Getting started in Automation on a Budget - Pentair 523317 Intelliconnect WiFi ?

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
Perhaps this is a "talk me out of it" but I have a simple Pentair pool system with one skimmer, one waterfall, one gas heater, Quad-DE100 (means I only have to backwash or clean it when closing each year), Intelliclor-20, Aqualamp Rainbow Rays LED Pool Lights (x2 on same circuit) and two stair jets for a "spa-like effect" (my installer who was a great guy, went awol years back). Chemistry & water-quality is always great, I enjoy manually vacumming the pool as I have done for decades otherwise. It's an L-shaped pool running since 2015.

SO I can program the Intelliflo VS with it's own timer (but not remotely, but that would be nice for certain purposes), I can control the LEDs remotely with a basic WiFi system, but really one of the main things I wanted to do is be able to automate the waterfall. UNfortunately it is plumbed into the whole return system (has it's own valve), so basically the return from the heater goes to a pipe split three ways with three separate valves, first the stair jets (to improve flow when needed), next the Waterfall (which DOES require most of the pump's juice to have a significant flow), and the pool return jets.

Problem is, if pump goes into a lower RPM and the waterfall happens to be on, it will simply dribble (especially if stair jets aren't shut down), and that dribbling does cause some water loss.

I don't have the budget to go whole hog, but even a simple amount of automation to the pump, heater and a couple valves would be groovy.

Would the Pentair Intelliconnect at CDN$500 be a bad choice? lol (Thank you in advance!)
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,787
Northern NJ
Are the 3 valves on your return system Jandy valves? You need to have actuators on those valves to automate them. And I am not sure if the Intelliconnect can handle valves other then pool/spa valves.

@JamesW thoughts?
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
Thank you for answering my thread! The 3 valves are garden variety, but I can easily change them out and planned to. I've just read the odd thread here and there on the forum poo pooing the Intelliconnect and wondering if it may be the lo cost simple solution I am looking for?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,787
Northern NJ
I am trying to understand how budget constrained you really are. Replacing the 3 valves with actuators can cost another $500.
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
Really constrained, but it is possible for me to get away with adding one valve and actuator at first, only for the Waterfall, and then program it to only come on when the Pool Pump is set to high flow. That would take care of what is the main automation purpose in this. (Or I could walk over to the pad and flip the valves manually as I always have - BUT it would be nice to be able to control this from my poolside lounge chair.)
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,787
Northern NJ
Will you be able to do the install of the Intelliconnect or need to pay an electrician? You will probably need to buy some new circuit breakers.

Have you considered all the costs it will take to get it installed?
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
In fact I have read the installation manual for the Intelliconnect and it seems straightforward, I do need to replace RS-232 connect cables for the pump and heater that my original installer took with him before he went missing, and install a temperature sensor, plus the one valve and Actuator. I am just trying to figure out if there is an easier way or I am missing something somewhere. IN fact I suppose I "could" get away with some sort of timer activation for the valve actuator and just sync to the pool pump's schedule as a first step.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,787
Northern NJ
The Intelliconnect has two high voltage relays to be used for pool lights and a booster pump. It has an RS-485 port to communicate with the SWG and heater. It does NOT have connections for 24V valve actuators like the ET or Intellicenter does. I don’t think it will let you automate your waterfall the way you want.
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
Yes, sorry RS-485 (I was going by memory). I assumed the Relay specs just outline the max voltage that the internal relays can handle, and thus 24volts would be switched regardless (but that goes to show you what I know). "McGuyver" is my middle name.

I will give Pentair or a local dealer a call and try to get a bit more of an education in pool automation before proceeding.

Can pool valve actuators work on a simple timer?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,787
Northern NJ
Pool valve actuators are a bit more complicated then a simple on/off switch. They have a multiwire connector to turn the valve to two different positions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Websherpa

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
355
Chico, CA
Hey guys, just read Allen's comment about how the valves work... if the intelliconnect can drive 2 relays, can you connect an spdt relay that toggles 24vac (fed by an external transformer) to drive the valve? Forgive any ignorance on my part, I don't know if the relays are built in to the intelliconnect or not, or what type they are. But I think I remember a schematic Jim R posted about this (@Jimrahbe)
Tom
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
OK, now I get it, I was thinking that a valve actuator could be flipped in direction by being turned on and off sequentially (this is the heavy learning phase of my planned expedition).

So now I am wondering if there are any relatively inexpensive Intermatic Valve Actuator controllers that could control a valve between ON and OFF for one water branch (my waterfall) on a simple timer (and abandon remote control idea altogether - a nice idea, but for what I get out of it probably too expensive).

ADDED: Something like a solar heating branch but timer activated, rather than light activated.
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
I guess this: Intermatic Valve Actuator Controller PE140, either with a separate Z-Wave clock timer or PE653RC | MultiWave® Basic Control System or the Intelliconnect (but then we would be closer to an all in one system with the last two).
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
355
Chico, CA
those look pretty cool... but do you need the rf remote if you're just going to use your phone? there's a few other folks on this forum that have rolled their own automation with cheap wifi boards and alexa, that might be worth checking out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Websherpa

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
Who knows why they have a 433Mhz remote thrown in, but it doesn't change the price without it I think (cheap Chinese....cr@p... wait..EVERYTHING is manufactured on contract in China...). I would imagine there is some magic there related to garage door openers.
 

Websherpa

Member
May 6, 2016
22
Ontario / Canada
if the intelliconnect can drive 2 relays, can you connect an spdt relay that toggles 24vac (fed by an external transformer) to drive the valve? Forgive any ignorance on my part, I don't know if the relays are built in to the intelliconnect or not...
Tom
Taking this a bit further, I am a little confused, but I do think that if you use the Intelliconnect with an Intellichlor then you may lose one of the relays... but if you don't, and the software has "some" flexibility AND pool valve actuators have limit switches, then I could see perhaps one pool valve actuator controlled by using both relays (one one way, one the other) with a remote 24vac transformer.