Pentair Controller Selection ... EasyTouch, IntelliConnect, IntelliTouch, IntelliCenter, SunTouch, etc ...

Stoopalini

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Jun 8, 2020
493
Central Texas
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14060
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
My PB spec'ed an EasyTouch 8, but since we have a simple build, we asked to change to an EasyTouch 4 to save $700. Now I'm wondering if I should change the controller to something which will scale for future additions, or possibly downgrade even more and reallocate those funds to something else, then swap out the controller myself in the future if needed .... and I would greatly appreciate some help thinking through this.

Our pool design is simple ... 31' x 20' - 470sq/ft pool, VS IntelliFlo pump, 3 GloBrite lights, and a waterfall. No spa, no heater, no SWG, and the waterfall will be run off the pool pump. So really, only 3 functions at time of install.

For sanitation, I am planning to use the inline chlorinator with pucks during the curing phase. After the pebbletek plaster has cured and the CYA, CH and PH have stabilized, I plan to switch over to liquid chlorine with a HASA Liquidator.

I have plans to add landscape lighting, a speaker system, and a television as DIY projects, and am wondering if I should go with an IntelliCenter, or IntelliTouch, to be able to integrate these items into a single control solution.

Are there any other typical items I am not thinking of I should also plan for?

The PB pricing is, of course, much higher than I get get this stuff myself, and I don't mind paying for the expertise, installation, warranty, etc ... But I am a very capable DIY kind of guy, and am now wondering if I should just have the PB install an IntelliConnect as a very cost effective option, and then I can swap it out down the road for an IntelliCenter, or IntelliTouch, when I add the other items.

It seems the PB is pretty much doubling the cost of the controllers, and then providing me a discount on the whole pool afterward. So financially, I think this might make sense ... but then again, I'm new to this and don't quite have a full understanding of all the differences between the control solutions.

Does the installation of one over the other preclude me from being able to easily change over in the future? For example, controlling the waterfall ... I think this is just a standard valve with an actuator, which is then operated by the control solution. Do all of these options allow for partial open/close of the valve so we can control the flow? Or would the IntelliConnect only allow for on/off control of the waterfall but not control over the flow rate?

Would the IntelliConnect even work to control my setup (VS pump, waterfall feature, GloBrite lights) and allow scheduling pump on/off times and run speeds?

I also can't tell if all of these control solutions will allow control over the GloBrite light colors. For example, the EasyTouch documentation states it integrates with IntelliBrite lights, but doesn't mention the GloBrites ... although my PB says it will control them. But will it just control on/off and not color selection?

Considering the cost difference between the "IntelliConnect" solution vs. the "EasyTouch with ScreenLogic and an actuator (for the waterfall)" solution ... I'm also wondering if I should just go with the cheaper option for now, and use the saved funds to install a separate VS pump for the waterfall instead of having it operate off of the pool pump. So adjusting the speed of a dedicated VS pump to control flow rate, instead of partially opening a valve tied into the pool pump. With my limited understanding, the only benefit I can see to doing that would be if we want to run the waterfall without running the pool pump.

Hoyle Design 2 - 7.jpg
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
20,852
Bedford, TX
S,

In my mind you only have thee options... EasyTouch, IntelliTouch, or the new IntelliCenter... I would never install any of the others that you listed.. They will just not do what you want.

The three units I listed all come in a wall mounted enclosure that include a Load Center for all your circuit breakers.. You really want this to be added during construction, before any deck work is done.. It also makes sense to have all the wiring connections in place before any deck work is done.

If you install a system yourself, you will only get a 60 day warranty..

I would go with a saltwater pool vs trying to use the Liquidator, which has proven to not work well, especially with low speed pump operation.

I have three saltwater pools that all have the IntelliFlo and EasyTouch systems.. I love them... That said, it I were going to build a new pool today I would go with the new IntelliCenter. The IntelliCenter is just about the same cost as an EasyTouch plus ScreenLogic.

There is not enough difference between the EasyTouch and the IntelliCenter that I would upgrade what I have.. But here are some differences.. The ET have a max of 12 programs/schedules, the IC has 100... You need ScreenLogic with an ET, but it is built into the IntelliCenter.. The ET is a fixed system that can't be upgraded later.. The IC is modular, so you can add features with additional cards.. The ET is black and white, letters/number only.. The IC is color and includes icons.. The IC is just a better system.

It is easy for me to spend your money, but I think it would be money well spent to get the system you want up front with a three warranty, rather then try to upgrade it later.

The ET 4 would most likely do all the things you want to do, but would not leave you much room to expand. Both the ET and the IC will control the lights on/off and color. At this moment in time, all systems only tell a valve to open or close, it cannot control the amount of flow.. The IC has a way to do this built into the system, but at this point it has not been released.. I see this as a pretty useless feature.. Because that is what the VS pump is for.. Both systems can just tell the pump to run at the right speed for the task at hand.

As always, it is your pool and your should do what you want.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
493
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks Jim, I appreciate the response.

I would go with a saltwater pool vs trying to use the Liquidator, which has proven to not work well, especially with low speed pump operation.

I have three saltwater pools that all have the IntelliFlo and EasyTouch systems.. I love them...

I decided against the SWG due to the amount of soft stone being used around the pool. The waterfall and the Texas flagstone coping ... plus, our house is made of soft, rough, limestone blocks. From what I've read, salt is really only an issue when dealing with softer stone; and in TX, it seems to be a more common problem then elsewhere.

On top of that, the PB won't warranty any of the stone work if we use a SWG :(

That said, it I were going to build a new pool today I would go with the new IntelliCenter. The IntelliCenter is just about the same cost as an EasyTouch plus ScreenLogic.

My PB is saying it's a $900 increase to go with the IntelliCenter. That's removing the EasyTouch 4, removing the ScreenLogic, and removing the actuator for waterfall control ... then adding the IntelliCenter. I thought this seemed very high. It may be because we don't have a spa, so the initial quote has the EasyTouch 4, not the 4S. Still seems really high to me though.

This is what made me consider a future swap. If I choose a more limited option from the PB, but one which still requires the conduit, electric, plumbing, etc ... to all be installed during construction ... then swapping it in the future would mean just exchanging the panel and some wiring and basic plumbing work at the equipment pad. The pump, filter, controller, etc .. will all be installed at an 8' equipment pad. But again, I'm just learning this stuff now, so I'm still ignorant with all of these options.

There is not enough difference between the EasyTouch and the IntelliCenter that I would upgrade what I have.. But here are some differences.. The ET have a max of 12 programs/schedules, the IC has 100... You need ScreenLogic with an ET, but it is built into the IntelliCenter.. The ET is a fixed system that can't be upgraded later.. The IC is modular, so you can add features with additional cards.. The ET is black and white, letters/number only.. The IC is color and includes icons.. The IC is just a better system.

It is easy for me to spend your money, but I think it would be money well spent to get the system you want up front with a three warranty, rather then try to upgrade it later.

This was my initial thoughts as well, although I expected the cost difference to be only a couple of hundred dollars, not $900. I think I need to push on this a bit more and understand where the high cost delta is coming from.

[/quote]

The ET 4 would most likely do all the things you want to do, but would not leave you much room to expand. Both the ET and the IC will control the lights on/off and color. At this moment in time, all systems only tell a valve to open or close, it cannot control the amount of flow.. The IC has a way to do this built into the system, but at this point it has not been released.. I see this as a pretty useless feature.. Because that is what the VS pump is for.. Both systems can just tell the pump to run at the right speed for the task at hand.

This is great info, thanks!

Right now, the waterfall is spec'ed to run off the pool pump, not its own VS pump. So I would think the flow rate will be directly related to the speed the pool pump is running.

Should I have the PB install an additional manual valve between the automated valve and the waterfall? So I can manually control the flow rate by adjusting this additional valve to a set position, but also have the ability to remotely turn the waterfall on/off through the controller. Or would this be a bad idea?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,852
Bedford, TX
S,

No doubt that you will need a Jandy valve and actuator to turn the waterfall on and off with the EasyTouch... If the waterfall pump is a single speed pump, then adding an additional Jandy valve to control the volume of water going to the waterfall makes sense to me...

Look at this place for EasyTouch and IntelliCenter pricing.. Welcome to Polytec Pools

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
493
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
S,

No doubt that you will need a Jandy valve and actuator to turn the waterfall on and off with the EasyTouch... If the waterfall pump is a single speed pump, then adding an additional Jandy valve to control the volume of water going to the waterfall makes sense to me...

Look at this place for EasyTouch and IntelliCenter pricing.. Welcome to Polytec Pools

Thanks,

Jim R.

Thanks .. I guess I'm not explaining it well? There is no waterfall pump ... the PB's plan is to run the waterfall off of the VS IntelliFlo pool pump.

I mentioned to the PB about putting in a valve to control flow, and he said it's not a good idea as it would reduce the pressure to the waterfall. I think I'm going to request it anyway. He's probably more concerned with another point of leakage maybe?

Thanks for the link! That's actually the site I've been using. I'm seeing a ~$300 difference, not $900. I get the PB needs to mark-up the material to account for labor, warranty, and simple profit .. but $900 seems excessive.

I've asked him to send me the model #s he's pricing, but haven't received it yet.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,852
Bedford, TX
S,

If you are going to use the IntelliFlo as the main pool pump, and to send water to the waterfall, then you do NOT need an extra valve.. You just set the pump to run at the speed where the waterfall looks good. Here is a small preview of how that works.. Below is a list of my speeds in relation to the mode the pool is in.. Notice that when I select Waterfall the pump will run at 2800 RPM automatically..


I have a waterfall, but the fun ran out several years ago... :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
493
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Gotcha, that's very helpful. So the only reason I'd need another valve is if the pump needs to run max speed for water chemistry purposes, but we want the waterfall running lower ... or something similar.

Thanks for the screenshot .. are those 8 circuits relatable to the EasyTouch 8 (as opposed to the EasyTouch 4 having only 4 circuits on that same setup screen)?

So if the pool, skim low, and waterfall circuits were active at the same time ... does the system automatically choose the highest RPM of the circuits which are active, and run the pump at that speed?

I can see how having a dedicated VS pump for the waterfall could be very nice.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,852
Bedford, TX
S,

The ET-4 has 4 relays to control 4 external devices that need 120 volt or 240 volts power.. The ET-8 has 8 relays for 8 devices.

The pump setup page has nothing to do with the 4 or 8... Both ETs uses the same pump set up page.

There is almost no reason to run a VS pump at full power.. If you are going to do that, why have a VS pump at all.. :scratch:

I can't think of any reason that "water chemistry" would require a faster pump speed. ??

The system works just like you figured.. If the pump receives two or more speed commands at the same time, it will always run the faster one.. So in my case if I am running the Pool at 1250 RPM and then turn on the Waterfall circuit, the valve will turn to let water go to the waterfall, and the pump will automatically increase speed to 2800.. When the waterfall circuit is turned off, the pump will go back to running at 1250 RPM.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
493
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
There is almost no reason to run a VS pump at full power.. If you are going to do that, why have a VS pump at all.. :scratch:

I can't think of any reason that "water chemistry" would require a faster pump speed. ??

I did't mean run the VS pump at full power all the time .... I meant if you added chemicals and are running the pump at a higher speed for a brief time to mix and circulate the chemicals but want to have the waterfall at a low trickle during the same period ... or, when using something like the Liquidator, and want to run the pump schedule at certain speeds through the day to get the chlorine injection correct but don't want the waterfall volume changing throughout the day ... or you've maxed out the duty cycle on a SWG and need an increase in generation, so run the pump at a higher RPM for longer period of time, etc ...

This is what I meant by my comment on water chemistry. Running the pump at certain speeds for certain periods of time, and it having an impact on the waterfall ... and of course, the opposite too, where if you wanted to run the waterfall at a high volume but circulate the pool water through the sanitizer at a lower flow rate.

It seems if the waterfall will jump the pump speed up every time you turn it on, and your chlorine introduction is tied to volume of water flow, then turning the waterfall on/off inconsistently would result in inconsistent chlorine levels ... but again, this is all new to me, so my ignorance could be showing. Obvisously, if it's how yours is setup, I'm going to assume your levels are good since you're a mod here :)

Maybe this is the piece I'm missing: If you are using an SWG (or something like the Liquidator), and have a common pump for the pool and water feature ... are you able to run only the water feature without cycling the water through the sanitizer? So you can activate just the waterfall without the SWG getting any flow? Or does turning the pump on run water through the sanitizer by default?

One of the PB's I received an estimate from had spec'ed a separate VS pump for the waterfall, with a separate intake in the pool for it. I'm guessing this is part of the reason for doing that. So the waterfall flow rate isn't tied to the pool pump's rate, and the two can be controlled independently.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,852
Bedford, TX
S,

As a general rule, when one pump is used, all the water passes through the sanitizer... It could be plumbed some other way if you wanted.. You would just have to tell your pool builder what you want.. Do you plan to have the waterfall run continuously?? This will drive your pH through the roof... Aeration is how you make pH go up. If you have a big waterfall, the noise will be like living next to a freeway..

I took another look at your pool drawing.. I like it... but.... there is often a very thin line between a great looking waterfall and a pile of rocks.. You can see the difference in many of the construction threads on this site.. I suggest that you have your pool builder show you some of his completed waterfall projects, first hand..

I can't tell from the drawing, but you really do not want the rocks to go into the water.. You should have a tile line all the way around the pool, with the rock above the tile.

Thanks and good luck with your project.

Jim R.
 
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panic_button

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Jun 23, 2019
204
Panhandle Florida
Pool Size
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Save yourself the $700 for the ET8, get an ET4 and buy a 1K resistor and solder it in R41 and you will have an ET8...
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
493
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks guys .... I think I figured out why the PB is showing such a discrepency on the IntelliCenter pricing. Here is what he sent me just now:

1593056489810.png

This is a very large PB (largest in Texas), and I think his pricing guys don't realize the 521097 comes with 2 actuators, and the IntelliCenter doesn't use ScreenLogic.

I'm trying to get my sales guy to understand this, but he's insistent we need to purchase ScreenLogic for the IntelliCenter :( Maybe I'll tell him to just remove all automation control and I'll add it myself afterward ... I'm at a loss here.

We definitely won't run the waterfall continuously, and I do want the ability to control the flow rate. I agree the noise will get tiresome after a while, and we need to have control over it.

As for the waterfall design, we actually saw one of their boulder waterfalls, and loved it. They do spec the boulder coping to hang into the water though, in pace of waterline tile. Why would this be undesirable? All of the PBs we've dealt with have spec'ed the same approach to boulder coping.
 

phildg

Active member
May 28, 2020
25
sarasota, florida
I had a similar experience and it took a Pentair tech telling the company that Screen Logic is not for Intellicenter. All you need of course is a modem that works or direct connect. Have a sit down with your local Pentair Techs/reps.
 
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