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Thread: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

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    Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    Hey everyone! Was looking to see if anyone might have a good answer for me on this one. Bought my house 9 years ago, ~20,000 gallon pool and solar (two-story house) were already installed. Since then, some summers the pool will heat up great, while others, it might not get warm at all. Last year, upgraded to a Intelliflo Variable Speed pump. Can't for the life of me figure out why pool isn't heating up when for all intents and purposes, it "should."

    At the moment, I have a Compool LX220 solar controller. Would upgrading to a Pentair Solartouch change much in my situation in terms of heating the pool better? Or might it be something else I'm doing wrong in terms of when/how I run the pump? During winter time I was running it low RPM for longer, now that it's starting to get into the 80s in temp, I'm running pump at 3000 RPM from 11am-6pm.

    If there's any other information needed, would be glad to provide what I know! Thanks everyone!

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    M,

    It appears to me that the SolarTouch can "talk" with your IntelliFlo so that when the solar comes on it can command the pump to the speed you set up for running solar.

    Are you running at 3K because that is what it takes to run the solar? The faster the pump runs the less cost effective it is to have a VS pump.

    Thanks,

    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: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    Yeah, currently I'm running it at 3000 RPM (used to run it low RPM during winter times), but am jumping around between speeds to test what speed I actually need for the solar. What's the best way to see if the pump is generating enough pressure for the solar to be working? Just reach my hand down to the returns in the pool and see if water is being pushed out? Right now as I look down over the pool, I can see the water being push out of the returns pretty forcefully, like a hot tub where I can see the jet-like water under the surface with it foaming when it reaches the top. I just don't want to run it too low to where it might damage the pump when I'm trying to run my solar.

    Also, about how long should I be running it for now that it's nearing summer time and I'm going to be running it at a higher RPM where winter it was longer time, lower speed.

    And another question: I have a waterfall feature.. will I have to do some testing to see if I need higher RPM to run both that AND solar? or whatever I run the solar on would be enough?

    Sorry for the dumb questions, this is the first year I'm truly trying to deep dive into my pump and pool stuff since I just spent the money on a VS pump so I'd like to make sure I'm using it efficiently. Thanks!

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    M,

    So upfront let me say I do not have a solar system so any advice I give you is suspect..

    Let's see if we can get one of our members that does have solar to chime in...

    I would think that 3K is pretty fast.. I'd drop it to 2K and see what the returning water to the pool looks like.

    Thanks,

    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    I have a Solartouch and an intelliflo. My pump runs at 1100 rpm on solar standby and the Solartouch ramps the speed to 1950 rpm and opens the solar valve when solar heat is available.

    Here is what I do, which is an excerpt from my pool thread here and also discusses waterfalls and other things, pooldv pool build - Page 16

    For solar I started at 1800 rpm on a hot day. First is to make sure the flow can close the VRV, vacuum release valve, which it did. Then feel the solar panels to see if they are hot. And feel the water from the returns to see if it is hot. I went up 50 rpm until the panels felt fairly cool to the touch and the water in the returns didn't feel too hot. I ended up at 1950 rpm and it uses 550 watts.

    A few more notes on solar.
    Since I started running the pump at 1500 rpm when the heat pump is on then when solar turns on the Solartouch ramps the pump to 1950 rpm and when it turns off it reverts back to whatever speed it was on, either 1100 rpm or 1500 rpm. I noticed that when solar shuts off and reverts to 1500 rpm the pinhole in the solar valve cannot open to drain the panels, they do drain at 1100 rpm. Leaving the water in the panels to get HOT. My heat pump is plumbed after the solar panels so now I can see the temp of the water exiting the solar panels. Typically, when solar is on the exiting water temp is 1 to 2 degrees warmer. But, there are a few times when spots of shade from the tree hit the solar temp sensor and shut off solar throughout the day and if the pump is on 1500 rpm then the panels don't drain. I was observing this recently when solar turned back on and the exiting water temp was 102 for a few minutes. This was after solar was off for less than 30 minutes so it could get a lot worse if it was off for longer. I need to check my heat pump entering and leaving water temps to see if it can run at a lower rpm that will allow the solar panels to drain when solar shuts off.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    So unfortunately, my panels are up on my 2nd story roof (not sure how I feel about climbing up a ladder to get up there ) and it's on the narrow side of my house where I can't even see my panels UNLESS i use a ladder. So can't see my VRV. So even putting my hand down to feel the returns, I swear the water is just not as warm as it should be, you can barely tell that it's slightly warm... could that just be a condition of not having good panels also and regardless of my RPM/setup, that could be the fault? Currently dropped the RPM down to 2500 and here's what it looks like coming out of the return VID_20170504_112655.mp4 - YouTube Also included some photos if that might help at all.

    Attachment 60348Attachment 60349Attachment 60350

    Again, thanks for any assistance and apologies for stupid questions

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    No worries. Is that the solar valve on the left. I can see it very well. Are you sure the valve is opening when heat is available and closing when it is not? That's one handy this guy about the Solartouch is it tells you what all the temps are. What is the pool temp? What have the hi and lo air temps been running? Is the filter dirty?

    It looks like at 2500 rpm the VRV isn't getting closed and is sucking in some air. Go up 50 rpm until it stops blowing air and then go another 50.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    Yup that's the solar valve on the left. It does open and close when I turn switch from Off to On or Auto, so I know it's working. And yeah I don't have a pool thermometer or anything yet so I should grab random one off Amazon. It's been high 80s this week, low 60s. Unfortunately, next week it will drop to mid-high 70s. It would be nice to know what all the temps are like the SolarTouch does.

    I spent a good hour spraying down the filters yesterday (the pains of having a redwood ash in my yard and an oak tree in the neighbor's yard) so I got it pretty clean. I did a bunch of RPM testing to where no more air bubbles come out of the returns... and ended up at 2900 RPM which still seems so high. Putting my hand down on the return, I do feel the water is warm, but it still just doesn't seem warm enough. Ugh, frustrating and don't know what to do next.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    You really don't want the water coming from the returns to be all that warm.

    The rpm is on the high side. You can lower the VRV so that it needs less pressure to close. For example, if it is on the upper header you can move it to the lower header. But, that means ladder time.

    It takes some time to heat up the water, gunite and ground around it for the first time in spring. My solar was on for several weeks with only a pick of 1-2 degrees per day before we got everything warmed up. But, once all that mass is warm then it works in your favor. Now, the water stays 82-84 and up even when overnight temps drop to 50. It was 50 last night and the water was 85 this morning, it was 88 yesterday afternoon. This is with a solar cover too.

    A thermometer will help to track progress and we can see how it goes. There isn't really anything goes that can "go wrong" with solar as long as the valve opens and it doesn't leak then it will heat the water.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Solar Controller: Compool LX220 - worth uprade to Pentair Solartouch?

    Hmmm all right.. i'll leave it how it is for now... although it sucks it's still at such a high RPM Give it a couple of weeks when it's steady hot weather and see how it goes. Appreciate all the help!!

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