My pool is ancient -- circa 1963 and has clearly been upgraded and modified many times in the past 50 years. At some point the previous owners added Fafaco solar panels that leaked really badly. I replaced them with 8 Aquasol panels which I like, and everything does seem to work, except that now I'd like to add automated solar control...
Problem is the plumbing is really strange. In the first photo you can see the two pipes (at the bottom of the photo) coming out of the filter -- one labelled 'Solar Inlet' and the other 'Pool Return'. This doesn't make sense to me -- if it's coming off the filter, isn't it the pool Inlet? Btw, the water does flow out of the pool jet and in from the skimmer -- not the other way around Notice also that there is no 'solar return' -- it must be connected to the pipe going to the jet?
The upper pipe is the real pool return, heading to the old pump (I'm about to replace). You can also see the T coming off for the Polaris booster pump (the pump return pipe is hiding behind the pool return). There is no automated valve here, so the Polaris does get some pressure from the pool pump and rolls around slowly when it's running.
In the second photo you can see them coming out of the pool shed (on the right). The pipe label 'Solar Inlet' has a blue-handled valve on it which is currently closed (so I wonder where it goes?). The other pipe is only just visible to the left of the handle going into the ground. The leftmost pipe is the pool return. BTW, I have no way to control flow between my drain and skimmer -- the drain is directly attached by a long pipe to the skimmer. I don't seem to notice any suction in the drain.
The last photo shows the plumbing next to my solar panels. There are a set of valves that allow for bypass. In the winter, I close off the panels and drain them to avoid the risk of freezing. These are on a hillside next to the pool, and I'd say the top of the panels is close to water level in the pool.
My questions are
1) any ideas what the 'Solar Inlet' might be? Any ideas for figuring it out?
2) Would I have to put an automatic solar control valve down by the panels? (I'd have to run 24v wire about 50 feet to do that).
3) Should I add an automatic valve to the Polaris plumbing so it doesn't get flow from the filter circuit? Or is this normal?
4) Should I worry that I have no way of controlling return flow between the drain and skimmer?
5) Any other observations?
I'm about to replumb the whole thing with the new gear listed in my signature...
Thanks for any advice on this mystery!