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Thread: Autopilot vs. others

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    Autopilot vs. others

    Hi - Hate to continue with the "whats better" theme but:
    What advantages does the autopilot unit have over the hayward/goldline units. I'm not looking for a total control system but some of the autopilots features seem redundant.
    For example - do I need temperature compensation? - If the unit is plumbed after the heater - how accurate is that anyway?
    Could Poolsean or others comment.
    Thanks

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The largest advantage of the AutoPilot systems in my book is that Poolsean will answer questions on this forum!

    You clearly don't *need* temperature compensation, units without it work. Temperature compensation reduces how frequently you need to adjust the percentage output. How much chlorine you need is constantly varying. One of the largest factors in how it varies is temperature. The higher the temperature the more chlorine you will use. The AuotPilot units automatically produce more chlorine when the temperature is higher so you don't have to adjust the percentage as often. You still need to test the chlorine and keep an eye out for required adjustments, but you don't need to keep as close an eye on it.

    The Soft Touch model is available quite affordably, prices are generally competitive with most any other brand.

    The Digital has a very nice alphanumeric readout that tells you various handy things in clear english. For example problems are stated in a simple phrase, instead of just a flashing problem light. It will even tell you how much salt you need to add once you configure your pool size. It also has a timer and relay that can be used to control the pump.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Temperaure Compensation does two things:
    Adjust the output higher when temps get warmer - keeps your chlorine level ahead of the demand so you don't get any algae.
    Adjust the output lower when temps get cooler - reduces chlorine levels from damagingly high levels. Also, improves cell life by not operating the cell too much under cold water conditions, yet not shutting the cell off (due to cold water cut off).
    This occurs without any input from the pool owner.
    The others require manual testing and adjustment of the system as seasonal temperatures change.

    Pool Pilot provides the salt addition amounts on the Digital display. We've realized that not maintaining the salt level has been a problem, and as a result we've made it easier for the pool owner to see how much salt is needed to maintain proper levels. The Digital calculates and shows you how much pounds of salt are needed to maintain 3000 ppm, based upon the initial programming of your pool volume.
    The others require that you find your manual, refer to the salt addition chart, and calculate how much salt is needed.

    Pool Pilot provides a patented manifold assembly. This aids in the efficiency of the chlorine generation process by slowing down the flow through the cell. The result of the slower flow is more contact time of the "stuff" in the water within the cell so that it gets the "shock" treatment more effectively.

    Pool Pilot provides a 24 hr or 72 hr boost mode. In addition, if the Digital is used to control the main filter pump, the BOOST mode will override the pump control and run for the duration of boost time. If it is not controlling the pump, the boost mode, remaining hours, are retained in memory so that when the pump resumes operation the following day(s), the Pool Pilot knows how many hours are remaining in the boost cycle.

    Pool Pilot allows you to upgrade the cell at any time. The Digital Control box can operate with either of the three model residential cells, without any other modifications or components, other than adjusting the Purifier % level.

    Pool Pilot does not have a high salt limit. Although the normal operating range is 2500 - 3500 ppm, a high salt condition will not shut down the operation of the Pool Pilot. Other systems can be deceived into "reading" a high salt level and shut down from the initial salt dosage, or a rapid increase in water temperature such as when the spa heater/solar panels are activated.
    High salt shut down due to oversalting requires draining to dilute the salt level.

    Shall I continue?
    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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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    The largest advantage of the AutoPilot systems in my book is that Poolsean will answer questions on this forum!
    I was about to make the above statement almost verbatim, but Jason beat me to it.

    No kidding, Poolboy, I've read Sean's posts for years and he "da man on SWG's. He will give you great help regardless of your choice of SWG's but, naturally, knows his product best. That kind of tech support is pretty hard to beat.


    (Sean have you shipped my free SWG yet?....shhhh)
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    um....

    well...


    Hey, how about the Spurs tearing up the Jazz tonight!?
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Poolsean, please do go on.

    You've sold me so far, but I'd love to know any more features that are better about your product than others.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Pool Pilot comes with an internal relay that allows you to control the main filter pump or either one speed or two speed.
    - In doing so, the Pool Pilot is equipped with a freeze protect feature, that will activate the filter pump whenever the water temperature falls below 40 degrees.
    - You have TWO on/off cycles that can be programmed for pump operation.
    - Boost overrides the time clock (I think I already mentioned this above)
    - You have an "OFF FOR MAINTENANCE" mode that allows you to shut down the pump indifinately for servicing.

    Pool Pilot comes with a tri-sensor assembly. The tri-sensor provides a dedicated flow switch, temperature sensor, and salt sensor. This ensures that the salt display is not affected by temperature changes or cell conditions. Some are actually an estimate based on the cel amperage and voltage.

    Pool Pilot allows diagnosis to evaluate if the system is operating properly for the self cleaning feature. This is called reverse polarity and is done by a relay that switches the positive and negative polarity going to the cell. We call it FORCE REVERSE.
    In addition, some regions of the country which are hard in water (high in calcium), tend to scale the cell more than other regions. The Reverse polarity on the Pool Pilot is adjustable to reverse more frequently. This compensates for hard water conditions.

    Pool Pilot allows THREE levels of power output (amperage) to the cell. Higher power generates more chlorine. What this means is that you can tailor the unit to the operation of your pool.

    Pool Pilot gives you on board diagnostics on the Digital model, that spells out to you what the operating conditions are. There are no codes to decipher... although our Soft Touch model does provide flashing lights that you will need to decipher.

    Pool Pilot allows integration and communication with "most" electronic control system so that you can monitor and control certain features from an in-house control panel. I do not recommend this as it takes away from the temperature compensation feature, and does not show you how much salt is needed to maintain 3000 ppm.

    more? :P
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  8. Back To Top    #8
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    That reminded me of a feature I would really like to see in the Pool Pilot. There should be a way to turn on the pump 24/7 without erasing the pump program. When I am clearing algae and want to run the pump full time I currently need to clear the pump run times programs. It should be simple to provide a pump on for maintenance option that works the same way the off for maintenance option currently works.
    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

  9. Back To Top    #9
    RAA's Avatar
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    Poolboy,

    I dont have the pool pilot and I'm sure it's a very nice SWG. I have the Goldline Aqualogic PS-8 and it does everything the pool pilot does except for the temp compensation and it doesnt tell you how much salt to add. You will still need to check your Cl levels and configuring the output on the Aqualogic is a piece of cake with the inhouse wireless remote and I know excatly how much a 40lb bag of salt increases my salt levels if I needed to add salt.

    This PDF lists all the features of the Aqualogic.

    Having said all of that, I guess having a representative from Autopilot here is defenetly a plus but I wouldnt base my purchase on that alone. I do like their total control system that checks and adjusts the pH but i'm sure it's expensive and I am not sure how often those probes would need to be calibrated. If I build another pool I would defenitly check them out.

    Let me know if you have specific questions about it, there are too many things to list here.
    -Rick
    ~15k Gal IG
    Gunite/White plaster
    AquaLogic PS-8 w/SWG

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Jason,

    You can always program the second PUMP PROGRAM 2 for a second run time right after the first pump program 1 settings. Then, when you need to, activate the pump program 2. When not needed, delete it.
    Or press BOOST 24 hr mode. This will run your pump, but it will also activate the cell for the 24hrs... in your example, you'll need the extra chlorine anyway. In the event that the extra chlorine is not needed, simply disconnect the cell cord temporarily. The pump will still continue to run.

    I will run that idea past my engineers though...just in case it's something they feel beneficial (and there's space on the program IC processor).

    Thanks,
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Sean, while you're at it, one improvement would be that if there are no pump times programmed, the unit will not shut off in the event of a power failure.

    Currently you have to have at least 1 pump program, otherwise the unit shuts off indefinitely if the power goes out. Not a big deal, but it would be better if it resumed running once power is returned.

    And as for having Sean on the board, it is a HUGE plus for the Autopilot. Not only is it an excellent unit on it's own merit, but Sean is always there to help out if need be.

    He's helped me the few times I have had any questions or concerns, and got me a new tri sensor ASAP when I needed one.
    Can't beat his service.

    Zane
    steve

    Above Ground / 18' Round / Vinyl Liner / Sand Filter / 100K Gas Heater / Salt Added / No Nature2

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Well, there are always tricks you can do to make it do whatever you want.
    Such as, if you reverse the wires on the internal realy, it will default the pump ALWAYS ON, and then you can set the Pump Program 1 and Pump Program 2 for when you want the pump OFF (but it will read as pump ON). Then the PUMP button can be used as a switch, but with all the displays opposite of what it says. Pump ON = Pump OFF. Start Pump = Stop Pump. etc...
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Well - After reading all I could I have decided on the autopilot. The only problem is getting one in Ontario - seems no one has any in stock, and their prices are astronomical - $2200 for a dig220 with sc48 cell. Prices on the internet are between $850 and $1000 for the same. Unfortunately, most places will not ship to Canada - seems it is a distributor price-fixing thing.

    Anyone know of a place in Ontario that has them in stock for a fair price - or an internet store that will ship to Canada?
    Poolsean - you guys should look into canadian pricing - its not fair!

  14. Back To Top    #14
    well, fact is poolboy, supply and demand is what it's all about. not many pools in canada compared to the commonplace in the usa..more of a specialty/luxury item here so pool stores charge what they like. all a manufacturer of anything can do is give suggested retail pricing..the stores can charge what traffic will bear. anyway, enough of my soapboxing..now i'm going to help you..go to your pm box. you'll have a message shortly.
    • 15K IG gunite/plaster pool • Pentair: Whisperflo EE 1 HP • Nautilus FNS + 48 DE Filter • IntelliChlor IC40 •
    • Spectrum Amerlite SAm • Admiral S20 Skimmer - Circular Weir • Kreepy Krauly •

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    The truth is that there is a specific approval process for any salt chlorine generators sold in Canada. PCP registration is required. We distribute our AutoPilots only through Lectrantor Inc, in Calgary AB. www.tabex.com.
    They handle all sales and warranty issues.
    IF you do find someone to sell it to you from the states, it will be on you to send any parts back to St Petersburg, should a problem arise. Lectranator Inc will not handle the warranty.
    They have gone through the process to get the AutoPilot approved in Canada (with alot of financial layout to do so).

    (sorry, this is not a price fixing issue)

    Hope this helps explains the cost difference.
    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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