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Thread: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

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    New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Hello, my name is Brian. I bought my house in 2004 and it came with a pool, my first (described below in my signature....). Before medical school I worked for a county health department as a pool inspector, so I became familiar with pools and their nuances. Afterwards, I learned a lot of physics and water chemistry along my road through medical school, so I believe I have a reasonable working knowledge of pool science. My biggest recurring woes with my large outdoor pool just plain old "keeping it clean".

    When I got the house in 2004, the pool had a main + booster pump with a standard pressure-driven polaris sweeper. We have a well, in central California, with the usual high alkalinity issues but otherwise low iron, lots of capacity, and good quality. The main mistake I made in the first 10 years of managing my pool was shocking it with Chlor-brite (per Leslie's instructions....), which has left me with an extremely high cynauric acid level which has not come down over time. On this note, and with the cornucopia of rainfall we just has this Winter (after the 5-year drought....) I am likely going to drain/refill my pool this Spring for the first time in about 7 or 8 years. That will fix some issues but not the main/recurring problem. BTW I now use unstabilized chlorine shock.

    We re-surfaced and re-plumbed the pool in 2009. The contractor, despite his shortcomings, made some good suggestions like adding more returns (total of 4), and adding a committed suction line for a suction-driven sweep. I installed a Pentair Intelliflow VS pump. The two Sta-rite sand filters are in parallel. To make my pool "almost trouble-free" I bought a Pentair sand shark Kreepy Krauly sweeper (not sure the exact model but it looks like what is currently sold as the GW7900). We wanted a control panel on the house, which required the Pentair Intelli-touch outdoor panel to interface with the pump. These last two sentences are where I completely hit a wall, with limited functionality and inability to figure my way through it.

    1: The programming procedure for the Intellitouch panel is 10x more complicated than a reverse-polish 1980s HP calculater. The "instructions" that came with it were too vague/confusing (clearly written by an engineer that knew the system too well) and there are no good tutorials out there. The original concept was to program the intelli-touch panel to run the VS pump for a certain number of hours overnight, and then have it turn the T-valve (yes I bought the little motor that turns the valve) and power the sweeper (attached to the pool side-port) for a few hours, then shut off and reset. I also wanted a single button I could push (while standing at the filters...) to increase the pump flow adequately for an efficient backflush. No way Jose, couldn't figure it out, and no knowledgable Pentair professional in the Central Valley. Customer service at Pentair was cordial and tried to help, long story.... but no go. So my goal became to just pick a single flow rate that could run the sweeper while also pulling through the skimmer, for the right number of hours (pool volume exchanges) per night. A pretty simple task given all the fancy hardware I bought. But I couldn't get the Pentair SandShark sweeper to work.

    2: The Pentair SandShark sweep gave me quite a large number of frustrating hours, trying unsuccessfully to make it function. I simply could not find a pump flow rate that would make the sweeper move forward at a perceptible rate, without the sweep becoming anchored in one spot. It also seems like the VS pump was "hunting" for a correct speed, it never could settle-in on just one rate that would make the sweeper function right. At times, the sweeper would leave the surface and float, also frustrating. I had the leaf canister on it, and I tried it without..... No difference. I had the sweeper inspected at Leslie's (it was "like new"), and so I resigned myself to just manual vacuuming the pool numerous times per summer. Not fun.

    I suspect that maybe I got a "Lemon" of a Pentair SandShark sweeper, but I wonder if I'm not understanding how to match the pump programming with the hydraulic requirements of the SandShark sweeper. I would love to just write a check to someone and have it all work as envisioned, but here in the Central Valley it seems like "everyone's and expert" until they try and fail to solve a real challange. I am considering bailing out and buying the Hayward model of suction-driven sweep, but I want to to be as sure as I can that I won't encounter the same sort of problem with that one as well.

    Thanks, sorry for the long story!
    34,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, L-shaped with outside dimensions 40' x 20', 1978. Resurfaced and re-plumbed 2009.
    2 x 24" Sta-rite sand filters. Pentair Intelliflow pump, "T" valve, receiving from: Skimmer/main drain (2-1/2 pipe), and devoted suction sidewall port (1-1/2" pipe). Filtered water return with 4 pool inlets. Remote control on house.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Welcome to TFP Brian,

    I don't know about the Sandshark you mention, but I can tell you that a high quality robot is what you need. I haven't vacuumed my pool going on my fourth season now. Not after the first two weeks anyway, and I could not be happier. No booster pumps, no leaf cannisters and suction lines, and no standing over the pool trying to get it half as clean as my Robot can. You still need to brush the pool some, and net leaves if they are really numerous and large, but I hope never to be without one of these for my pool. I live in a very dusty/sandy environment with loads of leaves above my pool, and my robot is a real life saver. Do consider one before you resign yourself to the other options.
    TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Brian,

    Welcome to TFP.. A Great resource for all your pool related questions.

    So Doc... in the old days surgery was done with a nice big incision.. Today, a lot surgery is done using laparoscopy. The same thing goes for pool cleaners, you can still use the slice and dice method, but Robots are a much easier method.

    Here is a good thread to read ..... https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...BOtLOgO6r_gRkw

    But, Robots are not for everyone, so if you are married to your suction side cleaner, then there are a couple of people here that might be able to help.

    If you can tell us a little more about your set-up it would be helpful.

    1. We need a couple of pictures of your equipment pad, showing all of your suction side valves that route water into your pump.

    2. Do you have ScreenLogic 2?

    3. Tell us what kind of Pentair remote you have .. (a pic would be great)

    4. Do you know specifically which Pentair automation panel you have? (A picture of the enclosure with the outside door open would be great)

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    First you need to find out whether the cleaner is not working right, or the pump RPM isn't driving the unit correctly. Put the valve actuator in the cleaner position and then begin to monitor the sweeper. If it doesn't appear to be functioning or traveling correctly. It should be flat on the ground and traveling slow enough not to be outrunning the debris behind it, as it moves forward. If it isn't flat on the ground, you need to increase the pump speed. But not so much that it is out running the debris too much. More pump speed means more suction and more speed. If the unit is correct with those two respects and it cannot clean the pool within a couple of hours, there may be an issue with the cleaner and not the fault of the automation.

    Note: I don't have much experience with setting up these cleaners, if anyone here has, by all means, jump in and give some insight.

    I too feel the manual could use a little work.

    I don't think i had ever read the destruction manual throughout (for the reasons you gave).

    With all due respect to Patrick and Jim, There is nothing a customer hates more than to be told that they need to get one type of equipment after they have already bought another. I always try to work with what the owner already has. Even if they don't say so, they will appreciate it!
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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    I have an IntelliTouch and "used to" have the IntelliFlow VS pump (I got rid of it for other reasons). I don't see why you can't get it to work like you want. Your setup is close to mine, I was able to program the system to switch between pool pump filtering and cleaner mode (and spa mode too). When your at the pool equipment pad you should be able to open the IntelliFlow panel cover and switch to manual mode for full pressure/control.

    maybe you have a different model pump than I had. What firmware are you running on the IntelliTouch panel?
    20K gal In-ground pool with raised Spa overflowing into pool; two Jandy Sheer Descent waterfalls; Pentair IntelliTouch i7+3, IntelliChlor, IntelliPH, 3 SAM/SAL lights, Pentair FNS60Plus filter, two 1.0 HP WhiperFlow pumps, Jandy/Compool auto-valves, RayPak Heatpump, RayPak 406A LP spa heater, Polaris 360 PS Cleaner. Patio and deck lighting by Volt; Volt 600W landscaping transformer; Webber grilling station

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Jim-- Thanks for responding, and the suggestion about the robot. Actually, I do laparoscopy so your analogy make sense. The robot sounds promising, but my main concern (which you may be able to correct me on.....) is that the filtration of particulate by the robot could "never match" the filtration power of my sand filters... Maybe that's a false assumption of mine. Here in the central valley of California, the agricultural dust fallout volume is impressive.... Like being downwind from a small volcano sometimes. And so my vision about about a suction-driven sweeper was that I could run the sweep for multiple weeks (in the Summer, no leaves etc), and backflush all that silt out onto the lawn as usual. I was reading about some robot sweep features which described different levels / types of filters (e.g. course and fine) with which one could clean up the larger precipitated particles first, and then after a while change to finer filters to get the small stuff. As the level of my frustration with this problem is high and sustained, I have no problem splurging for a $1000 robot or whatever, as long as it does most of what I need.

    OK, I took a bunch of pictures but am not sure how to load / import them here. I will see how it goes.
    34,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, L-shaped with outside dimensions 40' x 20', 1978. Resurfaced and re-plumbed 2009.
    2 x 24" Sta-rite sand filters. Pentair Intelliflow pump, "T" valve, receiving from: Skimmer/main drain (2-1/2 pipe), and devoted suction sidewall port (1-1/2" pipe). Filtered water return with 4 pool inlets. Remote control on house.

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    {BTW: I am not a big user of forums, so I hope I am managing my replies correctly. It looks like replies may get listed chronologically, I can't tell if they are nested. So, apologies in advance if my replies to you all individually are hackneyed}

    PoolClown-- Thanks for your thoughts as well. Yes, I am willing to give the Pentair SandShark another go-round of fiddling with the hydraulic parameters, before I buy the next thing (robot maybe). So, my issue with following your suggestion is figuring out how to do what you say. Granted, it's been over a year since I had the courage to play with the Intellitouch panel, and I am a bit rusty but this much I do recall: The set up involved entering pool size and the # of exchanges desired over the pump run-time I entered (all of which was exasperating!!). I thought that pump RPM was then determined for you. Maybe there are other ways to do it. It sounds like you know this, but I can't use the display on the Pentair pump itself, my setup requires me to use the panel.

    As I answered to Jim, I am going to try posting pictures of my pump, plumbing, and control setup....... But for now, I can tell you that I am in search of a really really good YouTube video that explains the logic of the Pentair panel with all its dozens of labels to assign (spa, waterfall, lights, effects, there had to literally 30 or 40 options in the list. All I want to do is to be able to program it so that I can run a sweeper and filter for the proper number of hours per night, and also to walk up whenever I want and perform an efficient backflush with adequate flow to do so.
    34,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, L-shaped with outside dimensions 40' x 20', 1978. Resurfaced and re-plumbed 2009.
    2 x 24" Sta-rite sand filters. Pentair Intelliflow pump, "T" valve, receiving from: Skimmer/main drain (2-1/2 pipe), and devoted suction sidewall port (1-1/2" pipe). Filtered water return with 4 pool inlets. Remote control on house.

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    CountryBumkin-- I'm glad to hear you have a setup similar to mine. I am going to post pics of my setup (hopefully), so have a look and see if you still think so.

    So, I mentioned that I have a decent handle on the pool water science, but I clearly suck (so far) at understanding the logic of the pentair control panel. I literally spent hours and hours on trying to figure it out.... It's been a couple years now since I did all that. What I ended up is a program that filters overnight, but I could not figure out how to run an adequately powerful backflush program, nor to find a pump speed that would make the SandShark sweeper move any faster than about one inch PER MINUTE.

    OK, I am going to try and post pics.
    34,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, L-shaped with outside dimensions 40' x 20', 1978. Resurfaced and re-plumbed 2009.
    2 x 24" Sta-rite sand filters. Pentair Intelliflow pump, "T" valve, receiving from: Skimmer/main drain (2-1/2 pipe), and devoted suction sidewall port (1-1/2" pipe). Filtered water return with 4 pool inlets. Remote control on house.

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    OK, well, I tried to upload my first photo and I received a message that I didn't have permission, and I had to log in (again). I did this twice, same response. The box at the bottom left of my screen states that there are 4 things I cannot do: Start a new thread, reply to threads, edit, and send attachments. So, at this point I could sure use some help ---- An administrator perhaps?

    Also, the only way I could find this conversation was to look back in the topics history from the day I started it.... Shouldn't there by a way for me to log-in and see a list of discussions that I am participating it? After re-finding the discussion once, I was able to get to it quicker under the "My Search Links" drop-down...... Is there an easier way?
    34,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, L-shaped with outside dimensions 40' x 20', 1978. Resurfaced and re-plumbed 2009.
    2 x 24" Sta-rite sand filters. Pentair Intelliflow pump, "T" valve, receiving from: Skimmer/main drain (2-1/2 pipe), and devoted suction sidewall port (1-1/2" pipe). Filtered water return with 4 pool inlets. Remote control on house.

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Something you could try to make the process a little easier...

    I will assume that you have the variable flow pump hooked up to your system via "the cable" that came with the pump. This cable allows the automation to "talk" to the pump. If you want to play with different speeds to adjust the cleaner, a quicker way to accomplish this would be to unplug that cable. This will allow you to give commands directly to the pump, rather than going back and fourth through the menu at the panel (inside the house).

    After unplugging the pump's cable, press any of the 4 buttons at the top of the drive 1,2,3, or 4 and press the start stop button. This should start the pump at a certain speed, either a speed you had already set, or the factory speed. Now raise or lower the speed by pressing and holding the up or down arrow on the drive to a speed (or what may sound) like the speed that the pump normally runs at when you are in cleaner mode. Now start your speed adjustment like i outlined in my previous post using the up or down arrows to adjust the speed faster or slower. Once you have found a speed that works best, note that RPM that is displayed on the drive. This will be the speed that you will want to plug into the speed setting for the cleaner in the Intellitouch menu. Plug the cable back into the drive. The display should return to "not active" status. Now the pump at this time will either shut off, or return to it's programmed speed.

    About posting pictures...

    For whatever reason, TFP does not allow much in the way of "size" for posting pictures. Most pictures will exceed the forums limits for size. It is better to upload pictures to a picture/video storage site like Photobucket.com and link them to your posts.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak (Rheem, Rudd), Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Pool Clown- Thanks, I like your description of temporarily separating the control panel from the pump to determine workable flow settings. I will get to that when I can.....

    For now, I believe I have made a slideshow that can be linked here, showing my pool pump & filter setup. I did not learn how to add my own narration track to explain what is showing.....I will work on that later. For now, I am sure that all you pool geniouses know what's in the pictures..

    The link is: Pool pump and filter equipment - YouTube

    Hopefully this will give an adequate visual of my setup.

    Thanks everyone! It's getting warm here in Central California, pool opening isn't that far off.....
    34,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, L-shaped with outside dimensions 40' x 20', 1978. Resurfaced and re-plumbed 2009.
    2 x 24" Sta-rite sand filters. Pentair Intelliflow pump, "T" valve, receiving from: Skimmer/main drain (2-1/2 pipe), and devoted suction sidewall port (1-1/2" pipe). Filtered water return with 4 pool inlets. Remote control on house.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: New member: Pentair Intellitouch programming, sweeper woes

    Doc,

    It looks to me like you have the EasyTouch Automation system. Do you have a Spa? I ask because it is in the Spa mode of operation.

    I think your original idea that the Skimmer be selected to run for a number of hours and then the Intake valve turns to shut off the skimmer and turn on the vacuum, should work...

    I don't believe it will work well with the suction valve set to the middle where it is... This opens both ports... Water being sucked into the pump will follow the path of least resistance. So, since your Sand Shark has a lot more resistance than an open skimmer, almost all the flow will be through the skimmer.

    As a test, I suggest you turn the valve 90% vacuum and 10% skimmer.. Then slowly ramp up the pump speed and see if you can find a speed where the Sand-Shark works. If the pump has a hard time pulling enough water thru the shark, you can move the valve a little to allow more water in from the skimmer.

    If you can get that to work, we should be able to get the rest working for you.

    And BTW... that has to be the weirdest filter set up I have ever seen...

    Thanks and let us know how the test works..

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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