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Auto Controls

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Solar-loop Piping
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Auto Controls

 

 

6.  Installing an Automatic Control System

COMPOOL LX-220 control box

COMPOOL motorized 3-way valve

Example of piping at pool equipment area

Generic diagram of auto-control set-up

In most situations, we highly recommend control systems to automatically monitor the operation of your solar system.  Click on the diagram above for a basic schematic of control components.

  • Controls maximize performance of any solar system in any climate
  • Controls offer high limit protection through thermostatic control
    • You can set the thermostat to the temperature you want to solar system to achieve        
  • Follow the instructions that come along with the control.
    • Disregard instructions in two area
      • Put water sensor after filter and before solar 3-way valve
      • Check valve after filter and before 3-way valve often shown is NOT necessary unless filter media is diatomaceous earth (DE).
      • Don't rely on a ball valve on the feed line and a check valve on the return for isolation purposes.  Use two good quality ball valves (one on each side).  
  • You can use a one-way check valve in the solar feed line to keep the solar panels full all season.  This makes it easier on the pump to get water to the panels everyday.  Remember that,  if used, the solar loop feed line cannot drain automatically.  IT MUST BE MANUALLY DRAINED!  If used, install this check valve after (downstream of) the isolation ball valve on the feed line but before the drain valve.  This way the check valve can drain too. 
     

Common Control Installation Recommendations:

  • Sensor location critical to proper control performance
    • Water sensor
      • Should be placed after the filter and before the solar 3-way valve
      • Control manufacturers often show it attached to or by the pool pump
        • Residual heat from pump can often cause it to misread pool water temperature
    • Sun sensor should duplicate panel environment
      • Best to run sensor wire to panel location
        • Use 18-22 gage wire with stranded two conductor leads, preferably with PVC (gray) exterior jacket.  Available at Home Depot by the foot or in rolls.
      • Put wire in conduit if underground
        • Direct-burial cable OK too but still can be cut by accident
        • Never have wire splices underground
      • Mount sensor to nonconductive material
      • Be careful of shading between 10am-4pm now and years later
  • Sensor wire splices corrode over time
    • Check them periodically and redo every 5 years.
    • Leave enough excess wire at splice to redo
  • Keep control box door closed to keep out critters and moisture
  • Locate control box out of direct sunlight if possible
    • Heat can damage circuitry over time

Copyright 2001 ecosystems. All rights reserved.
 Page last updated:
May 28, 2014

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