Automation - Intellicenter Price Quotes

Valdeselad

Well-known member
Dec 25, 2014
68
Houston, Texas
Hi everyone,

I am heading down the path of automation and looking at the Pentair Intellicenter. Am needing the pool + spa combo with the salt cell (IC 40) and probably the 8 relays since I believe the cost is only slightly more than the 5.

However, I'd like to get several price quotes to make sure I'm getting a fair deal. Does anyone have a suggested list of vendors? I noticed SunPlay does not seem to sell the Intellicenter, but I plan on calling Polytec Pools.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
 

proavia

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Feb 6, 2015
1,677
Chandler AZ
You would be better served with an IC60 rather than the IC40. It's recommended to size the SWG at least 2x larger than the pool.

Not sure if they have a package deal that includes the IC60 though.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,074
Arizona
Hi everyone,

I am heading down the path of automation and looking at the Pentair Intellicenter. Am needing the pool + spa combo with the salt cell (IC 40) and probably the 8 relays since I believe the cost is only slightly more than the 5.

However, I'd like to get several price quotes to make sure I'm getting a fair deal. Does anyone have a suggested list of vendors? I noticed SunPlay does not seem to sell the Intellicenter, but I plan on calling Polytec Pools.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
Hi.
I would recommend that you give PolyTec Pools a call. That is where I purchased my IntelliCenter and they had the best price that I could find, out of the 5 online vendors that I found that have IntelliCenter availability. You will not find their prices quoted online since the IntelliCenter is a Pentair "Trade Grade" product. I have ordered several items from them over the past six months and I found their prices always beat their competition. Also great customer service, super-fast free shipping and no tax.

If you decide to go with the IC-60 (concur with proavia, that the IC-60 is a better choice given your pool size), I believe that you willl not be able to purchase an IntelliCenter + IC-60 in a "bundle" package (but never hurts to ask. Things are always changing right?) So you can order the i8PS and the IC-60 separately.

Good luck with your IntelliCenter purchase/install. I'm really liking many of the newer features of the IntelliCenter..

r...
 

Valdeselad

Well-known member
Dec 25, 2014
68
Houston, Texas
Thanks everyone, your replies are very helpful and appreciated. I called Polytec and got a quote - they are very helpful and nice.

The plan right now (subject to change of course) is to buy the Intellicenter i8 (pool + spa) + IC60 + the intelliph which I discovered while building this system and would add a valuable component.

However, I am now confused. Do I need to buy the intellichem controller separately to monitor ph and chlorine levels or is that functionality built in with just the intelliph and intellicenter (links below)?

https://www.polytecpools.com/Pentair-IntelliCenter-i8PSIC40-Kit--Pool-and-Spa-with-Load-Center-and-IC40_p_9378.html (will substitute IC 60)

https://www.polytecpools.com/Pentair-IntellipH-pH-Controller_p_7714.html (Pentair Intelliph Controller)

https://www.polytecpools.com/Pentair-IntelliChem-Chemical-Controller-wOne-Pump-and-Acid-Container_p_7757.html (IntelliChem chemical controller w/ pump + acid container)

or do I just need the acid container....?

https://www.polytecpools.com/Pentair-IntelliChem-Four-Gallon-Acid-Container_p_7759.html (4 Gallon Acid Container)

I plan on controlling everything through my phone, so I was initially under the impression that the intellicenter would be the brain for everything and I wouldn't need a separate controller for anything, even the ph, but I want to make certain of this.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,866
Bedford, TX
Val,

You really need to do a little more research on the IntelliChem... It is not one of our favorite products and it is doubtful that it will do what you want.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Valdeselad

Well-known member
Dec 25, 2014
68
Houston, Texas
Val,

You really need to do a little more research on the IntelliChem... It is not one of our favorite products and it is doubtful that it will do what you want.

Thanks,

Jim R.
My previous question was around intelliph integration - I am simply asking if the intellichem is necessary when you have the intellicenter (I didn’t think it was but I could certainly be wrong). I’m confident with the intellicenter system outside of this.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,074
Arizona
My previous question was around intelliph integration - I am simply asking if the intellichem is necessary when you have the intellicenter (I didn’t think it was but I could certainly be wrong). I’m confident with the intellicenter system outside of this.
Val,
You are talking about two different systems (IntelliChem & IntellipH). IntellipH is an acid dosing device ONLY. Currently, there is NO real integration between IntellipH and the IntelliCenter automation (there are rumors that future IntelliCenter firmware upgrades may allow for IntellipH integration, but don't put a lot of credence in the rumors).

IntelliChem is an acid dosing device and much more (and a lot more expensive). Trust me, the IntelliChem does not deliver on all of the promises it makes and appears to do so with lots of human integration. There are still a log of bugs to be worked out in that technology. Unless you want to be a total pool geek and always be messing with the IntelliChem, you might just want to stick with the IntellipH. It's a fairly simple device that doses muriatic acid on a hourly time schedule and automatically doses in an amount that the user determines.

It (the IntellipH) does integrate with the IntelliChlor (if you have one) somewhat. If you have both, then you will perform your IntelliChlor configurations through the IntellipH control panel. UNLESS, you have an automation system. If you have automation, then IntelliChlor configurations are done through the automation control system and IntelllipH configurations and settings remain at the IntellipH control panel.

HOWEVER, if you opt for IntelliChem (an entirely different animal), then all settings and configurations I believe are performed at the automation system level.

There is a lot of material here on TFP regarding the pros and cons and the differences between the IntelliChem and the IntellipH. Read a lot, get lots of opinions from user's here that own these systems and then ask questions (the search function here on TFP is a WONDERFUL thing for gleaning information). You will then be armed with all available information to make a wise and informed decision on which system willl work best for you.
r..
 

Valdeselad

Well-known member
Dec 25, 2014
68
Houston, Texas
Val,
You are talking about two different systems (IntelliChem & IntellipH). IntellipH is an acid dosing device ONLY. Currently, there is NO real integration between IntellipH and the IntelliCenter automation (there are rumors that future IntelliCenter firmware upgrades may allow for IntellipH integration, but don't put a lot of credence in the rumors).

IntelliChem is an acid dosing device and much more (and a lot more expensive). Trust me, the IntelliChem does not deliver on all of the promises it makes and appears to do so with lots of human integration. There are still a log of bugs to be worked out in that technology. Unless you want to be a total pool geek and always be messing with the IntelliChem, you might just want to stick with the IntellipH. It's a fairly simple device that doses muriatic acid on a hourly time schedule and automatically doses in an amount that the user determines.

It (the IntellipH) does integrate with the IntelliChlor (if you have one) somewhat. If you have both, then you will perform your IntelliChlor configurations through the IntellipH control panel. UNLESS, you have an automation system. If you have automation, then IntelliChlor configurations are done through the automation control system and IntelllipH configurations and settings remain at the IntellipH control panel.

HOWEVER, if you opt for IntelliChem (an entirely different animal), then all settings and configurations I believe are performed at the automation system level.

There is a lot of material here on TFP regarding the pros and cons and the differences between the IntelliChem and the IntellipH. Read a lot, get lots of opinions from user's here that own these systems and then ask questions (the search function here on TFP is a WONDERFUL thing for gleaning information). You will then be armed with all available information to make a wise and informed decision on which system willl work best for you.
r..
@MyAZpool - thank you so much for the great and helpful response - the IntelliChem is not something I need in this setup. It sounds like since I will have the intellicenter and intellichlor, the intelliph will remain essentially standalone for the time being with no real integration. If I understand correctly, even with the intellicenter up and running, there will still be a separate control panel for the intelliph that does not tie into the intellicenter directly - and this separate control is what will be the brains of the intelliph.

With that said, I think this would be the intelliph that I need (I assume this comes with the intelliph control box):

https://www.polytecpools.com/Pentair-IntellipH-pH-Controller_p_7714.html
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,866
Bedford, TX
Val,

Just to make sure we are all on the same page... Nothing will be "monitoring" your pH and Chlorine levels except you.. The IntelliCenter, nor the SWCG, nor the iPH knows what the actual levels are.. They just dose on a time based schedule.. You tell it how much you want to add and the system will add that amount of chlorine and that amount of acid, no matter if it is too much or too little.

These are open loop systems.. The brain that makes the system work is you.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,074
Arizona
@MyAZpool - thank you so much for the great and helpful response - the IntelliChem is not something I need in this setup. It sounds like since I will have the intellicenter and intellichlor, the intelliph will remain essentially standalone for the time being with no real integration. If I understand correctly, even with the intellicenter up and running, there will still be a separate control panel for the intelliph that does not tie into the intellicenter directly - and this separate control is what will be the brains of the intelliph.

With that said, I think this would be the intelliph that I need (I assume this comes with the intelliph control box):

https://www.polytecpools.com/Pentair-IntellipH-pH-Controller_p_7714.html
Val,
Thanks. Jim R. (as always) simplified (for easy understanding) and well-stated the overall concept in the above post. He sure has helped me a lot in the past!

YES, the IntellipH that you are ordering comes with the IntellipH controller.

The IntelliChlor control cable will connect to the bottom of the IntellipH controller. The IntellipH controller will then connect to the IntelliCenter power connector at the bottom of the Load or Power Center. But this cable essentially just delivers power to IntellipH and does not exchange information.

The IntelliCenter Chemistry page currently will tell you NOTHING about pH or acid, if using the IntellipH. Currently, you cannot control any IntellipH functionality through the IntelliCenter. You will control the amount of acid dosing from IntellipH Controller but again, the IntellipH only does what you tell it to do based on manual testing.

Since the IntelliChlor is actually connected to the IntelliCenter (via the IpH connection), you will control all of the IntelliChor (clorine dosing) functionality through the Settings>System Configurations>Chemistry Control Page of the various user interfaces. This will include: Clorine output measured in percentage, amount of time to clorinate and a few other options that you can explore later (lets keep it simple for now).

The IntelliCenter attached to the IntellipH/IntelliChlor will advise you of the salt level (in ppm) but NOT what your free, combined or total clorine levels are. That is on you via a recommended TF-100 test kit. Same with pH. You do the monitoring, then tell the automation equipment what to do about it.

Hope this helps you.


r...
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
66
Tucson, AZ
The issue I've discovered in pool chemistry automation, is that while pH sensors are cheap and reliable, free chlorine measurement is not. A cheap approximation of total chlorine can be made via an ORP sensor, but requires a slew of other ideal chemistry which in practice is generally unachievable, particularly due to the fact that the majority of pool maintainers use solid chlorine pucks that boost cyanuric acid levels. If the cyanuric acid levels are way off, your ORP sensor will be extremely inaccurate. Since the IntelliChem system uses an ORP sensor for chlorine sensing, that would make it basically useless, especially with the use of solid chlorine delivery. I've found some industrial grade free chlorine sensors, but they're generally in the $2000-4000 range and require frequent sensor replacement - not to mention that there is no integration into an existing pool automation ecosystem, so you'd be authoring your own controller.

The reduction of pH using muriatic acid is generally infrequent enough that I'm not sure you would necessarily require an automated dispenser.
 

Valdeselad

Well-known member
Dec 25, 2014
68
Houston, Texas
Val,
Thanks. Jim R. (as always) simplified (for easy understanding) and well-stated the overall concept in the above post. He sure has helped me a lot in the past!

YES, the IntellipH that you are ordering comes with the IntellipH controller.

The IntelliChlor control cable will connect to the bottom of the IntellipH controller. The IntellipH controller will then connect to the IntelliCenter power connector at the bottom of the Load or Power Center. But this cable essentially just delivers power to IntellipH and does not exchange information.

The IntelliCenter Chemistry page currently will tell you NOTHING about pH or acid, if using the IntellipH. Currently, you cannot control any IntellipH functionality through the IntelliCenter. You will control the amount of acid dosing from IntellipH Controller but again, the IntellipH only does what you tell it to do based on manual testing.

Since the IntelliChlor is actually connected to the IntelliCenter (via the IpH connection), you will control all of the IntelliChor (clorine dosing) functionality through the Settings>System Configurations>Chemistry Control Page of the various user interfaces. This will include: Clorine output measured in percentage, amount of time to clorinate and a few other options that you can explore later (lets keep it simple for now).

The IntelliCenter attached to the IntellipH/IntelliChlor will advise you of the salt level (in ppm) but NOT what your free, combined or total clorine levels are. That is on you via a recommended TF-100 test kit. Same with pH. You do the monitoring, then tell the automation equipment what to do about it.

Hope this helps you.


r...
@MyAZPool - thank you again for your extremely helpful response. I am going to order the IntelliCenter and am really looking forward to it! Not 100% sure if I'm going to order the intelliph at this time - still going back and forth on this one. Thanks again!

- - - Updated - - -

The issue I've discovered in pool chemistry automation, is that while pH sensors are cheap and reliable, free chlorine measurement is not. A cheap approximation of total chlorine can be made via an ORP sensor, but requires a slew of other ideal chemistry which in practice is generally unachievable, particularly due to the fact that the majority of pool maintainers use solid chlorine pucks that boost cyanuric acid levels. If the cyanuric acid levels are way off, your ORP sensor will be extremely inaccurate. Since the IntelliChem system uses an ORP sensor for chlorine sensing, that would make it basically useless, especially with the use of solid chlorine delivery. I've found some industrial grade free chlorine sensors, but they're generally in the $2000-4000 range and require frequent sensor replacement - not to mention that there is no integration into an existing pool automation ecosystem, so you'd be authoring your own controller.

The reduction of pH using muriatic acid is generally infrequent enough that I'm not sure you would necessarily require an automated dispenser.

@Motozoic - this is a very helpful response. Is there a 3rd party pH sensor you would recommend that would work with the Intellicenter? In other words, I would be able to see the current pH levels via the ScreenLogic interface?
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,074
Arizona
@MyAZPool - thank you again for your extremely helpful response. I am going to order the IntelliCenter and am really looking forward to it! Not 100% sure if I'm going to order the intelliph at this time - still going back and forth on this one. Thanks again!

- - - Updated - - -




@Motozoic - this is a very helpful response. Is there a 3rd party pH sensor you would recommend that would work with the Intellicenter? In other words, I would be able to see the current pH levels via the ScreenLogic interface?
Hi Val & Merry Christmas.
Just a little clarification on something so things don't get confused.
The ScreenLogic Interface is the user interface that supports the Pentair "IntelliTouch" and "EasyTouch" automation control systems. In other words, "ScreenLogic" has nothing to do with the IntelliCenter (but I knew what you meant ;)). I think what you might meant to say was the IntelliCenter User Interface.

Here is some further information regarding the various IntelliCenter User Interfaces:

There are several user interfaces available to control and/or configure IntelliCenter.

1. The IntelliCenter Control System Outdoor Control Panel (TouchScreen) (obviously).

2. The IntelliCenter Control System Web Application where you utilize a PC, MAC or tablet to access your IntelliCenter control system, through the web interface (grrrr) :mad:.

3. The IntelliCenter iOS app which can be accessed through the applicable iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch device or Apple Watch.

4. The IntelliCenter Android app through the applicable android device.

5. IntelliCenter accessibility can also be accomplished (for the most common pool/spa control commands only) through the Alexa app available for free through Amazon, if you have one of the various Amazon Echo’s, Fire TV cube, etc.

6. The optional IntelliCenter Control System Wireless Controller or Indoor Control Panels.


To be fair here, I have only used the Outdoor Control Panel, iOS device/app and the web application (PC) to access, control and configure IntelliCenter. I have also used Alexa/Echo to give some of the common commands to IntelliCenter.
I cannot comment on the Android app, Apple Watch, or the Wireless or Indoor Control Panels, since I have not used those devices.


- I personally know nothing about a "3rd party pH sensor" that would integrate with the IntelliCenter. There is nothing in the documentation that would indicate that "currently", that it would be possible. That is not to say that it might not be possible with future firmware upgrades. BUT, there are some pretty smart "cookies" on this site who tend to find some pretty "creative workarounds" to issues and problems at times. I just don't personally know of any.
Take care...
r.
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
66
Tucson, AZ
Understandably, most folks are interested in the easiest most cost effective solution to their pool automation. The current state of the art, however leaves much to be desired, particularly if you're some kind of science or technology buff and are more aware than your average consumer. I believe that is where the DIY home automation industry comes in, where several highly developed open source software projects have complete integrations with numerous pool automation controllers, including Pentair's Easytouch, Intellicenter, etc. Autelis comes to mind.

In any case, the pH sensor I'm sure is fine with the Pentair system. It's the ORP sensor that is a crude approximation of chlorine level - I personally would not jump for a system that automates dosing using an ORP sensor and I feel that I'm not alone, particularly in regard to the very knowledgeable group of pool experts on this forum. That being said, I'm totally unaware of ANY automatic chlorine dosing system that uses an actual free chlorine sensor.

One sensor I've been looking at for some time is the Chemtrol PPM sensor suite (measures PPM of free chlorine directly using amperometric sensing): CHEMTROL CHLORINE SENSOR - PPM Sensor. A system would have to be designed to use this sensor instead of an ORP, but the sensor cost is still rather high (although cost has come down considerably). One very positive aspect of this PPM sensor however is that it's almost maintenance free, which is amazing.

In the end, I'm still dumping liquid chlorine in myself when needed.

Edit: I just read through the brochure for the Chemtrol 265 PPM/pH Digital Controller and it looks like this is the thing you would want to have for your own pool. It's a digital controller that allows setpoint control for both pH and chlorine adjustment. You would need to provide the sanitizer and acid/base feed tanks, along with the chemical pumps, but the controller will do the work for you. It's not cheap, at around $3000, but this would be the way to do it, for sure.
 
Last edited:

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,074
Arizona
Understandably, most folks are interested in the easiest most cost effective solution to their pool automation. The current state of the art, however leaves much to be desired, particularly if you're some kind of science or technology buff and are more aware than your average consumer. I believe that is where the DIY home automation industry comes in, where several highly developed open source software projects have complete integrations with numerous pool automation controllers, including Pentair's Easytouch, Intellicenter, etc. Autelis comes to mind.

In any case, the pH sensor I'm sure is fine with the Pentair system. It's the ORP sensor that is a crude approximation of chlorine level - I personally would not jump for a system that automates dosing using an ORP sensor and I feel that I'm not alone, particularly in regard to the very knowledgeable group of pool experts on this forum. That being said, I'm totally unaware of ANY automatic chlorine dosing system that uses an actual free chlorine sensor.

One sensor I've been looking at for some time is the Chemtrol PPM sensor suite (measures PPM of free chlorine directly using amperometric sensing): CHEMTROL CHLORINE SENSOR - PPM Sensor. A system would have to be designed to use this sensor instead of an ORP, but the sensor cost is still rather high (although cost has come down considerably). One very positive aspect of this PPM sensor however is that it's almost maintenance free, which is amazing.

In the end, I'm still dumping liquid chlorine in myself when needed.
Motozoic,
Interesting post and some pretty valid points that got me thinking about all of this. I did swing over to the Autelis site. Nothing about IntelliCenter integration yet, but that makes sense since the IC is still so new.

I believe that in time, there will be a "user-friendly", "cost effective" and "reliable" method for obtaining an accurate pH and/or Free Chlorine readings that can be viewed on our automation. We're just not there yet IMHO.

As far as chlorination, in the mean time, I'm pretty happy just letting my SWCG do it's thing. It's almost "hands-off" anyway, once I found the particular settings in order to get it dialed in to my specific pool and climate conditions and I can make any adjustments needed right from the Chemistry screen in the IntelliCenter interface.

Just like the SWCG, I believe that once I find the right dosing and timing parameters for my pool and "time-of-year" parameters, that the IntellipH will be suitable for my needs (still experimenting with it, since I just installed it recently) based on my manual testing..

In the future, it would be great to be able to just install a couple of "probes" in the additional tap outlets that I installed in my plumbing and get a FC/CC/TC and pH reading that I could see on the automation screen. Until then, I guess I'll just be sticking with my trusty TF-100, and then make adjustments to the SWCG and intellipH as needed. :smile:
r..
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,866
Bedford, TX
Haha yes, the TF-100 seems be serving me very well... although I think I may be in the market for a Speedstir unit, for sure!
Moto,

The Speedstir is to the TF-100, as a Key-Fob is to your car... Yes, you do not "need" either one, but once you use them you will never, ever want to go back.

After using the Speedstir to run the tests, you will find it is about 10 x easier, and you will be kicking yourself for not getting one sooner.

You can thank me later... :p

Jim R.