Pentair Automation Problems

johnsimion

Active member
Aug 12, 2014
44
Las Vegas, Nevada
I'll be frank, I never really understood my automated Pentair system they sold me when they built the pool. Oh, I know how to set the pool pump days and times, the system date/time, the pump speeds and even the chlorinator percentages. I also know how to push the buttons on the remote control to turn on the spa, the air blower, the lights, etc. I have a Pentair variable speed pump that operates at a single speed, which is set low enough that it doesn't blow out the solar heating (so they tell me), but it's not high enough for the skimmer to work very well. If I understand correctly, it should run at really high speed for a while without the solar to get the skimmer working good and then later on reduce to a slow speed so the solar works good. You would think the "professionals" who set up this system would have known that but nooooo. This is a very frustrating system to learn. Fortunately, most of the time it works well enough to overlook the little things.

Today's problem is one that is getting increasingly annoying: It's nice weather here right now during the day, so my wife and I wanted to use the spa. But nooooo, I can't turn on the spa during the day! Pushing the button on the remote to turn on the spa works fine at night when the pool schedule isn't in effect. Pushing the same button during the day while the pool schedule is in effect doesn't do anything but turn on the heater. All the valves stay fixed in pool position. I've tried stopping the pump at the main control panel -- no help. I also tried changing the pool schedule so the pool pump was supposed to stop a couple of hours ago, thinking the system would turn itself off, thinking it was night and allowing me to run the spa. Nope, didn't work, the pump ignored my programming and just kept on running for at least 5 minutes afterwards. Pushing the "spa" button during that period didn't change that.

What am I doing wrong? What's the trick to running the spa during daytime? Would my last "trick" have worked if I waited longer than five minutes? This is the second time I've tried to use the spa during the day without any success and it's just getting annoying. I could call the "professionals" but considering they were the ones who set this up, I don't particularly want to get another $125 bill for nothing.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,165
Bedford, TX
John,

Do you have ScreenLogic? I only ask because it is easier to troubleshoot.

You should be able to turn your spa on any time you like and run your pump at whatever speed works..

If your pool is not skimming, I would not jump to the conclusion that it is your pump speed.. I run at 1200 RPM and my pool skims just fine.

Let me think about why your system is not changing from pool to spa mode and see what might be wrong.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,165
Bedford, TX
John,

Go out to the equipment pad and your display should read AUTO and POOL...

Push the Valve button and the system should instantly change from POOL to SPA.. The first time you might have to push the V button twice to get its attention.. :mrgreen:

Watch the Intake and Return valves and they both should move.. Usually about 180 degrees..

Do that, and tell me if the valves are changing between the Pool mode and Spa mode.. Pushing the V button again will return it to the Pool mode.

I know you don't want to do that everytime you want to use the spa, but right now we just need to see what is working and what is not..

"If" your system is set to "Shut off the pump while the valves turn" your pump will shut off when the valves are moving and then restart..


Edit.. I just noticed you have an in-floor cleaning system... Do you also have wall returns (eyeballs)?? Or just floor returns??

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

johnsimion

Active member
Aug 12, 2014
44
Las Vegas, Nevada
Hello, and thank you! I went outside at about 4:05 and the system was still running (see below). I did find the panel and was able to press "V." The readout shows "AUTO" and "SPA" but the valves did not move. This is what has been happening when I press the "Spa" button on my remote except the pump would speed up and the heater would come on. I'm now wondering if somehow BOTH my valves went bad at the same time??? At any rate, thanks for the tip, at least I think I know the main thing that's wrong. But not all. The system is not respecting the days and times set for it.

When I pressed "V" again and it went back to "AUTO" and "POOL" and the system continued to run. Now bear in mind that all this action started about 5 minutes after 4:00 and the system already supposed to be off by 4:00 PM. I verified the shutoff time was correct and I checked the system clock, which showed 4:20 PM instead of 4:05 PM (which was wrong, but should have made it shut off sooner rather than later). I came back inside and started writing this, thinking maybe it would run for a couple more minutes then shut off. Nope, I went back outside at 4:33 PM and the main pool pump was still running. That makes me wonder if this thing has been running 24/7, so I shut down the pump manually on the equipment pad rather than risk burning up the pump. Then, with everything off, on a whim, I pressed the "Spa" button on my remote again. This made the pump and heater come on and the equipment pad readout said "AUTO" & "SPA," but again the valves still didn't turn. So now I'm convinced that BOTH these valves have gone bad at the same time. I have replaced valves on this system over and over in the six years since we built the pool. Perhaps the Vegas sun does something to them. At this point I'll have to call someone in but as little as we use the spa anyway, I think I'm going to tell them to just put manual valves and I'll turn them myself.

The basic pool pump speed is 2800 rpm, with 3300 for the spa, 1500 for the freeze cycle and (it says) 1500 for the solar. Pushing the "Spa" button makes it run faster, like it's supposed to, but the valves don't turn off. The system says it runs at 1500 for solar but I have never noticed it running slower than the usual 2800. As for the skimmer, I didn't mean to imply that it doesn't work, because it does for sure (I have to empty it regularly). It just can't seem to keep up with the junk carried on the wind we get here and a lot of the time small floating bits make it to the other end of the pool and stay there. That's why it runs at 2800 and still doesn't catch all the floating stuff.

There are eyeball returns in both the pool and spa, but if anything ever goes in or out of them, I've never felt it. In the spa, the worthless in-floor system makes the spa overflow into a waterfall into the pool, so it's either a powerful waterfall or a continuous and annoying dribbling the rest of the time. The pool itself is set so 3/4 of the suction goes to the skimmer and the rest to the main drain.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,165
Bedford, TX
John,

The next thing to check is the little switch on the valve actuators.. On the back side, or maybe the bottom, is a little toggle switch that has three positions... "On" - "Off" - "On"..

First thing go do is make sure the switches are in one of the "On" positions.. If in the "Off" position the actuators will not move the valves..

If not in the off position, then move the switch to the opposite "on" position and see if the valve moves.. If it does, move the switch back to its original position. Do that for both actuators..

With an EasyTouch, depending on when you manually turn something on or off, it may or may not respond to the next scheduled action.. At this point I would not worry about that as a problem.

Also, in the upper right of your EasyTouch there may be a 3 or 4 small rocker style circuit breakers.. See if any of them are popped.

I'd try setting your suction valves at 90% skimmers and the main drain to 10% or less and see if that helps you skimming..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

johnsimion

Active member
Aug 12, 2014
44
Las Vegas, Nevada
Hi - I finally got around to doing your checks. Both valves were on "ON1" position. I found the little rocker-style circuit breaker and pushed it in. I didn't even realize it was popped out, that is the degree of knowledge the pool company imparted to me. Anyway, I then pressed the "V" button as before and both valves started to turn a short distance (maybe 1/4 of the normal turn?) and then both stopped and the circuit breaker popped again. I pushed the circuit breaker and tried again, same result. I finally put the setting back to "AUTO" & "POOL", pressed the circuit breaker again and they returned to the proper pool position where they are now. At least the timer seems to be working properly now.

I think the real problem here is the Las Vegas sun. The people who built this put the pool in the shade behind the house and put the equipment in full sun. The pool is constantly cold (I have to use solar heating right up until July) and I think the sun is what is ruining my equipment. As mentioned, I've replaced these valves several times already as well as one water softener. Now I've noticed that my white plastic pool pipes are developing a black coloring on top that looks like sunburn. I suspect they are about ready to fail. My neighbor had a white plastic pipe to his faucet that failed and it looked exactly the same. I never would have thought of this but see:
.

Naturally the pool company didn't paint the pipes or tell me they needed paint lest they degrade and ultimately fail. I relied on the so-called professionals and this is what I got. The name of this forum is "Trouble Free Pool" but I have a "Trouble Some Pool." I'll have to call a repair service about the valves (not the builder!) and I'll ask them about re-plumbing as well. But thanks for all your help.
 

johnsimion

Active member
Aug 12, 2014
44
Las Vegas, Nevada
Yes, Pentair Easy Touch. Modified signature accordingly. I have an appointment with a different pool repair company tomorrow, hopefully it will just entail replacing the two bad valves. The current plan is then to replace the pipes that are going bad and then build a complete cover over the pool equipment to keep the sun off it.
 
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johnsimion

Active member
Aug 12, 2014
44
Las Vegas, Nevada
The end result was that the solar heat pump had gone bad and was throwing the circuit breaker, which prevented any of the valves from turning. After replacing that valve, the system works again. It would have been a lot better system if they had separate circuit breakers for each valve. Thanks for the help!