Adding WiFi to a Bullfrog A6 / Gecko in.stream 2

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
868
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Is there anything I should know about adding wireless control to a Bullfrog A6 Spa with a Gecko in.stream 2 controller, it is as really as simple as it looks.

1) Plug one module into the CO port on the controller (and place the module somewhere appropriate in the equipment bay
2) Plug the other module into the Ethernet jack on my router
3) Download the Bullfrog Cloud Control app and set it up

I did not get it as an option when I bought it, but I can see it being useful in the winter to adjust temperature before a soak.

for under $200 it is worth it to me

 

BravoRomeo

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 15, 2012
84
San Juan Islands, WA
I did exactly that to my A5L. Shut power off, plug in module, find a spot inside the cabinet where it will have reasonable line-of-site to the other module, and power back up. You can use either the Bullfrog or Gecko app. There were several firmware updates mine went through when we first set it up. I've thought about dedicating an old Android phone as an in-house controller running the app. You can "pin" an app so you can't accidentally exit it (kiosk mode, basically; iOS has something similar in Accessibility options), and there are nice wall-mount options available, some with wireless charging even.
 

5tan

Active member
Jan 9, 2021
37
Canada
Pool Size
1643
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I just installed the wifi module the other day. It is simple.

1) Connect the home module to a wired ethernet line and wall socket, run it to a wall as close to the spa as possible
2) Power off spa!
3) Open the spa control board box, find the spare ports on the side, plug in the spa module a spare port on the mainboard, remove the nearby water protecting plugs, route the cable through holes where the plugs were
4) Run the spa module inside the spa body towards the side closest to where your home module is, find a place to hang it up.
5) Power on spa. The 2 modules are factory-programmed to link to each other without you doing anything. The home module light will go solid blue when connected to the spa module.
6) Use Android or Apple Gecko inTouch app to find the spa. Default name is the MAC address, you can rename it in the options.

Mine didn't do any updates, everything launched right away. One thing I've noticed, there is no way to go into Standby mode from the app. I am also not sure if the app synchronizes the spa's date and time to the phone.

The icons aren't totally intuitive at first, but you'll learn it quick now: First sun-looking bubble is pump1, second is pump 2, 3rd is the lights, which breaks out into a new screen with 2 light options, interior then exterior. The weird wavy grey icon in the top right of the lights menu sets the lights to scroll-through-all-colors mode.

I like being able to set custom schedules for heating and filtering on the fly, as well as easily set custom schedules for every day of the week (e.g. economy mode all day 00:00-00:00 on the days I don't use it, filtering set to run at 9pm on the days I add chlorine at 8:55pm, filtering set to run at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays after weekend soaks).

Note that when the filtration cycle or heater is running, the ozonator is activated (unless a pump or light has been activated - ozonator will not run if it detects spa in use), and ozone will destroy your free chlorine, causing you to not have a sanitizing residual. The less filtration hours, the longer your FC will last (assuming your water and plumbing is clean and free of biofilms). However, stagnant water may cause localized depletion of FC which can grow unwanted things there (e.g. behind JetPaks), so you have to find your own balance of ozonation, chlorination, and water movement. Test daily til you get a "feel" for the water chemistry, then you can get away with testing and adding chlorine every 2, 3, or even 4 days.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
868
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I just installed the wifi module the other day. It is simple.

1) Connect the home module to a wired ethernet line and wall socket, run it to a wall as close to the spa as possible
2) Power off spa!
3) Open the spa control board box, find the spare ports on the side, plug in the spa module a spare port on the mainboard, remove the nearby water protecting plugs, route the cable through holes where the plugs were
4) Run the spa module inside the spa body towards the side closest to where your home module is, find a place to hang it up.
5) Power on spa. The 2 modules are factory-programmed to link to each other without you doing anything. The home module light will go solid blue when connected to the spa module.
6) Use Android or Apple Gecko inTouch app to find the spa. Default name is the MAC address, you can rename it in the options.

Mine didn't do any updates, everything launched right away. One thing I've noticed, there is no way to go into Standby mode from the app. I am also not sure if the app synchronizes the spa's date and time to the phone.

The icons aren't totally intuitive at first, but you'll learn it quick now: First sun-looking bubble is pump1, second is pump 2, 3rd is the lights, which breaks out into a new screen with 2 light options, interior then exterior. The weird wavy grey icon in the top right of the lights menu sets the lights to scroll-through-all-colors mode.

I like being able to set custom schedules for heating and filtering on the fly, as well as easily set custom schedules for every day of the week (e.g. economy mode all day 00:00-00:00 on the days I don't use it, filtering set to run at 9pm on the days I add chlorine at 8:55pm, filtering set to run at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays after weekend soaks).

Note that when the filtration cycle or heater is running, the ozonator is activated (unless a pump or light has been activated - ozonator will not run if it detects spa in use), and ozone will destroy your free chlorine, causing you to not have a sanitizing residual. The less filtration hours, the longer your FC will last (assuming your water and plumbing is clean and free of biofilms). However, stagnant water may cause localized depletion of FC which can grow unwanted things there (e.g. behind JetPaks), so you have to find your own balance of ozonation, chlorination, and water movement. Test daily til you get a "feel" for the water chemistry, then you can get away with testing and adding chlorine every 2, 3, or even 4 days.


Thank you, that is good to know about the O3. I was concerned that it was running whenever the pumps were on.

So if I am in the tub, and pump one comes on because it is calling for heat, then it will generate O3 ? What if I have the lights on in the tub ? What if I turn on pump 2?
I wish I could set the O3 on its own schedule.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
868
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I did exactly that to my A5L. Shut power off, plug in module, find a spot inside the cabinet where it will have reasonable line-of-site to the other module, and power back up. You can use either the Bullfrog or Gecko app. There were several firmware updates mine went through when we first set it up. I've thought about dedicating an old Android phone as an in-house controller running the app. You can "pin" an app so you can't accidentally exit it (kiosk mode, basically; iOS has something similar in Accessibility options), and there are nice wall-mount options available, some with wireless charging

I have an old tablet around here that I may use as a controller. Kind of like we do at work (all of our conference rooms have tablets mounted by the door to indicate in use, book the room, etc.)
 

5tan

Active member
Jan 9, 2021
37
Canada
Pool Size
1643
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
If you manually activate anything (pump 1 or 2, lights, anything) on the control pad or via the app, the ozonator doesn't run - this is by design to deactivate the ozonator when the system detects "spa in use". I suspect this limitation is for the traditional ozone system - I assume the traditional system injects ozone gas straight into the main body of water, and that it wouldn't be a safe for people nearby to be inhaling ozone gas bubbling off.

With the EOS ozonator, the water and ozone thoroughly mixes in a separate chamber, and the ozone is then filtered out before the water is returned to the main body of water. Therefore, I think that with the EOS system, it would be ok - even desired, to run ozone while spa is in use (to neutralize contaminants during your soak so that your post-soak splash of chlorine has less work to do), but the control board prevents it.

If you happen to be in the tub without touching anything, and the heat comes on, then the ozonator runs. I found this out by disabling my filtration for certain days of the week and setting economy mode for those entire days, and then when it takes 5 hours to heat from 27->38C, I notice that these 5 heating hours correlate to depleting FC, so I infer that the ozonator runs during the heating cycle (at least if you have the continuous circulation pump, which handles both heating and ozone. Without the circulation pump, pump 1 handles heating and ozone).

The ozonator schedule = filtration schedule + heating calls + temperature check calls.

If anyone from Bullfrog is on these forums and I got something wrong above, feel free to chime in!
 
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BravoRomeo

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 15, 2012
84
San Juan Islands, WA
If you manually activate anything (pump 1 or 2, lights, anything) on the control pad or via the app, the ozonator doesn't run - this is by design to deactivate the ozonator when the system detects "spa in use". I suspect this limitation is for the traditional ozone system - I assume the traditional system injects ozone gas straight into the main body of water, and that it wouldn't be a safe for people nearby to be inhaling ozone gas bubbling off.

With the EOS ozonator, the water and ozone thoroughly mixes in a separate chamber, and the ozone is then filtered out before the water is returned to the main body of water. Therefore, I think that with the EOS system, it would be ok - even desired, to run ozone while spa is in use (to neutralize contaminants during your soak so that your post-soak splash of chlorine has less work to do), but the control board prevents it.

If you happen to be in the tub without touching anything, and the heat comes on, then the ozonator runs. I found this out by disabling my filtration for certain days of the week and setting economy mode for those entire days, and then when it takes 5 hours to heat from 27->38C, I notice that these 5 heating hours correlate to depleting FC, so I infer that the ozonator runs during the heating cycle (at least if you have the continuous circulation pump, which handles both heating and ozone. Without the circulation pump, pump 1 handles heating and ozone).

The ozonator schedule = filtration schedule + heating calls + temperature check calls.

If anyone from Bullfrog is on these forums and I got something wrong above, feel free to chime in!
Yes, EOS has a separate injector and external mixing chamber with a gas-bleed valve on the top (similar to a plumbing Spirovent). That valve has a mechanism that opens when there is gas (non-liquid) at the top of the mixing chamber, allowing it to expel into another tube that feeds into a canister of activated carbon, which destroys the excess O3. There is a final tube from the carbon canister that I found just hanging around on the bottom of the plastic floor, and it occasionally weeps some condensate creating a small puddle. I decided to drill a hole in the plastic floor and pushed that line below my deck so it drips onto the ground instead of inside the cabinet. I don't see how any excess ozone gas could end up inside the tub with this system, unless that off-gas valve failed closed.

Good info on when the ozonator runs. It's too bad it can't be on a separate schedule with the Gecko board. I figure the extra plumbing loop for the Ozonator would be a natural place to install a SWCG cell as I did on my previous tub, although it, too, would have to be limited to running only when the circulator pump was energized.

My previous tub had a long coiled loop of tubing under the footwell that eventually fed into the floor drain. That was for the output of the optional ozonator, so it was many feet of tubing that served as a mixing chamber. I think the EOS design is a much better idea. From what I understand, similar to commercial ozone generator systems sometimes used in swimming pools. The downside is the EOS system is fed ambient air from inside the hot tub cabinet, and ozone is harder to generate when there is water vapor in the feed air.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
868
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Yes, EOS has a separate injector and external mixing chamber with a gas-bleed valve on the top (similar to a plumbing Spirovent). That valve has a mechanism that opens when there is gas (non-liquid) at the top of the mixing chamber, allowing it to expel into another tube that feeds into a canister of activated carbon, which destroys the excess O3. There is a final tube from the carbon canister that I found just hanging around on the bottom of the plastic floor, and it occasionally weeps some condensate creating a small puddle. I decided to drill a hole in the plastic floor and pushed that line below my deck so it drips onto the ground instead of inside the cabinet. I don't see how any excess ozone gas could end up inside the tub with this system, unless that off-gas valve failed closed.

Good info on when the ozonator runs. It's too bad it can't be on a separate schedule with the Gecko board. I figure the extra plumbing loop for the Ozonator would be a natural place to install a SWCG cell as I did on my previous tub, although it, too, would have to be limited to running only when the circulator pump was energized.

My previous tub had a long coiled loop of tubing under the footwell that eventually fed into the floor drain. That was for the output of the optional ozonator, so it was many feet of tubing that served as a mixing chamber. I think the EOS design is a much better idea. From what I understand, similar to commercial ozone generator systems sometimes used in swimming pools. The downside is the EOS system is fed ambient air from inside the hot tub cabinet, and ozone is harder to generate when there is water vapor in the feed air.

The water loop for the ozone system runs whenever Jet 1, or the circulator if you have one, is running regardless of if it is making ozone or not.
I bet there is a way to plumb a SWCG into that loop and trigger it off of the Jet 1 or circulator triggers. You would have to fabricobble a switching control for it, but it lis ikely the easiest place to do it. If I started re-plumbing our new hot tub to "make it better" I think my wife would kill me. I have enough projects going on around here that I don't need to start "fixing" a brand new hot tub that is not broken.
 
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