Recommendation for Automation

Alwayswantedapool

Platinum Supporter
Jun 22, 2015
208
York SC
Hi all, I am working on getting my act together to do a pool renovation. One thing I would like would be to have some automation. What I would like to be able to do is control the pump (really just off and on), control light(s), control SWG, and possibly in the future, control a heat pump. Note, I already have a Pentair pump so my thought is the Pentair Easy Touch PL4 would be the way to go. Thoughts on that?

In addition, I want to be able to control things either from the house or on my phone, I am struggling figuring out what my options are to add this functionality. My main interest is to be able use phone, tablet, pc to control the devices, don't really care for a dedicated unit to control things from, but cost could make a difference. Thoughts on the best solution for that?
Thanks in advance.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,148
Bedford, TX
Mark,

The EasyTouch with ScreenLogic can allow you to control things with your PC, Phone and Tablet..

You can't easily control the speeds of your SuperFlo VS, but you can turn it on and off..

The EasyTouch is designed to control an IntelliChlor SWCG.. Do you have a saltwater pool now? If so, what kind of SWCG??

The EasyTouch can control pool lights but if you have no automation now, it might be difficult to get the wiring from your current switch to the Equipment pad, depending how your system is wired..

I am not a fan of the "Lite" version of the EasyTouch.. That is what the "L" is in PL4.. The lite version has no load center for your circuit breakers and only a max of 4 schedules/programs and other limited functions.. But if you are OK with that, then it might work for you.

The EasyTouch can control almost any heater or heat pump.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Alwayswantedapool

Platinum Supporter
Jun 22, 2015
208
York SC
Thanks for the response Jim. I do have a SWCG but it isn't a Pentair, I know I will have to replace it to get the automation.
As to the light, really not sure what I have, when we bought the house, the vinyl goes over the light. If there is a switch for it, I have no idea where it is. I think they were using the circuit breaker.
And for the load center, I dont know if that is good or bad, not sure how this would all work. Right now the breaker box for all the pool stuff is on the back of the house and the pump etc. is about 100 feet away on the far corner of the pool. So where would you put the Easy touch, where the breaker box is now or close to the pool equipment?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,148
Bedford, TX
Mark,

Normally, you would put the EasyTouch close to the equipment pad.. This is because a lot of cables that go between the Equipment pad and the EasyTouch are only about 10 or 15' long.. As an example, if you had the IntelliFlo pump, you would have a pump control cable.. If you had any automated valves, they get connected to the EasyTouch, the water temp probe, etc.. It might not make much difference in your case.

Jim R.
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
553
California
I'll defer to Jim as he's more knowledgeable than I, but there is a lower cost option being IntelliConnect which comes with some caveats. You can control via smartphone but it only has 2 relays, so you could control your lights and pump (on/off). It also works with most heat pumps and also Pentair SWG (but you would need external transformer). Obviously expansion beyond that is not possible, but hey you get what you pay for. Just wanted you to be aware of it so you can do some further research including a review in this forum.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,875
Central California
I have the PSL4. I consider it to be the single biggest purchase mistake I've made for my pool. Not the Pentair part. Not the 4 part. It's the Lite part! I have a simple pool, no spa. I have a light. And solar. And a couple actuators (solar and cleaner). It can run all that just fine. But it's the scheduling that is so severely limited in the Lite model that I can't do what I wish I could. And the whole point of paying for automation is so you can schedule things!!

I could easily use 8 different schedules, but can only have four. The ET has a nice feature, called Egg Timers. So say I want to have a setup where I push a button and my pool gets an extra fast skimmer session, just a manual thing, outside of the normal scheduling. Great for guests coming over to a "leafy" pool, right? The Egg Timer would shut off the fast skimming after some predetermined interval, say 30 minutes, so that I wouldn't have to remember to turn if off (like, right when guests are arriving and I'm pouring). But the ET counts an Egg Timer as a schedule. So to use the Egg Timer feature, I'd have to get rid of one of my regular schedules!! Etc. That's just one example of its limitations. I could list a half dozen others. Don't get the Lite, you'll be sorry you did.

Regarding the Load Center, that's #2 on my hit list for the Lite. Without one, I have to have a separate set of breakers in a nasty looking grey box, with thick conduits running between it and the ET. And another big separate clunky box that houses my SWGs transformer. Pool pads are ugly by nature, so maybe that would mean nothing to a normal person, but I'm OCD and wish the ET I had purchase had the transformer and circuit breakers all built into it's attractive box (there is such a model, that comes bundled with an SWG, that gives you a little price break). It bugs me every time I walk by my pad!!

That aside, I like Pentair, the ET has functioned well for me otherwise and I have all its remotes and such that allow me to control the pool from my phone, iPad and any of my computers. Very nice. Even while away from home. I splurged and have yet another controller mounted near my thermostat, so I don't even have to find my phone and wait for an app to load. I can just punch a button while walking by it. Jim's not a fan of that add-on, because it is pretty old school, but I use it multiple times a day, every day. More than the apps.

Hope that all didn't confuse you more than it helped! Whatever model you're considering, I can whole-heartedly recommend automation in general.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Jimrahbe

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,148
Bedford, TX
Dirk,

I am just not a fan of only having the Remote.. I like the ability to program from ScreenLogic.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: GDN

Pirate Roberts

Bronze Supporter
Apr 30, 2020
24
Central Texas
I've had the Jandy RS system for a couple of years and here are my experiences FWIW.

1. WiFi connectivity is buggy and slow, trying to adjust pump speeds or schedule from my iPhone is a pain in the neck, lots of back and forth through different screens.
2. If there is a power failure when the power returns its a crapshoot as to whether I have to "adjust things", what a pain in the rear.
3. I'd love manual over rides that did not require an advanced degree in electrical engineering. Just came home from long vacation, lots of green and just wanted to SLAM and discovered there had been a power failure, no big deal except had to run off all the breakers and restart to get things moving again.
4. I'd love to get a system that had control screens on the controller so I could do all this Crud right there where the pumps are and for the 4 times a year I want to control from my iPhone.
5. My technology adoption experience has been 1. fork over too much money, 2. Get something that hardly works, 3. Finally get it working after much aggravation, 4. Promise never to do this again and 5, Do it again hoping for a different result.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,875
Central California
I've had the Jandy RS system for a couple of years and here are my experiences FWIW.

1. WiFi connectivity is buggy and slow, trying to adjust pump speeds or schedule from my iPhone is a pain in the neck, lots of back and forth through different screens.
2. If there is a power failure when the power returns its a crapshoot as to whether I have to "adjust things", what a pain in the rear.
3. I'd love manual over rides that did not require an advanced degree in electrical engineering. Just came home from long vacation, lots of green and just wanted to SLAM and discovered there had been a power failure, no big deal except had to run off all the breakers and restart to get things moving again.
4. I'd love to get a system that had control screens on the controller so I could do all this Crud right there where the pumps are and for the 4 times a year I want to control from my iPhone.
5. My technology adoption experience has been 1. fork over too much money, 2. Get something that hardly works, 3. Finally get it working after much aggravation, 4. Promise never to do this again and 5, Do it again hoping for a different result.
Of course that is one use case, one guy's opinion, but I am suddenly feeling much better about my Pentair gear. Except for 5.1 (the forking over) I've had pretty much the opposite experience with my EasyTouch and ScreenLogic. The power failure recovery would be especially worrisome for me. I have regularly just shut off the power to my ET, plus the odd power failure or two, and the ET seems to just pickup where it left off when the power comes back on (starts up when in the middle of a programmed schedule, or doesn't start up if power comes back on outside of a schedule, just as you would expect). I've never had to reprogram anything after an outage, that would be a deal breaker for me, and take traveling to a whole new level of worry.