Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System CS8110 Model 54601EG
From Walmart, Amazon & elsewhere…
Before deciding on this unit, I read everything I could find on TFP and elsewhere on SWGs. The vast majority of SWGs range in price from over $500 on the low end to well over $1000. The only exception was Intex. I fully expected to see reviews of how this unit was a piece of junk or a “toy” unit, but was surprised to see that many people gave it high reviews. As I have an IGP, I also wondered and found out that others have also installed it in an IGP. I was encouraged, and my research lead me to conclude that a swg is basically a device in which salt water flows through a chamber of titanium coated plates energized by DC voltage converting the salt to chlorine. Salt water, titianium plates, DC voltage – not exactly rocket science, well how it works may be close to rocket science, but the components that comprises the system are pretty straight forward really. All of this piqued my interest enough that I decided to go for it, although from my reading, I had a notion that I may face issues with the plumbing, and the timer circuitry, and I also still had uncertainties about whether the unit’s chlorine production would be sufficient for my pool. Well, it all turned out great, and I am writing this to maybe be a resource for someone else out there who may have a similar interest in installing a SWG, and want to do so at an incredible value price.
I ordered my unit from Walmart online, and after receiving the unit, and examining it and the accessories that it came with, I spent several weeks mulling over design alternatives and finally arrived at an incredibly simple plan. The issue at hand was to figure out the best way to adapt the unit, which has non-standard threaded connections at its two main ports, to my IGP system that uses standard schedule 40 1-½” PVC plumbing. Here is what I did. (Pictures attached)
I purchased two each 1-½” 90deg PVC elbows and three each 1-½” clamp down rubber couplers with corrugated metal sheathing (~ $5 ea @ Home Depot)
I then modified two of the accessory pieces that came with the Intex swg. The first piece is the approximately 3 foot long flexible connector hose. I cut off the flange and removed the threaded collar from one end of the hose leaving that end with a 1-½” inside diameter stub. I also cut the “Adapter A with threaded collar” piece to retain only the 1-½” id portion of the adapter. (I cut off the section of the adapter that is intended be used to fit inside a 1 ½” or a 1 ¼” hose.)
Lastly, I cut an “L” shaped section out of the PVC return line after the multi-port valve and spliced the Intex unit in its place using the rubber couplers. Although the OD of the Intex pieces are slightly smaller than the OD of the PVC pipe, the corrugated sheathed couplers does an excellent job of making a solid watertight seal. Also, if I ever need to remove the Intex from the system, I could simply splice the PVC “L” piece back in using the same couplers. (I initially bought the rubber only couplers – which also did the job - but after noticing that they bulged a bit from the relatively low pressure in the return line, and having a vision of it on some distant future day bursting, I opted to return them and purchase the metal sheathed one instead, and am happy that I did so…)
On the recommendation of experts here at TFP, I disconnected the wires to the copper ionizer bar. Others have expressed concern of the difficulty of doing so. Nothing to it. Unscrew the big plastic nut by hand and pull the plug. Done. This leaves the block of copper in the chamber but it is now completely un-energized.
GFI – Another post expressed concern about the need to plug the unit into a GFI outlet for safety. Not necessary. The unit comes with a heavy duty, long, approx. 20’ cord with a GFI built into the cord near the plug end. Just plug it into a 110 outlet.
Timer – Apparently the older non-copper model completely lost its programming any time it was turned off or lost power, and so would not produce any chlorine at all until it was manually reset. The current unit’s timer circuitry is still extremely rudimentary at best, but it at least remembers the run time (duration, not time of day) setting. There is no clock setting. You cannot set it to run at specific times of the day. Instead to set it, you must wait for the time of the day you want it to run, and then at that time, turn it on and set it to run for a specific number of hours, between 1 and 12 hours in full hour increments. So in my case, to set it to run from 7am to 10 am, I had to, at 7am, set it to run for 3 hours. Once set, it will repeat its run time every 24 hours. As our power is relatively reliable, I am currently okay with it how it is. But the reality is, is that by adding an external timer you can set the unit to run on any schedule, for any duration – even up to 24 hours per day if you want. How? Simply set the unit to any run time that is equal to or greater than your desired run time – up to 12 hours. Then set the external timer, which you will plug the Intex into, for the time of day and duration you want it to run (up to 12 hours). So to cover all contingencies, you could first just set the Intex to its maximum run time of 12 hours, then set the external timer to the schedule you want it to run. If you need it to run for more than 12 hours per day, then you would have to set it to have two run cycles per day. The first for 12 hours, then off briefly then back on again. Every time the external timer switches power on, the SWG will start and run for its set run time or until the external timer shuts it off, whichever comes first.
Bottom line – with “professional” SWGs you can set the strength of the chlorine generation as well as the runtime schedule. With this unit, you cannot set the strength – think of it as only having only one setting – 100% - but you can fully control the run time, which effectively gives you the overall chlorine production control you need.
Quantity of chlorine generated – the manual states that this unit generates 12 grams of chlorine per hour and I understand that the older non-copper model manual says it produced 24 grams per hour. This was another of my initial concerns. I pieced together information from various posts and guestimated that I would need a runtime of six hours per day to maintain my FC level. But as it turns out, my current practical-experience-based estimation is that the Intex unit produces at least the equivalent of 8 oz of 8.25% bleach per hour. I base this estimation on the fact that prior to installing the Intex swg, I used to add on average 24 oz of bleach per day to the pool to maintain an 8ppm FC level. Now, I run the SWG for 3 hours and have an overall pump run time of 6 hours per day to maintain a FC level of 4ppm and keep the pool clear, and algae free. The unit’s chlorine production may actually be higher that this as the pool’s CYA level when I used bleach was at 50ppm. Now, the current CYA level is at 30ppm. The reason for the lower CYA is that in the course of converting to salt water, I inadvertently over-salted the pool and ended up draining and refilling a significant amount of water to achieve 3000 ppm of salt. I know that TFP recommends a much higher CYA for sw pools, but as the pool’s appearance and chemical balance over the two plus months that I have been using the swg have been doing just great, I am going to continue with the current CYA level as is unless I see start to see signs of problems.
My current balances
Overall – I am extremely pleased that I added the Intex swg unit to my pool.