Jandy Aqualink RS16 system - adding booster pump for solar to optimize variable speed pump upgrade

pgrovetom

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Feb 28, 2021
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I have a 20,000 gallon inground pool with a large rooftop solar run by a Jandy Aqualink RS16 system and am investigating upgrading my pool pump from single speed to variable speed. But my understanding is lowering the flow rate by lowering the speed to save power also reduces the solar efficiency since solar desires a high flow rate and only operates when their is adequate heat. My existing single speed 1.5 HP pump filters the pool and when the solar is enabled by Jandy Aqualink timing cycle AND there is sufficient heat difference between the panels and water, a diverter runs the post filtered water up into the rooftop solar and back to the pool return.

It appears the Jandy controller has a control pair for "solar pump" that is not used. I'm curious if I add an additional solar booster pump along with a new relay controlled by the "solar pump" 24VAC control pair, will it properly run the new solar booster pump when solar is on and the temperature is sufficient. This should be roughly the same as the solar diverter control signal. I would change the plumbing so the new solar booster pump draws pre- main filter pump water with a one way check ( for no backflow from rooftop) valve and returns into the pool outlet pipe also with a backflow check valve so it can't fight the pool pump.

The normal pool filter flow then could be a variable speed variable flow pump optimized for pool turnaround and minimum power running at night when power is cheap while the solar booster would run as efficiency as I can arrange it ( based on pump curves), during sunny days when there is adequate heat in the panels.

Does anyone know if this makes sense in solving the contradiction between pool filtering which can run when power is cheapest and at a slow turnaround to minimize power consumption? But the solar pump wants maximum flow and maximum efficiency and must run when the sun is out and heat is available between about 9-10AM and 3-4PM ( or so) but this varies from early spring to fall.

How else can the contradiction be dealt with? The booster could tap filtered water so it increases turnover and reduces the time the variable speed pump would operate. Any ideas on how these two problems is dealt with? Does anyone know how the Jandy Aqualink RS16 control board "solar pump" signal is times relative to the diverter timing I currently have where the main pump does both filtering and solar?

thanks
 

MSchutzer

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I have very much the same setup as you do and the Aqualink link system and a variable speed pump are ideal to control it.

If you have a Pentair Intelliflow or a Jandy VS pump the Aqualink system interfaces with the pump via its 4 wire RS-485 data link. The Aqualink system supports up to 8 different pump speeds based on what it’s controlling, such as Solar, or Cleaner, or just Speed 1, speed 2, etc.

You already have the Solar set up for the diverter valve, all you need to do is to tell the Aqualink you have one of its supported VS pumps and add a solar heat speed in the speed table. This can be however fast it needs to be move the amount of water needed through the panels.

Then set up a much slower speed labeled “filter pump” for your non-solar running speed.

Then set up your schedule to filter as long as you want, and you can enable the Solar Heat for the whole duration, or only during the day. It really doesn’t matter because as you pointed out the Solar heat diverter only turns on when both enabled and when the solar temp sensor is 5 degrees above the water temp. The pump speed will change to the higher speed only when the solar is enabled and on. So if you get clouds, wind, or darkness the solar heat turns off and the pump drops back to the slow filter speed.

I had a Whisperflo 1.25 SFHP pump that I used for years with my Solar panels and recently replaced the single speed motor with a Vgreen 1.65 HP VS motor. Since that motor isn’t supported by the Aqualink RS-485 datalink I had to use the Aqualink relays to control the motors digital inputs, but I set it up for three speeds, the highest speed when the pressure side Polaris 360 cleaner is running for an hour a day, a slightly slower speed when the Solar Heat is on, and then a slow filtering speed otherwise.

With an Aqualink supported VS pump this is easy to set up in the pump speed tables, but you do need to have an Aqualink system with a certain revision level for VS pump support, I think some said Rev O or later but I’m going from memory.

Mark
 
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Dirk

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^^^ what mark said. You don't need the booster. Firstly, you don't run unfiltered water through solar panels. That's going to fail. Which means you'll need a second filter, because drawing water off your main filter plumbing is iffy at best and probably not even possible. You need a lot of GPM, so I'm not sure running the filter circuit at low speed while trying to siphon a large GPM off of it is going to work. Generally you need a dedicated suction port for each pump. You might be thinking of the type of booster pump a pressure-side vac uses. Those don't push much GPM, they're about increasing pressure, not volume.

I have an 8-panel array, each panel needs 5GPM, so I need 40GPM total. Which is about 2200 RPM for my VS pump and plumbing. That is considerably less electricity than a single speed running at full speed. How much your proposed booster pump uses in an unknown, but I bet it wouldn't be far off from the electricity a VS pump needs at medium speed, it could very easily use more, maybe a lot more. Plus, you can optimize the flow rate (RPMs) of a VS specific to your array, so you only use the minimum electricity for maximum heat output. I used a FlowVis flow meter to adjust my pump to exactly 40GPM. Even if the VS at med RPM uses a tad more electricity, it might be decades before the difference equals the cost of the extra pump and whatever else you'll spend to get that second circuit going (like a second filter). And when you do the math, don't forget to subtract the cost of running at night, which you won't have to do because you'll be filtering and chlorinated during the same runtime you have scheduled for the daytime solar.

One pump to rule them all!

Unknown.jpeg
 
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pgrovetom

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Feb 28, 2021
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Sonoma, CA, 94951
I have very much the same setup as you do and the Aqualink link system and a variable speed pump are ideal to control it.

If you have a Pentair Intelliflow or a Jandy VS pump the Aqualink system interfaces with the pump via its 4 wire RS-485 data link. The Aqualink system supports up to 8 different pump speeds based on what it’s controlling, such as Solar, or Cleaner, or just Speed 1, speed 2, etc.

You already have the Solar set up for the diverter valve, all you need to do is to tell the Aqualink you have one of its supported VS pumps and add a solar heat speed in the speed table. This can be however fast it needs to be move the amount of water needed through the panels.

Then set up a much slower speed labeled “filter pump” for your non-solar running speed.

Then set up your schedule to filter as long as you want, and you can enable the Solar Heat for the whole duration, or only during the day. It really doesn’t matter because as you pointed out the Solar heat diverter only turns on when both enabled and when the solar temp sensor is 5 degrees above the water temp. The pump speed will change to the higher speed only when the solar is enabled and on. So if you get clouds, wind, or darkness the solar heat turns off and the pump drops back to the slow filter speed.

I had a Whisperflo 1.25 SFHP pump that I used for years with my Solar panels and recently replaced the single speed motor with a Vgreen 1.65 HP VS motor. Since that motor isn’t supported by the Aqualink RS-485 datalink I had to use the Aqualink relays to control the motors digital inputs, but I set it up for three speeds, the highest speed when the pressure side Polaris 360 cleaner is running for an hour a day, a slightly slower speed when the Solar Heat is on, and then a slow filtering speed otherwise.

With an Aqualink supported VS pump this is easy to set up in the pump speed tables, but you do need to have an Aqualink system with a certain revision level for VS pump support, I think some said Rev O or later but I’m going from memory.

Mark
Thanks,

My Aqualink RS16 diagnostics shows a 7201 Rev I. It appears from the Jandy revisions chart that this is a 5/2000 revision so obviously does not support anything but a 2 speed pump. So my options seem to upgrade to a new system or figure out how to arrange things another way.

Option 1: System Upgrade. Does this involve both a new in-house controller, the RS16, plus 2 new control boards at the pool? Or can the RS16 just be upgraded? Changing the 2 control boxes ( one main and one remote) seems like quite a lot just to get a VS pump to work versus a 2 speed ( one for filtering and one for solar)

Options 2: Find a way to control a VS pump so it operates on its own and then upshifts to appropriate flow when my solar 24AC is present.

Option 3: Find a good 2 speed pump to control using the existing 2 speed Jandy controls and have it optimized for filter flow rate low cost except for solar where it runs full speed.20210301_070416.jpg

Do any of the good VS pumps have a simple control to only force the solar high flow rate when solar is needed. This could be based on the solar JVA signal or solar pump signal seen on the control board.

This may seem crazy to some but do any of the good VS pump manufactures publish the RS485 specification so I could recreate it using an Arduino microcontroller? The idea here would be to let the pump do its own thing adjusting the flow based on time settings but then I override it via the RS485 link only when the solar JVA is switched to solar.

Any other ideas are appreciated.

thanks20210301_065522.jpg
 
Last edited:

pgrovetom

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Feb 28, 2021
18
Sonoma, CA, 94951
Somehow some text was overwritten by the 2 photos I attached.

I am able to create my own RS485 signal of any rate and format. If any good VS pumps would allow my add on Arduino RS485 controller I would design to talk to the pump, I could in theory, tell it to go to a higher flow rate when my solar JVA was switched to solar or use the "solar pump" 24VAC signal if its the same. I would simply monitor the JVA or "solar pump" pair for the solar signal and send the appropriate message on the RS485 link to the pump. This assumes the pump will run in its native timed mode based on its controller yet still allow me to over-ride it and alter the rate/flow and then free it to operate normally when the solar signal is gone.

Do any of the good VS pump suppliers publish their RS485 message codes and format?

thanks
 

pgrovetom

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Feb 28, 2021
18
Sonoma, CA, 94951
Can the Jandy RS16 panel be upgraded from an old 5/2000 (7201 Rev I) to a newer one without changing the pool control boxes? Or are they somehow tied together? Can a new Aqualink RS talk with my 2 control boards ( main and remote) at the pool?
 

ajw22

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It looks to me like you have a Aqualink RS6 not RS16. What makes you call it an RS16?

Can the Jandy RS16 panel be upgraded from an old 5/2000 (7201 Rev I) to a newer one without changing the pool control boxes?

To upgrade from Rev I to current Rev you need to replace the PVB and CPU boards.



Or are they somehow tied together?

What are your pool control boxes?

Can a new Aqualink RS talk with my 2 control boards ( main and remote) at the pool?

What is the remote at the pool? If it is a Jandy PDA that may also require an upgrade.
 
Last edited:

ajw22

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This may seem crazy to some but do any of the good VS pump manufactures publish the RS485 specification so I could recreate it using an Arduino microcontroller? The idea here would be to let the pump do its own thing adjusting the flow based on time settings but then I override it via the RS485 link only when the solar JVA is switched to solar.

Not really. Look at...



 

pgrovetom

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Feb 28, 2021
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Sonoma, CA, 94951
It looks to me like you have a Aqualink RS6 not RS16. What makes you call it an RS16?

It says RS16 (see thumbnail)

20210301_092847.jpg

To upgrade from Rev I to current Rev you need to replace the PVB and CPU boards.

Are these in the control panel shown above or the boxes ( or both) at the pool that control the various relays to operate pumps, JVAs, heater, etc... ?





What are your pool control boxes?
20210301_070416.jpg 20210301_070114.jpg

There are 2 boxes at the pool because a single box did not have enough relays etc.. to run everything. Is the CPU and memory in these boxes or in the control panel in the house which is labeled RS16 above?

I just began looking into upgrading to a variable flow/rate pump and it opened the can of worms and expense of upgrading the whole Jandy Aqualink RS system. My real goal is just the pump and would prefer to not upgrade everything as it works great.



What is the remote at the pool? If it is a Jandy PDA that may also require an upgrade.

Its the second box at the pool with all the relays etc... One was not enough for all the "stuff" controlled.
20210301_070114.jpg
 

ajw22

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You need to upgrade both of those boxes. You need to talk with a Jandy dealer about the upgrade cost.

The control panel with all the buttons is just a keypad and display that communicates with the control box. It does not contain any of the programming.

You are running into the problem with Jandy equipment. Jandy makes it difficult and expensive to upgrade. That is why some of us have moved from Jandy and Aqualink to Pentair and IntelliCenter to have more flexibility in the future. If you want to upgrade your Aqualink then compare what you get with a Pentair IntelliCenter panel and Intelliflo pump. If you are in this house for the long haul it may be worth it.

You can't buy single speed pumps in CA today and all SS speedand 2 speed pumps over 1 HP will be outlawed for sale in the US as of July, 2021. So VS pumps are in your future.

 

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pgrovetom

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Not really. Look at...




I looked over the Github documents ( thanks) and at first glance it appears one must take over the whole control panel function and it doesn't appear possible to just interject a change flow rate message or return to internal operation. What I was hoping was there was some way using the RS485 link to simply insist the pump go to either maximum or a pre-determined flow rate on an RS485 command and then another to tell the pump to go on its own internal programming/powerflow rate optimization. It looks like one must take over the full automation function - no in-between.

Its too bad nobody has contemplated an older very popular Jandy Aqualink system needing to upgrade to a variable flow or rate pump without upgrading everything. It seems to me that the pump could do its own thing and then based on a contact closure or 24VAC input signal, understand the solar just kicked in and the lowest speed and best power is not the best solution. It could be programmed via its own control panel as to what to do if it saw the solar signal. As far as I can tell, the solar flow and simple pool turnaround flow are at odds with one another. The panels need lots of flow and are the end of a fairly long 2" pipe run while the filter pump can be run at low speed with lots of time to turn over the pool.

I must be missing something but solar heating of pools is very common and during the summer months, mine runs almost the entire day. This suggests to me that variable flow and rate pumps are only going to save power during non-solar months. What am I missing? Why wouldn't a 2 speed pump do almost as well and be simpler and cheaper???
 

ajw22

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I must be missing something but solar heating of pools is very common and during the summer months, mine runs almost the entire day. This suggests to me that variable flow and rate pumps are only going to save power during non-solar months. What am I missing? Why wouldn't a 2 speed pump do almost as well and be simpler and cheaper???

Due to the different way a VS pump works a VS pump is more energy efficient at a given flow rate then a 2 speed pump. And given that 2 speed pumps in pools are not allowed to be sold as of July, 2021 it is a moot point.
 

pgrovetom

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Well its not totally moot since my existing system works just fine and I have 15KW of solar so I don't actually pay for the electric since the solar has paid itself off years ago. I actually get about $1000 back from PG&E each year. But I prefer not to waste power so was looking into upgrading my filter pump just because its a good thing to do. The idea of a >$1000 pump didn't bother me but upgrading all my Jandy Aqualink would probably cost far more $$$, unless I did it myself.

I could do that but now it sounds like dumping the Jandy might make sense but there are plenty of nuances in making sure a whole new system can operate all my existing equipment ( multiple pumps, heater, solar, spa, sensors ) and I see no reason to upgrade the waterfall pumps which run 10 minutes a day nor the spa jet pump also use occasionally.

But it sounds like if any of my pumps fail, I might need to bite the bullet. What are the recommended automation systems that work nicely with the better variable rate and speed pumps? I understand how it all works as I have an electrical engineering background but there is a lot of nuance in selecting the right options to cover my existing system and allow for new capability like VS pumps etc..

Plus I can't help but wonder if a pool supplier did the install, would it trigger the code requirement to upgrade my 5 pumps now and not just my filter pump, which uses most of the power.
 

Dirk

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I must be missing something but solar heating of pools is very common and during the summer months, mine runs almost the entire day. This suggests to me that variable flow and rate pumps are only going to save power during non-solar months. What am I missing? Why wouldn't a 2 speed pump do almost as well and be simpler and cheaper???
The opposite is true. VS might save a small amount in off season over a two-speed. But will save a huge amount during solar season.

Solar panels have an optimum flow rate. There is an upper limit, at which point the panels will blow apart, but that aside, the more water you put through a panel, the better it will heat your pool. But there is a point of diminishing returns. If there was a chart, it'd be a curve that flattens out. You can keep increasing flow, to eek out more and more heat, but at some point the exponentially increasing cost of electricity to push the water isn't worth the diminishing increase in the amount of heat produced. So there is an optimum flow rate that gives you almost the most heat a panel will produce, but at significantly lower cost than the electricity required to get the most heat a panel will produce.

My pump reaches my panels' optimum flow rate at about 2200 RPM. A single speed pump, or two-speed on high, would give me a very slightly warmer pool (probably measurable, but not likely noticeable), but would cost me about triple to run. So it is much more cost effective to run at 2200 RPM, and I need a VS to do that. At some future point, the VS will pay for itself (compared to a cheaper upfront cost of a two-speed).

The same is true for your low speed needs. Whatever speed a two-speed delivers on low, it's likely you could run it lower if you had a VS. The savings wouldn't be as dramatic, but it adds up.

And that's at today's prices. YMMV based on your local energy costs, but whatever you calculate, it's only going to get worse for a two-speed in years to come.
century-v-green-chart.jpg
 
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ajw22

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I see no reason to upgrade the waterfall pumps which run 10 minutes a day nor the spa jet pump also use occasionally.
But it sounds like if any of my pumps fail, I might need to bite the bullet.

That is correct.

What are the recommended automation systems that work nicely with the better variable rate and speed pumps?

Pentair IntelliCenter automation and Intelliflo pumps.



Lots of threads about the IntelliCenter here is you use the search box above.

Plus I can't help but wonder if a pool supplier did the install, would it trigger the code requirement to upgrade my 5 pumps now and not just my filter pump, which uses most of the power.

It is not against the regulations to use your existing pumps. It will be against the regulations to replace the pumps or motors.
 

MSchutzer

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If the wet end of your pump is in decent shape you may want to go with the option of just replacing the pump's motor. A Century VGreen 1.65 HP is a variable speed motor that can bolt onto most pool pumps. You will also have to replace the pump gaskets and seal but it's not that hard to do.

The VGreen 1.65 is nice because it supports four low voltage digital inputs to select four different pump speeds. The digital inputs can be connected to an Aqualink relay closure to select the desired speed. With the Vgreen motor you would use the motor's control panel to program the four speeds that you want, and then use the digital inputs to select which speed you want.

The four digital inputs are prioritized such that the higher numbered inputs have priority over the lower number inputs. You can set up input 1 (lowest priority) as your slow filter speed, and input 2 (next level priority) as a higher speed for your solar system.

Then connect the pump motor directly to the pump breaker (there's no need to switch it on and off), connect filter-pump relay contact to digital input 1, and connect the solar relay to digital input 2. When solar is off the pump will run speed 1 (slow) and when the solar is on it will run speed 2 (faster). Due to the priority of the inputs the motor will run at speed 2(faster) even when both the filter-pump and solar relays are closed.

Best of all this doesn't require any upgrade of your RS16 system as it doesn't use the Variable speed functions of the RS16, it only takes advantage of the Vgreen motor's digital inputs and the relays that you already have.

See page 11 of the Vgreen Manual for a description of the digital interface.


This is the way I have my system set up as I had a Vgreen motor when I added the Aqualink automation. Even though my Aqualink has the latest software it's variable speed motor support doesn't include the Vgreen motor so I was forced to use the motor's digital interface and relay contacts in the the Aqualink.

It works quite well.

Mark
 
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pgrovetom

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The opposite is true. VS might save a small amount in off season over a two-speed. But will save a huge amount during solar season.

Solar panels have an optimum flow rate. There is an upper limit, at which point the panels will blow apart, but that aside, the more water you put through a panel, the better it will heat your pool. But there is a point of diminishing returns. If there was a chart, it'd be a curve that flattens out. You can keep increasing flow, to eek out more and more heat, but at some point the exponentially increasing cost of electricity to push the water isn't worth the diminishing increase in the amount of heat produced. So there is an optimum flow rate that gives you almost the most heat a panel will produce, but at significantly lower cost than the electricity required to get the most heat a panel will produce.

My pump reaches my panels' optimum flow rate at about 2200 RPM. A single speed pump, or two-speed on high, would give me a very slightly warmer pool (probably measurable, but not likely noticeable), but would cost me about triple to run. So it is much more cost effective to run at 2200 RPM, and I need a VS to do that. At some future point, the VS will pay for itself (compared to a cheaper upfront cost of a two-speed).

The same is true for your low speed needs. Whatever speed a two-speed delivers on low, it's likely you could run it lower if you had a VS. The savings wouldn't be as dramatic, but it adds up.

And that's at today's prices. YMMV based on your local energy costs, but whatever you calculate, it's only going to get worse for a two-speed in years to come.
View attachment 177539
It says "Customizable for all situations" but how would the pump know when the solar JVA is routing water via the panels? My thinking was to install a flow meter inline with my panels and based on panel sizes and number of panels, try and determine where the heat transfer curve flattens out at the optimum flow. The system today is just based on the original installation and I never saw the need to optimize. But if I'm going to find a way to run a good variable rate/flow pump, I need to know. I can see that by taking advantage of the non-linear rate power reduction the filtering can lope along taking whatever time it takes as long as it doesn't overlap with the highest PG&E peak and tiers. The PG&E is changing my E6 rate tariff so peak rates are in the evening so solar pumping will not overlap peak rate times by much.

But the VS pumps have no way to know when the solar JVA is switched so how would I program it to the best flow rate if my old incompatible Jandy Aqualink RS doesn't talk to it. I guess I could set the time to match my solar "on" time and just ignore that the solar heat difference as measured by the sensors isn't the same every day due to clouds, fog and some trees I have as the season timing changes.
 

MSchutzer

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While slightly off topic PG&E's switch to Time of use rates is not mandatory. You can go to PG&E's website and opt-out before June/July if you want. If you are a net solar producer (as I also am) there is no advantage at all to being on a Time of use rate.

Mark
 

pgrovetom

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While slightly off topic PG&E's switch to Time of use rates is not mandatory. You can go to PG&E's website and opt-out before June/July if you want. If you are a net solar producer (as I also am) there is no advantage at all to being on a Time of use rate.

Mark
I have 3 Tesla Powerwalls 2s and will program them to charge during the day and discharge during the evening peak. I believe this does provide some advantage but I'll investigate. I bought the Powerwalls so I could power my house during the PG&E fire danger outages but they also provide time shifting from afternoon off-peak to peak shifting.
 

pgrovetom

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Feb 28, 2021
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Sonoma, CA, 94951
If the wet end of your pump is in decent shape you may want to go with the option of just replacing the pump's motor. A Century VGreen 1.65 HP is a variable speed motor that can bolt onto most pool pumps. You will also have to replace the pump gaskets and seal but it's not that hard to do.

The VGreen 1.65 is nice because it supports four low voltage digital inputs to select four different pump speeds. The digital inputs can be connected to an Aqualink relay closure to select the desired speed. With the Vgreen motor you would use the motor's control panel to program the four speeds that you want, and then use the digital inputs to select which speed you want.

The four digital inputs are prioritized such that the higher numbered inputs have priority over the lower number inputs. You can set up input 1 (lowest priority) as your slow filter speed, and input 2 (next level priority) as a higher speed for your solar system.

Then connect the pump motor directly to the pump breaker (there's no need to switch it on and off), connect filter-pump relay contact to digital input 1, and connect the solar relay to digital input 2. When solar is off the pump will run speed 1 (slow) and when the solar is on it will run speed 2 (faster). Due to the priority of the inputs the motor will run at speed 2(faster) even when both the filter-pump and solar relays are closed.

Best of all this doesn't require any upgrade of your RS16 system as it doesn't use the Variable speed functions of the RS16, it only takes advantage of the Vgreen motor's digital inputs and the relays that you already have.

See page 11 of the Vgreen Manual for a description of the digital interface.


This is the way I have my system set up as I had a Vgreen motor when I added the Aqualink automation. Even though my Aqualink has the latest software it's variable speed motor support doesn't include the Vgreen motor so I was forced to use the motor's digital interface and relay contacts in the the Aqualink.

It works quite well.

Mark
Thanks! That sounds promising. I'll investigate. I should have no difficulty providing whatever signal it needs and derive it from the "solar pump" control 24VAC output that's not used. I believe this corresponds to the JVA on solar. The Sta_Rite pump itself is in good shape as it was replaced less than 5 years ago. So what you are saying is this Vgreen motor can simply replace the existing Sta-Rite motor leaving the pump. Do you run the filter 24hrs/day? It seems a shame to run it during peak PG&E rates in the summer evenings. So I think you are saying run the motor all the time but program it so when the JVA solar signal is present, it shifts to the faster rate I determine for optimizing my solar flow. Can it be programmed for any rate for the 2 priorities suggested? Is there some reason it would not be set up to run at all times except 3-8 weekdays due to peak rates.

The existing pump:
20210301_140653.jpg
 

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