New pool (soon) in NJ

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
I'm a pool novice who has been lurking on this forum for a few months as we began planning our project and appreciate all the great info. We finally received permits last week (quite a challenge in our town) and we are just waiting on an install date for our new fiberglass pool. Due to restrictions on transporting the pool from W. Virginia over Labor Day weekend, I'm told we'll have the pool up in NJ likely in 10 days or so.

As we make final plans, I had a question pop up that I was hoping to run past the group for thoughts. PB offered us to use their electrician on their install team or bring in our own. Since our neighbor can do the work at the same cost and I trust will be around post-install for any modifications or corrections we need, I offered him whatever we were going to pay the PB to do the work for us. If we use the PB's electrician, they will provide the panel (Fiberstars WPC2) which seems quite basic but will get the job done. If we use our neighbor, we'll have to provide our own panel and so I've been looking into the entry-level automated units (Hayward Pro Logic PL-P-4 or Pentair EasyTouch 4P).

The pool will be a 14x33 Blue Hawaiian Venus pool (11,700 gallons) with a Hayward SWG, Hayward Heat Pump, Hayward Variable Speed Pump (no spa). We will have 3 Treo LED lights. We are not installing landscaping lighting now but we will probably do so in the Spring when we open the pool and finish landscaping the pool area.

With that background, my questions are:

1. Do people have thoughts on the reliability of the three panels I listed above?
2. Is the Pentair or Hayward panel a real upgrade over the Fiberstars or am I just spending too much time on something that in practice won't really change my pool experience? For example, does one give me more control over the VSP or is it no real difference as I'll control the pump speeds on the pump itself?
3. Since all the components the PB is giving us are Hayward, does it make sense to go with the Hayward over the Pentair or would either work just fine?

I'm sure I'm missing details as I'm new to the pool ownership game but would appreciate the forum's thoughts on my current panel dilemma (or anything else I should be thinking about).
 

PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,748
Damascus, MD
Is your neighbor familiar with pool codes for electrical work? It is never a good idea to get friends involved with projects like this. I strongly suggest you reconsider and have the builder's electrician do the work.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Mc,

Your automation and any VS pump and any SWCG, all need to be from the same manufacturer if you what to make sure that they can communicate with each other..

I am a die hard Pentair kind of guy, but if the only pump you can have is a Hayward, then I would recommend a Hayward panel.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
Appreciate the comment re: the neighbor. I was writing less so left out all the details but basically it's the neighbor's brother who seems far more competent to me than the pool company (he is a foreman on major construction projects in Manhattan and will work with a local electrician to do the work... he also knows the easement on my property for a sewer line because he has helped his brother with some work around the yard so I think he'll do a great job with this one).

As for the Pentair comment, I might have gone that way if I was starting over but at this point we're about to do the install and signed up for all Hayward.

So in the end, you believe the Hayward panel is worth installing over the SR Smith WPC2,? Mind walking me through what you see as the benefits?As I said, I'm a complete newbie with all this.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Mc,

The SR Smith appears to me to be more of a Load Center and mechanical timer type of panel.. The Pro-Logic is a load Center and more of a real automation system.

The SR Smith that I looked at, appears to be for only 120 volts???

The SR Smith does not appear to be able to control a VS pump (maybe I was looking up the wrong one :scratch: ) The Pro-logic is designed to control a VS pump.

It really depends on what you want the system to do...

If this were my pool, I would get the exact P/N of the pump being supplied and that look to see what panels are made to control that specific pump.

You have to decide it you want an automation system or a timer system.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
Thanks again for the response. As I said, I'm a newbie and eletrical is definitely not something I know much about. The SR Smith was just in the list of equipment the PB provided, not something I picked up.

The pump appears to be the Hayward SP3400VSP seen here

Here's another automation question. The Hayward panel base package would require me to add actuators, wifi receiver, etc. How many actuators would I be purchasing if with the setup I outlined above? As I mentioned, I'm completely out of my element when discussing electrical.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
Mc,

Your automation and any VS pump and any SWCG, all need to be from the same manufacturer if you what to make sure that they can communicate with each other..

I am a die hard Pentair kind of guy, but if the only pump you can have is a Hayward, then I would recommend a Hayward panel.

Thanks,

Jim R.

Jim - The pool builder just put me in touch with our installer and we agreed we would put in all Pentair equipment rather than Hayward. So a Pentair Variable Speed Superflow Pump, 150 cartridge filter, heat pump (type TBD), 20k minus salt cell. Two questions:

1. Any reaction to the list of equipment since this is a change from what was included in my permit applications (all Hayward)?
2. The cost of using a PL-P-4 filter seems to be roughly the same now using our neighbor and the pool installer. So I'm leaning toward letting the installer do everything. So now the question is whether I go out and buy the PL-4 panel + 2 actuators and then give the installer $400 to set up the automation or stick with the basic install package for electrical. Sounds like you would prefer the automated system if in my shoes and its worth the cost difference. Any thoughts of course are appreciated.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Mc,

Sorry to start on a downer, but the Superflo VS, cannot be controlled by an automation system. It lacks the RS-485 communications port. Pentair automation only controls IntelliFlo style pumps.

Tell me what it is you want the system to do and I can tell you if it makes sense to add an automation system or not.. Automation is not all that cheap and if you don't really "need" it, then why buy it..

How do you envision your pool working??? What would the two actuators control???

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
Mc,

Sorry to start on a downer, but the Superflo VS, cannot be controlled by an automation system. It lacks the RS-485 communications port. Pentair automation only controls IntelliFlo style pumps.

Tell me what it is you want the system to do and I can tell you if it makes sense to add an automation system or not.. Automation is not all that cheap and if you don't really "need" it, then why buy it..

How do you envision your pool working??? What would the two actuators control???

Thanks,

Jim R.

Thanks. I keep repeating this but I'm clearly a novice here. I like the idea of being able to monitor and control heat on my phone, flip on lights and adjust the pump. We will have 4 spa jets installed and it would be good to be able to control those. If the pump is not controllable, perhaps this is not worth it. At some point we'll install landscape lights and it would be great to control those as well. Otherwise, I'm not sure what else the automation would control or what people use the automation to control.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,748
Damascus, MD
Without pump control, automation is mostly useless. Pretty much everything you'd want to control would need a pump change. I would for sure change that pump for a controllable model.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Mc,

Ok, I am confused... In your original post you said "no spa" now you say you are going to have a spa??? If this spa will spillover into the pool, then you really do need an automation system.. Tell us more about the spa...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
Mc,

Ok, I am confused... In your original post you said "no spa" now you say you are going to have a spa??? If this spa will spillover into the pool, then you really do need an automation system.. Tell us more about the spa...

Thanks,

Jim R.
Sorry - no separate spa. Four spa jets will be installed along the bench at the end of the pool. I should have been clearer.


If I got the Easy Touch 4, what would I expect those 4 relays to be used for (given my setup)?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Mc,

An ET4 really only has 3 relays.. Aux 1, 2 and 3.. the 4th relay is called the pump/filter relay and is only used if you had a single speed pump or a SWCG (saltwater pool)..

Relays normally control things like lights, booster pumps, spa blowers etc...

Relays are used to control things that need 120 or 240 volts AC power... The EasyTouch is designed to control the 3 HP IntelliFlo VS pump.. This pump is controlled by a serial cable and does not need, or use a relay.

The EasyTouch can control 4 valves, but two of them can only be used to switch between the Pool and Spa.. This leaves two valves connections that can be used for anything you want.

In your case, the EasyTouch could tell an valve actuator to turn on the water to your Spa jets and at the same time tell the pump to increase in speed. This could be done via buttons on the outside unit, or by icons on ScreenLogic on your phone.. It could even be scheduled, if you wanted, but that would not make much sense..

ScreenLogic would show the current pool temperature and the temperature you want the pool to be.

The EasyTouch can control most heaters.. Basically the heater is turned on and set to max temperature. The EasyTouch then tells the heater when to come on and when to go off based upon inputs from a water temperature probe.

The basic EasyTouch is controlled by pushing buttons on a large outside enclosure. To control things via your phone, PC or tablet, it needs an add-on called ScreenLogic.

You can set schedules that tell the system what to do.. As an example, you can have the pump come on at 7 am at say 1200 RPM, and then increase speed to 2000 RPM at 10am until 2 pm when it goes back to 1200.. It would then shut at at say 7 pm.. You would program the unit for what you wanted it to do.

I feel like I am pushing you into a system that you do not really need. The person who needs an automation system is usually one that has a pool and spa, plus several water features or color changing lights.

Speaking of lights, I don't believe that the EasyTouch would be able to control the Treo LED lights that your pool builder is using..

Beware that there are several versions of the EasyTouch.. the lite version does not have a Load Center and has very limited functions.. I do not recommend it to anyone.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
Jim - Thank you very much. That was the basic guide I needed just to wrap my head around all of this. If I can recap (to ensure I have all this), the advantage of the Easytouch system is that it will allow me to control the heater, pump, spa jets, SWG cell from my phone. The PB said the same thing as you re: the Treo lights -- they are not controllable by the Easytouch system but come with a separate remote.

Speaking to the installer, it seems upgrading to the Pentair system would require me to spend $400 more on electrician (as he said it's another day to set up the automation if we go with an automated system), buy a Pentair panel (as they will buy the basic SR Smith panel but I have to provide the Pentair Easytouch panel if I go that way) and to pay to upgrade the pump to an Intelliflo (or go for an Easytouch 8 to have the extra relays to run the Superflo). So I'm probably looking at an additional $1500-$2000 for the upgrade -- more if I upgrade the lights as well to get lights controllable by the Easytouch

If I skip on the Easytouch and stay with the Superflo pump, am I correct that I'll still be able to program the Superflo pump, but will need to do so on the pump itself. The IC-20 cell will also be progammed on the cell itself. As for the 4 spa jets in the pool, is that just a matter of going over and switching on a valve if I forego automation?

The SR Smith panel comes with a simple remote but I'm not sure what that will allow me to do, if anything.

Again, thanks for walking a newbie through the details of automation.
 

McLovitz

Member
Aug 26, 2019
23
Livingston, NJ
OK - one more dumb question. Spoke to installer again and he threw out what he said was one cheaper "automation" option he has installed for people who want to stick with a basic panel and not incur the cost. I think this is what he is describing it.

Are you familiar with it and what would this allow me to do? Presumably not the lights still but does it have any advantages?

 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Mc,

I fully agree with that philosophy..

If I looked for an ROI from my pool, I would never have built it in the first place... :)

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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bmoreswim

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Good thread. I like having automation even though my pool is a simple pool. I control the pump, SWG, pool lights and deck 120V lights from it. And I don't even do it from my phone but I still enjoy going to one box or remote and being able to do it all, or have it scheduled. It's a very clean setup with perks. Though not necessary as stated.

Jim - When you say the pump doesn't use a relay, is that a technical difference? On my panel there is what seems like a relay for the pump (no different looking from the rest of the Aux relays, through which the 240V power routes). Though the operational control is through the RS-485 port. Or maybe what you are saying is that the filter pump doesn't count against the available relay count.