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Thread: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

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    Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Can anyone recommend fully automated test systems, which can sample the water and test it on a daily or hourly basis, and which can also continuously inject dilute amounts of corrective chemicals as needed to maintain a trouble free pool?

    I am looking for a solution that has little more maintenance than refilling the testing and dosing system about once a month, or even just annually.

    The cost can be in the thousands of dollars. I am fine with that.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I am not sure there is such a thing, even in that budget
    You can get probes to measure and maintain pH by adding acid. And you can get SWGs or peristaltic pumps to automatically add chlorine, but there are not really any good sensors for the chlorine level to control how much chlorine is added.

    Then the rest, CH, TA, CYA, you will still need to be testing and adjusting as required.

    Is this for a residential home or commercial pool? Maybe someone will have an idea.

    If you want to be hands off ... then you money may be better spent hiring someone to measure and adjust as needed.
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    I am with Jason this, if such a system exists and actually works it likely cost tens of thousands of dollars, or more. So you would most likely be better off paying someone a couple of hundred dollars per week, or spending about 3-5 minutes 3 or 4 times per week doing it yourself.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Can anyone recommend fully automated test systems, which can sample the water and test it on a daily or hourly basis, and which can also continuously inject dilute amounts of corrective chemicals as needed to maintain a trouble free pool?
    Only thing I can think of is a pool boy. Not a Pool Service but a full-time Pool Boy. The cost will be in the thousands and thousands but he might cut the grass, too.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Only thing I can think of is a pool boy. Not a Pool Service but a full-time Pool Boy. The cost will be in the thousands and thousands but he might cut the grass, too.
    Or girl. Full training in TFP methods mandatory.

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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    There are some fairly complex commercial systems available, for residential use I went simply with Pentair combined with a Simpool pH automation for Acid Injection. If all other chems are in balance, the SWCG naturally raises the pH and the Simpool counterbalances it automatically. I still have to swap out a muriatic acid bottle about once a month into the injection system. Plus the remaining levels require some monitoring at least once a week, apart from visual inspection of all components.

    Europeans and Asians have some really cool tech, not available in the US. One place I buy equipment is http://www.aqua.it/

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    We have a fully automated RTU system that only requires a real person visit it about every six months. It has self diagnostics and cellular and satellite communications. The controllers and field instruments are redundant, Chlorine and CO2 are stored as gases, muriatic acid is stored as a liquid. So it's possible to have such a system, but a quarter of a million dollars is a little more than most people want to pay. Oh and I didn't mention the round the clock monitoring of the systems.

    Sounds like a pool person full time might be a good idea.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Whoa Bama!
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Mahalko View Post
    Can anyone recommend fully automated test systems, which can sample the water and test it on a daily or hourly basis, and which can also continuously inject dilute amounts of corrective chemicals as needed to maintain a trouble free pool?

    I am looking for a solution that has little more maintenance than refilling the testing and dosing system about once a month, or even just annually.

    The cost can be in the thousands of dollars. I am fine with that.
    When we started on having a pool installed in 2012, I told the pool builder that I understand that there is no such thing as a maintenance-free pool, but I want to get as close as possible.

    We went with a fiberglass pool and spa. Nice smooth surfaces that make it tough for algae to get a foothold. No need to worry about the pool surface changing over time and affecting pool chemistry.

    We have an SWCG. No need to add chlorine. Ideally, the SWCG would produce chlorine based on the ORP reading from the pool (we have an ORP sensor which can control the SWCG). Unfortunately, I have found that you really can't rely on the ORP readings since the ORP is affected by so many factors. I use the % factor to control how much the SWCG runs. It takes a while (couple of weeks for me) to come up with a good %. However, you will have to tweak the % (or pump run time) for situations like having a party with lots of people in the pool.

    We have an acid tank with stenner pump to automatically add acid to the pool when the pH sensor detects the pH starting to climb. I add acid to the tank about 2 times during the swim season.

    Our Hayward Pro-Logic system lets me schedule when and for how long the pump runs and switches between pool, spa, and spillover.

    We have a Polaris 9300xi robotic cleaner which I run a couple of times per week. You can't leave it in the pool all the time. So, each time I use it, I have to put it in the pool and after it is done, I have to clean the robot's filter and put it away.

    Following the BBB method here on the forum allows the use of inexpensive "chemicals" that, for the most part, you can get at a local big box store. And, once things are balanced in the spring, I only have to add chemicals a few times during the summer (usually due to rain causing the pool level to rise and flow out our 2 overflow pipes. And, with the hot sun on the pool, our auto-fill adds water to make up for evaporative loss.

    And, no matter what type of pool filter you have, you will periodically have to clean or backwash it.

    Overall, I have found pool maintenance to be less than I had expected. It's not maintenance-free, but, without spending an exorbitant amount, I consider us to have a low maintenance pool.
    Vince L

    16' x 37' fiberglass pool, 8' fiberglass spa, Hayward Swimclear C3030 filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Goldline Pro Logic PL-PS-8, Goldline SWCG, Goldline Sense & Dispense pH control, Fiberstars LED's in pool & spa, AquaCal SQ175R heat pump, SR Smith Typhoon slide, Polaris 9300xi robotic cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Okay, well, this didn't seem like a ridiculously expensive request to begin with. This would be for a residential pool and a hot tub.

    Reading these instructions, this looks like this may take 15-30 minutes to do. And this needs to be done daily?
    http://www.taylortechnologies.com/pr...er&Number=5121

    It seems like these tests could be rather easily automated with simple motorized peristaltic reagent dropper dispensers, and a digital camera read by a microcontroller, to compare the sample's color with the charts.

    Arduino / Raspberry Pi + digital color camera + bunch of solenoid valves + bunch of peristaltic pumps + motorized stirrer...

    For example: Peristaltic Liquid Pump with Silicone Tubing
    http://www.adafruit.com/products/1150


    These same low-flow pumps can be used for dosing and treatment. You wouldn't step into a pool where you've just dumped in a pail full of muriatic acid, but what if it's being continuously added and diluted into the pump jets at 1 drop per second?

    Dispensing a chemical at 0.05 mL/sec into the jets (equivalent to about 1 drop of water), is 60s*60m*24h = 4.32 L/day

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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Mahalko
    Reading these instructions, this looks like this may take 15-30 minutes to do. And this needs to be done daily?
    http://www.taylortechnologies.com/pr...er&Number=5121
    The only test that should be done daily during the swim season is the chlorine test. Here is the schedule I follow for the other tests:
    • pH - about 3 times a week
    • TA - weekly
    • CH and CYA - monthly or whenever there is a significant water replacement
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    pH and TA test will depend on how much drift you see in your local conditions, personally mine are very stable and I end up checking pH about once or twice per month typically with no adjustment needed, and TA every couple of months, same for CYA and CH, although given my low CH fill water and a vinyl pool that does not really need CH unlike a plaster pool that turns into when I feel like it. Leaving only FC, and CC on a multiple times per week schedule, these test take maybe 2-3 minutes including getting the test kit out and getting a water sample.

    Note I do use a metering pump for chlorine addition, and once I get it tuned in for the summer once the water comes up to swim temperature I rarely have to touch it, but I do add manual chlorine additions for swim parties, and other unexpected FC loss.

    Yes I do suppose you could build some sort of automated testing system like you suggest using off the shelf parts, and drop style test just for the testing side, though I suspect the economics of it may still be questionable, particularly if you build it yourself as I suspect the time spent building it would never get paid back in a lifetime of 2-3 minute 2-3 time per week testing. Any such device would have to be located near enough to the pool (plumbing pad?) to get a reasonably fresh sample through some sort of tubing. The longer the tubing the more sample would have to be purged to get valid results, for many people that would mean some sort of weather proof housing, then you need to climate control the testing reagents, including their dispensers, some fresh water source to flush and dry test vials, etc ....

    You shold note there are already some semi-automatic testing systems on the market that may be improvements over their predecessors, such as the LaMotte Spin Lab, which uses "precision" colormetric testing and colorometer to determine levels. (in the past such colormetric systems have shown poor performance compared to drop counting titration test though) Giving them the benefit of the doubt about improved accuracy there are still many limitations to this $1,000 semi-automatic tester, as it still requires a great deal of care on the part of the operator not to over or under fill the test disk, not to allow any surface contamination to transfer onto the test disk, etc. Just look at this training video to see what sort of care is required https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDyJJn8J_pc and that just covers half of the water testing side. It should also be noted that the spin lab test disks cost more than double the price of Taylor titration test reagents.

    Even if you take this interface it with a computer to automate dosing of the common chemicals, typically chlorine, and possibly acid to lower pH, you are still looking at in incremental test /dosage schedule with a high level of consumable test reagents.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by VinceL View Post
    When we started on having a pool installed in 2012, I told the pool builder that I understand that there is no such thing as a maintenance-free pool, but I want to get as close as possible.

    We went with a fiberglass pool and spa. Nice smooth surfaces that make it tough for algae to get a foothold. No need to worry about the pool surface changing over time and affecting pool chemistry.

    We have an SWCG. No need to add chlorine. Ideally, the SWCG would produce chlorine based on the ORP reading from the pool (we have an ORP sensor which can control the SWCG). Unfortunately, I have found that you really can't rely on the ORP readings since the ORP is affected by so many factors. I use the % factor to control how much the SWCG runs. It takes a while (couple of weeks for me) to come up with a good %. However, you will have to tweak the % (or pump run time) for situations like having a party with lots of people in the pool.

    We have an acid tank with stenner pump to automatically add acid to the pool when the pH sensor detects the pH starting to climb. I add acid to the tank about 2 times during the swim season.

    Our Hayward Pro-Logic system lets me schedule when and for how long the pump runs and switches between pool, spa, and spillover.

    We have a Polaris 9300xi robotic cleaner which I run a couple of times per week. You can't leave it in the pool all the time. So, each time I use it, I have to put it in the pool and after it is done, I have to clean the robot's filter and put it away.

    Following the BBB method here on the forum allows the use of inexpensive "chemicals" that, for the most part, you can get at a local big box store. And, once things are balanced in the spring, I only have to add chemicals a few times during the summer (usually due to rain causing the pool level to rise and flow out our 2 overflow pipes. And, with the hot sun on the pool, our auto-fill adds water to make up for evaporative loss.

    And, no matter what type of pool filter you have, you will periodically have to clean or backwash it.

    Overall, I have found pool maintenance to be less than I had expected. It's not maintenance-free, but, without spending an exorbitant amount, I consider us to have a low maintenance pool.
    My previous pool was fiberglass, and I couldn't believe how much less maintenance it was than a plaster pool. I literally dropped in a tablet about once a week and I dont think I saw algae for several years with that method. I was renting a home and basically went by if the water was crystal clear, it wasn't a problem

    I know that's not the "right" way to care for a pool, and I know better now, but fiberglass gives a HUGE margin of safety. My understanding is they've fallen out of favor, but it really did make a huge difference.

    If you had a SWG and a fiberglass pool, it would be hard to mess it up.

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Looking for fully automatic water testing and auto chemical dosing

    We use a lower end Chemtrol system (Santa Barbara control systems) for automation. It auto injects acid and chlorine. We manually monitor temp, CH, and TA. It works reasonably well. Skip the comm. for cost savings.
    Central MA Area
    24K kidney
    salt, DE

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