Automated Testing

Orion7319

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2020
553
Rock Hill, South Carolina
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Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Thanks. I'll have to look more closely at what can be done. I have a bunch of Raspberry Pis laying around for Retro Pi, PiHole, etc. The electronics of it all is a little daunting to be honest.
Retro pie is awesome!

Edit: Its running on the little 13inch tv at the end… the blue one is a 60in1 I made, all the other ones I restored.

F0DB7F3B-6312-407A-9F5D-4355F1E0E527.jpeg
 
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jonpcar

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2016
595
Gilbert, AZ
My ORP readings are merely an indicator for me because of my higher CYA levels (80ppm). But when I look at either my chemical management dashpanel or my Grafana dashboard and if I were to see an unusually low ORP value, it just tells me that I might want to double check my FC level (yes, using the Taylor) and to check my IntelliChlor output level. That is all I use it for really. That said, I agree with @Katodude , that at some point those reliable amperometric free chlorine sensors are going to get better and cheaper and then I'll add one to my sensor manifold. If and when that occurs, maybe it might be possible through chemical management software to tie SWCG output to the FC sensor readings.
Hey Ron @MyAZPool , I’ve been really hoping that you might be the “tinkerer” who finds out something useful to do with ORP numbers and higher CYA levels (I am running CYA around 60 but might eventually go up near 80-90). Like you and others, I plan on adding a couple of the Atlas probes but the ONE I really want is simply an indicator that chlorine levels have dropped to catastrophic levels due to bad liquid chlorine or a leak in a Stenner tube.

You don’t have this same issue because of your SWG, but do you think that your ORP numbers (moving average over a day or something similar) could be used somehow in that fashion, even with high CYA?
 

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
2,019
Arizona
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Hey Ron @MyAZPool , I’ve been really hoping that you might be the “tinkerer” who finds out something useful to do with ORP numbers and higher CYA levels (I am running CYA around 60 but might eventually go up near 80-90). Like you and others, I plan on adding a couple of the Atlas probes but the ONE I really want is simply an indicator that chlorine levels have dropped to catastrophic levels due to bad liquid chlorine or a leak in a Stenner tube.

You don’t have this same issue because of your SWG, but do you think that your ORP numbers (moving average over a day or something similar) could be used somehow in that fashion, even with high CYA?
Hi Jon..
So, as you know, my ORP values are not accurate as far as true ORP values go because of my higher CYA values. Check...
BUT, the rise and fall of the ORP values will indicate a rise and fall of FC levels.

To give you a baseline. Typically, my ORP values hover somewhere around 525-550 during the day and then of course at night, it's somewhat higher (around 600-625). Depending on environmental factors, bather load, etc., a SWCG output level of 25% usually results in an FC level of 4.5-5.0 based on all of my particular variables (pump run time, SWCG model, pool volume etc. etc. etc.)

Now for example, since we began having these changes in weather, I noticed my ORP values had fallen. The ORP value during the day was down to 475 and I had noticed via my ORP history graph, how over a couple of days it had been trending down.

That was my cue to check FC. Sure enough, FC was down to 3.0. At that point, I increased SWCG output from 25% to 35%. Once I did that, ORP began to rise over the next few days. It's now back to its normal low 500's during the day and low 600's at night. FC is back to 5.0

Anyway, that is kind of a rundown on how I use ORP as nothing more than a trend indicator since the actual ORP values are not accurate due to my higher CYA levels.

How about all this rain eh? We sure did need it!!
r.
 
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Wolfepack88

Gold Supporter
Jun 21, 2020
240
NJ
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17690
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Fiberglass
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Jandy Aquapure 1400
My one thought after reading this thread, mostly because of my ignorance, "Chewie take the professor back and plug em into the hyperdrive!"
 

tateconcepts

Member
Jul 27, 2021
7
Argyle, TX
I’m not saying Sutro is “the one” but it is coming and I would say within a very short number of years - hand testing will be as reliable as automated testing. The latter will indeed give you tons of opportunity to leverage data - I work in the IoT space and automating water testing and using data science to drive decisions is a matter of time.

We likely won’t see a traditional poool equipment coming lowly Pentair develop a solution like this - unless they acquire someone like Sutro and throw more $ behind the dev. I can see the disruption coming from smaller agile companies like Sutro. I don’t know but I’m guessing they are a bunch of engineers, chemists and data scientists…the value is in the data; taking the knowledge of folks like you and leveraging the cloud to deliver value to the consumer.

Sutro actually used Lamotte reagents - no ORP or pH probes I do not believe. It like works in a similar manner to pool store testers with optical sensors for color registration.
Agreed, it has already been done. Probably by more than a few and it sounds like there are some haters of ORP. It's not TC/FC but that can be done and has. The question is what is your time worth and that of the pool maintenance. The pool industry would hate this but I think there are enough of the younger folks that would argue, if they can get the same readings automated in their spa in their second home, their marine fish and coral tanks then the pool will certainly be a doable option.
I went down the Atlas Scientific ORP, pH and temp probe path a couple years ago. Spent $$ for a system that essentially ended up being a clock (periodic drift during the day/night). And that's for readings in the "shade" under my opaque Autocover, using isolated supplies and isolated I2C.

My next project on the back burner would be to essentially create automated titration. A valve that siphons off water and then adds the powder, and then adds the reagent a drop at a time and watches for a color change.
I need to figure out the best way of dispensing the powder (while it is stored in a sealed way so it doesn't oxidize/spoil), and then counting titration drops.
The non-chlorine tests are easier as long as the reagents can survive being outside in the shade.
Probably, with a controlled light source, I can also do CYA.
I don't think there is a titration test for pH (?) so I'd either use an off-the-shelf probe, or hope that the controlled light source didn't drift too much.
I can handle the camera and valves.
All of that is doable, but not commercially viable... just a project I would play with. This year is busy. Maybe next year.
I have seen this actually done in a marine reef tank. The comical part is that I think it was a prototype for another prototype built from Lego's that is now an actual product. If I recall, it was built to test Alkalinity and was made from a printer (I mean literally is made from printer parts). You should be able to find it on YouTube. The newer versions are essentially designed to automate usage of the gold standard kits. They are essentially taking the steps in Salifert or Red Sea kits (think Taylor or whatever) and then using automation. Today it's known as the ReefBot. I purchased the Apex Trident with controller because their ecosystem was better however their are several people out there with some interesting ISE stuff. I think the Phin and name is a great idea, I think attempting to bundle chems with it could be a viable solution. I just watched PCMag give it a great rating only to watch some Handyman guy complain he cancelled it because of customer service and poor execution. Who cares, it monitors and sends alerts kicks off some code to an API or relays on your pool controller.... good enough for me... but I think there could be more!
 

Orion7319

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2020
553
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Pool Size
19775
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I think the Phin and name is a great idea, I think attempting to bundle chems with it could be a viable solution. I just watched PCMag give it a great rating only to watch some Handyman guy complain he cancelled it because of customer service and poor execution. Who cares, it monitors and sends alerts kicks off some code to an API or relays on your pool controller.... good enough for me... but I think there could be more!
You calibrate its sensors by taking a picture of a test strip and sending it to the company. It’s $500.00 and only lasts two years. You need an annual $99.00 subscription plan and have the option of paying for a $400.00 or $700.00 a year for a “chemical plan”.
pHin Smart Water Monitor Review
 

cledee

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 23, 2020
166
Concord, NH
Pool Size
18000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Just imagine guys, paying $800 for a pool cleaner that you are not sure if it actually cleans. Then imagine having to send it back, continuously. Imagine having to calibrate it. Now these automated testing products are not $800, but they are $300-$400 and some have subscriptions fees. None of this is convenient at all.
Agreed, it has already been done. Probably by more than a few and it sounds like there are some haters of ORP. It's not TC/FC but that can be done and has. The question is what is your time worth and that of the pool maintenance. The pool industry would hate this but I think there are enough of the younger folks that would argue, if they can get the same readings automated in their spa in their second home, their marine fish and coral tanks then the pool will certainly be a doable option.

I have seen this actually done in a marine reef tank. The comical part is that I think it was a prototype for another prototype built from Lego's that is now an actual product. If I recall, it was built to test Alkalinity and was made from a printer (I mean literally is made from printer parts). You should be able to find it on YouTube. The newer versions are essentially designed to automate usage of the gold standard kits. They are essentially taking the steps in Salifert or Red Sea kits (think Taylor or whatever) and then using automation. Today it's known as the ReefBot. I purchased the Apex Trident with controller because their ecosystem was better however their are several people out there with some interesting ISE stuff. I think the Phin and name is a great idea, I think attempting to bundle chems with it could be a viable solution. I just watched PCMag give it a great rating only to watch some Handyman guy complain he cancelled it because of customer service and poor execution. Who cares, it monitors and sends alerts kicks off some code to an API or relays on your pool controller.... good enough for me... but I think there could be more!
It has to work. It has nothing to do with being younger or older. I'm huge into tech, my whole house is an FBI informant for Google and Amazon, but these automated testing systems are not worth it. They are too expensive, require too much calibration and have to be replaced in about 2 years.
Why would I want the automated testing device to sell me expensive chemicals?
Why do I need an annual subscription when I paid $400 for the device?

Imagine paying for a pool cleaner and being required to pay an annual subscription to run the cleaner.

If you can afford it, and you like to test new tech, go for it. But don't mistake these devices as good substitutes for manually testing.
 

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rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
211
California
Actually, if you put in your own pH and ORP sensors you get a pretty good idea of your pool chemistry. Sure you still need to test your CH, CYA, and TA but the first two are pretty constant over the season. The TA also remains pretty predictable depending on normal operation of the pool. That being said the subscription model for everything is not for me. I also set a range for ORP so that as long as it remains in the green I am within my sanitation regimen.
1627499760540.png
 

tateconcepts

Member
Jul 27, 2021
7
Argyle, TX
You calibrate its sensors by taking a picture of a test strip and sending it to the company. It’s $500.00 and only lasts two years. You need an annual $99.00 subscription plan and have the option of paying for a $400.00 or $700.00 a year for a “chemical plan”.
pHin Smart Water Monitor Review
I hear you on this... from that perspective if I thought I was getting monitoring and chemical, in a timely manner sure and if it really had decent ISE with reporting, sure. IMHO what I wanted was enough to accurately monitor pH and kick off an acid feeder until in balance and work within Haward(I think?) product line with SWGC that would be fine. However, reading into it and knowing I have the Zodiac family of items, I found a Bluerriot with the bridge and the proper model to give me an idea of where things are and so on. It's a start and for $200 and annual of $59 it's no brainer. I know it too comes with test strips but they are not for the ISE probes and I get telemetry to my phone. Building all of that with Atlas or any of those companies which do this, is prohibitively expensive to just notifications that my three top offs each week from sprinklers with the sudden light rain needs the acid feeder to bring pH back in line and adjust the Aquapure SWGC to boost when required for heavy sessions.
 
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tateconcepts

Member
Jul 27, 2021
7
Argyle, TX
Just imagine guys, paying $800 for a pool cleaner that you are not sure if it actually cleans. Then imagine having to send it back, continuously. Imagine having to calibrate it. Now these automated testing products are not $800, but they are $300-$400 and some have subscriptions fees. None of this is convenient at all.

It has to work. It has nothing to do with being younger or older. I'm huge into tech, my whole house is an FBI informant for Google and Amazon, but these automated testing systems are not worth it. They are too expensive, require too much calibration and have to be replaced in about 2 years.
Why would I want the automated testing device to sell me expensive chemicals?
Why do I need an annual subscription when I paid $400 for the device?

Imagine paying for a pool cleaner and being required to pay an annual subscription to run the cleaner.

If you can afford it, and you like to test new tech, go for it. But don't mistake these devices as good substitutes for manually testing.
I don't think anyone is asking to replace manual testing, just the person doing the manual replacing daily. Some people who do this stuff for a living are afraid of automation, change is part of life There's no way I will pay a person to regular "test" and "add chemicals" and my time is paid at a far larger salary than the technician vs the cost of a subscription or even capital expenses such as equipment.

Farms do it all day, planes are automated, distribution is automated, - this is about time and value. I'm not defending phin here, just a catchy name and could have been a good product. The Bluerriot however I do see value to and for $59 to send me notifications and kick of my automation of time saving "pool maintenance" .

Also, you do know the make automated dosing pumps that do the same "manual tests" with regents. They just replace hands and arms....
 
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cledee

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Jun 23, 2020
166
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I don't think anyone is asking to replace manual testing, just the person doing the manual replacing daily. Some people who do this stuff for a living are afraid of automation, change is part of life. Automation is coming for the pool boys... There's no way I will pay a person to regular "test" and "add chemicals" and "my time" is paid at a far larger salary than the "pool tech" vs the cost of a subscription or even capital expenses such as equipment. It's going to happen, hopefully to me. Maybe one day it will come to you too?

Farms do it all day, planes are automated, distribution is automated, - this is about time and value. I'm not defending phin here, just a catchy name and could have been a good product. The Bluerriot however I do see value to and for $59 to send me notifications and kick of my automation of time saving "pool maintenance" .

Also, you do know the make automated dosing pumps that do the same "manual tests" with regents. They just replace hands and arms....
You are missing my point.
I'm big into tech, most of my life is automated.
Having said that, pool automation testing is still in beta or even alpha stage. I went through this with Android phones which started coming out to the public in 2008 were not really good until 2014.
My time is valuable as well, but I would rather get more data and correct information that takes me 10 minutes, than questionable data that only provides 1-2 readings and on top of paying for an expensive device I also have to pay a subscription to get all of the features, re-calibrate the device, buy new cartridges or reagents that need to be put on the device. Right now with these current models you are not really saving me on maintenance or money.
I've wasted money on stupid tech that I was sure was coming like google glasses, me saying it's coming over and over again doesn't mean anything.
 

Orion7319

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2020
553
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Pool Size
19775
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I don't think anyone is asking to replace manual testing, just the person doing the manual replacing daily. Some people who do this stuff for a living are afraid of automation, change is part of life There's no way I will pay a person to regular "test" and "add chemicals" and my time is paid at a far larger salary than the technician vs the cost of a subscription or even capital expenses such as equipment.

Farms do it all day, planes are automated, distribution is automated, - this is about time and value. I'm not defending phin here, just a catchy name and could have been a good product. The Bluerriot however I do see value to and for $59 to send me notifications and kick of my automation of time saving "pool maintenance" .

Also, you do know the make automated dosing pumps that do the same "manual tests" with regents. They just replace hands and arms....
It would be awesome to have completely automated accurate, affordable testing.
 

joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
243
McKinney, TX
Pool Size
15568
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Liquid Chlorine
To give you a baseline. Typically, my ORP values hover somewhere around 525-550 during the day and then of course at night, it's somewhat higher (around 600-625). Depending on environmental factors, bather load, etc., a SWCG output level of 25% usually results in an FC level of 4.5-5.0 based on all of my particular variables (pump run time, SWCG model, pool volume etc. etc. etc.)
And just to give you another perspective on this, My CYA is 15-20ppm. A FC value of 4ppm equals an ORP value of ~730-750mV. If I turn off my Ozonator it will decrease to about 720mV - 740mv. The ORP measurements have been fairly consistent with the exception of adding Phosphate remover which artificially lowers ORP. At these parameters lI'm able to automate the dispensing of Liquid Chlorine with relatively high consistency. If is of course outside the parameters of "TFP guidelines". But it does get the job done.
 
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OrangeAndBlue

Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2017
111
Houston, TX area
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Interesting thread here.
I think it would be great if there truly was a device that could accurately and reliably test my pool water to TFP standards instantly just by sticking a probe in the water. I'd buy that.

However I doubt we would see something like this anytime soon. I just don't think there'd be a large enough market for such a product to incentivize a disruptor to invest and create it. Let's face it, as far as the average pool owner is concerned - testing is free at pool store..... and they even interpret the results for you and tell you what to put in your water. In my experience, most pool owner are not TFP gurus and wouldn't even buy a relatively cheap test kit today (beyond some strips). Then they are also not really comfortable knowing what to do with the test results. I get this comment from some of my co-workers sometimes: "why are bothering testing your own water, don't you know they do that for free at Leslie's?"
So the market for such a device wouldn't be that large unless they can do some astounding marketing. It would have to compete with the perception that water testing is "free" anyway.

I think that's why we're seeing all the current attempts at this go the route of the 'printer and cartridge' model, and the testing really doesn't have to be good for that model to make money.
 

CRAD_oz

Bronze Supporter
Jan 13, 2020
112
Sydney Australia
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Hi Group!
I haven't read the whole thread so apologies if I'm off topic but going by the Thread title I thought I would share my setup.
I moved I to this house a few years ago to find a non working SWCG and another attached box.
It turned out to be a SWCG and an automated water sampling unit that controls the Cell and pH by acid addition.
I posted the following a while ago on another thread.

The unit uses light to analyse the water sample after adding its reagents.
It has an analouge out port using voltage to allow the fc and pH to be seen on a remote display. I decided to convert it to mA and have wired it into a device that can be accessed on my LAN.
The latest model can connect to your LAN and can be viewed via an app.

I believe this product has a patent so it can't be copied by other manufacturers.
The FC reading is also unaffected by cya.
The pH does however read low when the FC is above 4ppm.
 

joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
243
McKinney, TX
Pool Size
15568
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Interesting thread here.
I think it would be great if there truly was a device that could accurately and reliably test my pool water to TFP standards instantly just by sticking a probe in the water. I'd buy that.

However I doubt we would see something like this anytime soon. I just don't think there'd be a large enough market for such a product to incentivize a disruptor to invest and create it. Let's face it, as far as the average pool owner is concerned - testing is free at pool store..... and they even interpret the results for you and tell you what to put in your water. In my experience, most pool owner are not TFP gurus and wouldn't even buy a relatively cheap test kit today (beyond some strips). Then they are also not really comfortable knowing what to do with the test results. I get this comment from some of my co-workers sometimes: "why are bothering testing your own water, don't you know they do that for free at Leslie's?"
So the market for such a device wouldn't be that large unless they can do some astounding marketing. It would have to compete with the perception that water testing is "free" anyway.

I think that's why we're seeing all the current attempts at this go the route of the 'printer and cartridge' model, and the testing really doesn't have to be good for that model to make money.
I think there’s a huge market. Take TFP forums for example. There are 280k people here and that’s only a fraction of the total number of pools worldwide. How do you think TFPTestkits.net get their business? The first thing that’s preached is don’t go to pool store, get a test kit. Cha-Ching. It’s definitely a money maker. Automated testing will also be at some point.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,620
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
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Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I think there’s a huge market. Take TFP forums for example. There are 280k people here and that’s only a fraction of the total number of pools worldwide. How do you think TFPTestkits.net get their business? The first thing that’s preached is don’t go to pool store, get a test kit. Cha-Ching. It’s definitely a money maker. Automated testing will also be at some point.

spit take GIF


I think @OTPirate might have something to say about that “test kits are a money-maker” comment ….
 
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