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Thread: Is there no tech support?

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Is there no tech support?

    I am very interested in an SWG for my pool and understand the pros and cons.

    What puzzles me is what seems to be the constant requests on the forum for help with their operation. It seems like 95% of these questions should be handled quickly and easily by the SWG's tech support.

    If so, then most of the manufacturer's must have very ineffective tech support or they are unresponsive. Is that the case?

    If you own an SWG, I'd be interesed in your take. I have no agenda.......but it is puzzling to me that a) there appears to be so many "digital" issues and/or b) the manufactureres do not provide adequate support.

    Am I completely misinterpreting the issue or am I being overly aware of the amount of these posts?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    I am very interested in an SWG for my pool and understand the pros and cons.

    What puzzles me is what seems to be the constant requests on the forum for help with their operation. It seems like 95% of these questions should be handled quickly and easily by the SWG's tech support.
    Great post.

    All of the post's on the board is the main reason I haven't even considered getting one. Second reason is cost.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    From my experience with Goldline, they have basically been able to tell me what the problem is not, but not what the problem was.
    South Florida. 20,000 gallons; 16x35 rectangular gunite; Pentair Intelliflo VF Variable Speed Pump; Hayward cartridge; Aqua Rite SWG. Dolphin Oasis Z5 Robotic Pool Cleaner; Kopec 540sc Electric Heat pump pool heater; Pool built in Spring 2004.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Quote Originally Posted by geekgranny
    All of the post's on the board is the main reason I haven't even considered getting one. Second reason is cost.
    Only the second reason is viable. You're not likely to see many posts from happy owners expounding wonderful, yet melodramatic stories about the day to day successful operation of their salt water chlorine generator. ("Day 1 - Nothing happened. Day 2 - Nothing happened. Day 3 - Still working.") It'd be a bit like a 10 o'clock news report that detailed all of the houses that didn't burn down last night.

    Support issues are a whole other aspect, however... Since the good folks in Orem, Utah (WordPerfect) folded their tents, I can't think of another company in an industry I've dealt with that has provided a high level of phone support for their product.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    I've only needed to contact Goldline a couple of times, usually by e-mail, and they have responded within a few days. I think most people prefer the forum not because the manufacture support is necessarily poor, but because they probably get a much quicker response without having to wait on the phone or for an email response.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Dave,

    I think alot of people search for solutions before having/wanting to deal with factory support. Thus the appeal of forums, such as this one.

    Personally, whenever I have to call a company for troubleshooting, I want to speak with someone knowledgable, so that when I end up speaking with an overseas call center that reads off a script, or even a stateside person reading off a scripted "menu", I get frustrated to no end!

    It never fails that as soon as I leave for a few days business trip, my wife calls with "Honey, something ain't working". The latest was on my washing machine. She gets a service center out and was told, you need a motor! I finally get home, do some diagnosing with the limited knowledge I have, to find out it's a $20 Lid Switch! Thanks alot for nothing Mr Service tech...

    How did I find out to check the lid switch? GOOGLE Saved me $100 +

    I can tell you from the "other" side of the phone calls, people are always looking to get a free service call, in spite of improper water chemistry levels, incorrectly positioned valves, dirty filters, etc...
    We have provided that occasional "opportunity to teach a homeowner" and comp the service call, but when they are arrogantly tell me that they know their water chemistry is "good", and I find 8.0++ pH, high combined chlorine, low salt, etc... it's hard to just pay out of pocket for comp'ed service calls. Remember, I have still to pay the service center to go do a diagnostic call for me.

    Are most simple to diagnose? Yes.
    A salt system comes down to:
    Power Supply - it's either working or not. Most systems provide warning lights or diagnostic messages
    Cell - it's either working or not. Quick check is to visually inspect the cell, and test the chlorine output directly from the cell.
    Flow - UL1081 requirement says there has to be a flow protection device or the cell is to be turned off until flow is corrected.
    Salt Level - goes without saying that not enough salt will shut down most systems in protect mode.
    Water Chemistry - Here's the difficulty with diagnosing systems over the phone. I can only go by what the pool owner reports to me. From there, I can only verify if the salt system is working to factory specifications. Once I can validate the correct operation of my system, something resulting in "I can't get a chlorine reading, but there are no warning lights on the unit", 99.9% of the time it comes down to a water chemistry related issue that is beyond the SCG's responsibility.
    I will admit that very few CS reps will go above and beyond to help resolve a water chemistry issue, as there is little field experience with that.

    Your next best bet is to get ahold of the regional manufacturer's rep to help resolve the issue or the dealer that you bought the system from or had install it, afterall, it is still their reputation, and they should want to help; your local pool professional (that you're comfortable with), or pool forums.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    We had a problem with our PoolPilot sensor this summer. The unit was still under warranty, so I called customer support. The gentleman I spoke to was knowledgeable and helpful and they arranged to have someone from our pool company who installed our pool (and SWG) come out and swap out the sensor. From first contact to completion, maybe 4-5 days.

    Sean...we prefer Amex gift cards to cash...if you don't mind
    Seriously, however, painless and pleasant experience.
    Andrew
    25,000 gal IG Vinyl - PoolPilot SC48 SWG - Sta-Rite 1HP/System3 CF - AquaCal HeatPump - TF-100

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Any issue I had with my Autopilot I asked on the PF site and then this one when it started. Due to the fact that Poolsean was always around and answered my questions. This year I did contact Autopilot and inquired about a specific part on the display board. The gentlemen I talked to varified what I had came up with, asked me to call back with the results. It was a minor problem that I wanted to fix. The unit is well out of warranty, still very satisfied with my unit.
    IG 18x36 oval vinyl, Spill over spa, Northstar 2hp-2spd, 2.5" piping, S310T 500lb Sand filter, 400k gas heater, AutoPilot SWCG
    http://www.tftestkits.net/

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Quote Originally Posted by polyvue
    Quote Originally Posted by geekgranny
    All of the post's on the board is the main reason I haven't even considered getting one. Second reason is cost.
    Only the second reason is viable. You're not likely to see many posts from happy owners expounding wonderful, yet melodramatic stories about the day to day successful operation of their salt water chlorine generator. ("Day 1 - Nothing happened. Day 2 - Nothing happened. Day 3 - Still working.") It'd be a bit like a 10 o'clock news report that detailed all of the houses that didn't burn down last night.

    Support issues are a whole other aspect, however... Since the good folks in Orem, Utah (WordPerfect) folded their tents, I can't think of another company in an industry I've dealt with that has provided a high level of phone support for their product.
    Thanks. I agree now that you have mentioned it. Oldtimers again.

    My neighbors, who put their pool in 3-4 years ago, and have very little idea about the working aspects of their pool, all automated, have never had any problems with theirs. If they had I would have heard about it.

    So my only reason, now, is expense.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Dave there is adequate support in most cases, but a lot of people don't use it

    i myself prefer to search for solutions myself and only if i hit a brick wall - call the support
    chances are that by the time i finish with my research i'll be more knowledgeable on the subject than the guy on the other side of the phone

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    I am very interested in an SWG for my pool and understand the pros and cons.

    What puzzles me is what seems to be the constant requests on the forum for help with their operation. It seems like 95% of these questions should be handled quickly and easily by the SWG's tech support.
    I don't think that it is any different for CG then for any other piece of electronics, if your VCR didn't flash 12:00 all of the time, the you probably won't have any troubles using the supplied instructions to resolve any problems. Like Poolsean and Strannik, I'm sure that you can figure out a fix!

    If so, then most of the manufacturer's must have very ineffective tech support or they are unresponsive. Is that the case?
    I think that a lot of pool owners contact their locals, and the come here when they aren't happy with the result. By the time that a problem has been noted, and a request for help sent out, a sense of desperation develops along with the spreading green out of the pocket and into the pool. The wait for a tech rep is what lots of people try to avoid.

    If you own an SWG, I'd be interesed in your take. I have no agenda.......but it is puzzling to me that a) there appears to be so many "digital" issues and/or b) the manufactureres do not provide adequate support.

    Am I completely misinterpreting the issue or am I being overly aware of the amount of these posts?
    As the proud owner of, and off-label user of an INTEX unit, I'm not sure what you mean by "digital" issues, but I do think that a lot of the AutoPilot questions are here because of Poolsean - people see that they can get answers, so they ask questions. I haven't seen any other manufacturer respond to a CG question besides Strannik, and most of his customers are not in the U.S.(or they don't have any questions?) So an answer to the question -
    "Which CG has the best tech support?"
    The clear answer on this forum would have to be - AutoPilot.
    Better questions might be "Which CG requires the least amount of tech support?", or "Which is the absolute best CG?"
    "Windows 7 or Snow Leopard?". Linux anyone? Oops, wrong forum! Same answers.

    Doing just a little research can answer most questions, and doing it before you purchase can help you avoid a lot more down the line, and maybe even save you some green up front! If you look at all of the models, and their features, you can decide which ones you can live with-out(Super-Chlorinate?), and which you can't(XX grams/hour chlorine production.) Thankfully, most Owners Manuals (and Installation Manuals, too) are available online, so that you can get a good idea before you buy, what are you going to get.

    OK, for my dime, here are some features that I don't think add value -
    - Super-Chlorinate, Shock, what-ever, just pissin' in the wind.
    - Salt Read-out, if you take away all of the questions about "Low/High Salt, doesn't match test" then there wouldn't be many left, and tooo many people just start adding more salt with out ever having it checked, FIRST. They should just say "CHECK SALT LEVEL" and leave it at that.
    Features that do add value -
    - Clear Instructions, with good pictures, diagrams
    - Clear cell so that you can see if it is working(Cool!), or needs to be cleaned(Bummer!)
    - Tool-less cell assembly, inclusion of any "special" parts (like a spool-piece, or acid-cleaning stand/plug((that really irritates me 'cause they tell you to clean it and then want $50 bucks for a $5 PLUG! ))
    - Ability to remove cell plates from cell enclosure to clean ( ever try to look down to the middle of one? How about one where the ends are off-set from the center, really, what is the point in that Hayward?)
    - A good timer/clock, if you need one.
    Note, these are for MY basic CG features, any kind of automation/control system would obviously have more complex issues, as would different water feature requirements.
    I guess I should close with -
    Always consult a professional before doing anything yourself, and try not to make your last words "Watch This!"

    Stepping off soap box now.
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    I'm not sure what you mean by "digital" issues,
    My SWG is flashing "xxxxxx" all the time....digital

    My SWG is spewing water and making a clunking noise.......non-digital

    (technically not correct, "electronic" would've probably been better, but it sounded like a good catch-all phrase at the time )
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    My SWG is flashing "xxxxxx" all the time....
    Dave, in this case the diagnosis is easy and the treatment, straightforward:

    1. Presbyopia

    2. Reading glasses
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    New2Me, judging by the features you have listed as no value/value you'd be the typical Autochlor owner

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Dave, I've been following this thread and IF I had a pool and could afford it, I wouldn't hesitate to get a SWCG! (but then again, if I had a pool, I'd have built it myself -- but you did )

    The problems you MAY encounter with one are electrical/ computer or chemical imbalance or defect - you know enough to handle the first 2 and warranty will cover the other

    There are enough 'pool dudes' here to help you with almost any trouble you encounter

    I don't fully agree with N2M's list of requirements, but to each his own

    I think you'd find a SWCG a reasonable investment (I also know where you can get a great test kit to go with it :P )
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    New2Me, judging by the features you have listed as no value/value you'd be the typical Autochlor owner
    Those typical Autochlor owners must have been noticed by others, too, if "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." After looking at a lot of the available models in the worldwide market, Autochlor should be very flattered! Maybe you could make Dave an Autochlor North American Field Tester, so he could share his experiences and garner more Happy customers?

    I don't fully agree with N2M's list of requirements, but to each his own
    Oops, I should have put a TF-100 at the top of the required good things!!!
    Really, the things are pretty simple, as Poolsean pointed out. The trouble shooting is very straight forward (if you ever need to do any,) and, you can count on TFP posters for support!!!

    My SWG is flashing "xxxxxx" all the time....digital

    My SWG is spewing water and making a clunking noise.......non-digital
    I can't recall EVER seeing a "non-digital" issue, other then an initial installation error.
    The display issues are "nature of the beast" problems, and reflect the different approaches that the makers take to protect us from ourselves.
    Eliminate some of the convenience "electronic" controls (and safety,) using electro-mechanical devices only, all there is are a corded plug-in transformer and some cell plates.
    When you don't want the plates exposed in the pool, you make a container(cell) and plumb it in.
    When you get tired of plugging/un-plugging the x-former you put in a switch or timer.
    When the x-former blows you put in some fuses.
    When the cell cakes up you reverse the polarity manually, and when you tire of that, in comes another switch or timer.
    And on it goes...You can see this progression in what is available in the market-place now, from the inexpensive CHLOREASE to the high dollar-models that offer control of ORP, ph and anything else you can think of. (Which reminds me, I left off Self-cleaning polarity reversal on my list, too.) Once you have an idea of what you need, what that is worth to you to get it and who offers it, you can always make test calls to the tech support to see whose response you like better. But I'd be willing to bet that those test calls would be the only ones you'll make for quite a while!
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Me
    New2Me, judging by the features you have listed as no value/value you'd be the typical Autochlor owner
    Those typical Autochlor owners must have been noticed by others, too, if "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." After looking at a lot of the available models in the worldwide market, Autochlor should be very flattered! Maybe you could make Dave an Autochlor North American Field Tester, so he could share his experiences and garner more Happy customers?
    thought about that

    i'm waiting for Autochlor to release a certain model, which will be very welcomed on US market as you wouldn't need to put any salt in your pool with it

    once it's out i might donate it for a prize in one of competitions on here

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    I think it depends on who is on the other side of the phone. I have had good and bad experiences with poolpilot but mainly they've been good. I have a bad cell cable and the were able to diagnose and send me a new one under warranty. I've also had a bad board but this one seem more difficult to diagnose and required several calls and finally an onsite tech. at my expense which basically put a new board and told me that was the problem plus he said the rear main board was going to go at a cost of $800. I believe he was wrong on the second but I went ahead and ran the numbers and just bought a new system and sold the autopilot on ebay as spare parts.

    With goldline my buddy called because his pool was turning green on initial start and they were able to diagnose that the installer did not set the cell type on initial setup. Something that they have a huge sticker warning you about.
    Aqua-rite Aqr-x296 T3 15k
    Autopilot Dig-220/Sc-36(replaced)
    Inground pool 8.5k gallons
    Diamond Brite,built 2003
    DE filter

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    I switched mine over this summer and the biggest mistake I made was waiting 7 years to do it. I used to pour the money into my pool fighting algae and listening to pool stores. I have had zero problems since and I have not bought a single chemical besides no name bleach since I switched over. I use forums and google to help troubleshoot all my problems no matter what (last week was our furnace). Unfortunately I find most service people are over priced brain dead idiots. Usually you get hosed for sub par work and I end up fixing something later anyways. My point is a lot of people will try and fix their equipment themselves so you tend to only see problems and not success stories.

    One other note is through this site I also managed to learn how to take care of my water properly so I am sure that is also a large contributing factor to my success.
    19000 gallon inground fiberglass pool
    Hayward Pro Series Sand filter S244T 62 gal/min
    Whisper Flow WFE-2 / 011511 1/2 hspr pump
    Aqua Rite AQR Pro SWG, T15 cell for 25000 gal

  20. Back To Top    #20
    New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: Is there no tech support?

    Those that can, do. Those with no clue, complain.
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

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