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Thread: Cost-effective automation for older pools?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    SF Bay Area
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    441

    Cost-effective automation for older pools?

    Hello,

    This is my first post on TFP, but like most of you, I've done a lot of lurking here and over on pool forum. I have been doing research on how to automate my pool without spending a fortune.

    A little background:
    We have had our vintage 1983 in-ground pool now for about one year. It is free-form with about 24,000 gallons with an attached 350 gallon spa. The pool is around 3.5 ft on the shallow end and 7 feet on the deep end. We have an original Lars natural gas heater that is only used to heat the spa. The previous owner replaced the filter about 7 years ago with a massive four-cartridge Hayward filter that we only have to clean about once per year. The pool and spa share a 2 hp Leslie/Hayward filter pump (probably oversized). There is a 3/4 HP booster pump for an older Polaris cleaner. There is also a solar system on a second floor roof. We have no water features yet. There is one light for the pool and one light for the spa.

    The system seems to work fairly well (except for typical operating pressure of 26 psi without the solar system and low 30's psi with the solar system running ).

    The only thing that I'm not happy with is when we are enjoying the spa, and I have to trudge over to the equipment pad and adjust the temperature or turn off the spa jets (very primitive in that air is merely introduced into the spa returns). So I've been looking at the various automation offerings out there. I have no interest in remote access via the internet, nor am I interested in calling up by phone to turn the spa on while I'm still driving home from work (spa heats up very fast). All I want to be able to do is go from pool mode to spa mode and back again, adjust the spa temperature, and turn off the spa jets periodically. Also controlling the pool and spa light would be good. Even better would be to meld the existing solar controller with Jandy 3-way valve/actuator into the new control scheme. And not least, I wanted a wireless remote that I could take from the spa to the house and back again.

    Also, my existing sub-panel (Intermatic consisting of 2 mechanical timers) is in very bad shape and needs replacing anyway.

    The minimum cost I have been looking at has been around $1000 to $1250 to accomplish this task with one of the lower cost systems that still had remote. The systems that have made the short list were:

    1. Jandy Aqualink PS4 along with the Jandy Aqualink PDA wireless (about $1050 including power sub panel)
    2. Same as above except being PS6 (about $1250)
    3. Pentair Intellitouch
    4. Hayward Aqualogic PS-4 with 2 valve actuators and a floating wireless spa remote (about $1100)
    5. Intermatic PE45343RC, which includes 5 circuits (3 timed, 2 on demand), and 2 valve actuators (about $1000)

    Normally, I am not a fan of Leslie's Pool, but I checked their website anyway for pool controllers and found it astonishing bare of pool control. In fact, the only hit at Leslie's was this one.

    http://www.lesliespool.com/shopping/pro ... word=81320

    Now the least expensive Hayward Aqualogic PS-4 that I had run across on the internet (at americanbestpoolsupply.com) was $610, and here Leslie's had what appears to be the same thing for $510 (normally $600). The Aqualogic PS-4 doesn't come with any actuators or remote devices, at least according to the Hayward website and the various internet pool stores.

    Here is where it gets interesting. When this rung up at Leslie's this afternoon, my receipt shows a ton of other catalog numbers that appear to be coming along with the PS-4
    1. 2 valve actuators
    2. wireless remotes

    So it appears that I am going to have my old pool ready for automation for only $510 worth of parts. Actually, that is not quite true since my two spa/pool diverter valves are old 3-way Ortega Valves, and I had to for over another $110 total for two adapters so the valve actuators would work with the Ortega Valves. I intend to install this system myself.

    The picture in the Leslie's link above shows the Aqualogic with the letters "HPC" in the upper right corner of the Aqualogic panel. I was fearful that this was an obsolete or old version of the Aqualogic that Leslie's was trying to peddle, so I called Hayward directly and they claimed that the "HPC" version that Leslie's sells is really a PS-4 that is just labeled special for Leslie's. In fact, Leslie's actually calls this a PS-4 in their link above.

    The local Leslie's did not have this in stock. In fact, no Leslie's in the entire nation has this in stock, and the Hayward Aqualogic will be drop-shipped to me from Hayward. I should have the entire package by next week some time, so I won't truly know until then whether this apparent good deal actually turns out to be a good deal. I have no idea how long this sale on the Aqualogic PS-4 at Leslie's is supposed to last.

    I hope this helps. Any comments on anything that I might have missed?

    Thanks!

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Guest
    When you install an automation system you never think of all the things that you really want to control with it. I put in a PS-8 thinking I would never use all the relays and actuator controls and now I wish I has gotten the PS-16! The floating Spa remote is excellent but I also have the wireless tabletop remote and it is extremely useful also. While you are at it you might want to consider the salt generator option. It is well worth the money!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    441
    waterbear,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I see your point about having the ability to control more items. Do you have any idea how hard it is to add more relays to the PS-4, or would it probably take an entire new control circuit board?

    My hope is that pool automation will get cheaper in the coming years. I think that the "brains" of the control systems (i.e. circuit board microprocessors) will get cheaper and more capable in a couple more years, but the "grunt" side of the automation picture (like power panel, power relays, valve actuators) will not change much in price. So I will already have my valve actuators, power panel, and some power relays in place, and will merely need a "brain exchange" of the control system and perhaps more power relays.

    Had you ever heard of the "HPC" version of the Hayward Aqualogic that Leslie's Pool is marketing?

    Thanks again!

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest
    The PS-4 is not expandable unless you actually replace the unit with a PS-8 or ps-16. Also the tabletop and wired remotes are different for the three systems. The time to think about any possible expansion is when you install the unit. You can add additional actuators later if you need them but you need enough relays to control such things as two speed pumps, cleaner booster pumps, solar heat, heatpumps, etc. You might also want to be able to control such things as landscape lighting or even music at the pool but if you don't hve the relays to do it you can't.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    441
    waterbear,

    Here are some things that I have learned about the AquaLogic PS4 control system.

    - The main circuit board in a PS4 system and a PS8 system are identical. The local display being a PS4 or a PS8 display dictates whether you have a PS4 or a PS8 system.

    - You can buy a PS8 upgrade kit in order to change a PS4 to a PS8. This option is not shown on the Hayward website, but the part number is AQL-PS8-UPGRADE. The kit appears to consist of a PS8 local display and 4 additional 220 Volt, 25 Amp, 2-pole relays (24 VAC coil). I do not know the cost of this upgrade.

    - there is an option for adding a fifth 120/240 volt relay output (in addition to the four that are part of the PS4 system), but it requires that you aren't using the fourth valve actuator output. GoldLine shows a list price of $65 for part number GLX-RELAY for an additional relay, but you can buy the relay at Digikey or Mouser Electronics for about $16 or so (Omron G7L-2A-BUBJ-CB-24DC). You will need the "industry standard" 3-pin connector that would normally be on the end of a valve actuator to go from the valve actuator circuit board location to the new relay. The supposedlly "industry standard" 3-pin connector may be an "industry standard" for pool valve actuators, but in reality it is a very hard to find, oddball connector.

    - in fact, one could add a SIXTH 120/240 Volt relay output by using the third valve actuator output in a manner just described above, but this will not work for me since I will be using this third valve actuator for my solar diverter valve actuator.

    I assume that you could add a 120/240 volt relay or two to your PS8 system (making it, in effect, a "PS9" or a "PS10" system) in the same manner, assuming that you had no need of the third and/or fourth valve actuator output.

    I did not specifically ask, but I'm now wondering whether there is a PS16 upgrade kit (turning your PS8 into a PS16) similar to the PS8 upgrade kit (turning a PS4 into a PS8). If so, I bet it has the part number of AQL-PS16-UPGRADE...

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

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