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Thread: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

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    IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    I am in the final stages of my build and I am very interested in chemical automation. My work schedule will have me away from home for a few days at a time and I would like to keep the workload on my wife as low as possible...she is busy enough with the kids...

    I understand that the IntelliChem is not well received because of the inconsistencies with ORP. I completely understand this. My fear with going with the intelliPH is that it is simply percentage based and that there is no control of it through the Easytouch or through Screen Logic unless I just haven't figured this out. I can also see myself constantly tweaking it based on pump runtime and other factors just to end up manually adding acid routinely.

    I have already spent a significant amount of money on automation and to not use it to its potential seems like a waste to me. Do you feel that the PH control of the Intellichem is worth the investment alone...even if I do not use it to monitor ORP or control the SWG? I like the idea of setting a PH number and having the pool stay on target through small additions instead of fluctuating wildly based on my availability to add acid. PH rise is going to be a constant battle for me and I would like to keep it in check.

    Some have reported that with a CYA level at 40 they are getting positive results from ORP. Given the climate in my area (80's and up for most of the year), is 40 high enough?

    Regardless, I understand that no automation will take the place of frequent testing, I am just looking to keep things in check while I am away from home.

    Thanks,

    Brian
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Well, you are correct that the ORP is not a good solution. And certainly getting the Intellichem to be able to set the pH would be nice, but that is spending a fair bit of money for the ORP sensor that you would not even use. A CYA of 40ppm in So Cal with a SWG is way below our recommended levels of 70-80ppm.

    There are other stand-alone pH systems out there which use a sensor and allow you to set the pH ... not made by Pentair, but there is really no need for it to be integrated into the Easytouch. You could integrate it such that the ET would allow you to adjust when you set the power to the pH controller. You may need to do that anyway so that acid is only added when the pump is on.
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    My work schedule will have me away from home for a few days at a time and I would like to keep the workload on my wife as low as possible...she is busy enough with the kids...
    I would just like to say, this is very thoughtful. Unfortunately, I can't contribute to the rest of your question though - sorry. - Karen
    New in 2017, will update

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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Well, you are correct that the ORP is not a good solution. And certainly getting the Intellichem to be able to set the pH would be nice, but that is spending a fair bit of money for the ORP sensor that you would not even use. A CYA of 40ppm in So Cal with a SWG is way below our recommended levels of 70-80ppm.

    There are other stand-alone pH systems out there which use a sensor and allow you to set the pH ... not made by Pentair, but there is really no need for it to be integrated into the Easytouch. You could integrate it such that the ET would allow you to adjust when you set the power to the pH controller. You may need to do that anyway so that acid is only added when the pump is on.
    I guess I hadn't considered that it doesn't have to be a pentair product since the PH level is set and the acid pump handles it from there. I would prefer to stick with Pentair though.

    Screen logic is an amazing tool and the integration with the intellichem makes it that much more powerful. I guess thats the nerd in me coming out...

    Quote Originally Posted by RangerBob View Post
    I would just like to say, this is very thoughtful. Unfortunately, I can't contribute to the rest of your question though - sorry. - Karen
    Thank you...beautiful pool BTW!
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Why do you think that you will be constantly adding acid? About the only time that is true is when you have high TA fill water. If you do have high TA fill water, an IntelliPH is more than sufficient.

    With a standard SWG and an outdoor residential pool you have quite a bit of automation, and once everything is setup you can often go a week without needing to adjust anything. Adding chemical automation beyond that tends to increase the total amount of work you need to do, as the chemical automation systems require maintenance and tend to have more problems than simpler setups.

    While the chemical automation systems might seem very attractive, they really don't provide any benefit on an outdoor residential pool. Sure it is fun to play with all of the fancy controls, but they don't make the pool simpler to maintain. Instead they add to the cost and reduce the reliability of the pool system.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Our fill water is on the higher side of TA. We also have a large waterfall that will be getting a good amount of use. I guess I am just concerned that the PH will sneak upwards too quickly and I won't be around to handle it.

    I will probably end up with the IntelliPH, I just don't want to regret not spending a little more to get something that in theory should keep the PH exactly where I set it. Perhaps I'm overthinking it...

    On another note, Jason, I am amazed at the wealth of knowledge that you have. Your posts are always well thought out and seem to lead people in the correct direction...I'm glad you replied to this thread; I value your opinion since it is usually backed by proof/experience.
    -Brian-
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    i have an intelliph and ic 40 hooked up to easy touch. the intelliph comes with a controller that the intellichlor plugs into and then the intelliph plugs into the easy touch where the intellichlor normally would. it holds 4 gallons of muriatic acid and dispenses once every hour that the pump and intellichlor are running. its own controller allows you to set the percentage (amount) of acid dispensed per hour. it also has a manual fill button you can press which will dispense for up to one minute at a time if your ph is a little higher than you would like. it only operates when pump and intellichlor are running and not in spa for safety reasons. you hook it up right before ic40 and it probably helps keep the cell clean too.
    I haven't had any issues yet with mine but haven't had it for a real long time.
    all you need to do is fill it with acid and dial it in to keep ph where you want it. you only lug acid around when you fill it.
    for me, so far so good. might be a different story if it starts leaking acid everywhere though...
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Thanks for the info. Acid leaking is one of my concerns since my equipment is in a pool house. It does have good ventilation but I can imagine what it would do to my equipment if a leak did happen.
    -Brian-
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    I love my intellichem. Paired with an intellichor , easytouch, and scree logic - pool maintenance is effortless and enjoyable.
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    I love my intellichem. Paired with an intellichor , easytouch, and scree logic - pool maintenance is effortless and enjoyable.
    What do you keep your CYA at?
    -Brian-
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    IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    I keep my cya at 80 - I don't use the orp sensor for chlorine dosing, however. Just set the salt cell at a fixed percentage.

    This does not make the orp sensor useless however, it can still be used to measure relative chlorine values.

    Even without the orp sensor managing the chlorine dosing, the intellichem has been worth every Penny. My ph has never been out of range.
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    This is exactly what I am thinking of doing. I've read multiple threads where it seems like everyone keeps adjusting the percentage up and down on the IntelliPH. I like that the IntelliChem handles it on its own. The cost difference between the two seems worth it to me. So you set the PH level and the IntelliChem takes it from there?
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    IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Yes, I keep it set at 7.6 and the intellichem handles the rest.

    One thing to note on installation is that I don't like pentairs recommended way of installing the intake and outlet for the flow cell. With pentairs recommended method, I find you have to run the pump at 2200 rpm to get the intellichem to operate.

    The trick is to install the flow cell Inlet just after the filter and install the outlet on the suction side just before the pump. This will give you the ability to operate the intellichem at any speed all the way down to 1000 rpm.

    Some may say this will create a vacuum and damage the sensors, but mine have been fine and I've measured the psi in the flow cell at 5psi when pump is at 2950rpm. The flow cell is rated at 25psi max, so this solution is well within the spec threshold.

    Flow cell outlet plumbed into pump suction side


    Flow cell with pressure gauge installed
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Great idea...Thanks!
    -Brian-
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    You do need to keep the acid tank filled, clean the PH sensor once in a long while, replace the PH sensor every two years, replace the acid injection tubing occasionally, etc.

    You also still need to test the PH at least weekly, to insure nothing is going wrong and check to see if the sensor needs to be cleaned.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    All valid points - although I will say I am over 1 year in service and never had to clean or calibrate the ph sensor. Acid tubing is still good as well although I will probably replace that this coming spring just as a precaution
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    Yes, I keep it set at 7.6 and the intellichem handles the rest.

    One thing to note on installation is that I don't like pentairs recommended way of installing the intake and outlet for the flow cell. With pentairs recommended method, I find you have to run the pump at 2200 rpm to get the intellichem to operate.

    The trick is to install the flow cell Inlet just after the filter and install the outlet on the suction side just before the pump. This will give you the ability to operate the intellichem at any speed all the way down to 1000 rpm.

    Some may say this will create a vacuum and damage the sensors, but mine have been fine and I've measured the psi in the flow cell at 5psi when pump is at 2950rpm. The flow cell is rated at 25psi max, so this solution is well within the spec threshold.

    Flow cell outlet plumbed into pump suction side


    Flow cell with pressure gauge installed
    I read through the manual and saw the installation instructions. If you have the inlet and outlet plumbed the way Pentair recommends, I guess they are relying on the restriction in the pool heater for a pressure differential? What if you have a heater bypass? Wouldn't the pressure be exactly the same on both sides?

    The way you have it set up seems to make more sense to me since regardless of the inlet pressure from the pump, there will always be a draw on the output on the suction side of the pump. I wonder though if the suction side could ever overpower the pressure side on a high flow/low head pool?

    I don't understand why your flow switch wasn't triggered at under 2200 RPM? Is this a common occurrence?

    Can you still adjust the PH and the SWG via Screenlogic?
    -Brian-
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    You do need to keep the acid tank filled, clean the PH sensor once in a long while, replace the PH sensor every two years, replace the acid injection tubing occasionally, etc.

    You also still need to test the PH at least weekly, to insure nothing is going wrong and check to see if the sensor needs to be cleaned.
    Thanks Jason. I don't expect this to eliminate testing and I am sure that the system will require routine maintenance, I am just looking to have steady PH level during the times when I'm not home to test the water. The IntelliPH just doesn't seem smart enough to me to have intelli in front of it...maybe it should be called semi-intelliPH?

    Other pools in this area report having to add acid at least every other day to combat the PH rise.
    -Brian-
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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    I love my intellichem. Paired with an intellichor , easytouch, and scree logic - pool maintenance is effortless and enjoyable.
    I've had my Intellichem system about 18 months ago and absolutely love it. It's part of an EasyTouch / Clean n Clear / Intelliflow / ScreenLogic system that I installed myself.

    I use Intellichem to monitor ORP and automatically inject liquid chlorine. I set my ORP to 700 and my CYA is about 30. Yes, at first I struggled with what an ORP of 700 actually meant vs FC values, but in the end I just realized that my pool water always just looks and smells great.

    Like jamcha02, I have my intake and outlet on either side of the pump. I get flow through the cell at 1100 rpm.

    I used chlorine pucks for years and was constantly battling a green pool—which was mostly the result of stabilizer build up. I drained half the water from my pool when I installed this system, got the CYA to 30 and have never since added any stabilizer. (FWIW, my pool is always covered when unused).

    Because my pool is very old, the pH is reasonably stable. So, I don't use my Intellichem to automatically inject acid, I just monitor the pH from my iPhone and manually add a cup or two of acid every 2-3 weeks. Maybe I'm just neurotic, but I find the idea of having a 4 gallon tank of liquid chlorine sitting next to a tank of muriatic acid a little scary, esp. in earthquake country. (Would love to hear others' opinion of this).

    muski
    25,000 gallon IG plaster pool (c.1963). Pentair Intelliflo VS. Clean n Clear Plus 320. Pentair East Touch 4P. Intellichem with liquid chlorine dispenser. 8 Aquasol 4x10 Panels. Polaris 280 w/booster pump.

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    Re: IntelliPH and IntelliChem insight

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    Yes, I keep it set at 7.6 and the intellichem handles the rest.

    One thing to note on installation is that I don't like pentairs recommended way of installing the intake and outlet for the flow cell. With pentairs recommended method, I find you have to run the pump at 2200 rpm to get the intellichem to operate.

    The trick is to install the flow cell Inlet just after the filter and install the outlet on the suction side just before the pump. This will give you the ability to operate the intellichem at any speed all the way down to 1000 rpm.

    Some may say this will create a vacuum and damage the sensors, but mine have been fine and I've measured the psi in the flow cell at 5psi when pump is at 2950rpm. The flow cell is rated at 25psi max, so this solution is well within the spec threshold.

    Flow cell outlet plumbed into pump suction side


    Flow cell with pressure gauge installed
    So Pentair suggested I plumb my setup the exact same way, and for the most part it solves the float problem (the float not floating in the tester). unfortunately, it also had the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for the pump to prime. I also just had a service technician come out to check my Intellichlor (not working properly) and he didn't seem too happy that I was injecting the acid through all my equipment. The acid is normally injected at a point after th last piece of equipment so as not to interfere with the working condition of said eqipment. What we found with the intellichlor was all the fins had their coatings eaten off. He didn;t know if this was a direct result of plumbing the acis injection this way, but it is something to thin about.

    Anyway, before I replumbed the intellichem outlet I ad to run the pump at approximately 2200RPM to get the float to float. After replumbing I can run it at 1400RPM. Huge difference.

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