipe labeled "to solar" and the "top left" of the "T" is labeled "bypass". The top of the CVA-24 has a lever and opposite the lever is the word "off". In my experience with "T or ball valves" the water flow is in the direction of the inline handle. On the CV-24, unfortunately the handle and "off" are in the same direction so I suspect when a handle if pointing to a port, that port is off and the other port is on. Please confirm if this is correct.

    Question 2: When the word "off" is above the pipe labeled "solar bypass", I would expect to see water flowing through a "port hole" which is inline with the "solar return" pipe. I see a trap door in the "port hole" open up and after about 5 minutes I see some water (good turbulent flow) but then within another 5 minutes the water goes away but the trap door stays open. I have tried different pump speeds but that doesn't seem to help. I am currently running the Intelliflow-VS around 3100 rpm. Additionally, I notice that the pressure gauge on top of my filter goes up significantly when the actuator is in this position. I've checked for leaks, etc on the solar but don't see anything.

    Appreciate any suggestions.- Thanks
    20,000 gal; Cartridge filter; in ground; plaster
    Pentair: Pump Intelliflow-VS; Suntouch Controller; CVA-24 solar actuator; Solar only (heater in-line but off)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    Welcome to TFP!

    The word off on the handle is showing which pipe is off. The handle does not point to an open port.

    It also sounds like the valve orientation is not ideal. It is generally best to have the common pipe be the center of the tee as it allows you to select either out or a combination of both. With your setup, you should only select one or the other and not a combo as it will block the flow.

    I will have to read the last part again as I am not sure of the layout. Can you add a picture of the equipment pad?

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    Thanks for the welcome and quick reply. I have uploaded a picture of the solar configuration I had on my phone. If a more complete picture would be helpful I can take one tomorrow in daylight.

    The output of the pump is in the bottom right corner. I goes up/over into the filter. The output of the filter is connected to the far side of the actuator which is difficult to see in the photo. The middle pipe (middle of picture and running down) is labeled out to solar. The left side of the picture is labeled Solar Bypass (not sure if the resolution is sufficient for you to zoom in but the labels are on the pipes). Return from Solar is bottom second pipe from the the left. The merges with the "solar bypass" and flows into the heater. The output of the heater is bottom far left and goes out to the pool. The "port hole" (is there a standard term used in the pool industry) is just out of the picture on the bottom center labeled "To Solar".
    20,000 gal; Cartridge filter; in ground; plaster
    Pentair: Pump Intelliflow-VS; Suntouch Controller; CVA-24 solar actuator; Solar only (heater in-line but off)

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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    reposting photo as it didn't accept the first time
    Attached Images Attached Images
    20,000 gal; Cartridge filter; in ground; plaster
    Pentair: Pump Intelliflow-VS; Suntouch Controller; CVA-24 solar actuator; Solar only (heater in-line but off)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    Just a couple other thoughts, questions.
    Can you give specific pressure reading both when on solar and not?
    Ad some more pictures of the pad ... I want to see where the solar ties back in ... I think that "bypass" must just be the non-solar path. If so, then the actuator would turn 90 degrees CCW and close the solar and open the "bypass" .... well now that I re-read you last post, I understand the pipes a bit better.

    It is usually normal for the pressure reading when running solar to be higher than when you are not running solar. But, running 3100 RPM on an Intellifo is likely WAY more than you need to or should be running depending on your plumbing size (is that just 2"?) ... that is a 3HP motor ... I am running my solar with a 1.25HP motor.

    Usually there is a check valve on the solar return ... is that the port hole you are talking about? Add a picture showing the entire setup. From your first post, sounds like it is a check valve. Odds are you see turbulent flow as the air is cleared out of the solar panels. When you are saying the check valve flapper stays open ... that is probably because all the air is gone and it is all water flow, so it looks empty. Are you getting flow into the pool jets?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    Here are some more pictures. Yesterday was a much warmer day so I was able to feel a heat differential with my hand in the pool comparing the pool water temp vs the return water so I am no convinced I am getting some solar heading.

    Now my question is why the water is only getting to 80 degrees? Maybe I am expecting more head out of the solar than is reasonable? The solar ran for about 8 hours yesterday and warmed the pool about 2-3 degrees. My set temp is 85 but it never seems to get above 80.

    Here are the answers to your questions and a could more observations.
    -When the solar is on the pressure is around 35 psi, when solar is off around 27 (I lowered the pump speed to 3000 RPM which is where it was at for both readings)
    - check valve, this was the biggest reason for my initial post as it did not appear that any wanter was flowing though it. I am now trying to convince myself that water is flowing but because there is no air, I don't see any turbulence (like I do in my pump). The flapper in the check valve appears to open when the solar is turned on but it doesn't seem to open as much as I would expect. Perhaps this is another clue that I am getting solar heading but not at the proper rate?

    Another observation is that the actuator goes past the 90* point in both positions. I have included a picture. I tried adjusting the stop pegs but they don't appear to do anything. When I removed the handle, the top of the actuator is flat so (with no stop cogs) so it doesn't appear the stops would grab anything. Perhaps this is another reason for limiting flow, although its not that far off from 90* I don't know what the tolerances of the internals of actuator are.

    Thanks again.
    (I see Im limited to 3 pictures per post so I'll add one more post with the actuator picture)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    20,000 gal; Cartridge filter; in ground; plaster
    Pentair: Pump Intelliflow-VS; Suntouch Controller; CVA-24 solar actuator; Solar only (heater in-line but off)

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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    solar actuator...

    Thought'd I'd also add that the Suntouch was reporting the solar temp (within the diagnostics menu) at 106* at noon and 110* at 4:00 so it seems like its getting plenty of sun
    Attached Images Attached Images
    20,000 gal; Cartridge filter; in ground; plaster
    Pentair: Pump Intelliflow-VS; Suntouch Controller; CVA-24 solar actuator; Solar only (heater in-line but off)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    First, what is your air temp during the day and at night as that can greatly influence the pool temp without a cover? For example, I just got my solar running 2 days ago, Sunday evening the water was 77, last night I was surprised that the water was only 79 after running all day. Well, this morning the water was 74. So in reality, I lost probably lost ~5 degrees Sunday night and the solar likely added about ~6-7 degrees yesterday.

    I still think that running that pump at 3000 rpm is WAY more than you need which is part of the reason your pressures are so high (which could also reduce your filter effectiveness btw). I am not sure how to determine what speed, but when not running solar, if you have not high water flow needs, the most efficient speed is ~1000 rpm. Likely on solar you do not need over 2000 rpm (but that is just a guess). The best way to tell would be to run the pump slower and slower until the solar panels are not cool to the touch. Solar is most efficient at higher flow rates, but at a point you are spending a lot more on electricity to run the higher speed than the VERY small increase in solar heat (diminishing returns).

    The check valve has a spring, and mine do not usually open very far either (this is adding head loss and raising the pressure as well). Mark (mas985) said that he removed the spring to reduce head loss so that is an option. You just have to be sure that it re-closes when you turn solar off. Although, that is not really affecting your flow very much.

    That last picture of the handle location is not good. The pegs do not affect the stops of the actuator. You have to open up the actuator and there are internal cams that determine when the rotation stops. That last picture shows that you are partial closing the inlet to the valve and that is restricting flow and allowing some flow to solar when you do not want it. I can not see where the valve is when solar is called for.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    Thanks again. All great info...
    The night time temp in our area (san francisco bay area) gets down into the low 60's. The morning temp of the water is mid 70's so I suspect what you are saying is what I am observing. Its heading about 3-4 degrees per day and cooling about that (and possibly more) at night.

    I will drop the pump speed down and feel the solar panels to see if they are cooling at a lower speed. I am all for saving money and running the pump slower.

    Before opening up the actuator and servicing it are they any special precautions I could take? I will obviously turn the power off the the system and open the pressure guage on my cleaner. I just want to make sure I don't have a bunch of parts flying all over the place...

    I'll report back on the lower pump speeds later this week as it will take me a few days to perform the correct analysis.
    20,000 gal; Cartridge filter; in ground; plaster
    Pentair: Pump Intelliflow-VS; Suntouch Controller; CVA-24 solar actuator; Solar only (heater in-line but off)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with flow from Solar

    Nothing should go flying anywhere ... you should not be exposed to water at all when you open the actuator.

    Some info, note you can not manually move the valve with that actuator:
    pentair-compool-cva-24t-actuator-manual-control-t48528.html

    Did not quickly find a manual, but this describes how to adjust them:
    http://aqua-man.typepad.com/web_log/200 ... uator.html
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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