What automation is right for me?

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
449
CLIVE/IA
Good morning folks... and a beautiful morning it is :)
So I just had my pool installed.. Its a Thursday Pools, 15,500 gallon fiberglass pool. IC 40, Variable speed pentair pump, and Pentair Cartridge filter.

I am exploring the options around automation .. I am a really techy person (i have 110 at this time) smart devices in my house. From lights to door sensors , 14 cameras, and routines and pistons (webcore) running it all.

I only have 3 intellibrite lights in the pool. 1 VSP, 1 IC 40 to really manage via the automation I MAY choose.

The ultimate goal here would be easier management of the IC40 and maintaining a proper PH/FC number within the pool at all times. Without having to open the cover randomly to burn off Chlorine. Obviously this would include the automation of the VSP to produce less chlorine at times etc.
Automation of the lights would be important as well. Granted the switch for the lights is under my deck and VERY accessible, Id like to option to integrate it with other smart home automation things like Google, IFTTT, and Smart Things.

Given those (i think fairly low requirements) is there any suggestion on the system to use?
I see pentair easy touch (within there like 5 options), I see intellicenter. Its starting to become like Maytronics pool cleaners :) . Almost cant really decide which is best or needed.

This is what I saw that seems to fit my needs , but against I dont want to be limited in the future (although adding a water feature now is NOT an option haha)
EASYTOUCH SYSTEMS WITHOUT INTELLICHLOR TRANSFORMER BUILT-IN, EasyTouch 4 - Pool/Spa (base system - no ICP, 2 actuators)

Thoughts?
thank you friends.
 

ryantollefson

Member
Jun 12, 2018
22
Northern CA
Still under construction here, so don't have any experience with automating the pool yet, but I looked for a while on ways to integrate our pool with our Smartthings/Google home setup. Our PB uses almost exclusively Jandy equipment, and I couldn't find a great way to integrate the iAqualink with it.

I also briefly explored the idea of not using an iAqualink controller at all, and doing it all with a home built system... that night my "good night" scene had about a 30 second delay turning off some of the lights downstairs and my wife rolled her eyes at me. That quickly snapped me out of the idea of doing it all on my own. :p

I ultimately decided that I really didn't need most of the pool to tie into Smartthings, it could run just fine (probably better) with it's own automation system that is meant for pools.

That all said, my PB thought I was nuts when I asked him to give me just a normal light switch for the pool lights, and not to tie it into the iAqualink. I then replaced that switch with a z-wave switch and now can control the lights with the rest of my lighting scenes in Smartthings.

The only other thing I might want to try to tie in to Smartthings would be the waterfall. Perhaps I'll re-wire that portion later and do a z-wave relay in the control box... we'll see.
 

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
449
CLIVE/IA
So you are saying the normal high priced switch that the PB provides (its not actually installed yet) can be simply replaced by a zwave switch? The lights are all multi color etc so that would be necessary..
Thats one way to get me where I want to go. The rest of my outdoor lights are about 20 Philips hue calla and lily spots, so i will be automation the heck out of those.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,645
Bedford, TX
Dung,

We almost always recommend using the same brand of Automation, VS pump, and SWCG... This is because those three units need to be able to talk together.. Since you already have the IC40 and the IntelliFlo pump, your only real option is to go with one of the Pentair systems..

I have the older EasyTouch System with Screenlogic, and while it works great and does everything that I need, if I were buying a new system today, I would first look at the new IntelliCenter.

The EasyTouch has no ability to interface with your auto-cover, but I believe the IntelliCenter has external inputs.

That said, the idea that some system is going to control your FC, pH and autocover and make your pool care "automatic" is just wishful thinking on your part... :)

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
449
CLIVE/IA
So this is the controller he has for me... IntelliBrite Controller
its not installed yet, so feasibly I could get the money back for it, and he could use it for another customer.
If i put in a smart switch like a lutron caseta (my go to) or a GE smart switch (z wave) you saying I could control lights, color etc just like any other smart switch I have?
Is there a weatherproof outdoor switch option? The place where this is being switched on and off is exposed to the elements.. Not directly, but close
 
Last edited:

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
449
CLIVE/IA
Dung,

We almost always recommend using the same brand of Automation, VS pump, and SWCG... This is because those three units need to be able to talk together.. Since you already have the IC40 and the IntelliFlo pump, your only real option is to go with one of the Pentair systems..

I have the older EasyTouch System with Screenlogic, and while it works great and does everything that I need, if I were buying a new system today, I would first look at the new IntelliCenter.

The EasyTouch has no ability to interface with your auto-cover, but I believe the IntelliCenter has external inputs.

That said, the idea that some system is going to control your FC, pH and autocover and make your pool care "automatic" is just wishful thinking on your part... :)

Thanks,

Jim R.
Jim... I didnt mean like full on automate but with intellichem and more options it seems like it could be MORE automated than I have it now :)
And Yes, I wouldnt be looking outside of my ecosystem so it would be a pentair system.
I really dont have any need to automate the pool cover. To much can go wrong. I want the key locked behind a pin code lock, then inserted pool side... so that wont be something I do.
This is really just an exploration of what is possible to do and what isnt.

If the answer is
Set your pump to speed 2 and your swg to 40% and never touch it again, but you have to open the cover for an hour every couple days at least. Maybe thats just the answer.

So I still have no cover on (its coming soon) and each sunny day (the last few) the FC is gone by the end of the day (expected) but the pump on 3 and SWG on 60% by morning im looking at 2.5ppm FC, enough to get me mostly through the day. So I have to assume with a cover on 90% of the day and night that 60% on Speed 3 will be WAYYYYY too much FC.. ill just have to toy with it... This was some of the automation help.
I dont care about managing PH nearly as much as just going crazy high on FC.
 

ryantollefson

Member
Jun 12, 2018
22
Northern CA
Sorry, I only have white LEDs, so for me it was super easy to just us a dimmer switch. Not sure on the color changing... perhaps something like the Fibaro RGBW controller (though I have no personal experience with them)?

Edit: You could certainly use just a z-wave on/off switch and keep the Intellibrite controller in there, but would mean manual changes for color.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,645
Bedford, TX
Dung,

The only way to manage FC is with an ORP system (IntelliChem) which is something that we find does not work well, and is not recommended..

The problem I see is that automation does not have the ability to adjust the SWCG's output.. In other words, you can't say "With the cover closed adjust the SWCG to 10%, but with the cover open, adjust the SWCG to 60%"

But... if you don't have spa, you could simply have the cover tell the automation if the cover is closed or not.. When closed, the system would change to the Spa mode which has its own output percentage.. Then when the cover is open, the system would revert to the Pool mode.. Since you do not have a Spa, it would make no difference in pool operation, it would just effect the output of the SWCG with the cover closed..

Keep in mind that you have to open the cover to allow the CC's to burn off, no matter what system you have.

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,645
Bedford, TX
As far as the color light control... it is built into the automation system... If you get automation, you will not need a separate light controller.

Jim R.
 

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
449
CLIVE/IA
Well certainly during the swimming months I imagine the cover will be open at least every couple days if not more... So CC may be a moot point.
So my reading (perhaps flawed) says that with that system and some plugins I could use webcore (which is a scripting/automation building engine) for smart things to do some very advanced pistons like you said.

So I could have one that says
If time is after sunset and cover is closed
w/ intellchlor
set output to 10%

If open set output to 40%

on and on and on with options... but again I dont know this to be true, but thats part of my research...

Maybe at this point I focus on my lights and worry about that maybe next year . i dont even have my deck, fireplace wall, sod, irrigation etc done yet :)
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,240
Central MD
The problem I see is that automation does not have the ability to adjust the SWCG's output.. In other words, you can't say "With the cover closed adjust the SWCG to 10%, but with the cover open, adjust the SWCG to 60%"
Very true with Pentair. I will add a note for others that Cover Pools brand autocovers, which is owned by Jandy, does now have an iAqualink interface that does just that. Cover open = one SWCG setting, cover closed = a second SWCG setting. That would be very nice to have.

But to the OP’s point, without that, I have to frequently vary my SWCG (or pump run time) based on if my cover is open. I choose to err on high FC (because there are no bad side effects below SLAM level). I use many different criteria to decide if my cover stays open or closed.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
472
Alamo, CA
I personally see no need to periodically open the cover to “burn off” CC. My auto-cover is closed all the time except when the pool is in use or being maintained. The cover keeps organics out, my CC is always zero, and there is no telltale odor.