Hayward Tristar VS 900 Omni and AQR925 SWG - Can Omni Control SWG?

Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
Hi all, long time reader, first time poster. First let me say that I've been managing my pool using advice from this site for three seasons now, going into my fourth, and pool maintenance has been cost effective and relatively pain free, so thank you for that.

My current equipment pad is incredibly simple. 17K gallon pool, 1.5hp Century single-speed w/ Superpump housing, 250lb Hayward sand filter, and nothing else. No automation, no heater, no SWG, no ladders or diving board, a single light in the deep end. Very simple stuff.

I finally decided to upgrade my pool equipment. My current plan is to purchase (all Hayward) TriStar VS 900, s244t sand filter, and AQR925 SWG. However, I am having a very difficult time trying to get a straight answer on the capabilities of the Tristar VS 900 Omni and its ability to control the AQR925 SWG. The TriStar VS 900 is currently sold out in my area (via dealers) but they do have the Omni available. I've searched this site, and there are references to daughter boards, but admittedly, I'm way past my skis on this, and the local dealers are useless. If I only purchased the 3 items listed above, will i be able to control the pump and the SWG via smartphone?

If the answer is "no". i will likely stick with trying to find a regular TriStar VS 900, and skip the Omni. But my thinking is that if the answer is yes, then I combine the setup with a WaterGuru (or something similar), and I can then easily monitor pool levels without ever setting foot onto the equipment pad (and take longer vacations!).

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,410
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I am not familiar with Hayward automation, so lets see if some others can chime in.

The remote testing things are a great novelty, but I would not rely on them to provide a reasonable level of accuracy to make chemistry decisions.
 

Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
Thanks for the response. Quick update: I am more confused than ever. A local dealer suggested the following setup: TriStar 900 VS Omni + AQR925 + daughter board. They claimed to have installed this combination successfully over a dozen times. That said, they have no proof that clients can actually control the SWG. (we’re investigating that now.)

When I mentioned this exact combination to Hayward Tech Support, they claimed that the combination would only allow me to “monitor“ the salt level, but NOT actually control the SWG. Hayward Tech support suggested that I purchased the HLBASE, along with the TCELL925 (not AQR) and TriStar 900 VS (not Omni). (The HLBASE has an MSRP of ~$2k and seems a bit expensive to simply control sanitization by iOS app.)

I also reached out to INYOPools because they did a video on the TriStar 900 VS Omni, but they weren’t sure and actually recommended that I come here! 😀

Edit - and yes, totally agreed that the WaterGuru is directional, and no substitute for my TF-100 test kit.
 

Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
The HLBASE that was recommended to me by Hayward is this one:


the TriStar 900 VS Omni that the dealer wants to sell me is this one:


I’m not sure what the difference is exactly between what you’ve linked and the HLBASE.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,410
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I am not a Hayward automation expert. Though looking at the marketing speak on the second link you posted, it appears to control everything you would like it too.
 

cptkirk

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2018
208
FL Panhandle
Here is a link to the documentation page for the Tristar VS 900 Omni:


This has links to the installation manual and operations manual. Just skimming the installation manual where it goes through the configuration wizard, there is no indication that it can control a SWG. But it is probably worthwhile to give the docs a careful reading.

How does the total package price of the two options (VS Omni pump + AQR 925 vs HLBASE + cell only + VS pump) compare?
 

Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
Thanks for the documentation. In skimming it (I’ll do a deeper read shortly), I agree - there doesn’t seem to be any reference to the TriStar VS 900 Omni controlling a salt cell. That said, there doesn’t seem to be any reference that it can’t, either.

My original plan was to install a new VS pump combined with an SWG. My use case is to be able to stop the daily liquid chlorine requirement, to be able to take a weeklong vacation without worrying that I’d run out of chlorine (floaters with TriChlor are fine, but not reliable at chlorine dosing), and I wanted to install a solar cover (which needs the water moving to keep algae away). My hardware cost frame of reference for that plan is the following:

TriStar VS 900 ($1199) + AQR925 ($1349) = $2548

My local dealer didn’t have a VS pump in stock, but does have the VS Omni pump. He made the case that I could control everything via iOS app, including the SWG. Given the long term investment, I thought this might be worth it. So we did many rounds of research and came to this setup:

TriStar VS 900 Omni ($1899) + AQR925 ($1349) + daughter board ($100) = $3348

The Hayward rep said that the above setup would not work, and suggested this alternative setup, which is even more expensive:

TriStar VS 900 ($1199) + TCELL925 ($649) + HLBASE ($1999) = $3847


Theres literally no way that controlling the salt cell via iOS is worth an extra $1300 (to me). I’d stick with the simpler system, which still gives me everything I need for my use cases without iOS integration. But for an extra $800 spread out over a 5 year depreciation schedule, I can wrap my head around the value (Though I still think I’m wildly overpaying). Hence the dilemma.
 

cptkirk

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2018
208
FL Panhandle
For sure configuration #3 will work (that's what I have). Unless you can find either documentation that says #2 will work or can find someone who has made this work themselves, it is safest to assume that Hayward tech support is correct and you won't get remote control of the SWG.

From my personal experience, having remote control/monitoring of the equipment is highly desirable. My setup sends me alarm notifications via email when things are not working (for example no flow alarms) The ability to change the settings and schedules and view the pump and SWG diagnostics remotely is very nice. It is a lot extra to pay, but you may find it worth it in the long run.
 

Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
Great to hear that you have the setup described by the Hayward rep. That‘s helpful.

I just got off the phone with Gibbs pool service in Massachusetts. They were mentioned in this blog post:


In the posts, the owner of the pool claims to install the exact setup I’m looking at myself.


Gibbs claims to have installed this setup many times as well, and although he‘s never verified it with his clients, he believes that the Omni pump combined with AQR925 + daughter board should be enough to achieve my results. He also verified that cptkirk’s setup would work. And he mentioned that there’s a brand new product out there as well (which might be what mknauss linked to above), but he has no experience with that product. He will also reach out to his Hayward rep and his clients to confirm and get back to me.

If anyone here has direct experience with the Omni pump+AQR925+daughter board combination, I would really appreciate your insight. And if there’s another way to skin this cat, I’m totally open to suggestion. Thank you!
 

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Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
Quick update - one of my local dealers (who has installed the combo of TriStar VS 900 Omni + AQR925 + daughterboard) reached out to a "senior" rep at Hayward and confirmed that this combo would work and enable me to control the salt system via the iOS application. This senior rep was confused as to why Hayward gave me incorrect information via email. I'll update this thread in the coming weeks after the entire package is installed and hopefully working as planned!

Interestingly, this rep introduced yet another way that the Omni system could be configured, which is the AquaRite S3 Omni, the salt cell with Omni capability. It sounds like various Hayward components can work together in various ways, which could explain why a novice like myself can get lost in the different combinations. :)
 
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BBSKINNER

New member
Jul 26, 2021
1
Mississippi
Quick update - one of my local dealers (who has installed the combo of TriStar VS 900 Omni + AQR925 + daughterboard) reached out to a "senior" rep at Hayward and confirmed that this combo would work and enable me to control the salt system via the iOS application. This senior rep was confused as to why Hayward gave me incorrect information via email. I'll update this thread in the coming weeks after the entire package is installed and hopefully working as planned!

Interestingly, this rep introduced yet another way that the Omni system could be configured, which is the AquaRite S3 Omni, the salt cell with Omni capability. It sounds like various Hayward components can work together in various ways, which could explain why a novice like myself can get lost in the different combinations. :)
Looking at the same setup with the HLBASE. Local installer wanted me to use the VS Omni pump (with Omni included in the pump). I was confused as to how this setup allows addition of relays and other controls. With the HLBASE, there is space for breakers and additional relays/etc. Would I need a subpanel with breakers for the pump that has the Omni built in?
 

Auctor

Member
Aug 22, 2019
23
Central NJ
Hi

I ended up not purchasing anything this season. That said, I don’t know why you’d need both the HLBASE and Omni pump together. my understanding is that the HLBASE + add on WiFi controller would enable you to control a VS pump. If you didn’t have the HLBASE, you’d purchase the Omni pump, thus enabling wireless control. The HLBASE seems especially useful if you need control over many things. If you have a simple setup like mine, the streamlined Omni would likely suffice.
 
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