Looking for a cheap way to automate my pool valves for cleaner and spa

phunystuf

New member
Nov 13, 2019
2
TX
Since moving into our new house I have been trying to automate as much pool maintenance as possible without breaking the bank. After getting some quotes around town I quickly found out that the pool automation game is tightly controlled by a few major players (Jandy, Hayward, Pentair, etc.) and their equipment is only available through certified dealers. Needless to say it is $$$. This industry is ripe for disruption!!

Since the quotes I got from certified dealers for equipment and install ranged from $1500 - $3K+ I decided to take on this project myself.

Step 1:
This was a smart switch for my pool pump and heater, which is documented here.

This ended up being a quick and easy replacement that was well worth it! I am able to turn my pool pump on/off remotely using my SmartThings app, as well as setting a schedule remotely.

Step 2:
Buy some valve actuators to sit on top of my current pool equipment and plug them into a controller so I can move them as needed to turn the cleaner on/off or put the system in 'spa' mode.

Equipment I am looking at to accomplish this:
Valve Actuators (x3): Amazon.com : Intermatic PE24VA Valve Actuator, Black : Swimming Pool Filter Valves : Garden & Outdoor
Controller: OpenSprinkler | OpenSprinkler (yes this is for sprinklers, but I have found some forums online where people have been able to use it to control valve actuators). I'm open to other ideas here!!

From what I've read it looks like the OpenSprinkler is compatible with the valve actuators I found. My only question is how best to wire it up given my current setup and what I hope to accomplish.

Attached is a photo of my current setup with the three valves I would like to control remotely.

The black one in the back is for my dedicated cleaner line. With the handle facing up (like it is in the photo) water is flowing from my pump to the pool filter only. If I move it 180* then both the pool filter and the cleaner line (to my Polaris 360) are getting flow.

The big gray one controls the return lines to my spa (handle to the left) or pool (handle to the right). With it pointed up like in the photo it is returning water to both my spa and pool. Handle to the left = spa only, while handle to the right is pool only.

The black valve at the bottom controls the suction side, with one coming from spa main drain and the other coming from both my pool main drain and skimmer (this side actually came labeled for my convenience!). Flipping this handle up will pull water from both spa and pool, while flipping it to the right will only pull water from my spa.

What I have in mind to make this setup 'smarter':
Install valve actuators on each valve. The Intermatic PE24VA can handle 2-way and 3-way diverter valves which is perfect for my needs.

Connect each valve actuator to the OpenSprinkler and program how I want the valve actuators to move for specific controls (e.g. move suction valve to spa only and return valve to spa only to put my system in 'spa mode').

Sorry for the long preamble but wanted to provide some background on what I'm trying to do. I refuse to drop the $2-3K for a Jandy or Pentair system and don't want to wait for a startup to build an easy out of the box system so IMO this is the way to go. Would like to hear from folks on this forum for ideas and help in ensuring I wire the system up correctly!

Some additional resources so people don't have to search around:
Intermatic Valve Actuator Install and Operation Manual
OpenSprinkler Controller capabilities
 

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Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
404
West Palm Beach/Florida
So in theory this will work. The actuators will do what you want them to do. Basic read of the OpenSprinkler says it has 8 zones. You will need to use 2 zones per actuator, so that will take 6 zones so you are good there. Each zone will drive an actuator in one direction so you need the 2 zones to go in both directions. The power supply that comes with it is WAY under powered. Each actuator will require .75 amps and the current PS is .5 amps. You could buy a slightly bigger power supply and move each actuator one at a time, or buy a bigger power supply, but I am not sure if the OpenSprinkler will support that, or if you will blow it. BTW you need 24VAC for the actuators. The box is also not waterproof so you will need to buy an enclosure for that.
 
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