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Thread: Solar Control Question

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Solar Control Question

    I'v been looking for a solar controller to control my solar heat. All I really need it to do is turn the solar panels on when they'll do good and turn them off when thy won't. I'd like for the controller to be able to swich between Spa and Pool mode, basically, heat the spa, then switch over to the pool when the spa is at temp. This isnt a deal breaker but it qould be cool.

    I've been looking on eBay for about 6 months now and all I've seen have been the Goldine controls for $200.00 plus. That's to much for my cheap self and for this project. Finally, today I saw something that caught my eye. It's an Independent Energy C-35 Solar Pool/Spa Controller. Linky: Independent C-35 The auction says it includes the following :
    1- C-35 Controller.
    1-LV Module for Valve Control SPDT.
    1-HV-10 Module 1/2HP@120V, 3/4HP @230V.
    2- SB 10K Thermistor;1Panel,1Pool.

    What are the two different modules/what do they do, and are the Thermistors just the water temp. sensors?

    A quick Yahoo search got me the info that Goldine used to be called Independent Energy and that they've been the leader in Solar Controls since 1975, but not much else. So, does anyone know about these systems?

    Any and all information on this system is GREATLY Appreciated!!!

    Thanks,
    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Control Question

    Looks like they cunningly changed the name to "GL-35" when they became goldline. Searching that model gives you a very similar product, probably same specs.

    shop.solardirect.com/pdf/pool-heaters/solar-pool-heaters/controls-sensors/goldline-brochure.pdf

    Looks like the one in the auction comes with the optional pump module, perhaps? Though it's not capable of carrying much of a load. I wonder if this is made to run a circ pump for something like a glycol loop?

    Before you buy it just be sure to check and see if you can still get sensors for it.

    And to your point about being able to control pool and spa modes, I'm not exactly sure what this thing is capable of, but I'd imagine you'd have to at least add a relay, time clock and maybe a transformer to make that work. Maybe you could use a sequencer that stepped a second set of valves every time the solar valve cycled, but you'd need to talk to someone else to figure out how to execute that.

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Control Question

    You mention sensors. Are you talking about the 2- 10K Thermistor sensors?

    Like this one?
    Cheaper One
    Or do I NEED to use this one?
    Official One

    I could probably make a contactor relay thing to control the pump, orjust let the pump run on it's own timer like it does now. As long as the pump comes on before the valves open(I can estimate) and shuts off after, I'll be OK. Like I said, I don't need it to control everything, I'd just like a little piece of mind that if it starts raining or w/e when I'm at school or away overnight that I won't be cooling the pool.

    Any other problems you see with this system? Would you buy it if you were looking for a solr controller on the cheap?

    Thanks!
    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Control Question

    That cheaper one is interesting. I'd try it out just for the heck of it. As for what I'd do, hard to tell. Since I'm usually buying for customers, not myself, I'd go with the one that had a warranty and was easy to support and replace if necessary. But for myself? Sure, I'd give it a shot.

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Control Question

    I new it was too good to be true. I sent the seller a message regarding exactly what came with the unit. Turns out it's only the control unit with the modules inside it to control the pump and valve. It doesn't come with the 3-way valve or the actuator. To get a valve and actuator on eBay would cost me, MAYBE, $60.00 before shipping, and I'd be lucky to get it at that price. Oh well, guess I'll just keep turning valves.

    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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    Re: Solar Control Question

    I know this is not going to be received terribly well, so take this for what it's worth. The Goldlline Control, even the simple AquaLogic (now ProLogic) will control solar as well as heaters or heat pumps, as long as you have some pump or device that needs to be controlled. It also controls your pumps and lights. Buying and assembling an entire control system from the ground up, "on the cheap" with products that may or may not be compatable, may give you what you want, or it may not. If you are an electrical engineer, or have some background in this, you may do well. Otherwise, I'll assume you'd rather recreate the wheel, so to speak, because you enjoy it.

    If you go to Intermatic's website, they have simple controls that will take an actuator valve, too, and may get you where you need to go. Using temp sensors means that you also want a temp readout display OR some thermostatic control function, too. That's gonna take a tiny PC board or some kind of device to do communication with a controller. What did you want a temp sensor for?

    Just a summary: Turning a device on an off is easy stuff, and cheap. "Controlling" may be just that for you. Finding a device that you can program to do stuff automatically (like sense pool water temp and then at a threshold temp you set enable some device) will require a bit more than most of us can build. Valve actuators from Goldline or Intermatic are reasonably cheap (24v models), but not ALL VA's are compatable. For example, Pentair's VA's only work on their products.

    Give me a better description of your system, and its "controls" and I'll try to guide you further.
    http://www.swimmingpool.com/

    "Leave the gun...take the cannolis"

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Control Question

    Thanks for the imput, yeah, building and programing little circuit boards is beyond my capabilities. I don't NEED it to do much, really I just NEED it to control the flow to the panels. I'd be happy if it could just turn them off when there wasn't enough sun to heat, and back on when there was. Temp. control would be nice too, so I don't overheat the spa.

    If I could build my own system, it would do the following:
    It would have 2 temp. controls, one for the spa and one for the pool. The spa would take priority over the pool, so when the sun came out, the controller would turn the solar on going to the spa. Once that has reached the correct temp, it would switch to pool mode and heat that. If the sun went away it would turn off flow to the panels. That would be my ideal solar control. I guess it would also somehow tell the elec. spa heater when to come on to maintain temp. if the solar couldn't.

    This system would also contain the timer that controls my filter pump. One last feature that would be nice to have is that it would automatically rotate the valves to exchange the spa water, or at least half of it, with the pool each day, or every other day. My spa is a stand-alone spa, plumbed into the pools plumbing, so this task requires either careful balancing of valves to keep input and output on both the same, or I'll need to suck the water from the spa into the pool, then suck water from the pool and return it to the spa. This would need to be done in the morning so the spa water can reheat throughout the day. If I have to do it manually I'll onl be able to do it once a week, on the weekend, until mid-June when school ends.

    I imagine it would take a pretty expensive controller to do this. I'm sure it's not possible to do this on my small budget.

    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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    Re: Solar Control Question

    Quote Originally Posted by launboy
    Thanks for the imput, yeah, building and programing little circuit boards is beyond my capabilities. I don't NEED it to do much, really I just NEED it to control the flow to the panels. I'd be happy if it could just turn them off when there wasn't enough sun to heat, and back on when there was. Temp. control would be nice too, so I don't overheat the spa.

    If I could build my own system, it would do the following:
    It would have 2 temp. controls, one for the spa and one for the pool. The spa would take priority over the pool, so when the sun came out, the controller would turn the solar on going to the spa. Once that has reached the correct temp, it would switch to pool mode and heat that. If the sun went away it would turn off flow to the panels. That would be my ideal solar control. I guess it would also somehow tell the elec. spa heater when to come on to maintain temp. if the solar couldn't.

    This system would also contain the timer that controls my filter pump. One last feature that would be nice to have is that it would automatically rotate the valves to exchange the spa water, or at least half of it, with the pool each day, or every other day. My spa is a stand-alone spa, plumbed into the pools plumbing, so this task requires either careful balancing of valves to keep input and output on both the same, or I'll need to suck the water from the spa into the pool, then suck water from the pool and return it to the spa. This would need to be done in the morning so the spa water can reheat throughout the day. If I have to do it manually I'll onl be able to do it once a week, on the weekend, until mid-June when school ends.

    I imagine it would take a pretty expensive controller to do this. I'm sure it's not possible to do this on my small budget.

    Adam
    Everything you are seeking is standard function on the Jandy RS, Hayward(Goldline) Pro Logic, and Pentair Intellitouch (or Easy Touch)! BUT...you are correct in that they are pricey. Intermatic (who furnished many of the components for Jandy's RS systems for years) has some more economical alternatives on their website. DO check that out! Good luck.
    http://www.swimmingpool.com/

    "Leave the gun...take the cannolis"

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