Automated Testing

joboo7777

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Aug 8, 2020
255
McKinney, TX
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spit take GIF


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

If not in the business of making money, then why not go completely non-profit?
 

OrangeAndBlue

Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2017
114
Houston, TX area
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
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.
There may be 280k members on the forum, but how many of those actually truly follow TFP methods regularly vs just signed up one time. Even if it is 280k faithful members, that's not a big market really and a pretty small fraction of all pool owners. On the whole that is not a very big market, especially for a product that would be largely a one-time purchase (as TPF members would mostly prefer it - not relying on subscription models to include various potions, etc.).
Also I doubt the current recommended test kits are very profitable, and those are comparatively cheap to produce and didn't rely on high up-front R&D investments which a fully automated testing solution would have to have first.
 

reggiehammond

Gold Supporter
Oct 4, 2020
447
Fort Worth, Texas
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CircuPool RJ-60 Plus
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.
I basically already have this miracle device that reduces my time testing and adding chemicals. It’s a SWCG and has removed what little effort was already required on a TFP.
 

joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
255
McKinney, TX
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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!
Love the Apex system. I had one prior to Netptune adding automated testing capabilities. I heard its great though. Now I have a smaller tank and just haven't gotten around to buying one due to this big money pit "hole" in my backyard ;)
 

gcstang

Member
Jun 15, 2021
10
Peoria AZ
Pool Size
19999
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Sooooo

Interesting reading. More automated pool testing in coming, and probably sooner than we think. There is a subset of us here toying with more and better automation. Right now we have pH pretty dialed in (not that is a big deal). The industrial pH probes we are using can go months without calibration and give a very accurate real time reading. Again old news there are many systems out there that do that.

The next piece is we are stalking a decent FC sensor (not ORP but real FC). They are out there and they are dropping in price. We saw one recently on for around $300, but non of us have taken the plunge yet. But I suspect one of us will pick it up soon and start messing around with it. We will probably be disappointed but new and better ones are going to be around the corner.

Once I have real time (or near time) FC and pH testing that and have automation to adjust to either of those things life much easier. Not that testing is that hard, and I probably will still manually dose my pool if I detect an anomaly.
which pH device and where can it be purchased?
 

Effers

Bronze Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
75
Warrenton, VA
Really curious if any more members have gotten hands on with some smart testing automation devices that are out there. I am looking at the three listed below as leaders in the clubhouse unless something missed my search:
  • Sutro Smart Pool Monitor
  • WaterGuru Sense
  • Keto A.I. Smart Skimmer
With pHin shuttering, is this a sign of things to come? I know Taylor test kit testing is the most reliable and will continue to use, however these new smart devices are super convenient for a quick status as well as those that travel and would like updates (and can send help if needed).
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
20,224
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
You can try any one of them. Search TFP and you’ll find threads from enthusiastic first time owners that quickly turn to grief and annoyance. The typical pattern I see is that everyone is excited to get one and, out of the box, they seem to work as advertised. Then the quirkiness of the apps start to show up, inconsistent results, doubt, replacement parts if customer service ever answers your calls, little to no support from the company and then finally, off to the trash bin OR people keep them and just mostly ignore the results.

If you want to spend upwards of $300 or more to join that elite club of frustrated beta testers, go right ahead.

If you need help with your pool, please only post results from your Taylor test kit 😉 we’ll be happy to help ….
 
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Effers

Bronze Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
75
Warrenton, VA
Thanks Matt. I have gone through a lot of the postings here on TFP, and have seen a lot of grief and annoyance with these products. I was more curious if anyone is using them successfully after an extended time period? Maybe a year? Are they being used to complement Taylor Test Kits? I have to assume "someone" is using them with some level of satisfaction.
 

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joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
255
McKinney, TX
Pool Size
15568
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Plaster
Chlorine
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Thanks Matt. I have gone through a lot of the postings here on TFP, and have seen a lot of grief and annoyance with these products. I was more curious if anyone is using them successfully after an extended time period? Maybe a year? Are they being used to complement Taylor Test Kits? I have to assume "someone" is using them with some level of satisfaction.
I’ve been using a Hayward sense and dispense system to measure and automate chemical distribution for both PH and Chlorine with little to no issues for 16 months now.

Technically not automated testing but more digital, I’ve also been using an Industrial Test Systems eXact iDip Photometer to test Free & Combined Chlorine, PH, Calcium Hardness, CYA, & Alkalinity with similar results to Taylor drop tests for close to a year now. It can be done.

Given the poor experience by a few on this thread I’m guessing I’m the lucky one..;)
 

rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
450
California
Hayward Sense and Dispense is a much different product to the products mentioned. Sense and Dispense is a flow cell monitoring system and the ones mentioned in the post are... well lets just say they are not the same. You can get a level of longevity from your probes. These systems are a sum of their parts and while the Sense and Dispense might not outlast the pool, the ones mentioned may not outlast your pool toys.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
20,224
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
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Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Remote monitoring is a very complicated undertaking. Even in the most advanced industrial control systems, chemical probes need frequent preventative maintenance and scheduled replacement. Trying to take those systems and package them into a consumer-friendly, waterproof, sun-proof floating enclosure that has decent battery life and can be sold at a price point that doesn’t make the pool owner’s eyes water is pretty much an impossible task. You have to compromise somewhere and the only place is in the quality of the parts used and the cheapest manufacturing methods available. That inevitably leads to rapid product failure that you could only possibly manage with excellent customer support and quick turn around on spare parts. It just doesn’t happen and so these things quickly become land-fill fodder along with all the old pool noodles and floats.
 

rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
450
California
The odd part is that it is much less complicated than for instance installing a salt cell. However, it is more complicated than tossing a lump of plastic into the pool and pairing it with a phone. Good systems are really pretty trouble free and provide lots of benefits. When combined with a SWG for sanitation the pool doesn't get away from you even when you are gone for an extended period of time. Even when that gone is on the patio with a single malt scotch in your hand.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
2,049
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
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Plaster
Chlorine
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SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I never tried any of those floating type auto testers.

That being said, I do believe that the system that I am currently using is about as perfect as one can expect.

Sure, I still have to test cH, TA, CYA, and Borates every now and then, but as @rstrouse has pointed out in this thread, those typically remain fairly consistent and within limits with good practical pool care.
I still manually test pH, FC and EC (salt content), here and there just to ensure that my Atlas probes/EZO Circuits remain within calibration parameters.

I have been using the DIY REM Chem Controller since it's inception (16 months now) and honestly, I couldn't be happier. Along with the Atlas Probes and other ancillary devices, the entire package (nodejs-poolController/dashPanel/REM/Grafana-InfluxDB), is about as rock solid and reliable as can be. I had some hiccups in the beginning but those were due to operator induced "Headspace & Timing" errors mostly. :p

The acid dosing function of REM is phenomenal and I have never had a problem with over/under dosing, Keeps pH right where I set it and let's me know when the acid tank needs a refill.

I check the screen below about 2 to 3 times a week and as long as everything looks copacetic, I know I'm good.
Also it lets me know when filter pressure is 10 PSI above starting PSI, so I can give the filter grids a cleaning.

Sure, there's a bit of unnecessary "eye candy" on my Grafana/Influx DB screen here but I had some fun with it.

Grafana/InfluxDB
2022-04-26_13-07-52.jpg


nodejs-poolController/dashPanel
2022-04-26_13-01-23.jpg
r.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
2,049
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
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Chlorine
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Well the pressure gauge on my filter finally broke. So I ordered a new one when I got my refill from TFKits. And I bit the bullet and order a pressure transducer. So when I come back from vacation all that will get installed.
:wave: Hi @Katodude
Nice... Yea, I bought a new oil filled gauge from TFKits as well recently. I needed the one that had the connector on the bottom instead of the one on the back of the gauge. I finally ditched that monster commercial sand filter and got around to installing a Pentair CCP-520 that I bought last year. I know that was the way to go. Of course, it was a chore coz I had to cut into the plumbing etc. etc. Sorry I waited so long but wanted to geterdone before we hit the century mark here on the thermometer.
2022-04-26_13-38-44.jpg

Vacation? What's that LOL... I still need to make it over there to FL.... (y)
r.
 
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Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
1,300
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
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Chlorine
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The remote monitoring is still on my someday list. Current projects include a 1964 Chevelle Malibu, a 1985 Jeep CJ7, about 40 different improvements to the existing home structure, and who knows what else.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through you guys.

--Jeff
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
2,049
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
The remote monitoring is still on my someday list. Current projects include a 1964 Chevelle Malibu, a 1985 Jeep CJ7, about 40 different improvements to the existing home structure, and who knows what else.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through you guys.

--Jeff
@Turbo1Ton
I gotcha... When you're ready to take the plunge, all the resources are right there on the njspC/dashPanel and REM GitHub repositories for the taking. Tremendous work over there. And the guys have opened up a discussion area which is really cool for questions, concerns etc.

I know what you mean about other projects. Once I did about everything I could think of with the pool, I got into a new project. I had always wanted a 5.9 24V Cummins diesel engine (best engine they ever made IMO). Last fall, I found a deal on a very clean, low mileage 07' Dodge Ram 2500 4x4, so I scooped it up. That beast has been keeping me really busy ever since, as I am modifying/upgrading just about everything on the truck. I've been making Gale Banks Engineering very happy with all the after-market products that I've been encorporating on the truck (425hp/845lb.-ft Torque). :p

Anyway, take care and good luck on the projects....
r.
 
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