I'm a hardware and software developer

tcoder

Member
Jun 21, 2012
6
Hi guys, I just found this pool board. I've had pools for the last 32 years and have had almost every kind of problem imaginable. I'm living here in sunny Phoenix and have a sports pool now. It originally was a salt pool but I discovered that the sensor and equipment was just too flaky and went through two different brands.

I found this board after seeing the ad in my Leslie Pool flyer. I've been considering building a pool chemical monitoring device for the last 5 years. I'm working with the sales manager that make pH and ORP sensors at Sensorex, being that they build their own sensors and have had lots of experience. I told him what I was considering to do and he was very interested in my project. I purchased two sensors, an ORP and a pH, which took them 2 weeks to manufacture. He warned me about using the cheap sensors that come from China. He also said that Leslie had been selling a pool monitoring device that floats in the pool, and that they've had lots of returns.

I've learned that the whole device needs to be built around sensors that can be unreliable, especially if they're cheap. Being that I'm a hardware and software developer, I believe that I can come up with something that can far exceed what the ePool device can do. Also, this board looks like a good resource to have pool owners test my device if I decide to go through with it.

Let me know what you guys think; good or bad. I don't want to spend money developing something that no one trusts.

Terry
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Welcome to TFP!

Fundamentally, it is a sensor problem. PH sensors, especially the better ones, work well. But nothing exists that will work for measuring FC levels. ORP sensors are an inherently flawed approach for determining FC level. No matter how good your ORP sensor you will not be able to reliably determine the FC level. There are simply too many things that can affect the ORP reading which have nothing to do with the FC level. There are sensors that read FC directly, but they are dramatically more expensive and have high failure rates, especially when used with CYA in the water.
 

tcoder

Member
Jun 21, 2012
6
Yep, that's why I want to work with the guys that develop sensors, not just some place that only sells them. I've got bottles of liquids having specific pH and ORP levels. I'm sure I'll learn more than I ever wanted to know about measuring pH and chlorine levels. :-D
 

mhosborn

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2011
313
Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
Tcoder,

As the owner of a new IG pool that has an enormous appetite for muriatic acid, I'd be interested in looking at whatever you come up with. I'd offer the following suggestions if you do decide to proceed with this project:

1. When you stated in your original post, "...the whole device needs to be built around sensors that can be unreliable, especially..." I assume you meant to say "reliable sensors". LOL...there are probably plenty of unreliable sensors already on the market.
2. It would gain a larger market share if it could interface with some of the more popular automation systems out there, like Pentair's Easytouch/Intellitouch...units from Jandy and Hayward.
3. If #2 above isn't possible, consider building WiFi into it...maybe add an iOS and/or Android app.
4. Pentair's Intellichem unit sells for around $1000, so I'd suggest something that has an MSRP of about 1/2 that.

I'd be happy to test something if you get to that stage.

Mike
 

Shane1

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
621
Buckeye, AZ 85326
tcoder said:
I found this board after seeing the ad in my Leslie Pool flyer.
Terry
Did I miss read this? Is there an ad for TFP on the Leslies flyer?
On a side note, I'm in the west side of town and have solid technical and hardaware skills if you need some help.
It seems these types of projects are started once a year or so but then disapear.
Good luck
 

tcoder

Member
Jun 21, 2012
6
You're correct in all respects. My initial plan was to use WiFi, install it somewhere permanent on the pool system instead of a floater and make it work with Android and Windows at first. Also, it needs to be under $600. I also have a pool that seems to need lots of acid. It's hard to keep it at a decent pH. I've looked around for something that's reliable and that the average pool owner can afford and haven't found it yet.

Terry
 

PiratesLoveBacon

Active member
Apr 9, 2012
39
SoCal
If you're going to put wifi on the device, you're going to be making the data available over tcp/ip, right? If so, you're going to either use raw sockets with some binary messaging, or you'll put an mini web server and publish some sort of "web service". Will you publish the data format so anyone can access it?
 

tcoder

Member
Jun 21, 2012
6
I haven't figured out how I'm going to make the data available yet. I know that it needs to be as simple as possible. I don't see why there would be a problem in publishing the data format. BTW I have years and years of experience writing socket code and web servers, using WireShark and other kind of trace programs. Lots of experience developing circuit boards, equipment monitoring devices and more. I'm not a fly by night kind of guy.

What is your app that you mentioned you had?
 

PiratesLoveBacon

Active member
Apr 9, 2012
39
SoCal
It's for Android, called Pool Pal. The developer of SimplePool (also for Android) can be found here too.

Keep us up to date with your progress. It would be beyond cool if our users could automate testing.