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Thread: Most reliable Chlorine generator

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    Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Looking for suggestions on which manufacture makes the best chlorine generator in terms of reliability and performance. I have the autopilot sc-60 now and have replaced enough parts on it to buy it twice over. How is the Pentair generator?

    Thank for response,

    Greg

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    That's like asking which auto maker makes the best car or which refridgerator is best. They all have good and bad units. Autopilot is one of the top units and so is Pentair. Compupool gets good marks but i don't know if they make a unit large enough for your application.

    How old is the unit you have now?
    What size pool do you have?
    Where are you located generally?
    What issues have you had with the current unit?

    Is the installation a commercial or residential pool?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzard-one
    Looking for suggestions on which manufacture makes the best chlorine generator in terms of reliability and performance. I have the autopilot sc-60 now and have replaced enough parts on it to buy it twice over. How is the Pentair generator?
    Greg - I can't resist - forgive me...

    "The most reliable chlorine generator is the one at the factory that makes bleach."

    I think every brand has a lemon now and then so it may be a fluke - but if you are really frustrated then another option is to switch over to something like a peristaltic pump and a chlorine tank on site and buy bleach. Of course no matter what you do if you aren't manually dosing you run the risk that the system fails.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    I too have not had very good luck with an AutoPilot chlorine generator. Fans (warranty), LED panel (warranty), and the entire power supply unit ($1,000.00) all had to be replaced within 3 years of the original installation. I also never got 3 years out of the $350.00 salt cells. (Tried using Compupool cells because they were cheaper, but 2 of the 3 I had failed with leaks, and did not last more than a year or so.) ON top of all that, the power cord design is very susceptible to moisture, and I had to rig up a plastic bag to keep rain off of it. Despite this, it wears out quickly and must be replaced every 2 years or so ($45.00). Now, my second AutoPilot power supply unit is shot, and I'm not inclined to give that company any more of my money.

    I've done a fair amount of research, and have decided to forget about chlorine generators and go with a peristaltic pump to feed liquid chlorine. (Coincidentally, this past weekend, I happened to notice that the hotel I stayed at uses the exact model of pump I'm planning to install, which I think at least partially validates my thinking.) Here are what I think are the advantages of going this route--I'd really like to hear opinions though:

    * Acid demand is high and very volatile with chlorine generators--I've found the opposite to be true when manually adding liquid chlorine, and expect the same to be true when I install the peristaltic pump.
    * Apparently, the electrolysis process makes metal stains much more common with chlorine generators--I hope this becomes less of an issue by using liquid chlorine.
    * One of the touted advantages of using a chlorine generator is that you don't have to handle "dangerous" chlorine. Well, muriatic acid is a lot more dangerous to handle than sodium hypochlorite, and, with the huge acid demand I've experienced with the chlorine generator, I was handling lots of acid, and consequently had to go to the store frequently to purchase it. So, if I'm going to go to the store frequently anyway, I'd rather be buying more chlorine and less acid since chlorine is a lot cheaper than acid. I'm installing a 15 g chlorine tank recessed into the ground to keep it cool and dark and hope to end up not needing to buy chlorine more than once every 2 weeks.
    * AutoPilot recommends a stabilizer level of 60-80; however, this high level can interfere with the chlorine's effectiveness. That, fact, and the poor reliability of the AutoPilot chlorine generator caused many algae blooms and the attendant expense of cleaning them up, because it would stop working unexpectedly (moisture on cord, failed cord, failed fans, short cell life). I'm hoping that the peristaltic pump I bought will be much more reliable.

    Please, if anyone thinks I'm dreaming about the benefits of not using a chlorine generator, I'd like to hear from you.

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    I am headed in that same direction.

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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Checkout unidose on ebay. About $200 delivered.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/180799603585?ss ... 1497.l2649
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    While I've never had a swcg to compare to, I very rarely have to add acid to my pool. Maybe once a year. So you may indeed lessen your need for acid by injecting bleach.
    I wouldn't think the swcg would make a big difference in metal staining. If you have metals you're likely going to get staining either way.
    The logic of preferring to handle bleach over acid would be something I would agree with, even though I'm very comfortable handling acid.
    How large is your pool? A 15 gallon drum lasts me almost a month on a 13000 gallon pool.
    Since I've had it, I've had to replace a roller on my pump, so you could say I'm very pleased with it.

    What pump did you buy? If it's a diaphragm pump you need to make sure it has degassing ability.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Bans, I wonder if the tendency toward upward drifting pH could account for the belief that SWG use leads to staining. Not everyone is on top of their pH and stains could occur when pH drifted too high.

    Like you I rarely use acid in my bleach pool. I do occasionally but that's after running the slide all day with kids.


    - Sent using Tapatalk
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Quote Originally Posted by TPAguy
    * Acid demand is high and very volatile with chlorine generators--I've found the opposite to be true when manually adding liquid chlorine, and expect the same to be true when I install the peristaltic pump.
    It is possible to balance your levels so that acid demand is zero or at least minimal even with a SWG. I added a pint of acid in 2011 and none at all in 2012, despite using a SWG. There isn't any increase in acid demand from using a peristaltic pump.
    Quote Originally Posted by TPAguy
    * Apparently, the electrolysis process makes metal stains much more common with chlorine generators--I hope this becomes less of an issue by using liquid chlorine.
    It has nothing at all to do with electrolysis, and everything to do with PH. If you let the PH get high acid stains are more likely, and people who don't follow our advice on adjusting levels when using a SWG do seem to have more trouble maintaining the PH. However, if you adjust your levels correctly, or simply monitor your PH level, this is not an issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by TPAguy
    * AutoPilot recommends a stabilizer level of 60-80; however, this high level can interfere with the chlorine's effectiveness.
    We recommend a CYA level of 70-80, and the clear majority of other SWG manufacturers recommend levels in the same general range. Chlorine does become less effective as CYA levels go up, but you simply raise the FC level to compensate and that completely solves the problem. Meanwhile, extensive experience has shown that a SWG pool can run at lower FC levels than a non-SWG pool at the same CYA level, so you often get a net reduction in FC level compared to what you would otherwise need despite the increase in CYA level.
    Quote Originally Posted by TPAguy
    That, fact, and the poor reliability of the AutoPilot chlorine generator caused many algae blooms
    No brand of SWG is perfect, far from it. However, AutoPilot is not any better or worse than any of the other major brands in this regard. Meanwhile, the average across thousands of pools is that pools with SWGs have a lower chance of getting algae than pools chlorinated in some other way.
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Thanks JasonLion for the detailed response.

    Not trying to foster disagreement here, but I thought I'd clarify a few things--especially now that I have some real-life experience using the Peristaltic pump to feed liquid CL instead of SWG.

    Acid Demand: I was not implying that switching to a liquid CL feeder would also increase acid demand--it was the opposite. Since I started using the CL feeder instead of the SWG, the acid demand has dropped to about 1/4 of what it was with the SWG. In addition, the PH does not fluctuate much at all with the CL feeder--with the SWG it was always spiking.

    Electrolysis Process and Stains: I learned that there is a somwhat indirect relationship here--the electrolysis process can increase calcium build-up (even if you don't see it on the finish), which becomes a big metal/stain attractor. I got into the habit of daily PH testing & adjustment, but still had to spend a fortune on sequestrant products to keep stains at bay. I plan to do a couple of ascorbic acid treatments/water drains to reduce the metal levels in the water.

    Stabilizer Level: I don't understand when you say, you need more FC at these stabilizer levels required by SWGs, and subsequently state that you can run a lower FC level with a SWG.

    AutoPilot Reliability: I was merely stating my personal experience with two different units purchased 3 years apart. Both were highly unreliable. Glad you have not had the same experience. My brother has had good luck with the Pentair Intellichlor.

    I still don't understand why you state that, "Meanwhile, the average across thousands of pools is that pools with SWGs have a lower chance of getting algae than pools chlorinated in some other way." Why? Do you believe this because a SWG provides a constant, consistent CL feed? If so, the same can be accomplished with a CL feeder, and, in my case have had no algae blooms since I removed the SWG and installed the CL feeder, because the feeder is consistent and reliable.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    Acid Demand: If you keep your TA too high (which is unavoidable with high TA fill water), a SWG will cause the PH to drift up, while a bleach pump will not. As long as you adjust TA correctly and do not have high TA fill water it is possible to avoid PH increases even with a SWG.

    Electrolysis Process and Stains: That is a myth. High PH can increase the odds of staining, but the electrolysis process it's self has nothing to do with it. Since you were experiencing PH increases, that is sufficient to explain what was happening.

    Stabilizer Level: With higher CYA levels chlorine is less effective, so you need to have a higher FC level in the water in order to maintain the same sanitizing ability you would have with a lower CYA level at a lower FC level. However, you don't need to add as much chlorine each day in order to maintain that level. To put that another way, at higher CYA levels you need more chlorine in the water, but less of it gets used up, ie more of it remains in the water, so you don't need to add as much to maintain your level.

    AutoPilot Reliability: I am sorry you had problems. All brands of SWG have significant problems/failures for some people. There is no brand that is completely free of problems. Your odds of having problems remain essentially the same regardless of which brand you buy (at least for the major brands).

    We have no idea why SWG pools have fewer problems, but we have plenty of data on lots of pools and observably SWG pools have fewer problems. There are several theories about why this is, but none of them satisfy me.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Most reliable Chlorine generator

    If I recall Richard (chem geek) mentioned that there is a theory that the "extreme" conditions in the cell itself may have something to do with why a lower % of CYA/FC is successful at keeping a pool algae free. The overall FC level is higher than with a bleach feeder but that's related to the fact that the SWG cell total output will be lower at the higher CYA level - preserving the cell. You could (in theory) run a chlorine pump at a higher CYA level but the benefits may not outweigh the risks.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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