Pentair IntelliCenter Review - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Reed Kadavy

Silver Supporter
Nov 22, 2015
149
Gilbert AZ
Having just read, or stumbled through the Pentair Intellicenter Review, is this system realistic for the little guy? After around with three pool builders, I’m within a day or two of pulling the trigger on a 10,000 gal salt pool, no spa. Our bid does include the Intellicenter and Intelliflo VSF pump. I had ScreenLogic on my last pool. It worked great and I loved it. I am not tech savvy in the least so would be relying on the builder to get me up and running. Actually this particular builder, not one of the nationwide giants, is active in the Phoenix area and in Tennessee. They built our last pool although we didn’t contract for the build. I certainly believe in staying up with technology while not getting in over my head. I basically want to be able to run my salt system, which will be new for me, and have the ability to add acid injection if deemed necessary.
One question I forgot. For one that has a Mac laptop along with an iPad and iPhone, is it realistic to operate the Intellicenter with these devices? What advantages do you have with the color touchscreen?
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
One question I forgot. For one that has a Mac laptop along with an iPad and iPhone, is it realistic to operate the Intellicenter with these devices? What advantages do you have with the color touchscreen?
Reed Kadavy
Sure. No problem. The desktop user interface to the IntelliCenter automation is "web-based". So the Mac is no problem.
There is an iPad and iPhone app for the IntelliCenter along with an Alexa app/skill.
The advantage of the color screen is the same as the advantage of a color monitor over a monochrome screen.
The touchpad works extremely well and allows for ease of use in accessing the various menu's.
r.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
I am not sure of the function of the comm module vs the valve expansion module. It sounds like you are saying I need the valve expansion module first, then add the comm onto it to be able to have more control over the position of the valves, correct? Or can I just get the comm module and it will have connection points for the valves to plug into?

Thanks for your help,
Andrew
sandman2001
Hi Andrew. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I missed your post.

1. The only purpose of the Valve Expansion Module (522038Z) is to allow for more than four (4) valve actuators (PS model) to be controlled by IntelliCenter. It allows for a total of ten (10) valve actuators to be connected to the system. You will only require this module if you plan on utilizing more than four valve actuators for your PS model.

2. The Serial COM Expansion Board (520818) has two purposes.
(a) It allows for additional equipment that utilize the RS-485 communications protocol to be connected to the RS-485 bus.​
(b) When (and only when) Pentair releases the update for the IntelliValve actuators, the additional COM wires (green and yellow) from the IntelliValves, can be connected to the six 2-pin connectors on the board. This will allow for RS-485 communications with the IntelliValves and will then provide additional valve actuator control. You should not need this board at this time.​
Hope this helps to clear up the confusion.​
Please feel free to ping me or PM me if you have any additional questions. I'll do my best to help you out.​
All-the-best...​
r..​
 
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guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
78
California
NOTE: All of the above (Good, Bad and Ugly), have been communicated to Pentair and is being pushed to the applicable departments for review/fix. I have been working closely with Pentair Tech Support who have been extremely receptive, helpful and overall phenomenal, in dealing with the above issues. I think we are learning about some of these issues together. I have allowed them access to my web interface, so they can see a “real-world” more advanced-type user setup and see how the automation is actually being used outside of a controlled environment. I have done this to help myself and all the others after me who may decide on the IntelliCenter for their pool automation needs.
@MyAZPool Are you communicating with Pentair tech support over the phone or email? I have noticed a bug in the website when assigning valve A to solar, but when I go to the panel it shows the valve incorrectly assigned to a circuit name that is gobbledygook (I was able to reassign the valve to solar circuit from the panel however).
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
@MyAZPool Are you communicating with Pentair tech support over the phone or email? I have noticed a bug in the website when assigning valve A to solar, but when I go to the panel it shows the valve incorrectly assigned to a circuit name that is gobbledygook (I was able to reassign the valve to solar circuit from the panel however).
guinness
Hmm, yea that's weird. Can you provide a screenshot of your WEB CLIENT > SETTINGS > SYSTEM CONFIGURATION > OTHER EQUIPMENT > PANEL 1 - VALVES > VALVE A? I would be interested in seeing what is happening. You can give Pentair Tech Support a voice call. Please let me know what they say.
r.
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
78
California
Valve setting saved:

103530

Value setting refreshed:

103532

Circuit pump speeds (odd name displayed):

103533

Valve A setting:

103534

Circuit pump speeds (cover 2 incorrect):

103535
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
guinness
Hmmm, yea. Something has gotten discombobulated. I'm assuming that you have a Feature Circuit named "SOLAR".
This might be what I would do if the same were happening to me before I called Pentair Tech Support.
I would delete the speed 2650 from the PUMPS page. Delete Cover 2 FEATURE CIRCUIT and delete the circuit XO-148.

Then,
1. Create a FEATURE CIRCUIT named 2650 (or any other name you prefer). Try to stay away from the default names provided by Pentair in the pulldowns. I initially had some problems with a few of those as sometimes they mean something that did not make sense to me and I think it confused the system when I used them inappropriately. You can try them if you want to but if you have problems, try a different name.
2. Then go to the PUMPS page and create a pump speed 2650 using the FEATURE CIRCUIT named 2650 from the pulldown in the PUMPS page.
3. Then create a FEATURE CIRCUIT named ("A"). I just used that name as an example. Use any name that makes sense to you.
4. Go to the VALVE PAGE and associate VALVE A with the FEATURE CIRCUIT named "A".
5. Create a CIRCUIT GROUP named "SOL". Again, use a name that makes sense to you.
6. Within the CIRCUIT GROUP named "SOL", imbed the FEATURE CIRCUITS - "2650" and "A".


When you activate the CIRCUIT GROUP - "SOL", the following should occur.
1. Valve A should move to it's 2nd pre-programmed position.
2. Pump should turn on and activate to a speed of 2650.
(I'm assuming this is what you want to happen right?

If you do call Pentair Tech Support, ask to speak with someone who is well-trained on the IntelliCenter. Also, make sure you have saved a back-up of your config file on a thumb drive. They will surely ask you to do a "System Reboot" and possibly a "Restore Factory Defaults Settings (THIS IS WHERE YOU WILL NEED YOUR CONFIG FILE BACKUP). You might try these as well before you call. If you have any questions on saving your config file on a thumb drive, restore factory defaults and/or reloading your config file, let me know and I will be happy to assist. Tech Support should also walk you through those as well.

Let me know what happens with this as I am interested in learning what the problem was.
Thanks...
r.
 
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guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
78
California
Thanks for the workaround Rob, but I was simply able to reset it back to the solar circuit from the panel. When I get round to calling Pentair I'm hesitant to touch anything on my panel since it's working as programmed. The issue lies with the web interface sending the wrong settings to the panel, so hopefully they can reproduce that on their equipment. I was hoping for a tech support email address where I can send them these images (easier than explaining over the phone) and a copy of my config file for them to reproduce the issue at their end.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
Thanks for the workaround Rob, but I was simply able to reset it back to the solar circuit from the panel. When I get round to calling Pentair I'm hesitant to touch anything on my panel since it's working as programmed. The issue lies with the web interface sending the wrong settings to the panel, so hopefully they can reproduce that on their equipment. I was hoping for a tech support email address where I can send them these images (easier than explaining over the phone) and a copy of my config file for them to reproduce the issue at their end.
Okay, gotcha... When you call them, then try to ask for an email address for that particular Tech Support Rep, so you can email him the illustrations. Better yet, they do have the ability to "remote-in" to your web client if you allow them, so that may be a better way to go.
r.
 

mcqwerty

Member
Aug 27, 2018
10
TN
Hi @MyAZPool,

Thank you for your detailed reports in this thread and others. I am learning a lot and have convinced my PB to install an IntelliCenter to manage my pretty complex setup.
While I am working with a PB I am designing the system and want to make sure I fully understand the IntelliCenter capabilities so I can direct him appropriately during the build.

I have quite a few questions regarding feature circuits:

If I understand correctly a feature circuit applies to the following:
  • Individual AUX relay (total depends on personality card installed)
  • Individual Valve (activated/deactivated) - total depends on if valve expansion card included and on personality card installed.
  • Individual Pump flow level (RPM or GPM if VSF) - (Max of 8 per pump, so potentially 8 feature circuits per pump)
  • IntelliChem (I am unsure as to how many feature circuits this would require to access all features)
  • Heater (Is this just one feature circuit on/off?)
  • Pool cover expansion card - since this is 'input only' am I correct that it does not require a feature circuit but instead is a open/closed variable that can be used during programming?
What happens after the firmware update allowing positional control of the intellivalves? Will each position require a feature circuit?

You stated the IntelliCenter can support a max of 32 “Feature Circuits”, this seems like a big limitation. My setup potentially includes 12+ intellivalves, 3 VSF pumps, 5+ relays, an intellichem and a heater.
I would like to control the GPM of each of the pumps and, (after the firmware update), the positions of most of the valves.
Do you know if there is a way to go beyond the 32 feature circuits, or is my understanding so far off that I am unlikely to hit the 32 limit?

Thanks in advance!
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
mcqwerty
If I understand correctly a feature circuit applies to the following:
  • Individual AUX relay (total depends on personality card installed)
  • Individual Valve (activated/deactivated) - total depends on if valve expansion card included and on personality card installed.
  • Individual Pump flow level (RPM or GPM if VSF) - (Max of 8 per pump, so potentially 8 feature circuits per pump)
  • IntelliChem (I am unsure as to how many feature circuits this would require to access all features)
  • Heater (Is this just one feature circuit on/off?)
  • Pool cover expansion card - since this is 'input only' am I correct that it does not require a feature circuit but instead is a open/closed variable that can be used during programming
  • Individual AUX relay (total depends on personality card installed). No. The aux circuits (relays) do not count against the max 32 Feature Circuit limitation. See illustration below..
104946


  • Individual Valve (activated/deactivated) - total depends on if valve expansion card included and on personality card installed. Yes (sort of, but has nothing to do with the Valve Expansion Module really). In the OTHER EQUIPMENT>PANEL 1-VALVES page, you will name each valve actuator (I used the "action" that signifies what will happen when the valve actuator is "actioned" (valve moving to it's 2nd programmed position). As an example, I created a FEATURE CIRCUIT named "HEAT BY" as illustrated above. Then I selected that FEATURE CIRCUIT as the name for Valve Actuator C (which is my heater bypass valve) as illustrated below. If that FEATURE CIRCUIT named "HEAT BY" is activated (either individually or by activating a CIRCUIT GROUP (macro) where the FEATURE CIRCUIT "HEAT BY" is included in, then Valve C will move to it's 2nd programmed position.
104954


  • Individual Pump flow level (RPM or GPM if VSF) - (Max of 8 per pump, so potentially 8 feature circuits per pump). YES. In the first illustration above, you can see several pump speeds/flows. Those correlate to eight (8) (max) pump speeds/flows listed in my pumps page as illustrated below (remember your spa circuit and pool circuit can be included as speeds in the pump page... You don't have to have ALL of your pump speeds/flows as FEATURE CIRCUITS. ONLY the one's that you want to include in your CIRCUIT GROUPS (macros).
104962

  • IntelliChem (I am unsure as to how many feature circuits this would require to access all features) No, I don't think so, but not 100% sure about this as I do not have an IntelliChem. I prefer the IntellipH as I (and many others) feel the ORP sensors/capabilities of IntelliChem are just not where they need to be regarding reliability.

  • Heater (Is this just one feature circuit on/off?) YES, your heater should be a FEATURE CIRCUIT which turns the heater on/off (if you have just a standard electric or gas heater). The "high speed" heaters (Hybrid/Ultra-Temp and Solar), will have additional features and I'm not really sure if you would need additional feature circuits to control the additional features of those heaters.

  • Pool cover expansion card - since this is 'input only' am I correct that it does not require a feature circuit but instead is a open/closed variable that can be used during programming? Looking at my OTHER EQUIPMENT>COVERS page, my guess would be that you would name the cover, create a FEATURE CIRCUIT for that cover name and then activate On/Off of the cover by activating that FEATURE CIRCUIT. I can't say for sure as I do not have a pool cover.

What happens after the firmware update allowing positional control of the intellivalves? Will each position require a feature circuit?
Great question and I do not currently have the answer. I have asked Pentair Tech Support, that and several other questions regarding this new and anticipated feature and they are being very tight-lipped. My guess is YES, but I can't say for sure with any confidence.

You stated the IntelliCenter can support a max of 32 “Feature Circuits”, this seems like a big limitation. My setup potentially includes 12+ intellivalves, 3 VSF pumps, 5+ relays, an intellichem and a heater.
I would like to control the GPM of each of the pumps and, (after the firmware update), the positions of most of the valves.
Do you know if there is a way to go beyond the 32 feature circuits, or is my understanding so far off that I am unlikely to hit the 32 limit?
In your scenario above, I guess so. But are you going to use eight (8) speeds/flows for all three pumps? Just as an example, let's say your FEATURE CIRCUITS look something like this.
Valves -12
Pump 1 - 8
Pump 2 - 4
Pump 3 - 4
Heater - 1
You still have three (3) FEATURE CIRCUITS left. I honestly do not think you will need that many FEATURE CIRCUITS for your pumps, but only time (and experimentation) may tell.
As far as I know, the FEATURE CIRCUIT limitation is 32 and CIRCUIT GROUPS is 16. Can that be changed in a future software/firmware update? Maybe? Who knows?

I hope the above information has been helpful to you.
Thanks for the great questions. Let me know if I can try to answer anymore that you might have.
As always, all-the-best...

r.
 
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mcqwerty

Member
Aug 27, 2018
10
TN
Hi @MyAZPool,

Thank you very much for your detailed reply. It was very helpful.
I have a follow up question regarding valves and also some confusion that has arisen from reading the user manual more closely that perhaps you could help clear up. I know you don't have some of the setup I am referencing here so I totally understand if you don't know the answer :)

Regarding assigning valves in feature circuits assigned to groups:
If I understand correctly, when a feature circuit representing a valve is activated, the valve will move to the 'activated' position set. Does this mean then that only one group can be activated at any one time so that all valve feature circuits not included in the newly activated group will move to the 'deactivated' position? i.e. one does not need to explicitly 'deactivate' a valve. Instead it is just omitted from a group and when this group is activated all omitted feature circuits containing valves 'deactivate'?
If multiple feature circuits can be activated at once how do you define which valves are activated and which are not?

IntelliCenter Users Guide - Page 1 (Page 9 of the online PDF). Under the 'Features' section:
Valves: Intake/Return plus A and B valve circuits. Expandable up to 10 valves.
This implies that only one valve expansion board can be added to the system, (adding 6 valves to the 4 available on the personality card). Do you happen to know if multiple valve expansion boards can be added and the documentation is incorrect in stating the limit of 10?

IntelliCenter Users Guide - Page 78. Under the 'Configuring Valve Actuators (Controlled by AUX or Feature Circuit) ' section:
Auxiliary valve actuators can be controlled by any AUX circuit or Feature circuit. By using FEATURE circuits to control valve actuators, you can conserve your AUX circuits for high voltage relays for controlling pumps and lights.
Does this mean a valve can be controlled by an AUX relay? Or does it mean a valve can be plugged into an AUX connector on the main board? If it is the latter, how would that work given a valve has a 3-pin connector and AUX connectors only have two. I am wondering if I could just get the 8 or 10 relay personality board and use AUX connectors to control valves vs another valve expansion card. (I imagine I wouldn't get incremental control of the valves via this method even after the firmware update). If it were the former, then this too seems to be a problem for the same reason, not to mention that would mean low voltage valve control in the high voltage relay area. I'm pretty confused by this section of the manual.

Thanks again,
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
Hi @MyAZPool,
Regarding assigning valves in feature circuits assigned to groups:
If I understand correctly, when a feature circuit representing a valve is activated, the valve will move to the 'activated' position set. Does this mean then that only one group can be activated at any one time so that all valve feature circuits not included in the newly activated group will move to the 'deactivated' position? i.e. one does not need to explicitly 'deactivate' a valve. Instead it is just omitted from a group and when this group is activated all omitted feature circuits containing valves 'deactivate'?
If multiple feature circuits can be activated at once how do you define which valves are activated and which are not?

IntelliCenter Users Guide - Page 1 (Page 9 of the online PDF). Under the 'Features' section:

This implies that only one valve expansion board can be added to the system, (adding 6 valves to the 4 available on the personality card). Do you happen to know if multiple valve expansion boards can be added and the documentation is incorrect in stating the limit of 10?

IntelliCenter Users Guide - Page 78. Under the 'Configuring Valve Actuators (Controlled by AUX or Feature Circuit) ' section:

Does this mean a valve can be controlled by an AUX relay? Or does it mean a valve can be plugged into an AUX connector on the main board? If it is the latter, how would that work given a valve has a 3-pin connector and AUX connectors only have two. I am wondering if I could just get the 8 or 10 relay personality board and use AUX connectors to control valves vs another valve expansion card. (I imagine I wouldn't get incremental control of the valves via this method even after the firmware update). If it were the former, then this too seems to be a problem for the same reason, not to mention that would mean low voltage valve control in the high voltage relay area. I'm pretty confused by this section of the manual.
Hi mcqwerty
Hi @MyAZPool,
Regarding assigning valves in feature circuits assigned to groups:
If I understand correctly, when a feature circuit representing a valve is activated, the valve will move to the 'activated' position set.
When a FEATURE CIRCUIT is activated (turned on) either individually or through a macro command (CIRCUIT GROUP), the valve will then move from its programmed HOME position and move to its programmed 2nd position. When that FEATURE CIRCUIT (or the macro (CIRCUIT GROUP) is turned off, the valve will then move back to its programmed HOME position.

Does this mean then that only one group can be activated at any one time so that all valve feature circuits not included in the newly activated group will move to the 'deactivated' position? i.e. one does not need to explicitly 'deactivate' a valve. Instead it is just omitted from a group and when this group is activated all omitted feature circuits containing valves 'deactivate'?
If multiple feature circuits can be activated at once how do you define which valves are activated and which are not?
More than one CIRCUIT GROUP (macro) CAN be activated at one time. I just tried it. But that does not make sense to do that. I guess the last macro activated will take priority. Why would you want to though? The macros are used to give instructions to the automation to perform multiple actions under one single command. And then those CIRCUIT GROUPS (macros) can be scheduled (or not).
i.e. I have a CIRCUIT GROUP (macro) named "RELAX". The five (5) FEATURE CIRCUIT commands contained within the macro perform the following.
1. Moves the Intake valve from Pool to Spa.
2. Moves the Return valve from Pool to Spa.
3. Moves the Heater Bypass valve from its normal heater bypassed position to allowing water to flow through the spa heater.
4. Turns on the Spa Circuit.
5. Turns on the Spa Heater.

When you DEACTIVATE (turn off) the CIRCUIT GROUP (MACRO), All three valve actuators will move their perspective valves back to their normal (HOME) positions, The Spa circuit will be deactivated and the heater will cool down and then turn off and the pump will turn off.
Here is a screen print.
105497


IntelliCenter Users Guide - Page 1 (Page 9 of the online PDF). Under the 'Features' section:
This implies that only one valve expansion board can be added to the system, (adding 6 valves to the 4 available on the personality card). Do you happen to know if multiple valve expansion boards can be added and the documentation is incorrect in stating the limit of 10?
As far as I know currently, only one valve expansion can be employed (10 valve actuator maximum). You can call Pentair Tech support and ask if there is a work-around to get around this restriction but I am not aware of one. Please let me know what you find out...

IntelliCenter Users Guide - Page 78. Under the 'Configuring Valve Actuators (Controlled by AUX or Feature Circuit) ' section:

Does this mean a valve can be controlled by an AUX relay? Or does it mean a valve can be plugged into an AUX connector on the main board? If it is the latter, how would that work given a valve has a 3-pin connector and AUX connectors only have two. I am wondering if I could just get the 8 or 10 relay personality board and use AUX connectors to control valves vs another valve expansion card. (I imagine I wouldn't get incremental control of the valves via this method even after the firmware update). If it were the former, then this too seems to be a problem for the same reason, not to mention that would mean low voltage valve control in the high voltage relay area. I'm pretty confused by this section of the manual.
NO. Not a AUX Relay I don't think. I would not connect a Valve Actuator to a relay before confirming this verbage with Tech Suppport or you may be "one less actuator" ;) You are right! Aux Relays are "Line Voltage (110 or 220 vAC)". Actuators are rated at 24 vAC. And yes of course, how would the future advanced features (incremental positioning) of the IntelliValve work? Makes no sense.
I think what they are talking about is when you activate the Spa Circuit, the automation moves the Intake and Return valve actuators from the pool positions to the spa positions when the valve actuator 3-pin connectors are placed in their applicable 3-pin sockets on the the daughter card.

Half of that paragraph honestly makes no sense to me. The user's guide is written in "Pentairgalese" and in my experience, their (Pentair) technical writing consistently SUCKS!! I have found so much inconsistent information in their documentation (all of their documentation). Don't get me started on this topic :p.. It's a pet peeve of mine LOL...

I hope I have been able to offer up a bit more information that is helpful to you.
Feel free to let me know if I can help with anything else.
All-the-best...
r.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
IntelliCenter Web Client and iOS App Updates
Pentair has released updates to the IntelliCenter Web Client (1.035 b4) and the iOS App (1.5.107).
I have scanned both platforms and I cannot find anything different regarding any functionality or color/design improvements. I can only assume any changes or improvements within these platforms are on the "back-end".

Also, there was a post recently (I need to find it), where the Pentair IntelliCenter Alexa App was not working correctly. The same thing was happening with mine.
I went in to the Alexa Skill on my iPhone and disabled the Skill and then re-enabled it and now my IntelliCenter Alexa App is working correctly again. My guess is that this has something to do with the recent updates referred to above but who knows.
r.
 
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mcqwerty

Member
Aug 27, 2018
10
TN
Thanks again @MyAZPool,

Regarding multiple feature circuits at the same time:
An example to answer the 'why' question -
Perhaps I have a circuit group to control Spa mode which includes turning on two sets of jets, setting pump speed and ensuring all intake and return actuators are set correctly as well as disabling the heater bypass. While in the spa I decide to turn on some water features, this also requires adjusting intake and return valves as well as setting pump speed etc. so I have a circuit group for that also. If the last (in this case water feature), circuit group takes priority then my spa jets will stop since the actuators will return to their home (pool) position.
With the limitation of only 16 circuit groups I am going to run out very fast if I need create one for each unique combination of spa with no water features, spa with water feature 1, spa with water feature 1 & 2, etc. etc.

Regarding controlling 12 actuators:
(This is more of a rant, sorry). I called Pentair support on Saturday, explained my situation but was told the IntelliCenter experts were out but he would call me back on Monday with the answers. No callback. So I called on Tuesday, no record of my call on Saturday. So I explained the situation again. IntelliCenter experts were 'out to lunch' but he would contact me in the afternoon with the answer. This time I asked him to email me so I had his name and contact details. No email on Tuesday. I emailed him direct Tuesday night. No response all day Wednesday. So this morning I called again, no record of my previous calls and the person I spoke to was very rude. I explained my problem for a 3rd time. In a condescending and rude tone I was told the following:
  • 1) Only one 6-port expansion card is supported because
    • a) the firmware doesn't support it
    • b) there is no connector on the expansion card for additional cards.
Point b) I know to be incorrect. Point a) could presumably be solved with an update but who knows.
  • 2) Despite what their own user manual says, you can't control an actuator with anything other than one of the 10 (4+6) actuator ports.

When I asked what my options were given that I needed to control 12 actuators. Again, in the same rude and condescending tone I was told "There are not options". Well thanks very much Pentair, I feel very motivated to spend multiple thousands of $ on your latest system that is already incapable of meeting the needs of a complicated, but not overly complicated pool in 2019. 10 actuators max? 32 feature circuits max? 16 circuit groups? My pocket calculator likely has more capacity that this 'new' system.

Anyway, sorry for the rant and sorry for polluting what is a very helpful thread. I really wanted to like the IntelliCenter but my experience with Pentair support and the unnecessary limitations of the system has dampened my enthusiasm. I still need 12 valves, so to control the extra two I am probably going to have to spend ~$25 on an Arduino and some relays and do what Pentair seem unable to do for $1,000++.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
mcqwerty
Regarding multiple feature circuits at the same time:
An example to answer the 'why' question -
Perhaps I have a circuit group to control Spa mode which includes turning on two sets of jets, setting pump speed and ensuring all intake and return actuators are set correctly as well as disabling the heater bypass. While in the spa I decide to turn on some water features, this also requires adjusting intake and return valves as well as setting pump speed etc. so I have a circuit group for that also. If the last (in this case water feature), circuit group takes priority then my spa jets will stop since the actuators will return to their home (pool) position.
With the limitation of only 16 circuit groups I am going to run out very fast if I need create one for each unique combination of spa with no water features, spa with water feature 1, spa with water feature 1 & 2, etc. etc.
I did some playing around with my CIRCUIT GROUPS for you.
If you activate a CIRCUIT GROUP after another CIRCUIT GROUP has been activated, if a FEATURE CIRCUIT imbedded within the 2nd CIRCUIT GROUP is in "conflict" with a FEATURE CIRCUIT imbedded within the 1st CIRCUIT GROUP, that particular FEATURE CIRCUIT will override the 1st in favor of the 2nd.
i.e. Let's say I have a CIRCUIT GROUP named "A" and within that CIRCUIT GROUP is imbedded a FEATURE CIRCUIT named "PUMP SPEED - 1000.
Now let's say I have a CIRCUIT GROUP named "B" and within that CIRCUIT GROUP is imbedded a FEATURE CIRCUIT named "PUMP SPEED -2000.
If I activate "A", the pump will assume a speed of 1000 rpm.
If I then activat "B", the pump will assume a speed of 2000 rpm.

The same principle applies to lights, valve actuators, heaters etc.


With the limitation of only 16 circuit groups I am going to run out very fast if I need create one for each unique combination of spa with no water features, spa with water feature 1, spa with water feature 1 & 2, etc. etc.
Maybe, but I really don't think so. I think you might be complicating this a bit. Once you have everything installed, you will then be able to find creative ways of setting up the system.

Regarding controlling 12 actuators:
(This is more of a rant, sorry). I called Pentair support on Saturday, explained my situation but was told the IntelliCenter experts were out but he would call me back on Monday with the answers. No callback. So I called on Tuesday, no record of my call on Saturday. So I explained the situation again. IntelliCenter experts were 'out to lunch' but he would contact me in the afternoon with the answer. This time I asked him to email me so I had his name and contact details. No email on Tuesday. I emailed him direct Tuesday night. No response all day Wednesday. So this morning I called again, no record of my previous calls and the person I spoke to was very rude. I explained my problem for a 3rd time. In a condescending and rude tone I was told the following:
  • 1) Only one 6-port expansion card is supported because
    • a) the firmware doesn't support it
    • b) there is no connector on the expansion card for additional cards.
Point b) I know to be incorrect. Point a) could presumably be solved with an update but who knows.
  • 2) Despite what their own user manual says, you can't control an actuator with anything other than one of the 10 (4+6) actuator ports.

When I asked what my options were given that I needed to control 12 actuators. Again, in the same rude and condescending tone I was told "There are not options". Well thanks very much Pentair, I feel very motivated to spend multiple thousands of $ on your latest system that is already incapable of meeting the needs of a complicated, but not overly complicated pool in 2019. 10 actuators max? 32 feature circuits max? 16 circuit groups? My pocket calculator likely has more capacity that this 'new' system.

Anyway, sorry for the rant and sorry for polluting what is a very helpful thread. I really wanted to like the IntelliCenter but my experience with Pentair support and the unnecessary limitations of the system has dampened my enthusiasm. I still need 12 valves, so to control the extra two I am probably going to have to spend ~$25 on an Arduino and some relays and do what Pentair seem unable to do for $1,000++.
I get ya. There are some things about IntelliCenter that don't make much sense to me either. But then I realize that it is still the best automation system out right now (IMHO).
There are functions that I am still wishing would be addressed in future updates. Like you said, who knows. Maybe yes, maybe no. I am not giving up though and I stay in contact with Pentair and the local rep on a consistent basis. I am optimistic that future improvements and functionality is coming. In the meantime, I just enjoy my current automation system, reduced maintenance and my swim time...

Regarding your experience with Pentair, I am feeling for you there. That kind of lack of customer service experience has not been my experience. Can you send me a PM and tell me who you were speaking to? Just curious.
I really believe that we can find a creative solution to keep you at the 10 valve actuator max. If you want to send me the applicable valve/plumbing info on PM, I would be happy to see if I can offer up a possible solution for you.

Thanks for sharing and I hope we can help you out with some of the challenges.
Hang in there....
r...
 

mcqwerty

Member
Aug 27, 2018
10
TN
@MyAZPool, you are a gentleman. PM sent.

I will continue the conversation on the circuit groups here for the, (possible :)), interest of others:

I did some playing around with my CIRCUIT GROUPS for you.
If you activate a CIRCUIT GROUP after another CIRCUIT GROUP has been activated, if a FEATURE CIRCUIT imbedded within the 2nd CIRCUIT GROUP is in "conflict" with a FEATURE CIRCUIT imbedded within the 1st CIRCUIT GROUP, that particular FEATURE CIRCUIT will override the 1st in favor of the 2nd.
i.e. Let's say I have a CIRCUIT GROUP named "A" and within that CIRCUIT GROUP is imbedded a FEATURE CIRCUIT named "PUMP SPEED - 1000.
Now let's say I have a CIRCUIT GROUP named "B" and within that CIRCUIT GROUP is imbedded a FEATURE CIRCUIT named "PUMP SPEED -2000.
If I activate "A", the pump will assume a speed of 1000 rpm.
If I then activat "B", the pump will assume a speed of 2000 rpm.

The same principle applies to lights, valve actuators, heaters etc.
This looks like it has potential. So if a FEATURE CIRCUIT is not included in a CIRCUIT GROUP that is activated then no changes apply to that FEATURE CIRCUIT?
For example, if Valve A was in CIRCUIT GROUP CG-A and Valve B was in CIRCUIT GROUP CG-B, then if I activate CG-A then CG-B, both Valve A and Valve B would be 'ON'? So is the only way to send Valve A back to 'HOME' position to turn off CG-A?

When including a valve in a FEATURE CIRCUIT do you get to specify if the valve should go to its ON or HOME position? Or is it just if the valve's FEATURE CIRCUIT is ON then valve is ON and if FEATURE CIRCUIT is OFF then valve is HOME?
In that case it would make sense assuming you can specify a FEATURE CIRCUIT to be explicitly OFF within a CIRCUIT GROUP when the CIRCUIT GROUP is activated, but I didn't think you could do that.
Hmmm, that is all very confusing now I read it back...

Basically, I see how I could incrementally turn features on via circuit groups, but then it seems like I need to incrementally turn circuit groups off (in the correct order) to get to any given state.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
@MyAZPool, you are a gentleman. PM sent.
I will continue the conversation on the circuit groups here for the, (possible :)), interest of others:
Thank you sir!!

This looks like it has potential. So if a FEATURE CIRCUIT is not included in a CIRCUIT GROUP that is activated then no changes apply to that FEATURE CIRCUIT?
For example, if Valve A was in CIRCUIT GROUP CG-A and Valve B was in CIRCUIT GROUP CG-B, then if I activate CG-A then CG-B, both Valve A and Valve B would be 'ON'? So is the only way to send Valve A back to 'HOME' position to turn off CG-A?
All correct (based on my testing anyway).

When including a valve in a FEATURE CIRCUIT do you get to specify if the valve should go to its ON or HOME position? Or is it just if the valve's FEATURE CIRCUIT is ON then valve is ON and if FEATURE CIRCUIT is OFF then valve is HOME?
In that case it would make sense assuming you can specify a FEATURE CIRCUIT to be explicitly OFF within a CIRCUIT GROUP when the CIRCUIT GROUP is activated, but I didn't think you could do that.
Hmmm, that is all very confusing now I read it back...

Basically, I see how I could incrementally turn features on via circuit groups, but then it seems like I need to incrementally turn circuit groups off (in the correct order) to get to any given state.
Every valve actuator should be a FEATURE CIRCUIT.
Every time you activate that particular FEATURE CIRCUIT, the valve moves from it's programmed HOME position and moves to it's programmed 2nd position.
You can activate that FEATURE CIRCUIT in two ways.
1. Individually.
2. By including it in a CIRCUIT GROUP (macro).

If that FEATURE CIRCUIT is included in a CIRCUIT GROUP, when you activate the CIRCUIT GROUP, hence the FEATURE CIRCUIT (valve) will be activated and will then move to its programmed 2nd position.

When the CIRCUIT GROUP is turned off, that particular FEATURE CIRCUIT (valve) will then move back to it's programmed HOME position.

CIRCUIT GROUPS (and all of the FEATURE CIRCUITS embedded within a particular CIRCUIT GROUP) can be activated (or de-activated) in several ways.

At the System Control Panel
From the Web-Client (computer)
From your iOS or Android device
From Amazon Echo (Alexa)

Hope this shines a bit more light on the topic for you. Once you get your hands on the IntelliCenter, all of this will make perfect sense to you.
Take care and thanks again!!
r.
 

Superman99

Active member
May 2, 2019
38
Monterey, CA
Couple quick intellicenter questions. I just installed everything and am trying to figure out programming.
First of all I only have the return and intake valves so I am assuming that I don't need to creative feature circuits for them since you just use the built in pool or spa circuits right?
Second is there a way to program a group but have certain features or circuits start after a delay? I have pressure side cleaner with booster pump. I was able to program the booster and add it to a group but I would like the booster to start after the main pump not at the same time.
Any help would be awesome. I really like the intellicenter but the programming is pretty complex and I haven't found the manual to be very good at describing how to use the various settings and options.
Thanks!
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
505
Arizona
Superman99

First of all I only have the return and intake valves so I am assuming that I don't need to creative feature circuits for them since you just use the built in pool or spa circuits right?
Correct. When you're in Pool Mode, your intake and return valves should be in their programmed "HOME" position. When you activate the SPA circuit (individually, or from a CIRCUIT GROUP), those two valve actuators should move to their programmed 2nd position (this will be the position that closes pool intake and return and opens spa intake and return.

Second is there a way to program a group but have certain features or circuits start after a delay? I have pressure side cleaner with booster pump. I was able to program the booster and add it to a group but I would like the booster to start after the main pump not at the same time.
You can try it but I have not had good luck attempting to program delays for some reason. Delays I believe are just typically used for Heater Cool Down (pump), Valve Rotation and pump priming. And in my experience, even in these situations, not so good. Instead, I would use the scheduling feature. Schedule your filter pump for skimming cleaning. Then have another schedule for your booster pump circuit that is on a different time schedule.

Any help would be awesome. I really like the intellicenter but the programming is pretty complex and I haven't found the manual to be very good at describing how to use the various settings and options.
Thanks!
In regards to the programming (and the documentation (grrrrr :mad:), experiment, experiment and experiment some more. I did a lot of that. I found that I could not rely on the documentation, as it is severely lacking (as is most Pentair documentation), poorly written and conflicting. Don't get me wrong, I love (don't tell my wife ;)) my Pentair IntelliCenter, my variable speed/flow Pump, IntelliChlor, IntellipH and IntelliValves. However, don't get me started when it comes to Pentairgalese. Nearly all Pentair documentation just plain sucks!

Experimenting will help you become much more proficient with the system and what it can do and can't do and will allow you to get creative with CIRCUITS, FEATURE CIRCUITS, CIRCUIT GROUPS and SCHEDULES.

One WORD-OF-CAUTION. While experimenting, please ensure that you are backing up your configuration file on a thumb drive. Another pet peeve of mine is the fact that currently, you cannot back-up the configuration file from the Web-Client on to your computer. Hence, I found myself sitting at my computer making changes (playing and experimenting) and then having to run out to the control panel to save the configuration file on a thumb drive (What a pain in the rear). In this way, if you really goof something up, you can always upload your last saved config file and you will be back to where you last saved it.

Thanks for the good questions. Take care and good luck with your new IntelliCenter and your "experimentation" :)...
r.
 

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