Alternative Pool Automation and Sensor/Chemical Control and Integration

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
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Arizona
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
@MyAZPool how much of an increase in Orp do you see at night? I know it’s expected since no UV to breakdown the chlorine. Just curious to know how much of a Swing.
@joboo7777
My ORP readings do show some increase at night but it's not very much.
Here is a 48 hour snapshot of my ORP readings. You can see an average of about 40-50 or so difference between night and day. Those occasional peaks that you see correlate to pump starts when fresh pool water enters the sensor bypass manifold.
2021-01-16_20-47-20.jpg

I should note that I am NOT relying on ORP readings for the determination of the sanitation effectiveness of my pool at this time, due to my current CYA levels of 70ppm. Just observing and learning at this point.
r.
 
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joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
106
McKinney, TX
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Liquid Chlorine
Yup understood. I as well will not solely rely on it to determine santizarion effectiveness. Although I do want to dose based on it and test accordingly to confirm. I don’t use salt so my CYA is much lower (at 35ppm).
 
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jonpcar

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2016
561
Gilbert, AZ
I should note that I am NOT relying on ORP readings for the determination of the sanitation effectiveness of my pool at this time, due to my current CYA levels of 70ppm. Just observing and learning at this point.

Ron, I know this is not the thread where you want to discuss ORP in detail, but hoping I can get my 2 cents in during your “observations” since you are so far ahead my non-existent ORP implementation. Our systems use different chlorinating methods (mine: Stenner pump, yours: SWG). I am considering SWG in the future but for now am working on other things.

I have run a number of chlorination tests in my pool and have found that higher CYA levels (70-80) help significantly in maintaining my FC levels and minimizing my chlorine addition requirements during the summer...this is comparable to CYA levels recommended for SWG users. I know this is pushing the TFP recommendations for CYA in a non-SWG pool, but I am pretty comfortable with my chems & system (even for weeks at a time) unless there is a catastrophe...in particular a failure of a Stenner pump tube which I currently cannot detect. In your case, an equivalent could be an unexpected failure of your SWG to produce chlorine (I don’t know it that is possible or not, or whether you can already automatically detect such a failure).

In any case, I was hoping at some future point to investigate ORP at higher CYA levels (like yours currently) to see if it was possible to easily detect very low (or zero) FC levels, signaling a potentially huge problem with the chlorinating system (even with high CYA levels). I know the ultimate goal is fine control of FC using ORP, which has been problematic for many...I’m just wondering if this catastrophic failure detection might be a first step, haha.

Anyway, like I said, if/when you start your ORP thread, I’ll be watching carefully.
 
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Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,285
West Palm Beach/Florida
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15000
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Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I will definitely be watching the ORP discussion, but I am not holding out a lot of hope. I really think long term our best bet will be a true FC probe. They are expensive now but have been coming down in price. I think you can get one now for about $1000. When they drop down to about $500 I will probably pull the trigger.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,830
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
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Chlorine
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
@jonpcar
Ron, I know this is not the thread where you want to discuss ORP in detail, but hoping I can get my 2 cents in during your “observations” since you are so far ahead my non-existent ORP implementation. Our systems use different chlorinating methods (mine: Stenner pump, yours: SWG). I am considering SWG in the future but for now am working on other things.

I have run a number of chlorination tests in my pool and have found that higher CYA levels (70-80) help significantly in maintaining my FC levels and minimizing my chlorine addition requirements during the summer...this is comparable to CYA levels recommended for SWG users. I know this is pushing the TFP recommendations for CYA in a non-SWG pool, but I am pretty comfortable with my chems & system (even for weeks at a time) unless there is a catastrophe...in particular a failure of a Stenner pump tube which I currently cannot detect. In your case, an equivalent could be an unexpected failure of your SWG to produce chlorine (I don’t know it that is possible or not, or whether you can already automatically detect such a failure).

In any case, I was hoping at some future point to investigate ORP at higher CYA levels (like yours currently) to see if it was possible to easily detect very low (or zero) FC levels, signaling a potentially huge problem with the chlorinating system (even with high CYA levels). I know the ultimate goal is fine control of FC using ORP, which has been problematic for many...I’m just wondering if this catastrophic failure detection might be a first step, haha.

Anyway, like I said, if/when you start your ORP thread, I’ll be watching carefully.
Agree. With the SWG, I'm hoping to be able to setup alert notifications through Grafana that will notify me if SWG output parameters are not being met. I'm looking forward to seeing how SWG output gets tied to ORP values. The developers are working on it now. More to follow on that front. I know one thing for sure. I will need to get CYA down far enough to allow ORP values to be reliable but at the same time high enough to maintain proper chlorine levels. There will certainly be some experimentation but hey, what better way for me to stay busy. :p

I think dosing with liquid chlorine, that makes a lot of sense using ORP to trigger an alert to a possible stenner pump or other failure.
r.

@Katodude
will definitely be watching the ORP discussion, but I am not holding out a lot of hope. I really think long term our best bet will be a true FC probe. They are expensive now but have been coming down in price. I think you can get one now for about $1000. When they drop down to about $500 I will probably pull the trigger.
I couldn't agree more regarding a amperometric chlorine sensor vs an ORP sensor. I happened to mention in my base document, that if Atlas or whoever develops a "reliable" Amperometric Chlorine Sensor and if it is NOT cost-prohibitive, then “I’m in." I also think around $500.00 would be about the figure I would expect to make the swap from ORP to the ACS. I got the feeling from talking with one of the dudes at Atlas, that ACS development was in the works. I'm taking a "wait and see" approach on that one.
Thanks...
r.
p.s. here is a link to another thread regarding an amperometric chlorine sensor.
 

joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
106
McKinney, TX
Pool Size
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Liquid Chlorine
Water Guru makes a product that measures FC. Its not a probe, but uses some sort of Strip/pad cartridge to measure FC then translate to a digital reading. Obviously not the same as a probe but I might actually buy it to see how accurate it is. Even if its close (~1ppm) It might be a good backup to ensure proper FC levels are being achieved while using ORP to dispense Chlorine.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
36,976
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Search the WaterGuru on the forum. Some members have tried it.
 

joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
106
McKinney, TX
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Search the WaterGuru on the forum. Some members have tried it.

Yea, I’ve seen a few posts and it looks like it’s been mixed. I have a few methods to verify the test results so I’m going to give it a go just because I’m stubborn..;)
 

silfa718

Bronze Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
69
Bradenton,FL
I'm curious. I'm looking to incorporate a chem controller to use along with nodejs-poolController. Should I go the route using another dedicated raspberry pi, tentacle T3's, Atlas Scientific probes while using nodejs-poolController/dashPanel/relay equipment manager, as was done here in this thread or would it be better to purchase and install a Pentair IntelliChem and use nodejs-poolController/dashPanel and the relay equipment manager?

I don't have any experience maintaining a pool, so I'm looking at this as way to help me monitor and learn pool chemistry.

Looking for thoughts and opinions. @rstrouse, @tagyoureit, @MyAZPool ?? Anyone else as well who may have opinions on this topic.
Thanks
 
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rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
78
California
Do you have a Pentair Automation Panel -- IntelliCenter, EasyTouch, or IntelliTouch? I couldn't imagine setting up, monitoring, and controlling the chemistry through IntelliChem standalone.

You will get a whole lot more information with a pi hooked up to a tentacle t3 and the ability to customize your dosing without all the cascade of menus involve in the IntelliChem. However, nodejs-poolController also supports IntelliChem and will allow you to change setpoints and base chemistry values on IntelliChem as well as export that data for graphing. That being said I am still working my pad as I needed to jackhammer out some other equipment and re-arrange a few things to install my chem controller panel and mine will be a tentacle t3 with industrial probes in a flow cell usng a Pentair 3 gal pH tank and pump.
 
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silfa718

Bronze Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
69
Bradenton,FL
Do you have a Pentair Automation Panel -- IntelliCenter, EasyTouch, or IntelliTouch? I couldn't imagine setting up, monitoring, and controlling the chemistry through IntelliChem standalone.

You will get a whole lot more information with a pi hooked up to a tentacle t3 and the ability to customize your dosing without all the cascade of menus involve in the IntelliChem. However, nodejs-poolController also supports IntelliChem and will allow you to change setpoints and base chemistry values on IntelliChem as well as export that data for graphing. That being said I am still working my pad as I needed to jackhammer out some other equipment and re-arrange a few things to install my chem controller panel and mine will be a tentacle t3 with industrial probes in a flow cell usng a Pentair 3 gal pH tank and pump.
I am having an IntelliCenter installed.

Being this is my first pool, I don't have know to dial in the settings for nodejs-poolcontroller or the InteliChem to maintain the pool. In the beginning it would be alot of monitoring and learning before the automation begins.
 

rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
78
California
First a little advice, run a couple of CAT 6 wires to your pad. For most folks the pad is at the furthest reaches of their WiFi network and the WiFi adapter shipped with IntelliCenter will be a pain if it loses connectivity on you. This is from experience on 3 different IntelliCenter pools where the adapter would need to be reset if it loses connectivity. This means going out to the pad and physically resetting it. Installing that thing in a box somewhere will save you some frustration.

You are setting up to have the similar equipment to mine. As for which chem controller is better for you, well that depends. The REM based chem controller will have a bit more of a learning curve but it will give you more results. If you like to tinker, why would you do IntelliChem? If you don't want to tinker then put in an IntelliChem. Both work very well with njsPC but my preference is the REM based chem controller.
 
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silfa718

Bronze Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
69
Bradenton,FL
First a little advice, run a couple of CAT 6 wires to your pad. For most folks the pad is at the furthest reaches of their WiFi network and the WiFi adapter shipped with IntelliCenter will be a pain if it loses connectivity on you. This is from experience on 3 different IntelliCenter pools where the adapter would need to be reset if it loses connectivity. This means going out to the pad and physically resetting it. Installing that thing in a box somewhere will save you some frustration.

You are setting up to have the similar equipment to mine. As for which chem controller is better for you, well that depends. The REM based chem controller will have a bit more of a learning curve but it will give you more results. If you like to tinker, why would you do IntelliChem? If you don't want to tinker then put in an IntelliChem. Both work very well with njsPC but my preference is the REM based chem controller.
CAT 6 already ran and waiting.

I do like to tinker, but I feel that I don't have a good grasp yet with what I am tinkering with. Setting up the Pi and getting njsPC running shouldn't be an issue for me, its what I do with it after. I'm thinking the InteliChem would help where. NjsPC would let me do anything, and maybe something I shouldn't do, where InteliChem won't.
 

rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
78
California
The setup, while different is similar and either one will let you make your water out of balance by setting it up incorrectly. But both have some built in fault tolerance. If you can set up a pi and work with that I think you may be surprised how easy REM is to operate and understand. REM does however have a few more features and the entire setup can be done without visiting the controller. Also, nearly all of the Atlas line of sensors are supported to include pressure sensors, humidity, temperature, conductivity (salt), and dissolved oxygen. It also supports a variety of protocols that really expand the capabilities including additional relays.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,830
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
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Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
@silfa718
I concur with @rstrouse

Once I decided to venture into the chem controller realm, I did look at and consider the IntelliChem. There are one or two who do use the IntelliChem paired with njspC-dashPanel. I took their input along with input from several others (including @rstrouse ) and ultimately, I decided to go the Atlas Scientific probe/sensor, Tentacle T3 / Relay Equipment Manager (REM) route. I had already been running nodejs-poolController-dashPanel as my primary IntelliCenter pool controller by the time I started thinking about a chem controller.

I will admit there were some learning curves involved but I had a tremendous amount of help and support to get me over the hump and as I mention in my original post here, I was exploring some unknown territory.

I don't have any hands-on experience with IntelliChem but I have studied the manual. If I were to do it all over again, I would definitely select my same course of action.

The REM chem controller software paired up with the Atlas Scientific sensors/probes/Tentacle T3's in conjunction with nodejs-poolController-dashPanel / InfluxDB/Grafana output has exceeded all of my expectations. Super happy with the final outcome.

If things right now seem to be very hazy. I get it. I've been there for sure. But you will have help. If it wasn't for @rstrouse @tagyoureit and others mentioned in my original post here, there would have been no way I could have accomplished what I did.

Long story short. I don't have any super-special skill sets. Only average IT abilities. Like was mentioned above, it's all about whether or not you have the time, desire and patience to make it happen.

Thanks...
r..
 
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joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
106
McKinney, TX
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@MyAZPool

Do you find your ORP probe readings impacted by the speed of your pump? I’ve noticed in my setup that the higher the pump RPMs ORP typically tends to rise ~20mV over a few hours no matter the time of day.

Thanks
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,830
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
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Chlorine
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SWG Type
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@joboo7777
Referring to my InfluxDB/Grafana data, I can't find any correlation necessarily between pump speed and ORP.
However, I can see an ORP difference when the pump is running versus when the water is static in the the sensor bypass manifold..
ORP tends to decrease by about 20 to 40mV when water is actively flowing from the pool.
And of course I get the typical drop in ORP during the day versus ORP levels at night.
Thanks...
r...