SmartPool/Fafco Solar panel install.. build notes/questions on check sensor?

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
Re: SmartPool/Fafco Solar panel install.. build notes/questions on lack of psi change

Well i contacted the company again for further clarification on the need to drain question or overheat and cause degredation.. they said definitely not needed.. their materials over the last 25 years have never had an issue with excessive heat or 1 single claim on warranty as a result.. so i'm not too worried..

On the hayward system front.. the gl-235 while on vacation apparently went to "check sensor" mode.. its flashing.. i think this means that its the roof sensor (ugh)..

I heard there is a guide online on what to check but cant seem to track it down in the brief attempt i made.

Anyone else ever ran into this?
 

NoTime

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2013
96
Is this it?
https://www.hayward-pool.com/pdf/manuals/AquaSolarGL-235.pdf

“CHECK SENSOR” indicator blinking
If the “CHECK SENSOR indicator is blinking, there may be a possible open circuit or short circuit with the solar sensor. Using a voltmeter, measure the voltage across the terminals of the solar sensor. If the voltage is close to zero volts, the sensor has a short to ground. Remove the sensor from the terminal block and measure the voltage across the solar terminals again. If the voltage is still close to zero volts, there is an internal short and the unit must be returned for repair. If the voltage is close to five volts, the solar sensor itself may be at fault.

With the sensor disconnected from the unit, measure the resistance of the sensor using an ohmmeter. At room temperature (25oC/77oF) the sensor should measure approximately 10K ohms (10,000 ohms ± 1%). For other resistance measurements at different temperatures, consult the table at back of manual. If the sensor is not returning the correct value, it is defective and will need to be replaced. If the sensor is returning approximately the correct value, reconnect it to the terminals marked “SOLAR SENSOR”. If the “CHECK SENSOR” indicator remains on, the unit is defective and needs to be replaced.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
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Aug 10, 2012
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I believe there is a description of how to troubleshoot/test the thermistor in the owners manual. It is a 10k ohm thermistor.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
That seems to sound like the answer..

Basically though, i cut my sensor off at the end of the thermostat (lowes) wire.. took it back to the terminals.. it works.. no red light flashing..

If i measure the voltage at the terminal with the sensor wires off, i get 5.12v.. if i read the other with the sensor on it, i get 2.21.. it also reads 1 ohm on the other sensor (connected), if i have on the right ohm setting..

on the roof sensor.. with it connected, i'm showing 0.2 volts.. and if the voltmeter is set to 200 on the ohms.. it reads "8.9" connected.. but reads 0.2 on the ohms disconnected (over the wire)..

If i put the thermostat wire back on and measure at the other end, its 0.18 volts (not 5.12 or less as would be expected i guess)..

All that said.. i guess there is something amiss with the thermostat wire and not the sensor or the unit, but i cant figure out where or why, unless something nibbled on it on one of the few exposed feet visible under the deck.. it will be a pain to pull through and try to pull through a whole new thermostat wire run.. those 90 bends make it near impossible to pull through the 1" pipe or 3/4" pipe, i forget..
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
Benton, KY
If you have to run a new wire, make sure you use pulling lube. By code you aren't supposed to have more than 360 degrees of turns for that reason. I pulled four runs of #12 through 3/4" conduit and three 90's a couple weeks ago. It was a 135ft run. Not fun, but doable. Lube makes all the difference.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
If you have to run a new wire, make sure you use pulling lube. By code you aren't supposed to have more than 360 degrees of turns for that reason. I pulled four runs of #12 through 3/4" conduit and three 90's a couple weeks ago. It was a 135ft run. Not fun, but doable. Lube makes all the difference.
I was going to just use duct tape and secure the old wire to the new one at one end and pull..

I assume this lube needs to cover the entire (50 foot) length of the wire to be most effective, then pull through.

I cut back more wire thinking maybe i saw a spot causing an issue, but it wasnt it.. either has to be at the start somehow under the deck or in the tube for some reason that went "bad".. if no nicks how could the wire just go bad like this.. i didnt think it was a possibility even in the tube.
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
Benton, KY
Use electrical tape, not duct tape. Unless it got nicked somewhere or bent badly I can't see how the wire could be damaged. That's the problem with smaller wire though; it can break inside and cause problems without ever sustaining real noticeable damage. If you were running 24volts across it for a thermostat it probably wouldn't ever be an issue. You're reading impedance, and any little fracture in the copper can cause an issue.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
Just an update:

I managed to fix that wire issue.. turned out it was somewhere in one of the bends of the pipes for some reason.. re-ran it, all fine now.


Its now June 25th in southwest pa.. the weather has been occasionally warm but now back to 75 or less.. today another cool one.. Highest the water has been has been 79.

I still have issues in that the solar cover still allows at least a 2.5-3F drop at night (vs about 4-5 with it off), so i've left it off at night for now (maybe i just need a better one or something to cover up the water near the ladder?).


On a 79F day.. i still get about 6F maybe 7F rise from the morning.. often with about a difference of the in to out being around 8-9F.. when the temps get into the mid 80s then i get a bit more of a rise and around 10F warmer output than input.
Wondering if maybe i should set the valve to not go the whole way to full on, but slightly short of it, to heat up smaller amounts of water instead of the full 22 gpm or so that comes flowing back in.. maybe then i'd see more than 6-7F rise on an 80F day?

I have a friend with the same size pool.. different environment down the road obviously but he gets similar stats and all he has is one of those domes i tried that didnt work for me and probably isnt a factor in his temps being similar.

However, if 6-8F rise during the day is typical for 160sq feet solar.. on an 80F day.. then i may not fuss about it.. next 80F day ill turn solar off in the morning and see what change i get by 6pm. (my pump runs 845am till around 730pm, with full sun say 9am till 7pm)
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
Updating my old thread here for some new news (bad news somewhat)..

Last fall i closed down the pool.. i let the solar panels drain by opening the drain caps on my garage wall.. i disconnected the inbound line near my tank (not the disconnect shown in this photo but another foot down the line)..
I did NOT do the blow out of the lines using a vac.. (big mistake even tho it was mentioned by others), at least i think this was the cause of my issue.



I started to reopen the pool.. dumped chlorox in, hooked everything up, everything looked good.. turned on the pump and boom, two points (at least) leaking like crazy as shown in the photo with blue lines.. the one Tee is cracked for sure.. i cant see under the part near the 3 way to tell how much of that cracked.. i'm hoping theres enough to patch.. otherwise i dont know what i do to replace the 3 way that is already part of the solar valve kit, since the pipe is glued in there.


Bad weather now for at least 3 days, so the chlorox might have been a waste, oh well.

I need to crawl under there with a saw and cut those two sections...

I'm concerned that there may be other sections leaking underground or even more under the deck i didnt see yet.. after the deck its a few bends and 20 feet to the garage underground (and downhill), which is also why i wasnt sure a vac would be able to blow out the lines as it stands from the point near the tank at least.

Second area of concern is the tank.. i thought procedure was to drain the tank in the fall.. i did this, but now i'm worried the part under the sand , the blades could have cracked from the weight of the sand, but maybe not, no way to tell without removing all sand (only the first season with this tank).

In terms of the leaks.. i'm guessing maybe some degree of water was laying in the pipes and puddled enough to cause hairline cracks?

This is going to be a mess to fix, especially if i find pools of water above ground for the underground sections later.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
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May 19, 2010
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Tucson, AZ
Re: SmartPool/Fafco Solar panel install.. build notes/questions / cracked pipe in spr

Bummer.

Weight of the sand should not be a problem. So unless you start seeing sand blowing into the pool I would not worry about the filter.

For the solar 3-way valve, if you do not have enough pipe you can either use a ram bit or you can attach a larger size coupler on the outside of the valve and then use a reducer back to your pipe size.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
Re: SmartPool/Fafco Solar panel install.. build notes/questions / cracked pipe in spr

Bummer.

Weight of the sand should not be a problem. So unless you start seeing sand blowing into the pool I would not worry about the filter.

For the solar 3-way valve, if you do not have enough pipe you can either use a ram bit or you can attach a larger size coupler on the outside of the valve and then use a reducer back to your pipe size.
Well i tested things again today to be sure.. unfortunately the 3 way valve, which i think was a 2" to 2.5" size.. that came with the solar kit, has a crack on the bottom.. so the leak just in front of it is a fracture line in the middle that expanded/extended its way back to the valve..

I found a replacement one on amazon, but it was $46 for that alone.

Lessons learned i guess? Next year ill hook the vac up right near each outlet near the valve and blow it backwards or suck it towards the pull unsure.. or better yet, ill disconnect that section since i have the disconnects and take the whole thing inside for the winter (and still blow the pipes beyond that point), maybe ill need to plug the exposed openings so no ice forms and causes a crack there as well, if i do disconnect it, i think.
 

domct203

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Jun 3, 2015
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CT
Re: SmartPool/Fafco Solar panel install.. build notes/questions / cracked pipe in spr

All that you have described does sound like freeze damage.

I use a leaf blower to clear all my PVC lines, so far so good. I don’t think I get every last little drop of water, but it’s 95% or better.

IMG_9843.jpg
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
Re: SmartPool/Fafco Solar panel install.. build notes/questions / cracked pipe in spr

All that you have described does sound like freeze damage.

I use a leaf blower to clear all my PVC lines, so far so good. I don’t think I get every last little drop of water, but it’s 95% or better.
Good idea on the leaf blower.. ill keep that in mind.

As of last night I had hit 75F in the pool.. i've had a clear solar cover on every day/night for about a week.. i'm not convinced the cover has helped much thanks to previous stat tracking (maybe a 1F rise, no help at night).

I've moved all my data into a spreadsheet..

I'll link it here: Pool Water Temp Spreadsheet..

As you can see.. i get an overnight pool water temp loss up to 4.5F depending.. I dont know why.. this is with the pool cover on (solar, clear this year).. I still average about 5-7F rise in temp from morning to late afternoon with the pump running either way.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
394
Pittsburgh, pa
Update to my thread for 2019 season:

I used a vac in the fall to try to suck/push out any remaining water in the lines. I disconnected the part where the hayward valve is and left it there (since its wired in).. unfortunately apparently over the fall another section cracked as shown in the photo, right next to the thermostat coupler.

Problem is, when i did this thread/took notes i didnt note what type of coupler that is which i used to stick the thermostat inside. Hoping i just spot it at lowes when i go to get replacement pvc to fix the crack section, probably best to replace the pipe and the thermostat coupler.

Next year ill also disconnect the other side and hook the vac up as well over there.
 

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