Alexa pool control on a shoestring budget

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,653
Tucson, AZ
....My old garage door and old opener now goes up or down by my phone or Alexa, but I spent more to do that than you did to do all of this.
And it probably cost more than buying a new opener that already has smartphone control built in :laughblue:

But, of course, that wouldn’t be any fun...
 

p1zaul

Member
Feb 10, 2016
17
Charlotte
I setting up similar system. I have the Lutron caseta system already which IMHO is the best system. It does use a hub but makes the controls almost instant. For anything outside of 120v 5amp you can wire in a relay with a 120v coil that controls in this case up 20amps. This will allow you to switch off just about anything with a normal light switch or in this case a caseta switch. For 240v you can wire this up to only one leg of the 240v and it will shut the pump. In that case just wire a normal 240v switch before the smart switch so in case of service you can turn off both legs. This setup also allows you to use one system for everything. And is most likely the lowest price.


Functional Devices RIB2401B Enclosed Relay, 20 Amp Spdt with 24 Vac/Dc/120 Vac Coil: Automotive Starter Relays: Amazon.com: Industrial Scientific
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,392
Tucson
I setting up similar system. I have the Lutron caseta system already which IMHO is the best system. It does use a hub but makes the controls almost instant. For anything outside of 120v 5amp you can wire in a relay with a 120v coil that controls in this case up 20amps. This will allow you to switch off just about anything with a normal light switch or in this case a caseta switch. For 240v you can wire this up to only one leg of the 240v and it will shut the pump. In that case just wire a normal 240v switch before the smart switch so in case of service you can turn off both legs. This setup also allows you to use one system for everything. And is most likely the lowest price.


Functional Devices RIB2401B Enclosed Relay, 20 Amp Spdt with 24 Vac/Dc/120 Vac Coil: Automotive Starter Relays: Amazon.com: Industrial Scientific
Switching only one leg of a 220 circuit is not an acceptable practice. Get a DPST switch and do it right.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,392
Tucson
Chief,

After reading this, I'm reminded of one thing and I became aware of one thing.

Your elegant system reminds me of the opening sequence of Back to the Future and the great automation there, with a very specific set of expectations, just like you have.

And I became aware of exactly how cheap you are.

Both are to be commended.

My old garage door and old opener now goes up or down by my phone or Alexa, but I spent more to do that than you did to do all of this.
My system does not burn the toast. All it does is automatically clean,chlorinate, control temperature, and filtration of the pool. In addition to providing voice (or remote iPhone) switching for the spa pump, heater, and light levels for pool, spa, barbecue and patio lights.

(To be honest, I had to go back and look at the movie intro. 1985 was a while ago.)
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,392
Tucson
For anyone still interested in setting up a similar system, it’s been more than 6 months and this system has thus far worked flawlessly. No problems with the WiFi connection or performance of any of the switches. I’ve now set up a similar system both for a neighbor and for my son.
 

jonpcar

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2016
423
Gilbert, AZ
I just helped my brother-in-law with a project for his workshop...looked for something within his budget and found these; of course, you would need two.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LEUJU6/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Haha, it’s the same one you posted earlier (only 5 posts ago) in this thread...was there a problem? I reread, it looks like you were proposing only using one leg. Use one of these for each leg...chief, is that a legal thing to do?
 
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setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,272
Stuart/FL
For anyone still interested in setting up a similar system, it’s been more than 6 months and this system has thus far worked flawlessly. No problems with the WiFi connection or performance of any of the switches. I’ve now set up a similar system both for a neighbor and for my son.
Chief,

That's great to hear! Please continue to update. This may give us all a viable alternative to full pool control one day. I think the next step of "decoding" the protocol for proprietary serial connections used to give more than "on off" instructions is the key to real alternative control systems. These are used to change temp settings for heater control and % power for chlorinator cells. I wish there was an industry standard but of course none of the manufacturers are incentivized to develop one. In fact their incentive is exactly the opposite. But it doesn't seem that it would be that hard to decode. I believe they all use a standard networking protocol such as rs 232, 432, or 485. These are extremely reliable and proven for many industrial applications. I want to jump in on this project but I have a few higher priorities dictated by Sr Management (my wife). So I'll continue to follow what your're doing with great interest!

Chris
 

p1zaul

Member
Feb 10, 2016
17
Charlotte
I just helped my brother-in-law with a project for his workshop...looked for something within his budget and found these; of course, you would need two.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LEUJU6/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Haha, it’s the same one you posted earlier (only 5 posts ago) in this thread...was there a problem? I reread, it looks like you were proposing only using one leg. Use one of these for each leg...chief, is that a legal thing to do?

It's actually to code to only kill one leg as long as you have a full disconnect further back in the line.

Would this work to do both at once?

Packard C230B 2 Pole 30 Amp Contactor, 120 Voltage Coil https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001KGSJ74/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_7eHNCbWJAHVST
 
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jonpcar

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2016
423
Gilbert, AZ
That looks good to me but I am sure others will chime in. I wanted to avoid messing with special pins (connections and/or soldering) on my project and just used electrical caps.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,485
SouthWest Alabama
Most of the serial communication pool mfg's use is RS-485 MODBUS protocol. I've never snooped it but they may not even encode it.

Several people on Github have figured out the protocol for a few of the manufacturers and some have even made a pool controller that uses it.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,392
Tucson
No decoding is necessary for either heaters or SWG. For actual control of a heater or SWG , power is simply switched on and off with the device itself set at the maximum setting. Reading and setting the temp and or CL level and would be the job of a controller. Temperature would be a lot easier than CL levels. But in either case simple on/off is the only communication needed with the device itself. That’s exactly how most current automation systems control heaters. They read temp and turn the power to the heater on or off accordingly.

Since my goal was to keep things as simple as possible, I’ve made no effort to remotely control the actual temperature settings, just heater on or off.
 
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dradam

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 10, 2013
169
maryland
Fantastic post! I use pentair for full automation and now you have me thinking about voice control. I hope Pentair sees your post and add in alexa voice compatibility. I second google wifi. Tried others but it has been the most reliable and easy to expand. If the pucks are cat five connected speed is awesome. Thank you. Please update as you add on.
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
2,335
NE/Pa
Fantastic post! I use pentair for full automation and now you have me thinking about voice control. I hope Pentair sees your post and add in alexa voice compatibility. I second google wifi. Tried others but it has been the most reliable and easy to expand. If the pucks are cat five connected speed is awesome. Thank you. Please update as you add on.
My pentair easytouch has Alexa control? I use it everyday. And Apple Watch support. Are we talking about something different?
 

zac280

Silver Supporter
May 29, 2018
48
Central Georgia
My pentair easytouch has Alexa control? I use it everyday. And Apple Watch support. Are we talking about something different?
Pentair is still in the lead for automation imo. My PB went with Jandy/Zodiac, and they still don't have smart home support. It's probably just a matter of time, as they need to compete and many people have requested it of them, but in the meantime it falls back to DIY solutions. I set up mine recently with Home Assistant and it uses the iAqualink API, so it wasn't too bad, no wiring or hardware modification necessary. But there's still a couple features I can't access through Google Home.
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
2,335
NE/Pa
Pentair Alexa support is pretty weak. It disconnects all the time. But personally I think voice control is over rated. I like my physical control.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,392
Tucson
My simple, inexpensive, DIY Alexa voice/iPhone control system has been bulletproof. It’s been in service for over a year now, and continues to work flawlessly. All three of my neighbors, who have now followed suit, report the same results. For less than $200 and one afternoon to install, it’s hard to beat.
 
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