Trouble with Screen Logic and New Solar Heater

Matchless1

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2014
288
Baton Rouge, LA
#1
I just finished installing my new solar heater (installation post here), but I'm having trouble getting it actually set up through Screen Logic. Here's what I've done so far:

1. Connected the 3-way valve actuator to "Valve A" port on the controller. I also moved my slide valve actuator to "Valve B". Before doing this, I verified the actuator was working correctly and is in the right position. I did this by activating the "Slide" function before re-programming anything. Valve turned 180° just fine.



2. Connected the solar temperature sensor wire to the "Solar" terminals on the controller (wires are not touching...they just look like it in the photo).



3. Checked "Solar Present" under "Equipment Configuration" and assigned "Slide" to "Valve B". Notice I cannot assign a circuit to the solar valve for some reason. Is this correct?



4. Added a feature circuit for "Solar" and added that circuit to Pump 1 at 2700 rpm. Not sure if I needed to do this, but I wasn't sure how else to tell the program I want the pump to run at 2700 rpm when Solar is on.





After doing all this, I'm a little unsure of what I should be seeing on the SL home screen as well as how to trigger the solar to start. One thing that seems odd is that I see a spot for "Air Temp" and "Pool Temp, but I'm not seeing a spot for "Solar Temp". I even checked to make sure the sensor is working by plugging it into the "Air Temp" terminals on the controller, which works...it reads a temperature. Does the SL just not display the "Solar Temp"? Seems odd if that's the case. Here are two screens where I would expect to see "Solar Temp", but I got nothing:





Here is what the main pool screen looks like and how I have my desired pool temp set:



Does anyone see what I might doing wrong here?
 
OP
OP
Matchless1

Matchless1

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2014
288
Baton Rouge, LA
#2
Well, I guess sometimes it just takes making the post to figure it out on your own. :D For others that may one day have the same questions/issues as I mentioned above, here's what I learned:

1. All of my settings and connections were correct as noted above.
2. It seems that the Screen Logic software does NOT, in fact, tell you the temperature reading of the solar thermocouple. This is very odd and disappointing. All of the hardware is there, and it seems like it would be a simple programming tweak to display this, but it just doesn't (sigh).
3. The next day, when the sun was up for a few hours, sure enough, the solar magically kicked on to the exact pump speed I had programmed in for "Solar".
4. The water first coming out of the returns was REALLY hot!! It actually hurt my daughter's foot (she's 7, so I took it with a grain of salt, but it really was very hot)!

Anyway, all is working well now. Hope this post helps someone else out in the future.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,956
Bedford, TX
#3
Match,

I think one reason that you did not get any replies is because after reading what you did, no one could see what you did wrong... :p

I know I looked at it and did not see anything that was obviously wrong..

Thanks for the feedback, as it just might help the next guy with a similar problem.

Jim R.
 
OP
OP
Matchless1

Matchless1

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2014
288
Baton Rouge, LA
#4
Match,

I think one reason that you did not get any replies is because after reading what you did, no one could see what you did wrong... :p

I know I looked at it and did not see anything that was obviously wrong..

Thanks for the feedback, as it just might help the next guy with a similar problem.

Jim R.
Thanks Jim...makes sense! :D
 
OP
OP
Matchless1

Matchless1

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2014
288
Baton Rouge, LA
#5
So, everything is still working fine with regard to solar heating, but does anyone know how to configure ScreenLogic for cooling? I remember reading a post recently from Pooldv where he mentioned he has run his panels at night before to help cool down the water during the summer. I'm thinking he may have a different controller than me, but I've tried the obvious things like bumping the set temperature down and selecting the "Has Cooling" box (see below), which actually automatically makes me check all 4 boxes in that section.

I also tried just creating a new Feature circuit called "Solar Valve" and setting the Circuit Function to "Valve". However, as long as the valve is "USED BY SOLAR", I can't assign it to a Feature circuit.

Any ideas on how to make this work automatically (preferred) or manually?

 

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,839
Silicon Valley, CA
#7
Couple things for Matchless. I know the post is old, maybe you are still around, anyway....

I think you were trying to use the solar as an "on command" resource. Meaning you wanted to hit a button labeled solar, and get the solar to come on. What you need to keep in mind is that, the solar runs as a companion to the filter pump, or rather "pool" or "spa" mode(s). And that the solar is a heat source running within that. IOW, solar will only run during a pool or spa program OR when you physically turn on the pool or spa, AND have solar selected as your heat source, AND have the thermostat set higher than the water temp the sensor is reporting. Same goes for the "cooling" option, you must be running the pump at night with the thermostat set accordingly.

The solar temp sensors' duty is not to report a specific temp for the user, but rather functions as a go/no go for the operation of the solar. Either yes, it is hot enough to get heat from the panels, or whoops, a cloud came over, or that tree is still casting a shadow over the panel(s) and we don't want to cool the pool, etc. In which case the solar will remain off until conditions change over the panel... or sensor, which means solar sensor placement can be tricky in some applications.

If you have a variable speed pump, which from your post pictures looks like you do, you can adjust the speed higher, to move water through the panels faster and not have such a scalding temp returning to the pool. Keep in mind that, the initial water returning to the pool after the solar cycles on will be hot for a while (unavoidable) till the system moves all the built up heat off the roof and the system settles down to the design differential of ~4 degrees. That's what you would want to adjust your pump speed to do, 4 degrees. It may take some tweaking in the beginning to get it right, but once you find the right differential or speed, you shouldn't need to adjust much after that.
 
OP
OP
Matchless1

Matchless1

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2014
288
Baton Rouge, LA
#8
where can i get those connectors for the actuators? my actuator was hard wired to my last solor control box so it has no connecter and i need one of those
I'm not sure about where to get those connectors or what they're even called, but I did find this on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Pentair-8691030-Assembly-Replacement-Automatic/dp/B004VTGICA

It has at least one of those connectors, and may be overkill for what you need, but worst case, I think you could make this work. Sorry not much more help.

- - - Updated - - -

Couple things for Matchless. I know the post is old, maybe you are still around, anyway....

I think you were trying to use the solar as an "on command" resource. Meaning you wanted to hit a button labeled solar, and get the solar to come on. What you need to keep in mind is that, the solar runs as a companion to the filter pump, or rather "pool" or "spa" mode(s). And that the solar is a heat source running within that. IOW, solar will only run during a pool or spa program OR when you physically turn on the pool or spa, AND have solar selected as your heat source, AND have the thermostat set higher than the water temp the sensor is reporting. Same goes for the "cooling" option, you must be running the pump at night with the thermostat set accordingly.

The solar temp sensors' duty is not to report a specific temp for the user, but rather functions as a go/no go for the operation of the solar. Either yes, it is hot enough to get heat from the panels, or whoops, a cloud came over, or that tree is still casting a shadow over the panel(s) and we don't want to cool the pool, etc. In which case the solar will remain off until conditions change over the panel... or sensor, which means solar sensor placement can be tricky in some applications.

If you have a variable speed pump, which from your post pictures looks like you do, you can adjust the speed higher, to move water through the panels faster and not have such a scalding temp returning to the pool. Keep in mind that, the initial water returning to the pool after the solar cycles on will be hot for a while (unavoidable) till the system moves all the built up heat off the roof and the system settles down to the design differential of ~4 degrees. That's what you would want to adjust your pump speed to do, 4 degrees. It may take some tweaking in the beginning to get it right, but once you find the right differential or speed, you shouldn't need to adjust much after that.
Thanks Pool Clown! Everything you said makes sense. One thing I was forgetting was that I need to schedule the pump to run at night...I can't expect it to just turn on even though the temp set point is lower than the water temp. I'll give that a try soon and see if that works. Thanks!
 

ericjmc

New member
Aug 13, 2017
2
Newbury Park
#10
Well, I guess sometimes it just takes making the post to figure it out on your own. :D For others that may one day have the same questions/issues as I mentioned above, here's what I learned:

1. All of my settings and connections were correct as noted above.
2. It seems that the Screen Logic software does NOT, in fact, tell you the temperature reading of the solar thermocouple. This is very odd and disappointing. All of the hardware is there, and it seems like it would be a simple programming tweak to display this, but it just doesn't (sigh).
3. The next day, when the sun was up for a few hours, sure enough, the solar magically kicked on to the exact pump speed I had programmed in for "Solar".
4. The water first coming out of the returns was REALLY hot!! It actually hurt my daughter's foot (she's 7, so I took it with a grain of salt, but it really was very hot)!

Anyway, all is working well now. Hope this post helps someone else out in the future.
Thanks for this post - this the exact thing that was bugging me.

For what it's worth, I'm also setting up a custom controller thing to integrated with my SmartThings hub using a $5 RS-485 USB dongle tied into the ScreenLogic wireless relay and their web browser interface shows the Solar Temp.
https://github.com/tagyoureit/nodejs-poolController


You'd have to be a little bit friendly with programming/etc. but I didn't find it too difficult to get the basic web browser working.

nodejs-poolcontroller.jpg
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,377
Central California
#11
Temperature of the roof sensor is available. But only from the EasyTouch's interface, not ScreenLogic's. It's kind'a buried in the ET menus...

Also would have mentioned to the OP, but I wasn't around last year: The water from the solar heater at the returns should feel only slightly warmer than the surrounding pool water. Water that is very hot is an indicator that the flow through your heat exchangers (solar panels) is too slow. It is a common misconception. Moving a lot of water through them, and gaining only a few degrees is much more efficient (in terms of heating your pool), than moving water slowly to get it really hot. It's counterintuitive, and I don't understand the "whys" of it, I just know its true. The manufacturer of the solar panel should spec the optimum flow, and that's what you use. I use a FlowVis to set my "solar flow," and to check on it periodically.