A few things
1) Those numbers are impossible. You can't have zero alkalinity and a pH of 8.4. Where are you getting those test results from?
2) Your subject line describes the pool store merry-go-round, where you go up and down endlessly but always end up in the same spot.
3) If TC is 10 and FC is 0, then CC is 10, which means your pool would probably smell strongly of chlorine, and burn peoples' eyes. Unless one of the many chemicals you've been dumping in your pool is non-chlorine shock that misreads as CC. But then again, see point 1). I suspect bad testing more than 10 CC
Without accurate consistent test results you're working blind. It will be like trying to paint a picture wearing a blindfold. Sure, some paint will get on the canvas, but you won;t like the final result and a whole lot of paint will be wasted. The canvas will be spoiled, too.
Hello all, So I'm about to go out of town, right as the thermometer toys with hitting triple-digits. To make a long story short, I have to leave my pool in the hands of someone who has little pool care experience. I use and love the TF-100, but I find the colorimetric pH and TC to require...
If you compare camera readings to holding strips up to the bottle to compare the two I am betting you will see a fairly large difference. Ask me how I know....
Found this site to ask why, switched to TFP and have been stable and crystal clear every since!
Buying a test kit is the best thing you can do to have a good looking and sanitary pool. Test strips IMHO really are just slightly better than a blind guy and a dart board.
A good kit seems expensive but it's an investment and really does give you the ability to get control over your chemistry.
As for chemistry, they have great how to vids that take the difficulty out of the learning curve. I have this one with the electric stirrer. - - > Test Kits
How to vids - - > TF100TestKit
Once you can get accurate readings you can get those numbers to make sense.
As for pool store free tests . . . . you get what you pay for and they always seem more interested in what they can sell you.