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Thread: DIY Pentair pool automation article

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    DIY Pentair pool automation article

    I recently wrote an article on my experience installing a Pentair automation system on my own. I hope the article will be of help to others considering the same project.

    Jason has posted the article here: http://www.troublefreepool.com/downl...ionInstall.pdf
    Please contact me if you have any questions or corrections.

    It was a great DIY project.

    Thanks and good luck
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Thank you for writing it and sharing. I'll be checking it out and I'm sure I will learn something.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Quote Originally Posted by dradam
    I recently wrote an article on my experience installing a Pentair automation system on my own. I hope the article will be of help to others considering the same project.
    I am new here and found your interesting article. For a quite different reason I was looking for a similar solution as you described.

    My reason is that I have an Ecosmarte sanitizing system, but after 1+ year I got algae again and again and many insects in the water every day. Having read this week several posts on this forum, I am convinced that my system is not doing what they pretend. In addition I am starting to do some landscaping around the pool and want to add a small pool for the little children. So enough reasons to change the system and add some more automation.

    I was already convinced that I should go for a salt/chlor generator and I want to have it automated as much as possible, as I am sick of all the measuring I did and the problems I had/have with measuring the pH and other color based measuring, I really don't see the difference in color e.g. between pH 7.2-7.8.

    As I have a Pentair IntelliFlo pump and very happy with it since the beginning, and knowing that Pentair has many solution for measuring, dosing and integration/automation, I decided already that my solution would be Pentair.

    However, the website of Pentair is not very well supporting you if you want a guide for finding your personal solution, but it has at least all the product information you need to do it yourself. I was reading the differences between the EasyTouch and IntelliTouch, the IntelliPH and IntelliChem, etc. Here comes in your article. I know now which components I need and I only have to read the product specs for my detailed design and implementation.

    My design/solution is 99% the same as yours, so thanks a lot. I am a DIY man like yourself, plumbing, electric, electronic, computer, communication, etc. I designed and built my own house and swimming pool.

    Given the prices of the components and availability here in the Philippines, I am planning to start with the EasyTouch/IntelliChlor and will do the IntelliChem later.

    Still a few questions.
    Q1: Is there a temperature sensor in one of the components and can you read out the value on your screenlogic?
    Q2: Is the EasyTouch brain fully controlling the VF pump, can you program and read the pump parameters via your screenlogic?
    Q3: Is there somehow an alarm function with e.g. email if a certain parameter is out of range?

    I am sure that when I start the detailed design & implementation there will be some more questions, it would be helpful if you are willing to answer them.

    Thanks a lot again.
    I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done.
    Lucille Ball

    Pool: IG 21.000 G concrete/plaster/ceramic tiles, Design: Peanut shape; 2 floor drains; 2 skimmers; 2 water return inlets; 2 vacuum connections; Auto water replenishing, Filter: Mega V650 sand/glass 26" - 70 GPM, Pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050 max 174 GPM, Owner Built: Dec 2011, Water treatment: EcoSmarte /w controller including CO2 valve/canister, Location: Philippines, tropical climate, 30+C or 86+F

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    HI, I'm glad you enjoyed the article
    Yes, the easytouch has a temp sensor that clamps into your plumbing.You can read pool temp and air temp on screen logic. there is an air temp sensor too. you can use the easy touch to turn your heater on and off from the screen logic interface.

    yes, easy touch takes over the VF pump and disables its internal programing. You can set rum tine, GPM and see rpm from the screen logic. you can program run times for the pump through screen logic.

    yes, you can set up to get an e-mail alert when your parameters are out of range. you can also monitor your system on smart phones or tablets.

    Starting with intellichlor is simpler. you will have to keep an eye on your Ph. Intellichem is fun, but finicky. BBB is cheapest but most hands on.

    Will try to help if I can.

    Best wishes.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Pentair automation one year later.

    Just a follow up here after a second season with my full automation.

    First season was rough because of the lightning strike, but this season was pretty much perfect.
    I only added chemicals manually at start up in April-bleach,muriatic acid, borax and salt. Shocked with bleach once this season after my daughter had 50 friends in the pool at once during a party.
    Mid july orp reading did not make sense but this was fixed easily with a toothbrush cleaning of the probe.

    some comments-

    ph readings have been stable and reliable.
    orp seems more variable and finnicky and reading IMO seems to lag a bit behind actual FC level. I ran between 1- 3 ppm
    ran with cya at about 35-- seemed best to me.
    ran pumps mainly at 15 gpm 250 watts all season. Occasionally I had to increase flow manually if swcg read low flow. That was usually my backwash signal.
    Backwash bar in screenlogic never correlated for me.
    No problems with wifi connection to house-- no lightning problems this year but had to replace my heater.


    for Pentair:

    Find a better way to monitor FC.
    add usb or wifi ability to upgrade firmware .
    How do you calibrate the backwash bar ?

    This was my best season yet. Lowest energy consumption, minimal chemical usage-- only bought cya, salt from a dealer-- BBB from local stores. No algea
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Pentair automation third year:

    First season lightning strike messed up the system
    second season probes were punky mid season but got better with a simple cleaning

    Today is September 29, 2015 and I opened my pool mid April. So about a six month season here in the Northeast. I usually close it when the water is cooler in late october.

    Best season yet.....
    No repairs-- just set up and went.

    Added salt on opening, added borax ( just a box) and a touch of cya ( I like it very low as it seems to affect orp readings) . Replaced acid pump head as recommended yearly.
    All intellichem readings were consistent with testing kit and test strips.

    No problems or major variations this year-- added clorox once or twice with a heavy bather load only.

    Some thoughts about stability of the system this year:

    I keep my pump on 24/7 at 15 GPM. It works out to about a daily turnover. Energy consumption is very low at this level and I think constant circulation helps the intellichem be more accurate. I turn on my polaris through screenlogic when needed-- usually before guests.

    I think the probe readings are temperature sensitive-- I kept the pool heat at 86-- easy to do as it was a warm summer.( I call that Daddy Temperature)

    I am very careful with my probes in winter and store them in a ph/orp solution I have purchased off amazon.

    I keep a low level of borates ( almost undetectable on test strips) in the water ( 20 mule team borax) I like the way it makes the water feel, but I also think it has helped to stabilize my PH beyond the TA. It also counters some of the ph rise if I add cya.

    I keep low level <40 OF CYA cya in the pool-- my pool is covered mainly so the intellichlor keeps up well. Too much cya messes with orp readings. I feel as though a small amount is almost like a chlorine buffer- so if my orp drops on a sunny day and the intellichlor can't keep up some free chlorine may be released by the cya.

    I made the acid concentration a bit stronger this year 1 gal muriatic + 2 gallons water. This corrects ph changes more quickly. when ph drops the system is set to add 15 oz with a 1 hour mixing time. My set point is 7.4. I may increase the concentration to 1:2 next year to make a full tank go farther. I may adjust the volume too.

    My orp is set at 640 and FC has run about 3-5 all summer. Of course you will have to set orp for your own pool as it may be different.

    I upgraded the Screenlogic software in the beginning of the season. It has given me no trouble at all this year and a few bugs were definitely fixed by pentair. I connect to easy touch wirelessly.


    Summary: I love this thing. I like understanding how it works and I have had minimal pool maintenance this season. Chemical costs Salt, borax, clorox,cya less than $100. ( cheapest chlorox I found at costco). new pump head about 30$

    I am not kidding myself a pool is still expensive. I installed a new raypac heater ( CU nickel and zinc anode just is case) last year and I replaced the autocover canvas. The Items should last about 8-10 years.

    Pump, intelliflow, is in its third year-- if it makes it to year 8 it will more than pay for itself in energy savings.

    Salt cell seems to be going strong. People say they last about 3 years. I hope I get a season or two more at least. At the suggestion of others I oversized the SWCG cell to IC40 for my 20K pool. The idea being that the oversized Ic will raise FC/ orp more quickly. If my cell dies I will go to the even bigger IC60 next time. On a couple of days the IC 40 had trouble keeping up. I clean the cell wit dilute MA at the end of each season until any scaling is gone.

    If anyone finds this I hope it is helpful. feel free to contact me for any questions and I hope you liked the installation article link above.


    Addendum: at the end of a season as I let the water cool down intellichem does not read accurately, but at that point in the season it does not matter to me as I am just about to close anyway.

    Wish list for Pentair:

    Make it easier to upgrade firmware on easy touch and intellichem:
    Add more functionality to mobile app.
    Make it possible to remove sections of screen logic we do not need.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Year 4 follow up.

    Still loving my automation system. We re-plastered the pool in the spring ( not DIY ). Wet Edge Luna quartz. Intellichem was great for this as the new plaster has required an amazing amount of acid demand as it continues to cure.
    One glitch this year--- could not maintain FC with my SWCG. Even with all lights nominal it was not making chlorine. Pentair replaced it under warranty and all is good.

    Future wish list:
    I wish pentair would add more functionality to its mobile app.
    I wish the PH and orp history could be viewed on the app.
    I wish it were easier to upgrade the firmware on the Easytouch and Intellichem. Please add a usb port on future motherboards. I can update the intellichem, but the cost of programmer for the easytouch doesn't make it worthwhile.
    I wish the Intellichem had an FC probe rather than ORP.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    dradam,

    Did pentair replace your intellichlor on warranty in the 3rd year even though you installed your system yourself? And thank you for your article as I am considering a diy install as well.
    22k inground 60's, 15' x 35' rectangular pool, octagonal spa, currently remodeling everything & combining systems, Intelliflo VS 3 hp pump, Hayward 4800 DE filter, Pentair MiniMax NT gas heater, Hayward MaxFlo Dual Speed pump for waterfall, Pentair EasyTouch 8 with IC60 SWG automation, SceenLogic

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Also why did you sire your brain to a panel slot? I can't figure why you'd want it on if everything was off.
    22k inground 60's, 15' x 35' rectangular pool, octagonal spa, currently remodeling everything & combining systems, Intelliflo VS 3 hp pump, Hayward 4800 DE filter, Pentair MiniMax NT gas heater, Hayward MaxFlo Dual Speed pump for waterfall, Pentair EasyTouch 8 with IC60 SWG automation, SceenLogic

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Five Year Follow up:

    Thanks for your questions above. Pentair replaced my intellichlor last year as a courtesy. It was out of warranty, but they said they had seen some units with a similar problem and their replacement has been working fine. It was odd, the defective unit lit up correctly, good flow and good salt level and even lit the correct lights as though it were making chlorine-- it just wasn't.

    I attached the transformer for the easy touch to its own breaker not so much that I could keep it on selectively, but more so to turn it off selectively and still leave other things on. What you attach to which breakers is somewhat a matter of choice. I chose based on many of the things I read in this forum. Most importantly the chlorinator can not be on if the motor is not running. Thank you for reading my article.


    Year Five:

    Pulled out the equiptment on April 4, 2017. Hooked everything up and was running inside a day and swimming two days later @ 90 degrees. No issues, no problems with the equiptment. The new chlorinor is working fine. The fresh plaster still seems to have a bit of an acid demand. I had to add muriatic over the winter and again at opening to bring down the PH. Intellichem is managing that now with the muriatic dispenser. I discovered what a strap wrench is and highly recommend one for tightening unions.

    I have been able to update intellichem firmware through a nice article on TFP. There is newer firmware for the easy touch, but it requires an expensive microprogrammer I did not want to buy. (anybody have a loaner?)

    This has been my earliest open and will hopefully be my easiest season. I will post if anything goes haywire this year or if anyone has questions. Good swimming !
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Adam,
    Thanks for your answers and your article and posts. Did you run 50 amps to the Easytouch and has it been enough?
    Jim
    22k inground 60's, 15' x 35' rectangular pool, octagonal spa, currently remodeling everything & combining systems, Intelliflo VS 3 hp pump, Hayward 4800 DE filter, Pentair MiniMax NT gas heater, Hayward MaxFlo Dual Speed pump for waterfall, Pentair EasyTouch 8 with IC60 SWG automation, SceenLogic

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    The leads to the service disconnect and the easy touch come off a 50 amp breaker in my home. When the pool pad was initially installed the electricians ran a 10 guage to the pool sub panel- it should have beeen at least 8, but I can not change it now. I have had no problems with the old or new system and I am certain I draw far less current now.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: DIY Pentair pool automation article

    Per Brian in this thread - might be some hope coming from Pentair this year if you are willing to upgrade. Would hope that it is backward compatible with all of the equipment and sensors. https://www.troublefreepool.com/thre...-IntelliCenter
    Greg -
    11K gal, IG Pebble Sheen (Aqua Blue) with sun ledge and attached spa, Pentair Intelliflow 3050 VS/SVRS (3HP), Pentair ET 8 with Screen Logic, Pentair Racer with 3/4 HP booster pump, 400KBTU Pentair Mastertemp, Pentair 60 sq ft DE filter, J&J Intellibrite LED in spa, Zodiac Nature 2 (not used), Stenner pump/liquid Chlorine, build completed in August 2015

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