Is there a "best" automation system? Which should I look at?

Soupy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 23, 2011
106
Maryland
Looking to add some automation to my pool setup. Hardware is:
2 speed main pump
Polaris booster pump
ancient gas heater
Three valves, on the main drain and pair of skimmer lines
One basic in-pool light, one pool deck light.

I want to:
  • Add an SWCG.
  • Add a variable speed pump.
  • Control the heater and pool temperature.
  • Schedule pump and booster pump run time.
  • Control via iPhone/iPad.
  • Do a DIY install.
And possibly:
  • Controlling the lights is nice but not mandatory. We don't use them too often, and the light switches are on the way out to the pool.
  • Controlling the valves is also somewhat optional. It'd be nice if the main drain valve would open when the heat is on, and close for better skimming the rest of the time. But I wouldn't mind having a handy button for switching valves and pump speed for vacuuming.

So what manufacturers and models should I be looking at? I go to Pentair's web site, and I see an IntelliCenter, IntelliConnect, IntelliTouch, and almost no information about what the stupid things do, or what the differences are. Similar issues with Hayward and their assorted "Omni" and "Logic" products.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
12,693
Bedford, TX
S,

Kind of like asking "What is the best car"... You are going to get many people that will argue that their brand of car is best...

That said... I vote the new Pentair IntelliCenter.. Just because I have three of their systems.. IntelliFlo pumps, IntelliChlor SWCGs, and EasyTouch Automation systems.. If one of them died today, I would have another on my porch tomorrow..

The EasyTouch will do all the things that you want to do.. But the reason that I suggest the new IntelliCenter is that the cost is just a little more than the EasyTouch and it has many more and newer functions.. The ET has 12 schedule, the IC has 100.. The ET cannot be updated using the Internet, the IC can.. The ET needs a $400 add on to use your phone or PC, the IC has it built in.

Kind of like cars... You can buy last year's model, or the newest model.. it is up to you..

No matter what.. Makes sure the VS pump, the SWCG, and the Automation are all the same brand. Even that does not guarantee these three items can "talk" together, so make sure you run your equipment list by us before buying anything..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,170
Stuart/FL
I only know one thing about this. If you want to DIY any of it leave Jandy off your list. I made that mistake and learned the hard way. Zero warranty if you buy online or don't use their service people to install. Too bad as I really like their system.

Chris
 

Soupy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 23, 2011
106
Maryland
Jim, I'd definitely prefer to lean towards modern. And I'm definitely starting with the question of which automation system first, before looking at pumps and SWCGs. Thanks.

Thanks, Chris. Didn't know that about Jandy; I believe Hayward and Pentair both limit to 60 days.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
12,693
Bedford, TX
S,

I don't see the warranty as a big issue... If you know someone that works for, or owns a business, that has anything to do with pools, or HVAC, or Plumbing, they can be used to get the full warranty. They just need to provide an invoice, on their letterhead, showing they installed it or inspected the installation.

If you buy the equipment on line, you save enough to buy a new one, if it ever fails. Most things fail with in the first week or two of operation anyway, and after that not so much.

I've said this before... If the first thing you think of when buying a product is the warranty, then you are just buying the wrong brand of product... :)

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,625
Houston, TX
Note that whatever automation system you select, you have to buy the same brand VSP to get them to fully operate together. IN essence:

Automation System Brand = Same Brand VSP

If anyone else tells you differently, they are doing you an injustice Therefore, I agree Jim that you should go w the Pentair System since their VSP's also seem to be the best, or the least set of problems. If I had to do my install all over, I would surely go w Pentair, esp since my VSP has a known defect.

IMHO, look at the signatures of the many seasoned folks on here and see what type of equipment they own. If anything differs from that, then send that person a PM and ask them why they went w X brand?

Good luck, tstex
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
768
Bangor Maine
Pentair was head and shoulders above all at one point, Hayward has made huge huge strides, their VS pumps are the most energy efficient out there now. The new VS Omni is a treat to work, runs everything, controls two actuated valves, relays for pool lights, heaters, deck lights. Plus I believe it’s not up there in price with Pentair and offers very good warranty and support.
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,625
Houston, TX
Pool Medic quoted: "....Hayward has made huge huge strides, their VS pumps are the most energy efficient out there now".

Can you pls tell me what VSP pumps you say that perform well from Hayward? Anything over 2HP ?
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
87
California
I gate for the VSOmni, it does everything you want.
It should be noted that the VS Omni is limited when controlling a salt chlorinator, so the OmniLogic might be better for comparison to the IntelliCenter. Quote from Hayward website below.

If you are constructing or renovating a pool with more than a pump, heater, light and one additional feature, OmniLogic or another Hayward automation product would might be a better automation solution. If you are looking to integrate smart pool control with built-in salt chlorination, AquaPlus or OmniLogic would provide excellent the ideal solutions.
However if you want to spend less on automation and don't need the expandability, then the VS Omni or IntelliConnect might be a better fit for you.
 
Last edited:

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
768
Bangor Maine
Tri star 2.7 HP. If installed professionally you get a 4 yr warranty I believe.

The VS Omni will support the aquarite system, you simply snap a sister board into the aquarite and the Omni then takes over control.

Yes, it will do everything the other systems do and I think cheaper.
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
87
California
So how do the OmniLogic and Intelliconnect compare directly?
I think you mean Omnilogic vs IntelliCenter? I would say their feature set is comparable, but as Jim pointed out earlier it's important to keep the VS pump, the SWCG, and the Automation the same brand.

Both should meet your requirements, so it comes down to a question of brand preference and cost. If you have no strong feelings on the equipment brand why not cost up both systems for a comparison?
 
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