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Thread: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

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    A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    I inherited a 2006 Cal Spa from a cousin and am in the process of getting the water going. I have never owned a pool before so this is all new to me (join the club eh). The tub is 84" x84" and 4400lbs wet. I don't know the exact gallons as I only have a model # and google didn't turn up anything when I searched. I plan on calling Cal Spa to see if they can get me the exact capacity. I would guess it is in the realm of 450 gallons if the tub is 500+/- lbs dry. I am going to be doing a Bromine sanitizer with the ColorChlor (SWG). I searched the forums here and didn't turn up too much on this. From what I gather I have to add the Sodium Bromide in and build a bank of around 30ppm. Right now I have filled the tub cleaned/disinfected, drained, filled again and added in Metal Gon (well water), I am currently trying to balance the PH/TA to acceptable levels.

    From here is where I get confused. I know that WITHOUT a SWG you need to shock the Bromide to produce Bromine for sanitization. If I am using the ColorChlor does this replace the need to shock the water to activate the Bromine. The SWG should regenerate the bromine continually (just need to select the right level on the unit). It does have an option on it to boost the regeneration up after use (would this replace shocking after use?) If anyone has a good link to getting a SWG Bromine spa going I would really appreciate it or a link back to a previous post I haven't found or put your two cents here that would be great. Appreciate your help.

    I will get the details of my unit into my signature as soon as I find them out.

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    Join Date
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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    Welcome to TFP!

    Most people that use the ColorChlor or TechniChlor use it for generating chlorine. You can use it as you describe to create chlorine that then oxidizes bromide in a bromide bank to make bromine, but why do you want to do that rather than just have a chlorine spa? To have the SWG generate chlorine (even if you are going to use that to make bromine) it needs a higher sodium chloride level of around 2000 ppm. In their manual, they do have another option of adding sodium bromide salt to 3000 ppm to generate bromine more directly.

    If you go with chlorine, you'll want to have some Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water (around 30-40 ppm) so that the chlorine isn't too strong and is moderated in its strength. You'll also probably want to keep the TA low, closer to 50 ppm, and use 50 ppm Borates as a pH buffer since with an SWG the pH tends to rise, especially with aeration from spa jets.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    I guess from what I have read Bromine is more stable and doesn't need daily monitoring with light use. It also is easier on swimsuits and odors. I did open up the SWG this morning and read the instructions and the SB PPM was 3000ppm. Wife is not a huge fan of chlorine so I said we can try bromine option and see how it goes.

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    What you have read is wrong. When there is Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water at proper levels, the chlorine is moderated in its strength so that it does not outgas any faster than bromine (it was never a question of being "stable" -- chlorine does not break down in the spa due to temperature) and it is not harsher on swimsuits, skin or hair than bromine when both are at the appropriate levels for disinfection (and when CYA is used with chlorine).

    However, you are correct that bromine is easier to use if you do not use the spa frequently because you can use bromine tabs in a floating dispenser. However, in your situation, you are generating chlorine so the issue of daily or every other day chlorine maintenance goes away.

    Bromine smells different than chlorine and some people do not like its smell and it tends to stay on the skin longer (in terms of smell).

    You can easily go from a chlorine spa to a bromine one by adding sodium bromide, but going from bromine to chlorine requires a water change. So if you want to try out both methods in a shorter period of time, you should start with chlorine first. Either way, I'd suggest getting the Total Alkalinity (TA) down to 50 ppm (see Lowering Total Alkalinity and note that spa jets provide a lot of aeration so make the process fairly fast and easy). You should also use 50 ppm Borates for additional pH buffering (adding boric acid is easiest, but a combination separately added of 20 Mule Team Borax and acid are another way of adding borates). For chlorine, to minimize noticing it during the soak, target about 2 ppm FC while for bromine the target is around 4 ppm. After your soak, you want to increase the level to oxidize bather waste, but the boost mode of the SWG might not be enough. If it isn't, you can add regular unscented bleach. You would add whatever amount is needed so that you still measure a 2 ppm FC (or 4 ppm Bromine) residual 12 hours later and 24 hours later and that it never gets close to zero in between soaks.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    chemgeek thanks for the info. I think we will start out with chlorine and see how that works. I think she is used to hotel pools which sounds like have a lot more chlorine than home spas due to the load. I got my NACL in now and am working on getting the chlorine going. Will do some research on the CYA and Bromates to bring those in line too. Appreciate the reply.

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    Quote Originally Posted by lfreng
    I think she is used to hotel pools which sounds like have a lot more chlorine than home spas due to the load.
    Yeah, in my experience, hotel pools are almost always poorly maintained. I don't go in them anymore...however my personal chlorine sanitized pool and hot tub are awesome! If the chemistry is properly maintained, a chlorine tub will have little smell and will not be hard on suits, skin, etc. As a side note, bromine has a smell that I don't like.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    Ifreng,

    I was in a similar situation as you a few months ago. We got our first spa and since my wife is very sensitive to any chemical smells she was reluctant to go the chlorine route. I read all about using chlorine with the diclor then bleach method and it sounded promising, but in my situation I travel frequently and knowing that she won't be very diligent about checking the tub while I was away I didn't think it would work out.

    So I purchased one of the other Controlomatic products, the Chlormaker DO. I went that route because it had the external control box so the LEDs would be visible even if the tub wasn't in use and also for the "boost" button.

    We've had the tub about three months now and it has worked out great. Since only the two of us use the tub on a regular basis I am running about 1800PPM salt, 30PPM borax, 20PPM CYA, and 2PPM FC trying to keep everything to the minimum level possible. I'm not using phosphate remover or a metal sequestrant . My wife has had zero complaints about the chlorine at that level and commented that she can't even smell it. The only time she had a negative comment was when I bumped up the FC to 4 when we had guests over. The tub can sit unused for days at a time and the SWG maintains the chlorine level. When we use the tub I just press the boost button which is usually good enough for the two of us and a 30 minute soak. For more people or longer soaking I just add some bleach to get the FC back up.

    I'd like to offer the advise to disregard the Controlomatic instructions regarding the target total alkalinity and pH. Follow Chem Geek's advise and get the TA down to about 50. After that the pH will settle in around 7.7 - 7.8 and stay there even after several soaks with the aeration on. You might also want to start with about 25% less salt that is recommended. I thought the included salt test strips were accurate but overshot my salt level enough to get lock out my Chlormaker on high salt so I ended up draining some water and adding more fresh water to reduce the salt. After that I purchased a Taylor K1766 salt test kit and it showed a much higher reading than the salt test strip did.

    If you don't already have one, get a good test kit. As an engineer and nerd I have both the Lamotte ColorQ and a Taylor K2006. For ease of use I prefer the ColorQ, but I do like the acid demand test of the K2006. The K2006 is easier to use if you get their magnetic stirrer too (IMO anyway). If I'm home I test everyday but usually can go several days without needing to add anything (usually acid or bleach) even when using the tub every night. Once you get the chlorine generator output and TA level dialed in it really is very low maintenance.

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    Quote Originally Posted by jh89085
    Ifreng,

    I was in a similar situation as you a few months ago. We got our first spa and since my wife is very sensitive to any chemical smells she was reluctant to go the chlorine route. I read all about using chlorine with the diclor then bleach method and it sounded promising, but in my situation I travel frequently and knowing that she won't be very diligent about checking the tub while I was away I didn't think it would work out.

    So I purchased one of the other Controlomatic products, the Chlormaker DO. I went that route because it had the external control box so the LEDs would be visible even if the tub wasn't in use and also for the "boost" button.

    We've had the tub about three months now and it has worked out great. Since only the two of us use the tub on a regular basis I am running about 1800PPM salt, 30PPM borax, 20PPM CYA, and 2PPM FC trying to keep everything to the minimum level possible. I'm not using phosphate remover or a metal sequestrant . My wife has had zero complaints about the chlorine at that level and commented that she can't even smell it. The only time she had a negative comment was when I bumped up the FC to 4 when we had guests over. The tub can sit unused for days at a time and the SWG maintains the chlorine level. When we use the tub I just press the boost button which is usually good enough for the two of us and a 30 minute soak. For more people or longer soaking I just add some bleach to get the FC back up.

    I'd like to offer the advise to disregard the Controlomatic instructions regarding the target total alkalinity and pH. Follow Chem Geek's advise and get the TA down to about 50. After that the pH will settle in around 7.7 - 7.8 and stay there even after several soaks with the aeration on. You might also want to start with about 25% less salt that is recommended. I thought the included salt test strips were accurate but overshot my salt level enough to get lock out my Chlormaker on high salt so I ended up draining some water and adding more fresh water to reduce the salt. After that I purchased a Taylor K1766 salt test kit and it showed a much higher reading than the salt test strip did.

    If you don't already have one, get a good test kit. As an engineer and nerd I have both the Lamotte ColorQ and a Taylor K2006. For ease of use I prefer the ColorQ, but I do like the acid demand test of the K2006. The K2006 is easier to use if you get their magnetic stirrer too (IMO anyway). If I'm home I test everyday but usually can go several days without needing to add anything (usually acid or bleach) even when using the tub every night. Once you get the chlorine generator output and TA level dialed in it really is very low maintenance.

    Good Info, Thanks!

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    Ordered up the K2006, $50 on amazon.

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: A new tub and Controlomatic (ColorChlor)/Bromine

    jh89085, Welcome to TFP!

    I'm glad your SWG is working for you and that the TA, Borates and CYA settings have been helpful. Just note that the CYA slowly gets oxidized by chlorine so you may lose around 5 ppm CYA per month. I have increased my recommendation of the CYA level to the 30-40 ppm level so that it is less likely to drop too low, is easier to measure, and helps to moderate chlorine's strength a little more. When I first came up with 20 ppm, that was after compiling a long list of hot tub itch/rash/lung incidents where some appeared to be due to Dichlor-only use with CYA buildup over 100 ppm (especially over 200 ppm), but I've seen enough spas now to feel comfortable with the 2 ppm FC at start of soak and 30-40 ppm CYA level.

    lfreng, both the Taylor K-2006 and the TFTestkits TF-100 as well as refills and accessories can be purchased from Dave at TFTestkits.net. You can compare the kits in the Pool School article Test Kits Compared.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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