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Thread: Sta-Rite IntelliPro Pump... Please advise.

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    Sta-Rite IntelliPro Pump... Please advise.

    Hi all... I'm in the middle of our first pool build here in Southern AZ (details in the sig) and I specified in our contract the Pentair Intelliflow 4x160 pump. Well the PB delivered and installed a Sta-Rite IntelliPRO pump instead. In their defence they are VERY similar. Pentair bought Sta-Rite recently I'm told and they started putting out a Intelliflow pump under the Sta-Rite name... it's essentially a Pentair Intelliflow motor and electronics on a Sta-Rite wet-end. I told the construction manager however that I'm insisting on the IntelliFLOW pump that I detailed in the contract. Apparently last night he told my wife that they talked with the Sta-Rite techs and they claim that the Sta-Rite pump will work better with my setup and the Pentair won't work as good (he didn't give specifics)

    I haven't spoken with him yet but I think he's feeding us a line of bull since he doesn't want to swap pumps and they sell entirely Sta-Rite products and probably get bigger discounts on them and have a smaller profit margin on a Pentair Intelliflow pump. What do you all think??? I'd really appreciate some advice here. I posted a question about the Sta-Rite pump over on the Gardenweb forums and was told they are noisier than the Pentair's and have some sealing issues (don't know details).

    Any thoughts???

    Thanks!
    My Pool:
    12K gal IG gunite with 7' raised spa, gunite waterfall, PebbleTec Caribbean Blue finish, solar heating & in-floor cleaning system

    Equipment: Sta-Rite 300' Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC20 SWCG, Sta-Rite 400k BTU heater, Intelliflow 4x160 main pump & Sta-Rite 3/4 hp waterfall pump, EasyTouch controlls w/ wireless controller, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The Sta-Rite IntelliPro is quite new, I haven't heard anything about it either way. On paper the specs are very nearly identical to the IntelliFlo.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    I have an Ikeric VS, very similar to the Intelliflow 4x160. As far as I know, the guy at Ikeric came up with the idea and design and worked with Sta-Rite to commercialize it. I am pretty certain that the Pentair version is an OEM of the Sta-Rite, or close to it.

    Both Pentair and Sta-Rite are high end. As long as you get the same pump specs and warranty!!!, I think you should be OK.
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

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    I have the Intelliflo 4x160. I believe the Sta-rite version is identical, except for the wet end. I can't comment as to whether Sta-rite is better or worse than Pentair.

    The motors' variable speed controller looks identical, although the question is whether the Intellipro will communicate with Pentair automation systems and vice versa. This is one of the major benefits of variable speed -- being able to select multiple speeds using your automation system. The Pentair versions communicate with their automation systems via RS-485 serial communications (which is sorta like a much older version of USB). To use the Pentair pumps with third party controllers usually requires an interface box and a bunch of outputs from the controller.

    By the way, the motor speed controller is manufactured by a company called Danfoss. Headquartered in Denmark, Danfoss is a top-tier designer and manufacturer of Variable Speed Drives for industrial applications. They're not well-known outside of Europe, but they make very good stuff. I was quite surprised to see that they captured this contract with Pentair because they generally are priced too high for high-volume applications.

    The speed controller is the primary difference between the Pentair/Sta-rite pumps and the Ikeric pump. As far as I can tell, the Ikeric pump uses a standard AC induction motor and a general purpose variable frequency drive. Alternatively, it might use a DC motor and a DC speed controller, which is a cheaper and cruder solution than the AC version. Either way, there is no comparison with the Pentair versions which use a permanent magnet synchronous motor with a specially designed frequency controller. Unless you're the type that prefers older cars because they're simpler to work on, the Pentair twins are the superior choice.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    EskimoPie,

    Perhaps the most importand criterion to consider is what automation system (if any) you are using. You want to make sure that the pump you have will talk directly to the system. If you have a Sta-Rite controller, my guess is that the Pentair Intelliflo will not talk to the Sta-Rite.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Not so sure about your take on the Ikeric. I'm not a electrical engineer, but I do know that the motor/controller is not DC. It is a 3 phase pump motor and the controller box varies the speed by line frequency. Not sure about the reason for the smackdown! At the time I bought it, the Ikeric was about 2/3 the cost of the 4x160 and had the exact same function - don't think that there is any real comparison to old/new cars, more a comparison to buying what works at the right price. If you didn't know it wasn't DC, not sure how you can tell so much more about it compared to the Sta-rite/Pentair pumps - and I do know that the Ikeric guys worked very closely with Sta-Rite in building this pump.

    If you would like, I can give you some more info about the controller. In any case, these variable speed motors seem to be a good alternative to single and 2 speed motors.
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

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    I didn't mean to belittle the Ikeric pump. I'm sure it does the job well. The Intelliflo series, however, is based on newer and better technology.

    The permanent magnet synchronous motor in the Intelliflo is a superior solution to standard AC motors. In industrial applications, these are typically referred to as brushless DC (BLDC) motors. They are almost universally used in high performance servo applications. AC motors, on the other hand, are used for lower-cost general purpose speed control applications.

    In a pump application, the main benefit of a BLDC motor is that it does not need any magnetizing current like AC motors do. An AC motor running at low speed and no load will still pull a couple of amps just to magnetize the rotor. In comparison, a PMDC motor will draw almost no current at all. From an energy standpoint, this is obviously superior. A side benefit is that there is less heat generated in the motor.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Peter,

    I am not sure where you got your information but I don't think it is correct. Most if not all variable speed pool pumps, including the Intelliflo, use 3 phase AC synchronous induction motors combined with a variable speed drive. Technically a version of a BLDC but there is no permanent magnet in these motors only an induction coil on the rotor and another coil for the stator. Also, variable speed drives are about 95% efficient these days.

    Here is a very good tutorial written by a PHD from pentair water.

    http://www.pumped101.com/vf101.pdf
    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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    Mas985,

    Granted, some of my info may be somewhat dated as I've been out of the motor industry for about 10 years now.

    However, most 3-phase induction motors are not synchronous. A synchronous induction motor requires a winding for the rotor which adds cost and complexity. Link I would be quite surprised if any pool pump motors are truly AC synchronous induction.

    The key disadvantage of the standard induction motor is the motor magnetizing current, which is relatively constant regardless of speed. While magnetizing current does not consume energy per se, it does lead to low power factors in lightly loaded motors, which is exactly the scenario we are concerned with. PM motors also generally have almost unity power factor.

    A typical induction motor has a certain amount of slip, which is why pool pumps generally run at 3450 rpm instead of 3600 (the 'synchronous speed'). A PM motor, which is what the Intelliflo claims to use, does not have any inherent slip and does not need any special windings. Motor slip is probably not a significant concern for pool pumps because rotational speeds don't have to be exact, but it is a major concern for industrial applications. Even with slip-compensation, an AC motor running off a standard VFD can only be expected to achieve approximtely 0.5% FS speed regulation. A BLDC motor can be several orders of magnitude better than that (albeit with feedback, but the feedback is primarily used for position control).

    VFD's certainly have come a long way. The advent of cheap digital electronics and integrated IGBT six-packs has turned VFD's into a commodity item. Low-cost VFD's however are still volts/hertz type devices. This means that they have relatively little intelligence built into them. Open up the control box of the Ikeric motor, and it wouldn't surprise me if it used a low-cost analog drive (compared to slightly-higher cost digital PWM drives). Take note, however, that the Danfoss electronics built into the Pentair motors are next-generation devices.
    Danfoss FC 300 drive
    Take a look at this link. Does the control panel look familiar? Keep in mind that in modern VFD's, practically all the intelligence is built into the control panel. The rest of the box contains power devices, transformers, etc.

    In summary, I think the Ikeric does a good job of achieving energy savings. However, it's design (on the surface) appears significantly less advanced than Pentair's implementation. As a result, Pentair has set the bar extremely high for its competition.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterl1365
    However, most 3-phase induction motors are not synchronous. A synchronous induction motor requires a winding for the rotor which adds cost and complexity. Link I would be quite surprised if any pool pump motors are truly AC synchronous induction.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that induction motors were truly synchronous. I do understand that slip is involved. However, even in induction motors with slip there is a direct relationship between line frequency and RPM. Perhaps quasi-synchronous would have been a better term.

    A typical induction motor has a certain amount of slip, which is why pool pumps generally run at 3450 rpm instead of 3600 (the 'synchronous speed'). A PM motor, which is what the Intelliflo claims to use, does not have any inherent slip and does not need any special windings. Motor slip is probably not a significant concern for pool pumps because rotational speeds don't have to be exact, but it is a major concern for industrial applications. Even with slip-compensation, an AC motor running off a standard VFD can only be expected to achieve approximtely 0.5% FS speed regulation. A BLDC motor can be several orders of magnitude better than that (albeit with feedback, but the feedback is primarily used for position control).
    They claim to use a PM motor and even the parts list says PMSM but the top speed is listed as 3450 RPM which would indicate an induction motor so this created some confusion in my mind as to what they are actually using. I guess they could have chosen any top speed since it is fairly arbitrary and they wanted to be consistent with existing pool pumps.

    VFD's certainly have come a long way. The advent of cheap digital electronics and integrated IGBT six-packs has turned VFD's into a commodity item. Low-cost VFD's however are still volts/hertz type devices. This means that they have relatively little intelligence built into them. Open up the control box of the Ikeric motor, and it wouldn't surprise me if it used a low-cost analog drive (compared to slightly-higher cost digital PWM drives). Take note, however, that the Danfoss electronics built into the Pentair motors are next-generation devices.
    Danfoss FC 300 drive
    Take a look at this link. Does the control panel look familiar? Keep in mind that in modern VFD's, practically all the intelligence is built into the control panel. The rest of the box contains power devices, transformers, etc.

    In summary, I think the Ikeric does a good job of achieving energy savings. However, it's design (on the surface) appears significantly less advanced than Pentair's implementation. As a result, Pentair has set the bar extremely high for its competition.
    There is certainly less information on Ikeric pump so it is not clear to me what technology they use or even how well it performs but you are probably correct in that is not as well designed as the Intelliflo.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by peterl1365
    EskimoPie,

    Perhaps the most importand criterion to consider is what automation system (if any) you are using. You want to make sure that the pump you have will talk directly to the system. If you have a Sta-Rite controller, my guess is that the Pentair Intelliflo will not talk to the Sta-Rite.

    I called up Pentair tech support and they said the IntelliPRO pump will communicate just fine with the EasyTouch system over the serial connection. Looks like I'm sticking with the pump.
    My Pool:
    12K gal IG gunite with 7' raised spa, gunite waterfall, PebbleTec Caribbean Blue finish, solar heating & in-floor cleaning system

    Equipment: Sta-Rite 300' Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC20 SWCG, Sta-Rite 400k BTU heater, Intelliflow 4x160 main pump & Sta-Rite 3/4 hp waterfall pump, EasyTouch controlls w/ wireless controller, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

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    peterl1365,

    Re: On the Pentair IntelliFlo, "the motor speed controller is manufactured by a company called Danfoss. Headquartered in Denmark, Danfoss is a top-tier designer and manufacturer of Variable Speed Drives for industrial applications."

    Thanks for all of the good detective work on the IntelliFlo components. I am a bit ashamed that I had never heard of "permanent magnet synchronous motors" or brushless AC (brushless DC?) motors, and I am an electrical engineer. In the heavy industrial world (chemical plants, oil refineries, etc), plain old vanilla 480 Volt, three phase, 1800 rpm induction motors are used more than 95% of the time.

    So the motor used by Pentair, according to them and this thread, is a permanent magnet synchronous motor, or PMSM. Evidently another name used for this type of motor is PM brushless AC and/or PM brushless DC. Do you know whether the Pentair IntelliFlo is using the AC or DC flavor of this motor?

    And do you know who is manufacturing this motor for Pentair?

    I did a quick search last night on the Internet, but could not find any manufactuers of PMSM in a NEMA 56 frame (most pool motors are NEMA 56C or 56J frames or NEMA 48 frames). In fact, I really couldn't find any manufacturers of PMSM at all, although it appears that some hybrid or electric cars are using PMSM motors (redundant phrase, I know) to drive the wheels. PMSM motors appear to have been traditionally used in servo motor applications in the past, but evidently they are beginning to become more widely applied.

    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)

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    I did a little more digging into who is possibly manufacturing the PMSM (permanent magnet synchronouse motor) motor for the Pentair IntelliFlo and Pentair IntelliFlo 4x160. I am beginning to realize that PMSM motors also seem to be known as "brushless DC" or "electronically commutated motor" (ECM).

    I guess Pentair is a lot bigger company than I had realized. 2006 revenues of $3.6 billion and 15,000 employees world-wide.

    McLean Thermal is a Pentair owned company http://12.158.208.20/motors/index.jsp

    We offer "platform" brushless DC motors frame sizes of 10(1.0"OD), 13(1.3"OD), 15(1.5"OD), 17(1.7"OD), 23(2.3"OD), 34(3.4"OD), 40(4.0"OD), 56(5.6"OD), and 70(7.0"OD). Platform products are those where the basic engineering and tooling is already done but where extensive modifications can still be done to suit the OEM customer's application.
    Aspen Motion Technologies is also a Pentair-owned company http://www.aspenmotiontech.com/

    Aspen Motion Technolgies, a Pentair Company (NYSE: PNR), designs and manufactures high performance permanent magnet brushless DC motors and DSP intensive controls for such motors.
    It appears that Pentair has the ability and motivation to manufacture the Pentair IntelliFlo motors in-house if they so chose.

    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)

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Code:
    So the motor used by Pentair, according to them and this thread, is a permanent magnet synchronous motor, or PMSM. Evidently another name used for this type of motor is PM brushless AC and/or PM brushless DC. Do you know whether the Pentair IntelliFlo is using the AC or DC flavor of this motor?
    Actually, brushless AC and DC are pretty much interchangeable. The term came about because PM servomotors were traditionally DC, so the first brushless servo motors were dubbed BLDC even though the current wave form was AC. I don't know who makes the motor.

    Code:
    I did a quick search last night on the Internet, but could not find any manufactuers of PMSM in a NEMA 56 frame (most pool motors are NEMA 56C or 56J frames or NEMA 48 frames). In fact, I really couldn't find any manufacturers of PMSM at all, although it appears that some hybrid or electric cars are using PMSM motors (redundant phrase, I know) to drive the wheels. PMSM motors appear to have been traditionally used in servo motor applications in the past, but evidently they are beginning to become more widely applied.
    The term PMSM is actually not commonly used. Although it is technically correct, it is not an industry-standard term like BLDC. BL servo motors are generally not made in NEMA sizes larger than size 42. Although many motor companies will make custom versions to be NEMA 56 compatible, the standard versions are oftentimes proprietary (or follow a european mounting norm, of which I'm not that familiar).

    Re: Aspen Motion Technologies. I don't really know much about them, but it's very interesting to note that they are located in Radford, VA. Radford is not a very large town, but is also happens to be the home of Kollmorgen Motion Technologies. Kollmorgen, which was bought out by Danaher about 10 years ago, had two servo motor manufacturing plants there (Industrial Drives and Inland Motors). Aspen Motion Technologies just happens to be right down the road (Rock Road, to be exact) from Industrial Drives. I suspect that Aspen was started by some ex-Kollmorgen engineers who didn't like working for Danaher. If that's the case, there is some serious motor building knowledge in that town.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    peterl1365,

    Actually, brushless AC and DC are pretty much interchangeable. The term came about because PM servomotors were traditionally DC, so the first brushless servo motors were dubbed BLDC even though the current wave form was AC. I don't know who makes the motor.

    The term PMSM is actually not commonly used. Although it is technically correct, it is not an industry-standard term like BLDC. BL servo motors are generally not made in NEMA sizes larger than size 42. Although many motor companies will make custom versions to be NEMA 56 compatible, the standard versions are oftentimes proprietary (or follow a european mounting norm, of which I'm not that familiar).
    It sounds like you know your way around motors much better than I (althogh once that wouldn't be hard once you got very far away from 3-phase induction motors).

    I also found out that the term PMSM (permanent magnet synchrounous motor) isn't really used that much and, like you said, that a much more common term is brushless DC (or BLDC). I am not a sceptical man normally, but it certainly appears that Pentair decided to use the more obscure name for their motor in an attempt to throw people off of their trail.

    Even Baldor appears to manufacture a BLDC motor for washdown duty, but not in a 56 frame and only at 1800 and 2500 rpm, not 3450 rpm.

    I ended up buying an Ikeric variable speed pump because I never could get the local Pentair dealers, or Pentair technical, to give me a straight answer on the projected cost of replacing the motor or motor drive after warranty expiration.

    I would still love to know who is manufacturing the motors for Pentair, assuming they are not being built by a Pentair company. And I would REALLY love to find out what the replacement cost for the motor and drives will eventually be. It may be less expensive to buy a complete new IntelliFlo 4x160 on the Internet for $800 or $850.

    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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