Pentair SuperFlo VST - data comm port doesn't look like RS-485

Hello,

I am attempting to automate a Pentair SuperFlo VST pump (342002) that is connected to a spa. The installation manual says that the pump has an RS-485 port, but it looks like the wrong number of pins. The Pentiar RS-485 communications cable (350122) that I ordered will not fit.

I believe that Pentairs RS-485 port has 7 pins, but this pump's port (pictured below) has 8. Any idea what cable is needed to connect that to an IntelliCenter?

Spa datacomm port.jpg

New Pool Owner // Central FL // SWG

Hi there,

I just bought a house in central Florida (Gulf side) and am a first time pool owner. I got one of the TF-100 kits and started doing tests to see what I need to do. I would love any and all advice as I get going here.

Pool Size: 13,500 Gallons (getting this from pool store file they had for previous owner and sounds about right)
Temp: 68 F
Free Chlorine: 7 PPM
Combined Chlorine: 0.5 PPM
Total Chlorine: 7.5 PPM
pH: 8.2
Total Alkalinity: 100 PPM
Calcium Hardness: 725 PPM
Stablizer: 30 PPM

System:
- Hayward SwimPure Extreme Salt Chlorine Generator
- Hayward SwimPure Extreme TurboCell TCell925SWP
- Hayward Star Clear Plus Cartridge Filter
- Filter running 8a - 6p currently.
- Salt reading: 3200 PPM
- Percentage Generator setting: 55%

From the forums I've concluded (please correct me if I'm wrong!):
- Chlorine is high. How do you lower that? I tried turning down the generator percentage but I think it actually went up. Is this a stabilizer issue?
- pH is high. Add Sulfuric Acid (pool store sold me). Don't quite know how much to add.
- Alkalinity is a touch high. How do I lower that? Does lowering the pH raise the Alkalinity?
- CYA is low per forums but fine per manual. Please advise and help me understand discrepancy. Also looking for advice on what CYA to buy.
- Calcium Hardness is high. Drain and fill with fresh water? How much?
- Seeing as it's getting colder and I'm not using the pool much, can I turn down the filter run time, etc. to winterize?
- Is Total Dissolved Solids anything I need to track?
- Pool Store sold me algicide but I haven't used it after reading these forums and seeing that it's not needed if chlorine levels are good.

Thanks so much in advance! This has already proven to be a wonderful resource.

Floating surface skimmer or manual surface vacuum?

Does anyone have any experience with floating surface skimmers? A Gator inline leaf skimmer, a Dragonfly floating surface skimmer or maybe a reverse engineered PoolSkim?

I’m a bit old school and manually vacuum my pool. The last time I vacuumed we had had a bit of wind and there was some floating debris on the surface. One of our pool sides is a wall which makes using the scoop a bit difficult and thats where the debris tends to settle. After vacuuming the last time I thought wouldn’t be nice to turn my vacuum head upside down and push it around in the hard to get to areas.

Of cause I cant just turn the vacuum head upside down which got me thinking about a floating surface skimmer or reverse engineer the PoolSkim to float and operate on suction.

Question - spa or no spa for new pool build?

Hi folks,

Quick question regarding spa's and either building one when getting a pool installed or not to. My wife and I are going back and forth on this one and can't decide. We feel like we may not use it much. We have a 8/7/4 year olds and will love the pool and the spa addition was more for us, but we are unsure how much we will use it to justify the $10k+ additional costs. We live in the Bay Area California so decent weather year round.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Initial Salt Level Before Adding Salt

New install of SWG. The water is about 18 months old. I have used nothing except liquid chlorine and muriatic acid. I tested the salt level of the tap water at 310ppm. The pool water is at 1700ppm. I'm using an Apera EC60 meter. I'm just conducting a sanity check. Is that about what to expect? I was kinda surprised at the 1700ppm. Thank you.

Getting started with pool math app

I’ve downloaded pool math but I’m having difficulty setting it up.

I have a dual-zone swim spa. One side is 425 gallons and the other side is 2100 gallons. They are separate bodies of water with separate heater, pumps, etc. So, that would be two pools, right? I can’t figure out to to have two pools in the app. Does it support two pools?

Jandy HP Plus pump - adapter for cyclone blower

Hi All,
I am looking to buy or make a lid/locking ring that has an adapter/connector for a cyclone blower. Our pool builder had one when they closed our pool and they basically put this lid that has pvc connector on the clear glass which he can connect directly to his cyclone blower. I have been looking on amazon and all over the web but no one seems to sell this. So i am assuming that this is home made. If anyone has any ideas where i can buy one or how to make one that would help a lot. I already paid them to close my pools and nothing they did was anything special that i could not have done myself. This is mostly for next year. See attached picPool.png

Thank you,
LD

True minimum chlorine needed in residential pools.

- I understand the CDC recommends a minimum of 1ppm of free chlorine.
- Alternative systems, such as mineral pools, claim you can get away with 0.5 ppm of free chlorine.

What is the minimum amount of chlorine needed to maintain sanitized water?

If my residential pool is not being used, I don't use cyanuric acid, and I want to keep organics and algae out, what is the lowest level I can keep my free chlorine at?

Jandi LXi 400K CHK IGN FAULT (Ignition lockout - three flashes on Fenwal)

Here's the sequence:
With Pump and Heater on...
  1. Blower turns on
  2. Pre-purge completes
  3. Hot surface igniter glows (visually confirmed)
  4. Gas valve clicks (but didn't measure with meter)
  5. Trial for ignition
  6. Burners ignite (can see them and feel the heat blowing out the top vents)
  7. After about 5-7 seconds, the burners kick off and the gas valve audibly clicks closed- can smell residual gas for a bit
  8. Repeats steps 2-4 3 times and then goes into lockout with the Fenwal giving 3 flashes
Here's a video - mostly have to listen for the different steps. Gas click on at 0:36. Can barely hear the burner igniting and burning at 0:40. Burner shuts off at about 0:45. Last cycle kicks on at 2:40. Burner ignites at 2:43. Kicks off at 2:47 - immediately followed by the three flashes on the Fenwal.
Login to view embedded media

Troubleshooting steps:
  1. Pulled and cleaned the flame sense rod with steel wool
  2. Visually checked the ceramic insulator on the flame sense rod is not cracked, chipped, or broken
  3. Wires and connections appear good
  4. Vacuumed out the combustion box
  5. Visually inspected all the boards and wires - no burns, blisters, etc.
  6. I assume the hot surface ignitor is good since the burner is being lit successfully
I understand the minimum flame sense signal strength is 0.7 DC microamps. What are the test points to measure this? One will be the single wire coming from the flame sense rod. Is the other at the transformer? Frustrating as everything seems to be working properly....the burner just won't stay lit. Perhaps just replace the flame sensor? If that's all it is, then I'll take a shot at ordering a replacement.

Otherwise, looking at the general condition of the unit (over 11 years old), I'm inclined to just replace it rather than burn money on having a repair guy come out (and a lot of the parts are pretty pricey). Leaning towards a RAYPAK 400K BTU DIGITAL NATURAL GAS POOL HEATER - P-R406A-EN-C - 009219. Going with copper versus Cupronickel. Looks like this runs off a 3-wire remote and should hook into the AqualinkRS automation. Anyone have a recommendation on a source to buy it from? I'm considering poolsupplyunlimited.com as their asking price is quite reasonable (almost too reasonable?) Raypak Digital Natural Gas Pool Heater 399k BTU | Electronic Ignition | P-R406A-EN-C 009219 P-M406A-EN-C 009965
I'm just concerned about shady webfronts that act as a passthrough, and with heaters apparently being in short supply due to the recent winter storm and pandemic, I'm surprised their web chat said they have "plenty".

Cal Hypo Shortage?

I understand the Tri-Chlor/Di-Chlor shortage issue, but what's the deal with Cal-Hypo? Pool stores in town seem to having a hard time getting any, and those that do are charging ridiculous prices for small quantities that most average consumers would use (fifty pounds drums are available, but most people have no use for that much, especially with winter coming on).

Didn't know if this was due to people having bought up the Cal-Hypo as a replacement for Tri-Chlor/Di-Chlor, as factories can't keep up (especially with the shortage of workers), or possibly an issue due to bottlenecks in the transportation sector.

Or is it something else altogether?

Pentair IntelliCenter Pool Control Dashboard Instructional Guide

Pentair IntelliCenter Pool Control Dashboard Instructional Guide
(nodejs-poolController and nodejs-poolController-dashPanel)


2020-09-26_16-17-10.jpg

- Table of Contents –

2. Credits
3. Theory

1. Purpose and Background
There are a growing number of IntelliCenter users that are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of reliability and functionality regarding the Pentair IntelliCenter webClient, mobile apps and the Amazon Alexa Skill. Not to mention the complete unavailability of once advertised features such as the Apple WatchOS app, Google Assistant, Siri/HomePod, Google Home and Apple HomeKit.

I have certainly experienced the same dissatisfaction with Pentair’s "Human to Machine Interfaces (HMI's)" ever since my initial IntelliCenter installation in the fall of 2018. Given this fact, I began to explore the possibility of other “alternative” controllers / interfaces in late 2019.

Presently, there are several "alternative options", that can be employed for use with the Pentair IntelliCenter as well as IntelliTouch and EasyTouch (*Touch). These options allow users the ability to no longer rely on the Pentair IntelliCenter production (prod) servers and consequently the Pentair webClient/mobile apps for their controller and interface needs.

Besides the Pentair controllers and interfaces (and all of the restrictions and reliability issues that those present to the user), there are two other IntelliCenter controller/HMI's, that I am presently familiar with and which are listed below:

A. IntelliCenter Gateway and associated Control App
According to the developer, the “IntelliCenter Gateway and associated Control App” is a secured proxy to the IntelliCenter Application Programming Interface (API). It uses a basic web interface to view and control equipment that is password protected for remote access. The Android Control uses the “gateway” to communicate with the IntelliCenter securely.​
One of the advantages of the IntelliCenter Gateway and associated Control App is that NO physical connection to the IntelliCenter RS485 bus (Serial COM port) is required. However, there may be certain advantages to this RS485 physical connection for some IntelliCenter and *Touch users’ and which will be examined in further detail below.​
Further information on this “gateway” UI can be found in the following thread. Credit: @guinness and @rmontgomery
B. Pool Control Dashboard (nodejs-poolController-dashPanel)
The utilization of this particular controller/interface requires the employment of a physical connection between a computer and the RS485 bus (Serial COM Port) of the IntelliCenter or *Touch. Some users may consider this requirement a disadvantage but when examined more closely and compared to the advantages of the nodejs-poolController, then possibly it's not all that much of a disadvantage for some users.​
2020-09-08_14-06-17.jpg
Although the employment of a small single-board Raspberry Pi computer is not necessarily a requirement to utilize the Pool Control Dashboard, the Raspberry Pi computer actually serves a useful purpose. This is because it will easily allow for other pool-related automation features to be realized (such as additional temp/pressure “add-ons’) and allows for all pool-related automation to be run from a dedicated “java-script ready” machine rather than using a PC or Mac.​
On a PC or Mac, those platforms require the correct configuration in order to run nodeJS, whereas the Raspberry Pi OS is specifically suited for that purpose.​
Other advantages in utilizing a Raspberry Pi vs a PC or Mac are cost and physical portability leverages as well.​
Note: node.js is a run-time environment used for executing JavaScript outside of the browser. npm is a JavaScript package manager commonly used for installing packages for node.js.​
Listed below are but some of the advantages with regards to the Pool Control Dashboard while utilizing the required RS485 physical connection to the Pentair IntelliCenter and IntelliTouch or EasyTouch automation systems.​
(1) No requirement to run .NET core. The nodejs-poolController application does much more than just act as an interface because it does not merely inject itself between the Control Panel (OCP) and the Pentair webClient. This essentially means that the nodejs-poolController can perform many more tasks, since it is not just limited to only those functions that are controllable through the Pentair webClient or in the case of *Touch system - ScreenLogic.​
(2) The nodejs-poolController will not only function with and control the Pentair IntelliCenter but it is fully compatible with the Pentair IntelliTouch and Pentair EasyTouch automation systems as well. In fact, the nodejs-poolController actually adds capabilities that do not currently exist with the IntelliTouch/EasyTouch control boards as well as most other webClients. Additionally, the nodejs-poolController can be utilized to control DIY/"Home-Brew" Pool Automation Systems as well.​
In reality, the only difference that will be witnessed within the Pool Control Dashboard between the IntelliCenter and the IntelliTouch/EasyTouch automation systems, is the fact that *Touch systems only have one IntelliBrite controller that works with all the lights presently. This means that the theme and color pallet controls only show up on the Lights topic. You don't get control for each light and/or group. However, in the future, this minor inconsistency between IntelliCenter and *Touch systems, will be addressed and color support for the IntelliBrite compatible systems should be corrected, which will in turn, force *Touch systems into the better paradigm.​
(3) Since the “dashPanel” was written in raw JavaScript and CSS, the primary goal of the nodejs-poolController-dashPanel, was to get as much control over the pool and onto a single page without all the “navigating around” that you typically find with every other Pentair controller/interface. And without all of the scrolling (which seems to be the very nature of all of the “web libraries” that currently exists).​
(4) The nodejs-poolController is completely compatible and integrates with other commercial and DIY home automation clients/bindings/platforms such as SmartThings/Hubitat, Vera Home Automation Hub, Homebridge/Siri/EVE, etc. All of these platforms can operate separately and support the same common functionality and if the interface is done correctly, then it’s not dependent on the original hardware that it is supporting. The (OCP) or the lack thereof, is not relevant here.​
(5) The Pool Control Dashboard (nodejs-poolController-dashPanel) is a highly dynamic platform since it is completely “scalable” and adaptable to various other advanced pool automation functionality projects recently being realized or which are currently being developed to include future projects as well.​
The following are current or future improvements and enhancements that are currently in various stages of planning and/or development. -​
a) relayEquipment manager – Allows for other types of relays (besides the relays within the Pentair Automation panel) to be controlled.​
Note: The relayEquipment manager will allow for “Serial Peripheral Interface” (SPI) and will also support "Inter-Integrated Circuit" (I2C) functionality in the future for external sensors related to pool automation and control. Currently REM will allow for as many valve or other relays as one has available GPIOs. That sensor information is currently fed over SPI. The advantage here is ease of configuration and no additional programming is required. And the real advantage will be that it will communicate with the nodejs-poolController via the socket interface.​
However, when I2C is fully implemented, the Atlas Scientific Tentacle T3 “stackable” add-on board for the RPi can host up to five (5), EZO-class devices to measure pH, ORP, DO, control dosing (MA, Chlorine) peristaltic pumps, pressure sensors (PRS), color sensors etc.​
2020-09-09_14-28-04.jpg
Note: REM is in advanced stages of beta-testing.​
b) Control of the IntelliValve “multi-positional” feature irrespective of any Pentair support.​
c) Control of “other than Pentair” SWCGs, MA and Chlorine dosing and other chemistry controllers to include the DIY or “homegrown” variety.​
d) Adding additional valve actuator support above and beyond the ten maximum, that the OCP currently supports.​
e) Extending the scheduling functionality well above current Pentair limitations.​
f) A “room moniker” feature which will allow for various types of pool equipment to be moved into specific pages.​
g) User defined sorting of AUX Circuits, Feature Circuits, Circuit Groups and Schedules.​
h) iPhone CSS support. COMPLETED
i) Additional Heater support.​
j) Additional Solar support.​
k) Cover and Remote support.​
l) Security Option support.​
m) User notification (email and sms) support.​
n) pH and FC sensor support. COMPLETED THROUGH REM
o) Filter Gauge Pressure Transducer support. COMPLETED THROUGH REM
p) Uploading of “user-defined” backgrounds for the Pool Control Dashboard. COMPLETED
q) Enhanced “Graphical” support to include virtual gauges, dials and graphs.​
C. Within this instructional guide however, the intent here is to concentrate efforts towards the nodejs-poolController-dashPanel controller/interface, with an emphasis on the Pentair IntelliCenter Automation System.​
However, this guide will also provide some detail or instructions (when applicable) for the Pentair IntelliTouch and EasyTouch end-user as well, since the nodejs-poolController-dashPanel can be utilized for all three of these Pentair Automation Systems.​
D. Much of the methodology explored here are based upon my own experiences. There are always different methods at which to arrive at the same solution. So if other options are not specifically mentioned here, it does not necessarily indicate that they can’t be realized. If you think that you might have an improved option or solution, please explore it and share it for the benefit of all concerned.​
I would like to think of this project as a “one team-one fight” effort in order to benefit all Pentair automation system end-users who wish to improve on the quality and the functionality of their control and interface experiences with their pool automation systems.​
E. The instructions and information contained within this guide are meant to be dynamic rather than static. In other words, a “living instructional guide” that will reflect various changes or improvements in methodology, future pool-related equipment, software/firmware releases, and to address any information that may become outdated.​
F. Lastly, although experienced Raspberry Pi users may find some material within this guide useful, it should be noted that this is a “step-by-step” instructional guide that targets the type of user that has little or no experience with a Raspberry Pi (RPi) computer and/or the use of the Linux command-line. Both of which are utilized and explained in detail within this guide.​

2. Credits
Although I just happened to be the one that began the initial development of this instructional guide outline, and performed the instructional steps validation and the formatting and posting of this thread, I certainly cannot take all that much credit for much of the technical details contained within.

This was a collaborative effort between myself, @cmc0619 and @Katodude, who both contributed a great deal of time, knowledge and expertise. Not only towards this goal, but also for providing me with quite a bit of Raspberry Pi and Linux command-line assistance as well.

I would personally like to give @tagyoureit many thanks and credit for his development of the nodejs-poolController and its associated webClient. The poolController is the primary means to which to communicate with and control the Pentair compatible pool equipment. This latest release of version 6.0.0, takes this pool controller to new heights and now natively supports IntelliCenter up to and including the latest firmware beta releases, as well as the controlling of IntelliTouch and EasyTouch now. Thanks again @tagyoureit for the many hours of dedicated work on this controller!! Awesome!

Lastly, an enormous amount of credit (and thanks) go to @rstrouse. Without his advanced technical prowess in this realm and his incredible time devotion to this interface, the Pool Control Dashboard would not exist.

I would also like to thank him for his many hours of direct poolController and dashPanel assistance to me. This was due in large part to my “non-standard” IntelliCenter configuration and non-standard equipment setup requirements. Also, many thanks go out to him, for his assistance in providing much of the needed technical information scattered throughout this instructional guide as well as the final “proofing”.

And to all of the above, thanks so much for all of the patience with this Raspberry Pi/Linux command-line noob and for showing me how to “color between the lines” correctly. I have and I continue to learn a tremendous amount from you all!

3. Theory
Currently, most IntelliCenter users utilize a Pentair developed webClient (browser), and/or a mobile application to interface with their IntelliCenter panels (OCP). This is normally accomplished via or “through” the Pentair IntelliCenter prod servers. As most have sadly discovered, the reliability of these servers is at times, “marginal-at-best”. In addition, although they are functional to some extent, many would agree that the Pentair IntelliCenter webClient, mobile apps as well as the ScreenLogic app are cumbersome, outdated, lacking in advanced functionality and are not supported by necessary improvements and upgrades.

In order to combat this unfortunate reality, the IntelliCenter and *Touch user has the option to utilize other user controllers and/or interfaces now. One such alternative is the node.js-poolController-dashPanel (Pool Control Dashboard), which utilizes a computer to act as a host instead of using the Pentair servers. In other words, the host computer works as a server in the same way essentially, as do the Pentair Prod Servers.

However, unlike the Pentair servers, which utilize an internet connection to communicate with the users’ IntelliCenter OCP, the host computer is connected directly to the IntelliCenter RS485 bus (Serial COM Port) which will be explained in more detail below. This fact, greatly enhances the “reliability” factor since the user has complete “control” over connectivity with their automation system.

The actual nodejs-poolController-dashPanel UI is also a webClient but again, unlike the Pentair webClient, the internet is not necessary for connectivity. The nodejs-poolController-dashPanel typically only requires the utilization of the users’ local area network (LAN) in. In addition, through the use of VPN technology, remote access (outside of the LAN) to the control panel can also be realized.

There are two (2) components to this free software which is located on the GitHub repository hosting service and which also provides access control and several collaboration features as well as “WiKi” pages and task management tools.

A. The nodejs-poolController is a JavaScript application developed to communicate and control your Pentair compatible pool equipment. Primary and collaborating developer credits are noted on the repository website.​
B. The nodejs-poolController-dashPanel is the webClient controller, designed and developed to operate the actual nodejs-poolController server backend. Primary and collaborating developer credits are noted on the repository website.​

4. Hosting Platform Options
The nodejs-poolController-dashPanel can be hosted from a Windows platform, Apple Mac or a Linux machine.
2020-09-08_19-42-56.jpg
However, in this guide, the platform that will be discussed in detail is the “Raspberry Pi” or otherwise known as a “Pi” and abbreviated as RPi in this instructional guide. The RPi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that can utilize a standard computer monitor or TV, and can use a standard computer keyboard and mouse (I/O devices).

However, typically a monitor, keyboard and mouse are not particularly necessary once the RPi has been properly configured to run a remote desktop program such as RealVNC or some other suitable remote desktop server/viewer.

More information regarding the Raspberry Pi computer can be found in the following link.


5. Location and Connectivity Considerations and Options
There are several options available to the user when it comes to selecting an applicable permanent location for the Raspberry Pi, as well as how the Raspberry Pi will connect to both the users’ LAN and the users’ Pentair automation system (IntelliCenter, IntelliTouch, EasyTouch) - RS485 bus (Serial COM Port).

This instructional guide will list some possibilities and combinations that are typical, however there are always “outliers” that may have been missed here.

Lastly within this section, I will document my experiences and reasoning behind selecting the location for my own Raspberry Pi, as well as my personally chosen connectivity options between the RPi, my LAN and my IntelliCenter RS485 bus.

Location options and considerations
The typical location options for the Raspberry Pi are either in the users’ residence or located at the pool equipment pad.

Considerations when selecting the appropriate location for your particular requirements should be based on the following:
  • Accessibility
  • Environmental
  • LAN connectivity for the RPi (wired vs wireless (Wi-Fi)
  • RS485 bus (Serial COM port) connectivity (This is the physical (wired) connection between the RPi and the RS485 bus (Serial COM port)
  • Power considerations for the Raspberry Pi
A. Accessibility – As noted above, the RPi can typically be located within your residence or at the pool equipment pad. If you decide to make your RPi live outdoors, then typically the RPi should always be configured near your desktop/laptop computer initially. But once near final completion of the RPi configuration, then the RPi can be moved to its final pool equipment pad location.​
Note: If your RPi location is to be outdoors, then you should move it prior to performing the necessary “npm start&” commands with the command-line editor on the RPi near configuration completion (further explanation will be provided in detail below) so that you can make the physical RS485 connection between your RPi and the RS485 bus. This will mean that you will have already configured the remote desktop client and ensured that you can control your RPi remotely from your desktop/laptop.​
If the RPi lives outdoors, you must decide where exactly. In a NEMA 4 enclosure perhaps? Or in the low-voltage compartment of the IntelliCenter or *Touch Load Center or Power Center? Will you have enough room in that low-voltage compartment?​
Personally, I could not find a suitable location in my low-voltage compartment, so that idea was out for me. If I was determined to locate it in the low-voltage compartment, then the only thing I could do was just let it flop around somewhere in there and hope that it would not eventually “short” something out on the mother or daughter card or the valve expansion module as I closed the IntelliCenter fold-down access panel. No thanks.​
If you are considering some sort of NEMA enclosure, then that should work out pretty well. You will need to provide a conduit between the NEMA enclosure and the low-voltage raceway of the Load or Power Center to run your physical RS485 and LAN connections (if not utilizing Wi-Fi). And don’t forget about power requirements for your “power hungry” (5v 2.5A) RPi.​
Comment: The only way that I would consider placing the RPi in the low-voltage compartment of my IntelliCenter is IF I did not employ the use of the optional Serial COM Port Expansion Board, which is normally mounted on the back wall of the low-voltage compartment. Then I may have tried to use some sort of industrial strength double-sided tape to mount an RPi case to that back wall and which would still allow for the removal of the RPi if need be.​
Caution: Personally, I would NEVER consider mounting the RPi within the High-Voltage Compartment of the Load Center, as has been suggested elsewhere. But to each their own I guess. It’s your equipment and personal safety that you must consider.​
Accessibility should not be a concern if your RPi lives indoors.​
B. Environmental – Heat is the primary consideration here. The Raspberry Pi specifications note that the operating temperature range is between 0*C (32*F) and 85*C (185*F). Specifically, the CPU is rated for -40*C (-40*F) to 85*C (185*F) and the Ethernet Chip is rated for 0*C (185*F) to 70*C (185*F).​
What are the typical summers like in the area in which you live? Are you mounting the RPi in a nearly air-tight enclosure? Is there other equipment mounted in the enclosure that will contribute to the overall ambient temperature within the enclosure?​
Note: I know of a couple of users that have RPi’s mounted outside (within enclosures), in the Phoenix Metro area (very warm summers) and I have not heard of any issues encountered so far. In fact, your IntelliCenter processor is mounted outside in a metal enclosure right? And the IntelliCenter mother and daughter cards are much more valuable than a $50.00 RPi. So, this may be a non-issue in most cases. However, if this remains a concern for you, then you may consider the purchase of any of the following inexpensive accessories which should help with RPi cooling.​
(1) Thermal Pads and/or Heatsink kits for the RPi CPU, SoC, Memory, USB and Ethernet Chip.​
(2) Single or double cooling fans with or without alloy-case type heatsinks.​
(3) “ICE” type tower cooling fans (liquid).​
All of the above can be purchased on Amazon or elsewhere..​
Environmental concerns should not be an issue if your RPi lives indoors.​
C. LAN Connectivity for the RPi (wired vs wireless (Wi-Fi) – If you choose to make your RPi live outdoors, then considerations here are Wi-Fi connectivity. If you are already using Wi-Fi for your IntelliCenter or *Touch, then this should not be an issue.​
If you are utilizing the IntelliCenter Wi-Fi Link Kit (Primary Client Bridge) to connect your IntelliCenter to your Wi-Fi router, Wireless Access Point or Wi-Fi mesh network, then I understand that there is a second LAN connection available there which will allow you to connect the RPi to that ethernet port.​
If your IntelliCenter is “hardwired” to your LAN, then you have a choice of using a Cat5E or Cat6 splitter or you can choose to run a second Cat5E or Cat6.​
LAN connectivity for the RPi should not be an issue I would think, if your RPi lives indoors. The Raspberry Pi (Pi 3, 4 and ZeroW) are Wi-Fi capable and you have the option to hardwire it to your LAN as well.​
D. RS485 bus (Serial COM port) connectivity (This is the physical (wired) connection between the RPi and the RS485 bus (Serial COM port) – If you choose to make your RPi live outdoors, then the only consideration here is properly wiring and connecting the required USB to RS485 adapter to the RS485 bus (Serial COM Port) which will be covered in more detail below.

UPDATE: If an RS-485 Wireless connection is preferred or necessary, user's have reported success with the following device.
https://www.amazon.com/Smallest-Elfin-EW11-Elfin-EW11-0-Wireless-Networking/dp/B0833XTK92
2021-05-17_15-21-29.jpg
However, if you would like your RPi to live inside, then there is more to it. You must provide for a physical connection between the RS485 bus and the RPi. If you are utilizing a low-voltage conduit from the IntelliCenter or *Touch Load or Power Center for a hardwired LAN connection, then this shouldn’t be much of an issue. But if not (you are using Wi-Fi for LAN connectivity), then it becomes much more of an issue if you prefer the RPi inside.​
Note: The last sentence above is a factual statement however there is a “caveat” involved. IF, you are currently employing either an optional IntelliCenter “Indoor Control Panel” (P/Ns 522035, 523058 or 523059) or in the case of *Touch systems and are you are utilizing the ScreenLogic Protocol Adapter (with or without the Wireless Connection Kit) and/or one of the Indoor Wired Control Panels (P/Ns 520138 or 520548), then you should already have an existing RS485 connection within your residence. You would then need to only run a 2-conductor (3 if you prefer a ground) from one of these devices to your Raspberry Pi (or another computer if you prefer). You then would have the necessary physical RS485 connection challenge solved.​
Note: Use UL approved conductor cable minimum 22 AWG (Cat-5e meets this spec). However use UL approved conductor cable minimum 18 AWG for distances longer than 200 ft.​
E. Power Considerations for the Raspberry Pi – Although the Raspberry Pi uses a whopping 5V 2.5 amps, it still needs to be powered. If you are opting to have your RPi live outdoors, then there are a variety of ways that you can power your RPi, depending on where exactly you plan to mount/place your RPI. In the Load/Power Center? A NEMA enclosure? etc. You can get fairly creative here.​
The RPi typically uses an AC-DC power adapter or what I like to refer to as a “Wall Wort”. Typically, a 100-240 Va.c. 0.6A input to 5.1Vd.c. 2.5A adapter. This adapter is “bundled” in many of RPi “kits” available or it can be purchased separately.​
If the RPi is to be mounted in the Load or Power center, one option would be to plug the RPi Power Supply into the female end of some sort of suitable heavy-duty type power cord. Cut the male end off at the appropriate length and then wire the other side to the load-side of the installed GFCI in the High Voltage compartment of the Load Center. Then run the low-voltage power cable from the wall wort up through the provided cut-outs and into the low-voltage compartment and plug the wall wort into the female end of the power cord.​
Note: Use caution when considering the above method of providing power to the RPi. Personally, I’m not really a fan of running low-voltage cables throughout the High-Voltage Compartment of the Load Center. So if you choose the above method of powering the RPi, please consider running the low-voltage power cable that extends from the wall wort, as far away from any high-voltage wiring and especially the circuit breakers. “Murphy” always has a way of attempting to “void your warranty”, so be careful.​
Warning: Always remove power from the Automation System Load/Power Center at the house Main Circuit Breaker Panel, before removing the Load/Power Center High Voltage Cover Panel. It’s also referred to as a “Dead Front” panel for a very good reason. In addition, if you are not qualified and/or proficient in electrical installation practices and procedures or lack the skill sets necessary to work with 100-240 Va.c. wiring, please consult with a licensed professional that IS.​
There are many other options to provide suitable power for the RPi to include small solar panels specifically designed for this purpose, such as the Adafruit Industries models. USB to USB-C adapters, Power-over-Ethernet add-on boards, etc. round out the list of available options.​
Once again, if you are kind enough to allow your RPi to live indoors, the power consideration for your RPi, should not be an issue.​
The following are my personal experiences at selecting the location for my Raspberry PI and my subsequent RS485 connectivity solution between the RPi and the IntelliCenter RS-485 bus.​
So, I had initially thought that I would be placing or mounting the RPi in the low-voltage compartment of my IntelliCenter Load Center because most of the other threads here that utilize an RPi in their “DIY/Home Brew” automation systems, indicate that the RPi’s are typically mounted at the equipment pad. But after some careful thought and research, I became increasingly convinced that this “outdoor” option presented some unique challenges for me, and which I outline below.​
EFUZ3670.JPG - There is very little room in the low-voltage compartment of the IntelliCenter Load Center for the RPi to begin with. In addition, I could not mount the RPi on the back wall of the low-voltage compartment because my Serial COM Port Expansion Board is already mounted on the back wall of that compartment. Hence, I would need to mount a NEMA type box and connect that box via flex conduit to the bottom of the IntelliCenter Load Center Low-Voltage Raceway (side knockout was already in use). In addition, I already have enough NEMA type boxes hanging on that wall, so the outside option just did not look all that viable to me.​
- In addition, it would require that I plug the RPi Power Supply into the female end of some sort of extension cord and then wire the other end to the load-side of the installed GFCI in the High-Voltage compartment of the Load Center as discussed above.​
- I live in Arizona where highs in the summer can reach extreme temperatures. Yes, although I operate other electronic equipment outside (to include the IntelliCenter electronics), I just ultimately decided against it.​
- There would be no “easy” way to remotely power reset the RPi if I needed to.​
Note: Once the RPi is configured, this would normally not be an issue.​
- Lastly, initial setup still requires the RPi be co-located near a computer anyway.​
So, based upon those considerations and limitations that I listed above, I ultimately decided that I would allow my RPi to live indoors with the rest of the family. Specifically, in my home office with my other “toys”. Comment: I now feel that was the right decision especially due to the fact, that in the meantime, I have since added three additional Raspberry Pi’s to the mix, just so the first one would not get too lonely.​
The following challenges however would need to be tackled based upon my decision to keep the Raspberry Pi indoors.​
Since the Pool Controller RPi requires that physical connection to the IntelliCenter RS-485 bus when utilizing the nodejs-poolController, I would require an appropriate serial communication method.​
Note: The RS485 bus is the same “bus” that the IntelliFlo pumps, IntelliChlor SWG, MasterTemp Heaters, UltraTemp Heat Pumps, IntelliChem and eventually the IntelliValves (one way or the other), use for their communication protocols, between them and the IntelliCenter processor.​
The only option here was to “hard” wire the connection from my house to the IntelliCenter Load Center. I decided this would be a better choice for me personally, especially since my IntelliCenter LAN connection is already hard-wired to my Local Area Network (LAN) via an existing ¾” low-voltage conduit which connects between a bottom knockout of the IntelliCenter low-voltage raceway and my attic.​
I considered various conductor / wire options for the connection but finally settled on a shielded Cat-5e while 2020-09-09_20-50-05.jpgincorporating an RJ45 to Terminal Screw Adaptor on both ends of the Cat5e.​
Anytime I run cable/wiring through a conduit, I always attempt to pull an extra pull/zip line just in case, so thank goodness the pull line was already there in my low-voltage conduit, which of course made pulling another Cat-5e extremely easy. In fact, while I was at it, I pulled a third Cat-5e just for good measure (you never know).​
Once I pulled the two additional Cat 5e’s, I then had one for the IntelliCenter LAN connection, a second one for the physical connection from the IntelliCenter RS-485 bus to the RPi and a spare Cat-5E for possible future use.​
I then ran the Cat-5e to be used for the RS485 connection thru the attic and down the wall which adjoins my office and terminated the connection to a Shielded Inline Modular Coupler w/Keystone Latch as illustrated.​
As you can see 2020-09-09_20-58-53.jpgthe Cat-5e, connectors, etc. are all of the “shielded” variety, so that way I could ground the connection from the RPi to the IntelliCenter. I’m not really sure this method is absolutely necessary, but I thought it might be a good idea based on some research that I did.​
The following diagram illustrates the connectivity method that I used to connect the RPi to the IntelliCenter RS-485 bus due to the fact that I utilized a Cat5e for the connection.​
2020-08-22_18-11-50 copy.jpg
Note: The Pentair Serial COM Port Expansion Board is NOT necessary to make the physical connection to the RS485 Bus. It can be made to any of the COM Ports as well.​

Radiant Pool Liner Types?

We have a Radiant Meter pool that is in need of liner replacement. Am have difficulty finder a liner with the Radiant Pool dealers. Have found some online but am just unsure of the type of beading Radiant uses. Does anyone out there have that answer? I was on Poolfits.com website and from what they say, Radiant used the standard bead type. I really would like to be sure before ordering.

Odd Pump Behavior

Hello. I was hoping I might probe your thoughts on some odd behavior with my pool. My pool was built in the late 70s and is about 50,000 gallons. Attached to it is a in ground spa that you can probably seat about 10 people comfortably. All the pumps, filters, and heater have been replaced in the last year. I also have two pumps, a primary and a booster, as well as a bubbler. The booster and bubbler have no issues. The only thing original to the pool are the pipes.

So onto the issue, in pool mode my primary pump behaves relatively normal and primes fairly quickly. In looking at the check valve there are a few bubbles but there are very few. But something strange happens when I switch to spa mode. As the actuators are turning the water level on the pump drops and it takes a couple of minutes for it to re-prime for spa mode. Sometimes it doesn't prime at all and we have to help it by either adding water to the pump or bleeding the check valve on the filter. And while running in spa mode the water level is never all the way to the top of the pump and there are always bubbles in the check valve. My pool guy says it's fine to run it this way and believes that there are either one or two things likely going on. He feels that we lose prime when switching to the spa mode due to a possible crack in the pipe underground. However, I never lose water unless it's due to normal evaporation. He agrees this is odd if there is a crack. I might lose half an inch of water in the pool in a week when hot and sunny. My pool guy also thinks this theoretical crack in the pipe is where the bubbles come from. Surprisingly though he doesn't think the priming issue is related. He thinks I have narrower pipes due to the era in which my pool was built and that this creates poor flow to the pumps and makes it difficult to prime. Do you have any thoughts on the likely culprit? Do you agree with his assessment?

There are no visible water leaks from any of the pipes next to the pump equipment. I can put some silicone at various locations and try and seal things up a little bit but except for the pipe that goes to the spa all the equipment and piping is the same for pool versus spa mode. Any thoughts and questions are welcome and appreciated.

Getting Ready to install Circupool Edge

Hi All,
I'm looking at installing my Circupool controller. I have a VS pump wired without an external timer. I am thinking of switching the controller with a load sensing relay. This one is the one I bought. I know the unit will not operate without flow, but I just want a little extra insurance. The relay will switch up to 2.5A @ 250V AC and the controller draws only 0.9A @ 240VAC. Now the question: Has anyone tried this setup? Am I missing something? Seems too easy. Thank you.

oops - chlorine spa startup misfire

greetings,
new tub owner (pdc spa- 325gal). i was following the pinned thread regarding how to use chlorine in my spa for my first fill of the tub. i completed all the water balancing steps with good results. however, when i got to the sanitation instructions, i misunderstood, and added enough dichlor to get to 25ppm CYA all at once. now my total chlorine and free chlorine are off the charts, and there is a strong bleach smell from the tub. at least the CYA is perfect... :rolleyes:

is this a problem? should i use a neutralizing agent? just uncover and wait it out?
any advice is greatly appreciated. thank you.

WiFi Connection Issue - Intellicenter

I am getting the error to make sure the WiFi cable is pugged in and powered error when I try to find a wireless network. I have the LAN cable plugged into the adapter on the back of the intellicenter panel and the 24V DC connector into the power connection and the adapter plugged into the back of the intellicenter panel. The WiFi antenna card in the plastic housing is powered and the lights on the card flash so it has power however I still get the error when I try to connect or even reset the WiFi via the touch screen. What am I doing wrong? I still can connect to the local system on my phone and the IP address shows up on the intellicenter panel I just cannot get it to connect to WiFi. I have a Google nest network puck close by and can see the network on my phone at the panel so I know the signal is there.

CoverStar Sensor with IntelliCenter?

Good morning!

Our pool gets underway tomorrow, and I got to thinking - since we will have a CoverStar auto cover, and since they sell a reed switch to indicate closed/open status, can you hook that up to IntelliCenter? My thought is that it would be nice to automatically set the SWCG to a lower level when the cover closes as a fail-safe to make sure I don't forget to back it off when the cover is on (which will be most of the time). Is this an option? Are there other ways to accomplish the same thing? I searched here, but couldn't find anything regarding the IntelliCenter and this issue. Thanks!

Wes

Vinyl Liner PICTURE Pattern Roundup - PICTURES AND NAME OF LINER ONLY PLEASE

Calling all in-ground vinyl liner peeps! Whether its old or new, if you know the name of your liner pattern, please post a pic of your pool with water in it, with mfg and pattern name.

This is a social experiment to see if we can help answer the liner-shopper's most pressing question: "What would this liner look like in the water?" A few of us (myself included) are liner shopping around here and there's a dearth of in pool pics showing the liner patterns in situ.

Thanks in advance for all who can post!

Light niche leaking from connection threads

Hi all. I found a leak in my in-ground pool light (pentair). I lowered the water under the light and the issue is there is a broken or loosen connection between the niche and the conduit. I am looking for the best solution in this case. If there is procedure to replace this connection or the best way to patch it with some product. I tried to pack around the connection some Butyl Seal Tape, but its not bonding with the niche. I will appreciate any suggestions.

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New member new build

New to this forum, along with the pool world and looking for some advice. We are starting a new gunnite pool build in the coming weeks and I’m am struggling to pick out equipment.
The pool is gauged to be around the 13,500-15,000 gallon mark of water volume. 400 square feet, with no spa.

After reading many posts and threads on this forum it seems as though salt it the recommend sanitation method vs the ozone route. It also seems as though circupool is the most recommended brand here.

My contractor supplies a 2hp pump (unknown if it’s VS and what brand) and sand filter (also unknown). He is offering both a salt or ozone upgrade for a whopping 1600$, this seems high to me.

At the current moment in time it seems that I can buy the following on my own for about 2500$:

Circupool 2.5 smartflo VS pump
Circupool rj-45 plus
Circupool tj-16 typhoon

Going this route I would obviously get money back for his provided pump as well as the salt upgrade price of 1600$. Heck I may end up breaking even, that has yet TBD. My question is, is this the appropriate size pump? What sand filter would you recommend for this package?

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Dolphin E20 Hack?

I have been reading on the forum and purchased a Dolphin E20. Cleans great for my needs, but I hoped that the solution for allowing it to work with a smart plug and integrate it into Home Assistant would work for it (hold down the schedule button for 10sec on power up), but unfortunately it doesn’t. It’s the same unit controller, so assuming it’s a software function. Any hacks to allow you guys know of?

PAL Lighting System

Good afternoon,

I am fairly new pool owner and I am on my 2nd PAL lighting system in less than 1.5 years. My lights do not power on with either the remote or the Manual button on the board. When the power supply is plugged in both the manual and Code lights are red so i know i am getting power.

Model is PCR-2D-35
With 2 led lights

I have reached out to teach support with very little communication.

Any help would be great!

Thanks
Tim Rankin
NC

Another 'Chemical Way to Calculate Pool Volume' Thread

After 11 months of construction our pool was finally filled about a month ago. The pool builder construction plans calculated the total volume of our pool as 11,000 gallons. The folks that came out to do the initial startup / equipment checkout / chemical balance said they were told it was a 12,000 gallon pool. For the past month I have been using 11,000 gallons for all of my chemical balancing math. I have noticed that the results (of pH or chlorine changes) were less than pool math suggested.

Now that the plaster has cured for about 30 days I needed to add salt to raise salt from 400 ppm to 3,200 ppm. Pool math suggested a little more than 6 bags so I added 5 to be safe. I am now at 8 40lb bags added and my salt level is still only at 3,000 ppm. (measured both by the iAquaLink and Taylor test kit). Reverse engineering the math, my 'calculated' volume for that salt rise is closer to 14,700 gallons.

I've seen other threads which suggest TA or Chlorine could be used to come up with a calculated volume, but what do you think about my salt method above (even if just for my own situation)? Should I start to use 14k or 15k gallons for pool math calcs going forward? I only ask because designing a pool in CAD software should not be off by 4,000 gallons when every other dimension was within an inch or two.

Borates, pH Impact to CSI

Hi All,

I've looked at all the guidance here on TFP and focused on keeping my chemistry in range using PoolMath. However, it seems while I'm in range with the TFP recommendations, my CSI is highly negative.

For example, here are my readings:

FC 5
pH 8.2
TA 60 (2 weeks ago)
CH 500 (15 days ago)
CYA 70 (17 days ago)
Salt 3450
BOR 48 (14 days ago using Mannitol method)
Water Temp 66
CSI -.37

I usually won't let the pH get above 7.8 or 8.0 at the most before I chase it down to 7.2 or 7.3 using muriatic acid as that's my understanding of the TFP recommendation. I let the pH climb a little higher as the water is a good 15 degrees colder with the cold weather in Austin right now and the cold water seems to make pH go further negative.

That said, if I push the pH down to 7.2 (using liquid muriatic acid) with the stats above, it says my CSI would be -0.77 which seems troubling. When I check the impact of zero'ing out the Borates (using poolmath), the CSI swings from current -0.37 the way to 0.18.

Should I be allowing the pH to rise more instead of pushing it back down with acid? Won't it cause scale if I allow pH to go higher? I would greatly appreciate thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations.
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Pool Design & Specs - Please Critique - Pflugerville, TX

Hi Everyone.

I would love to get your opinion on this pool design and specs.
I am still evaluating different pool designs and equipment and would love to get your feedback.
I included notes in red that I've learned so far and have questions on, but feel free to add anything else.
THANK YOU! :)

Pool Specs

Pool Size: 32x20
Pool Perimeter: 104ft
Pool Area: 560ft²
Pool Depth: 3.5 to 5.5 - still debating if we want to start with 3.5, thoughts?
Pool Gallons: 15,228

Spa Specs
Spa Dimensions 6x8
Spa Perimeter: 28ft
Spa Area: 48ft²
Spa Depth: 3.5ft
Spa Gallons: 675
Pool and Spa Gallons: 15,903
Water Feature #1 2 Bubblers

Equipment
Filter: Pentair Cartridge Filter 420sq - Request 520 instead?
Heater 1: Pentair 400K BTU Heater - Would like to switch to Electric heater - any recommendations? We aren't connected to gas (rural), so we depend on propane
Main Pump: Pentair Intelliflo 3HP VS - Is this good?
Spa Blower: 1HP Silencer Blower
Control Panel: Pentair PSL 4 - - Request Intellicenter?
Remote Control: Screenlogic Wi-Fi
Pool Lights: Pentair Globrite LED. Quantity: 3 - From feedback on forum, request Microbrite instead of Globrite?
Spa Light: Pentair Globrite LED. Quantity: 1 From feedback on forum, request Microbrite instead of Globrite?
Optional Features
Sanitization - Inline Chlorinator Request Pentair IC40 or IC60?
Extra Sanitization - Salt Generation - is there a specific one to request?

Water Line Fill -
Not Included

Drains - Standard
Skimmers - Standard Skimmer

Plaster
Pebble Sheen (Tier 1)
Tile: Emser Products - anyone heard of this?

Construction Specs

Pool Pipes: Schedule 40 PVC.
Returns: (5) Directional Inlets, Looped for even pressure.
Skimmers: (2) Independently plumbed for optimum control.
Drains: (4) 10" Top, VGB compliant
Spa Pipes: 2 1/2"" Schedule 40 PVC, suction and returned
Spa Jets: (6) Spa Jets
Spa Air: 1.5" Dedicated air lines

Steel and Gunite

Pool Shell: 1/2" Grade 60 Steel Rebar on 10" Centers, both directions
Pool Bond Beam: 1/2" Grade 60 Steel Rebar x4
Concrete: Gunite/Shotcrete rated to a minimum 4000 PSI
Thickness: 12" Bond Beam, 8-10" Walls/ Floor

Decking
Reinforcement: 3/8" Rebar 16" on center, 4" Crushed Base, up to 1/2" of Mastic

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Pump Anomaly

Had an odd experience recently with a replacement pump, if anyone could shed light on why the following occurs I would be grateful.

My 10 yr old Viron P320 pump started making whining noises, the last time it did this 3yr ago cost me $450 to get it serviced where they replace the bearings and mechanical seal as well as cleaning up the pump internals. This time I thought I'll just get a new pump.

I was recommended to purchase the new model of my pump which is called the Viron P320 XT. It was a direct replacement plumbing wise with all the connection points being same position as old one. The new pump is AC variable speed where as the old one was DC, new pump motor end is smaller and lighter than old.

When I started up the new pump it took a while to prime but did not fully prime with a small pocket of air less than 10mm high remaining in the basket chamber. I ran the pump on high for ages but it would not pull the air out, I could not see any air bubbles inside the chamber. I did some googling and tried the following:

1. Put cling film around all the joints and coupling to see if they sucked in.
2. Swapped the lid from old pump to new.
3. Doubled up the rubbers on the lid.
4. Adjusted the pump suction collar until I could see the point where bubbles entered and then did it back up again.
5. Adjusted both drain valves until I could see air bubbles coming up from them then did them back up again.

It didn't look like a suction leak, unless it was the lid fitting sucking air in from the top. I put the old pump back in as it still worked, just makes a horrid sound, and it primed quickly as normal and got rid of all the air. I then put the new lid on the old pump but it still worked ok.

I called the place I got the new pump from and they fobbed me off to Astral, the manufacturer. On the phone they agreed pump was faulty and the seller should swap it, contacted seller and they called me back saying the had arranged a service call out from Astral. The tech from Astral stripped the pump down looking for anything and regreased/assembled pump and it did same thing. We then went thru parts of the aforementioned fault finding and he was stumped and said seller should swap it over.

I contacted seller and they agreed to swap pump. Got the new pump and connected it up and does the same thing. I have tried running the pump at medium and slow speed and it the water level in the basket does not vary, still always that last little air pocket in basket. So it doesn't look like there is a danger of it running dry as there doesn't seem to be suction leak and there is certainly no pressure leak.

Can a pump just not have the power to evacuate all air from the basket?

Filter