New to this site and so glad I found it. I wondered what had happened to everyone over on the other BBB site.
Anway, this year I took the plunge and bought a GL-235 Goldline solar controller package, and thought I would give a quick review.
I have wanted one of these since installing my solar panels but the $250.00+ price tag was always a little more than I wanted to spend. Well this year I finally decided it was time to give it a shot and after two weeks of having it installled I'm not sorry for making the purchase.
First of all the item was easy to install and only took a couple of hours from start to finish. This included wiring the panel, setting up the actuator valve and cutting in the plumbing. My system has Schedule 40 PVC piping and the plumbing will go MUCH faster if you happen to be using hose, instead.
After getting the unit installed I was all ready to test it out. The only problem is that we have been having VERY cool temperatures and lots of rain. I simply was not getting enough solar energy (or warm air temps) to activate the controlller. Well I finally climbed a ladder with a hand held hair dryer and heated up the solar sensor. Immediately the actuator valve did it's thing and sent water through the panels.
Now what I love more than anything is that the controller works when I wouldn't normally run solar. The system senses the pool water and compares it to the solar panel temperatures and turns on when it "sees" a need.
Normally I would set my timer to come on at 11:00 A.M. and run until 7:00 P.M.. Simply from using my visual assessment of our pool site this seemed to be a time period in which solar energy would be gathered.
Well after installation I closely monitored the system and noticed that it was turning on at 9:30 A.M. (on a bright, sunny day) and not shutting off until 7:45 P.M.. I've also noticed that it will even run on cloudy days if the air temp is higher and there is some diffused sunlight coming through the clouds. In three days time I went from 62 degrees to 70 degrees and this is with nights getting down into the 30's and 40's.
All in all it is very convienent and I don't feel the need to check the weather forecast and make a decision on whether or not to run the water through the solar panels. The system makes this decision for me and only runs when it needs to.
Overall I would recommend this product if you feel that you have $250.00 or so to spend. It's probably never going to pay for itself but it is nice knowing that the system is ready to work whether I made the decision to run solar or not.
I'd say there is no doubt that this system will make my solar heaters much more effiecient since there have been many days in the past that I've chose not to run solar (if there was a prediction of rain or cloudiness), and then the day turned out to be fairly nice. At least with this system it will run if energy is avaiable and not run if it's not.
Anway, hope this helps someone else out.
[Edit:jjparrish - To add paragraph breaks]