Need help w/ EasyTouch setup for Solar + Gas Heater... A/B valves/circuit functions, etc

wtfbliz

New member
Oct 5, 2020
4
AZ
Hi all,

New to forum and new to pool ownership. I recently bought a house with a boatload of pentair equipment installed. It is a in ground gunite pool with raised spa w/spillway. It has a 400k BTU pentair heater as well as a roof passive solar setup. Also has VSP and salt water generator

I need to understand the settings that will open/close the proper valves, turn on the solar if hot enough and then the gas heater if not. I will go through the equipment in each picture to understand whats going on...


In this picture the intakes from the pool, the 2 on the right I assume are the skimmer and the pool floor drain, and the one on the left has an actuator wired into the easytouch which I assume controls the spa floor when a spa floor is running?
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This is the SWG with another actuator into the EasyTouch. I assume this diverts water away from the SWG when it is not active. The thing that turns in the middle pipe shoots a little aerator stream out from the side of the pool into the air.
120815305_365101047870792_3011325384049884999_n.jpg
This is the floor jet revolver thing. This hits 5 zones of jets, including the spa floor jets, and hits all zones whenever a "pool" program is running. I assume this is the last stop as the water heads back to the pool/spa.
120544062_388754012287047_3473463246896575545_n.jpg

Here is one side of the heater intakes/outputs. Here's where I get confused. In this mess of pipes somehow the roof solar and the gas heater is controlled and diverted. There is one actuator thats also wired into the EasyTouch.
120601942_435503220750846_3841112348766344179_n.jpg

Here is the other side of the heater intakes/outputs. Here's where I get confused. In this mess of pipes somehow the roof solar and the gas heater is controlled and diverted. There is one actuator thats also wired into the EasyTouch.
120655452_1542588735925731_4445547421023470270_n.jpg




Here is how the easytouch is currently programmed, however Ive screwed around with these and have no idea if they are correct or how to test what accomplishes what. I need some clarity on what these various settings do...


120735773_687466511862702_458640701088086986_n.jpg120793923_3687223901296153_9215342943690161387_n.jpg120809431_356744139098931_1849929539503003070_n.jpg120839576_1083861438724336_2990298239613102977_n.jpg
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,276
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
Does the system work now or are you looking for assistance in setting it up?
The one thing I did notice, they installed the SWCG in the downflow position which is not correct. A failure of the flow switch could cause it to fail in a way that leaves the SWCG generating. So you may want to consider a plumbing change for safety's sake.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

wtfbliz

New member
Oct 5, 2020
4
AZ
Welcome to the forum!
Does the system work now or are you looking for assistance in setting it up?
The one thing I did notice, they installed the SWCG in the downflow position which is not correct. A failure of the flow switch could cause it to fail in a way that leaves the SWCG generating. So you may want to consider a plumbing change for safety's sake.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
System works now for the most part, but I have yet to kick on the heaters. I replaced the salt cell in the same direction that they initially had it and havent gotten any flow errors. I am familiar with water chemistry and the pool is balanced and in good condition (other than hardness being off the charts because they never changed the water. Will drain when it cools down some.)

Im just trying to A) diagnose how the plumbing for the solar/gas heater is set up, and B) figure out how to match the EasyTouch settings to that plumbing.

Also, it was my understanding that the flow of the water in that SWG was in that direction, with the water coming up the middle pipe and then either flowing to the left if SWG was off or to the right if it was active. Is there something that leads you to believe otherwise?

Thanks for the help!
 
Last edited:

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,276
Laughlin, NV
On the setup - we will need to ask those with Solar to chime in. I find the ET manuals OK to follow, others have difficulty. Have you read through the manuals? @Dirk has solar and an ET.
The issue with the SWCG is that it is installed vertically on the down flow side. If the flow switch arm fails, it can fall on to the sensor due to gravity, and allow the SWCG to generate even without water flow. Now, your ET should be set up that there is no power to the SWCG unless in Pool Mode, but the flow switch is the secondary safety device and the orientation of the SWCG cell is such that it defeats the flow switch as such.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
949
Alamo, CA
Couldn't keep your fingers off the EasyTouch, eh? Slap yourself for not writing down the original settings first.

Your settings look a little off. First thing, you have no need to ever look at the Heat Pump Com menu because you don't have a heat pump. Everything should be set to No on that page. On the Settings > Solar menu page 1, you should have Enable: Yes, Heat Pump: No.

Even in AZ, I doubt you can get your spa hot enough with just solar. Here in CA, I have my heat settings Pool: Solar, Spa: Heater. My pool is too big to heat using the gas heater. Solar Preferred will turn on the gas heater when the pool is cold and the solar is not hot enough. Whether you choose to spend on gas heat for the pool is up to you based on the size of your pool and your wallet. I assume you realize that 60° is too cold to swim in, and 90° is probably not hot enough for a spa. I set mine at 88° & 98°, respectively. I realize that maybe the settings you captured are just from fooling around and won't be your real settings.

Your Set Valves menu looks right (i.e., the same as mine) unless you really have a B valve connected to the ET and doing something. If you don't know, you can open the top low-voltage panel and see whether anything's connected there.

I'm not expert enough to figure out your plumbing from photos, but if you have further EasyTouch questions, maybe I can answer those.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,377
Bedford, TX
bliz,

Sorry to be a downer, but your cell is installed incorrectly... This is because the safety flow switch can close by simple gravity and not due to water flow.. If the cell runs with no water flow it can actually blow up... When you switch to the spa mode, the water will go to the spa and not through the cell, another absolute no/no. Whoever installed your system had no clue what they were doing..

The problem is, that you can't flip the cell over as then the flow of water will open and not close the flow switch. I am not sure there is a simple way to solve the problem without seeing the entire equipment pad. In general, you want the cell to feed both the spa and the pool.

I am sure that it has been working this way for a while, but that does not make it correct. When you shut off the pump do all the lights on the cell go out?? If not, that is just another mistake by the installers.

You might want to invest in ScreenLogic and so that it is easy to program and understand how your EasyTouch works..









Thanks,

Jim R.
 

wtfbliz

New member
Oct 5, 2020
4
AZ
Couldn't keep your fingers off the EasyTouch, eh? Slap yourself for not writing down the original settings first.

Your settings look a little off. First thing, you have no need to ever look at the Heat Pump Com menu because you don't have a heat pump. Everything should be set to No on that page. On the Settings > Solar menu page 1, you should have Enable: Yes, Heat Pump: No.

Even in AZ, I doubt you can get your spa hot enough with just solar. Here in CA, I have my heat settings Pool: Solar, Spa: Heater. My pool is too big to heat using the gas heater. Solar Preferred will turn on the gas heater when the pool is cold and the solar is not hot enough. Whether you choose to spend on gas heat for the pool is up to you based on the size of your pool and your wallet. I assume you realize that 60° is too cold to swim in, and 90° is probably not hot enough for a spa. I set mine at 88° & 98°, respectively. I realize that maybe the settings you captured are just from fooling around and won't be your real settings.

Your Set Valves menu looks right (i.e., the same as mine) unless you really have a B valve connected to the ET and doing something. If you don't know, you can open the top low-voltage panel and see whether anything's connected there.

I'm not expert enough to figure out your plumbing from photos, but if you have further EasyTouch questions, maybe I can answer those.
Thanks so much! Yes I turned the heater settings way down so they didnt accidentally attempt to kick on before I was confident it was set up properly.

I have 3 actuators in my setup, one that I believe triggers intake from the spa floor when a spa program runs, one that triggers flow through the salt cell, and one that does some kind of wizardry between solar and gas heater depending on the ET heat settings. Im assuming that third one should be wired into the "A" valve, since the easytouch defaults it there when you activate solar. Not sure if the others are part of their own specific programs and natively have a home, or if theyre utilizing the "B" valve.

One other easytouch question I had... what does the master spa program do by default? I have a separate circuit for the air blower thats on one of the AUX channels. Im guessing it activates the spa floor drain and turns on the appropriate heater per my heat settings?

I'll take you up on that easytouch offer, because I'm still learning how this thing works!
 

wtfbliz

New member
Oct 5, 2020
4
AZ
bliz,

Sorry to be a downer, but your cell is installed incorrectly... This is because the safety flow switch can close by simple gravity and not due to water flow.. If the cell runs with no water flow it can actually blow up... When you switch to the spa mode, the water will go to the spa and not through the cell, another absolute no/no. Whoever installed your system had no clue what they were doing..

The problem is, that you can't flip the cell over as then the flow of water will open and not close the flow switch. I am not sure there is a simple way to solve the problem without seeing the entire equipment pad. In general, you want the cell to feed both the spa and the pool.

I am sure that it has been working this way for a while, but that does not make it correct. When you shut off the pump do all the lights on the cell go out?? If not, that is just another mistake by the installers.
Thanks Jim! Your concern about it being set upside down is noted and I'll definitely look into it.

The other point about the spa I believe is a non issue. I have floor jets that cycle across both the pool and the spa anytime a pool program runs, so both the pool and the spa are getting chlorine, and the spa is connected via a spillway so the chlorine levels in both should be appropriate.

Turning off the pump does turn off all the lights on the SWG
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
949
Alamo, CA
I have 3 actuators in my setup, one that I believe triggers intake from the spa floor when a spa program runs, one that triggers flow through the salt cell, and one that does some kind of wizardry between solar and gas heater depending on the ET heat settings.
The wizardry depends on the plumbing. In my system, the water runs through the heater all the time, whether the heater is on or not. So the only thing my solar valve does is send water to the panels or not.
One other easytouch question I had... what does the master spa program do by default? I have a separate circuit for the air blower thats on one of the AUX channels. Im guessing it activates the spa floor drain and turns on the appropriate heater per my heat settings?
Master Spa tells the ET that's your spa. Spa mode should open the spa drain as well send the water to the spa jets, directing water away from the main pool, regardless of whether your spa circuit is set to Master Spa or Generic. There's also a Master Pool setting for your pool. These don't strictly need to be set unless you have an automatic pool sweep or other automated pool cleaning system. If you do, those settings prevent misbehavior. Look on the "Preset Circuit Functions" page of the manual for the cryptic documentation. If you don't have the manual, get it. I'm pretty sure you can download PDF from the Pentair site.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,377
Bedford, TX
Bliz,

My comment about the spa was not that your spa will not be chlorinated, but rather that when you go to the spa mode the water goes to the spa and not through the cell.. There is nothing to turn the cell off with the pump running, so if the flow switch is closing due to gravity or just goes bad, then you have a recipe for an explosion..

You have three valves on your pool.. The Intake valve, the Return valve and the Solar valve..

In the Pool mode, the pump sucks water from the pool through the Intake valve and then pushes it through the filter and any heaters and back through the Return Valve to the pool. Note that when in the Pool mode, some water is allowed to go the the Spa through a make up system, so that the spa spillover into the pool.. (if you have a raised spa)

In the Spa mode, the pump sucks water from the Spa drains through the Intake valve and then pushes it through the filter and any heaters and back through the Return Valve to the Spa.

I don't have solar and am not sure I fully understand exactly how it works.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,077
Central California
This is the SWG with another actuator into the EasyTouch. I assume this diverts water away from the SWG when it is not active.
Not quite. I think that actuator is part of the spa plumbing. The spa would have two actuators, that work in tandem, to put you into pool mode, spa mode or spill-over mode. The other half of that pair is the one in front of the main pump. The SWG is likely on the pool return side. The other leg is the spa return, which has the telltale check valve in it. With that setup, only the pool receives chlorine from the SWG, not the spa. Which is fine, it just means you have to run spill-over mode every day to circulate the chlorinated water from the pool through the spa. The third actuator, near the heater, is for the solar system. There are a couple of gizmos around the solar actuator that I can't identify. There may be a two-way valve, and/or a check valve on the pipe coming down from the solar panels. I can't see enough in the pics to know.

As suggested above, you need to add ScreenLogic (if you don't have it already, do you know?), because with that the existing programming is not only significantly more obvious, but adjusting it is way easier, too. Plus, you'd gain control of your system via computer and smart phone.

It looks like you have an in-floor cleaning system. I don't know much about those. That'll have it's own learning curve. You have some great equipment, for sure, but about as complicated a system as they come. I think you're going about the deciphering as best you can: take it slow, don't turn it on until you know what it does, post pic's and questions here... all good.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,077
Central California
Spend some time staring at this diagram, and see if you can relate it to your heating plumbing. It will likely be close to what you've got. Solar plumbing is actually pretty simple, once you separate it out from all the other plumbing. You could create a similar diagram of your own, and try to draw all the components of your entire system and how they go together. From that diagram, you'll start to see how everything works.

solar plumbing.jpeg
 

rando

Member
Feb 12, 2019
7
SoCal
Here's a diagram of the likely flows. The pipes and flows I labeled 'From Filter' and 'To Solar' could possibly be swapped (i.e. From Filter is really To Solar) as there are various ways the 3-way (bypass) and check valves can be arranged to implement the needed control, back-flow and freeze/drain down.
flow2.jpg
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,077
Central California
That all looks right to me. Nice job. But I was talking about a drawing, similar to the illustration I posted, that includes all of your system plumbing, every component and valve. That will help you and us understand the entire system, not just the solar. I may be projecting, as I would need to see it that way to wrap my head around what does what. You might be able to see it just fine as is.

Then, once you understand everything, you label it all, on the actual pipes with a Sharpie (much like you've done on the virtual pipes), including flow direction arrows (for you, and anybody else that might need to understand the pool systems).

And I think you're clear on this, but just to be thorough: what you have labeled as "solar bypass valve" is actually the solar actuator (the black part). The valve itself is the tan component the black part is bolted to. The valve controls the flow, the actuator moves the valve.