Pool/Spa Automation Options


Active Member
This is a followup to the following thread on solar control:


I'd like to expand this into general pool control... I am coming to the conclusion that an all in one solution is probably not going to happen. I can either hold out for 1wire, use a PC based package which could handle the two-probe solar logic, or go with an existing control and interface with RS-232...

Here's What I know Of that has RS-232:

General Pool
All have RS232/chlorinator/temp/heater/pump/lighting controls (except hayward which doesn't appear to have RS232 from what i see)

http://www.pentairpool.com/ -- Not much detail on ilink but looks to be RS232 based


Chemical Control

Thermostat Control Only - the following PDF indicates that maybe i can get quick solar control after all...
(maybe emergency heat could be the gas heater and standard would be solar)

Anyone have any manufacturers i'm missing others? Anyone tied into any of these successfully - happy??

I have the Jandy OneTouch system at home and I have to say that it isn't very intellegent. I haven't connected it to my ELK yet, but I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about it. The Jandy uses a converter box to translate RS-232 to its internal serial bus protocol which is similar to RS-485.

The only thing that is really nice about the Jandy is the breaker panel / load center which does a really good clean & safe job of terminating the 220V and low voltage cabling, holds all of the breakers and relays for the pool equipment in an isolated NEC compliant compartment, and has a 24V step down transformer for a low voltage control board with its own compartment. You can even buy the break panel / load center without the rest of the system if you are interested. It isn't very expensive.

Personally, I wouldn't buy the Jandy OneTouch controller itself unless you really have a lot of money to burn. I wish someone would make a replacement controller board that works with the ELK but I'm sure the market is too small.
Your Jandy seems very similar to Pentair's offering.... I've been reading the pentair air doc for the ilink interface and i think this could be the ticket.... Looks like all i need is the panel , a "personality board". I can wire ilink to the board without the proprietary remote control panel and thus control evrything via the HA touchscreen, etc...


However, I couldn't find the RS232 doc on Jandy's site to compair?...

Anyways, the pentair would solve the solar issue i see with the elk and I could free up the relays on my Elk boards for something else...

The only thing i can't figure out on the Pentair is that they claim to integrate with "popular chlorinators". This isn't detailed in the ilink doc anywhere. I'd really like to be able to not only use an aux circuit to control the time it's running, but also get feedback on low salt / needs service... I don't see a way to do that...

UPDATE: ok, there are four models of chlorine generators you can connect to (i'd have to migrate if i wanted this), and they are controllable from one-touch interface. Looks like i-link doesn't support commands though - placed a call with pentair to find out if it's possible, the ladt had no idea what i was talking about - even gave her the document part number (expexting a call back from senior tech within 1-3 days) :)...

Just in case your curious this is the RS-232 adapter for the Jandy system:


I've found Jandy Corp. to be *very* unhelpful with DIY questions. They really don't want to deal with customers directly. Pentair makes great pool pumps and equipment, but I don't know anyone that has their pool controller so I can't help there.

The limitation you mentioned is a common one with the Jandy system too. These pool controllers are very good at turning relays on and off, but they rarely have inputs other than for a temperature sensor or two. They also typically put the code for all the supported devices in ROM, so adding a new piece of equipment can mean a controller board replacement ($$$$) to get the latest firmware updates. This is one of the reasons I dislike them so much. They are really in the dark ages as far as electronics goes.
Ya, the lady i spoke with at pentair got even testier with me when she found out i was a homeowner and didn't yet own the product but was investigating for purchasing decisions... (I tell you everybody should take an example from Elk - Brad and Amy are ALWAYS nice to me on the phone!!!!!)

They do appear behind the times, but i think the integretion Pentair offers for their intelliflo smart pumps (and the associated energy savings) and with their chlorinators - i.e. fine tuning between 1-100% for the chlorine production (rather than a stupid 1-12 arbitrary setting like i have on mine) is impressive... Having that big load center for outdoor lighting, etc is really nice too. But, it's also costly... Looks like i'd spend close to $1500 on the panel/controls alone... (plus another 2K for the pump/chlorinator if i wanted that).

And I found the ilink serial adpater for almost 500 online - that's nuts!!!! I see more electronics in Elk's serial adapter!

I am interested in using this ilink to connect to CQC. I know that CQC already has a Jandy driver, but the Pentair warrenty and other energy saving and control features look really good. To use the Jandy HA interface does any special equipment / software need to be purchased besides the AquaLink control panel? I looked to me like one could download the the PC program and just connect to the RS-232 inferface, but I may be missing something.

Has any one done a one to one cost/benefit comparison for control of pool/spa combos with a salt system with using a PC interface and home automation control between the two? If I have those (with a spa side remote) I don't see the need for an expensive dedicated touchscreen/PDA/wireless remote as my HA touchscreen would be the day to day interface.
Fyi - i got a callback from pentair, but he just left a VM.. i returned the favor twice, never got a callback, so i still can't tell if the pentair has direct control to the chlorinator or not... in addition to the published commands in the doc...

(i too would go pentair over jandy for several reasons, including the variable flow pumps, the increased load center amperage)

If you buy both the iTC15 kit to use ScreenLogic on a desktop PC and the ilink home automation adapter, can they be used at the same time?

The iTC15 (and many of the other personality kits) come with the protocol interface adapter and a wireless router. If you already have a wireless router, do you need theirs? Can the ScreenLogic program be installed on multiple PCs?

Still trying to get a clear idea of how the pentair stacks up compared to a jandy from a pool automation and interface standpoint (both cost to implement and useabilty).
someone posted this on another forum - they said it has an insteon bridge but i did not see any info on that


it might support other protocols

That looks very cool, but unfortunately is not available in Texas :p . We are going to meet with our pool builder today to work on finalizing the details. They offer both pentair and jandy, but have no experience connecting to a home automation system. They tend to push pentair because of the warranty and energy saving features.
I just got back from my meeting with the pool builder and he had very recently had the Balboa folks come demo the Poolux to him and he is very excited about it (he told us about it, I did not have to ask). He believes it to be very comparably priced with Pentair and Jandy.

Their system also allows you to get real time reading of the ph and adjust it automatically (in addition to the salt clorinator, which the others offer). He was told that they have spent several years and a lot of money developing this and that it should interface with many home automation systems (not details).

It would work with the Pentair (or Jandy) pump, etc. This replaces the intellitouch and the salt-clorinator, but the values, etc and the rest are standard (can be different brands).

We will definitely add this to the list to consider.
Wow - ph/orp and filter pressure!!!!

Now that's just awesome... I want more details too and pricing - the website's too vague and looks like no registered dealers in fl either. i'm thinking that this would not be able to control the pentair varflo pumps though (other than on off/relay control) - but who knows

Anyone have any manufacturers I'm missing others? Anyone tied into any of these successfully - happy??


I don't think this is exactly what you are looking for, but worth looking at if you want solid chemical control.

I havn't been able to find any explination as to what the data port listed in the specs will do.

I've just started with basic chlorine injection (home made using a Rola-Chem pump which I plan on installing this week).

I accidently stumbled on this site (cocoontech) a few month ago when I started researching swimming pool automation. Who knew, you happen to type the word "automation" in to Google, you end up here and suddenly have a new hobby you can't afford. :)

BTW: Look around at http://www.troublefreepool.com/index.php . Lots of friendly and knowledgeable pool builders, pool guys, and pool owners there, also http://www.poolforum.com/pf2/index.php most of the same people, but older information and I don't think it will allow new users to register.