Digital Swimming Pool Controls
The two photos above show a typical sub panel box for a digital swimming pool control system. This particular system is a Pentair Easy Touch wireless system. Wireless controls,besides being more convenient,are usually less expensive to install than wired models unless a conduit into house is already present. Most digital swimming pool controls in this class are similar in ability,price and operation.
On the top photo above, you can see a control keypad,low voltage section on the left for temperature sensors,valve actuators,and chlorine generator. On the larger right high voltage section there are relays,copper coated poles for breakers,and the transformer on the lower right. The transformer takes the high voltage(115 or 230)and makes 24 volts for the computer controls,sensors,relay coils,heater and chlorine generator controls,and valve actuators(to turn valves from pool to spa).
The relays always have high voltage coming in from the breakers. When a 24 volt signal is sent from computer to relay,it turns on,and the incoming voltage (115 or 230)is sent to the outgoing wires to a pump,pool light,or any other item you wish to have on system.
Another great thing about these swimming pool controls is if you decide you want to install a salt chlorine generator,the computer portion,software,and transformer is already built into most digital controls-this means if you decide to add on the chlorine generator,you will save about 66% of the cost! Also,they will tell you remotely at indoor controller when the salt level is low,there is not enough flow for generator,etc.
Also,these controllers are now available with an interface that allows cable and/or wireless connections to your PC,laptop,PDA,or smartphone which can save a few hundred on the controller.
The second photo above shows a close up of touchpad control and below is the wireless hand held control and optional salt chlorine generator for the Easy Touch.
The new touch screen on intellicenter shown below with USB ports for updating/saving configuration
As I said above,most digital controls in this class are similar such as the Jandy,Pentair,and Goldline by Hayward but overall Pentair is superior.
I think the Pentair Chlorine Generator shown above is superior to the Jandy model so if you already have or are planning to get a Pentair variable speed pump and you also want a chlorine generator then it may be best to get a Pentair control system too.
On the other hand,if you already have an older model Jandy (such as the Jandy RS shown towards bottom of page) it will be easier and less expensive to either:
1)Upgrade to a Jandy One Touch (also shown below)which will allow you to set motor speeds remotely and also tell the wattage being used on the various speeds
2)Install an interface (Pentair Intellicom I believe) which will allow 4 preset speeds set at pump for various functions but not display the speed or energy use and use existing RS control(the LEAST expensive option)
3)If you have the later models of RS (as in later software)you can upgrade to Touchlink the higher end model shown (below one touch at bottom below) which directly controls pump speeds and tells wattage being used.
Above is the Pentair Intelliconnect, showing the outside module where service tech would manually turn on pump.
The Intelliconnect can control a Pentair variable speed pump as well as two other high voltage relays such as jet pump and light as well as the heater.
This is a very inexpensive option that uses the home wifi thru a free app on PC or other device such as smartphone.
It does NOT control valve actuators single body of water only
Hayward is offering a "mini controller" you can use with your home wifi via computer,smartphone,and/or a stand alone controller that comes with a variable speed pump as shown above...the control would allow you to turn on your spa via smartphone so it is hot and ready when you get home from a hard days work.
This system is approximately 1/2 the cost of a traditional control system and will control 4 pieces of equipment and turn the valves automatically for spa. All equipment except valve acuators come with unprecedented 3 year warranty and the top of line Tristar pump has 4 year warranty.
The price installed is between 2300.00 and 3000.00 depending on model of pump and options and qualifies for LADWP 1000.00 rebate on top of that. (So its 1300.00 to 2000.00 total out of pocket expense and you will get that back in energy savings within the warranty period so you CANNOT lose!) More details on LADWP rebate on link below:
Above is the Hayward Omni VS hub - I like the quality but it does have certain limitations, such as it can control up to two varible speed pumps and two other high voltage relays such as lights or a jet pump or blower (the heater is controlled thru the low voltage wiring). Another limitaion is it can control only two actuators such as pool/spa inlet/return OR solar and a cleaner. Shown below is the outdoor touchscreen and smart relay with very deep junction box for easy wiring also looks like good quality. The touch screen can be a bit finicky and the software is not as intuitive as the Pentair but the price is nice if you can put up with it.
Jandy RS (still available)
Jandy One Touch
Jandy Aqualink Touch
I like the Jandy systems overall very intuitive programming BUT they do not have an outdoor display to program so the service tech must use your keypad to program unless he brings a controller to plug in or does online thru wifi
Here is a valve actuator that is not for a pool/spa combo. This installation is a pool only with solar panels on the roof. When the solar sensor(located on roof)is a few degrees hotter than the air temperature sensor(located under controls box) and the water temperature sensor(attached to plumbing), the computer turns the valve to allow the pool pump to pump water to solar cells. When it is too cold for the solar panels to be efficient,the valve closes the plumbing up to rooftop so pump can pump easier and the heater turns on.
Below is a couple of photos of a Jandy wireless PDA control. This remote is also cool because its waterproof and floats so you can take it in the spa with you...some homeowners I have talked to have a hard time navigating through the options on the PDA and prefer the "All Button" controller where there is a separate button for each piece of equipment. (But as I said above,the All Button Cannot be used to control variable speed pumps directly and can only communicate through an interface)
This is an old Compool 2000 seies control above, and the replacement Compool 3800 control below I installed along with a new circuit board in the main control box in the equipment area.
Lower Cost Controls
The Pentair Suntouch is one of the best low cost controls for several reasons:
1)It is already programmed to operate the Sta Rite Intelliflo or Pentair Intellipro pumps - also,if you use these pumps you do not have to use a relay giving you three extra pieces of equipment to control instead of a filter pump and two.
2)This has many of the features of the bigger units at the top of page such as heater cool down,solar control,and the ability to control up to three valve actuators.
3)A simple on/off wireless control can be added to turn on spa and two other items such as jets and lights remotely.
4)Intellichlor chlorine generator can be controlled from Suntouch.The Suntouch internals are a little small and cramped as shown below:
The above unit simply replaces your old mechanical time clock and your enclosure is now the wire junction box for all of your pool equipment - up to five units. 2 speed/multi speed compatible and wireless option. Lots of bang for the buck if you do not need lots of relays or have to control a salt chlorine generator.
Below is the Hayward On Command control which communicates directly with their EcoStar variable speed pump and is a good low cost control system if you do not need a lot of relays (I believe 4 plus EcoStar pump or 4 total if NOT using EcoStar)