Sunday, April 9, 2017

Edison Rebate

Here is the link to Southern California Edison's 2017 rebate.

Work Around for using a Netgear Nighthawk router

The Jandy iAquaLink remains the easiest and most reliable way to allow you to control your pool from your smartphone or tablet.

Although the new iAqualink 2.0 works very well, there have been problems connecting to one particular router: the Netgear Nighthawk router.

The easiest work around it to simply plug in another router to the LAN port of the Nighthawk and connect to WiFi using that new router. If  you prefer to stick with the Nighthawk, click here for instructions.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

iAqualink Troubleshooting

(This is reprinted from a Jandy training document and is not an original post by Technical Pool Repair.)


• D-Link DIR-601 Wireless N 150 Home Router (referenced as “service router” in this document), if another router is purchased test it on an existing iAqualink install
• One Touch Service Controller
• Laptop or Access to Home Owners Computer (if using home computer a smart phone or tablet to test wifi signal strength
• 100 ft Ethernet cable (optional)

Ensuring Proper Installation Procedure: 

• Before going to the jobsite have the home owner e-mail the SSID and Password. Also ask if the home owner has used any specialists to install their network equipment. If so the specialist should be contacted in order to see if they need to involved in the install.
• On-Site connect a laptop or smart phone to the homeowners network by copying and pasting the SSID and Password into necessary boxes. This proves the information provided by the home owner is correct.
• After connecting to the network open an internet browser, such as internet explorer, and perform a “google” search. This will prove that an internet connection exists.
• Use the laptop or smart phone to test the wifi signal near the location the iAqualink is to be mounted. The iAqualink needs a minimum of 2 signal strength bars, anything less will be tedious to operate and test and may not connect.
• With the iAqualink disconnected from the Aqualink 485 network, plug the iAqualink into an available USB port on a computer. A pop up will appear, double click on a file labeled “settings.txt” (if on a MAC locate the USB drive and explore the folders for this file)
• Locate the code line “SSID=” after the = copy and paste the SSID the homeowner has provided. Locate “Key” and copy and paste the network password the home owner has provided. Copying and pasting the information eliminates key stroke errors.
• Click “file” and save. After saving reopen the “settings.txt” file and ensure the information is saved. Using this method ensures the information is written to the iAqualink.
• Disconnect the USB cable and connect the red pin connection to the aqualink 485 netowork.
• Observe the 3 lights on the side of the iAqualink. Red is power, orange means a connection with the router is established, green means a connection to the server has been established. It may take up to 10 minutes for a green light. If the green light flashes and kicks the orange light off there is a network issue and troubleshooting follows. There is no way to register the device with a username until the green light is on.


• Use a one touch service controller. Go to menu>help>diagnostics and check for a iAqualink Wifi controller listed under 485 remotes. If it does not appear there may be a 485 wiring issue or the RS chip was not updated to rev R. You can also use this menu to find where the network connection is stopped. This may be useful if a Media Specialist is involved.
• Use your “service router” as an access point. First plug the router into an AC outlet.
1. Plug the Ethernet cable in the router box into a “LAN” port on the home owners router.
2. Plug the other end of the above Ethernet cable into the “internet” port of the “service router”
3. The ((( wifi light will illuminate and then the earth light will illuminate
• Connect your laptop to the “D-Link” network the “service router” has created. Open a browser and perform a google search to ensure the router has internet access. If the router does not have internet access try eliminating the home owners router and plug the “service router” directly into the Ethernet cable connected to the modem. If no internet access is possible a media specialist needs to get involved.
• Once internet access is proven disconnect the iAqualink from the aqualink 485 network and plug the USB cable back in to the laptop and the iAqualink. Open the “settings.txt” information and rewrite the SSID and Key lines to reflect the new SSID and key required by the “service router”
• After ensuring the above information is saved disconnect the iAqualink from the USB cable and connect the iAqualink back to the aqualink 485 network.
• Observe the 3 lights on the side of the iAqualink, if all three lights are solid (allow up to 10 minutes) register the iAqualink to a user account and prove to the homeowner the problem is with their home network. The most economical solution is to purchase a router and “piggy back” it just as this troubleshooting document describes. They will not lose their existing network, just create an access point. Otherwise it is the home
owners responsibility to resolve their network issue or go to a hard wired install.

Hardwire troubleshooting 

• Disconnect the iAqualink from the 485 network. Slide the wifi switch to the wired position. 
• Plug an Ethernet cable directly to the back of the router and run it into the iaqualink. 
• Reconnect the iAqualink to the 485 network. When the green light comes on register the device with a user account and show the homeowner the problem is with their network and that a hard wired connection will bypass their security. A “power line adapter” can be used to avoid running a wire. However, power line adapters are polarity sensitive and the two outlets used must be on the same power leg. The power line adapter also cannot get wet. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mysterious Water Damage to Control Board

I have a control system that is mounted outdoors on a wall in a standard metal power center -- just like hundreds of other control systems (Jandy Aqualink, Pentair EasyTouch, and Goldline.) But, for some reason, this one is getting water inside the power center and the water always damages the same spot on the board. You can see a hard water trace on the back of the board where it runs down.

So how does the water get in to a sealed power center that is made to be mounted outdoors? Well, first I thought that it must be coming in past the weather stripping on the door. I replaced that. Next, when that didn't work, I tapped up the gap between the top of the box and the removable front service panel, but the water still came in.

Finally, I think I found a clue:
Look closely at the point where the outside covering has been stripped off of this temperature sensor wire. See the calcium / hard water deposits here? This is the temperature sensor wire for the solar panels. The other end of this wire is up on a second story roof. Evidently, water seeps into the upper end of the wire, drains down the inside and exits here where the outside covering has been stripped off to allow connection to the control board. Since the water is traveling inside the wire, it makes no difference that the wire drops lower than the power center and then goes up. (If the water was dripping down the outside of the wire this would prevent water from going inside).

My solution? I decided to allow the water an alternative outlet besides where it connects to the board. To do this, I stripped some of the covering off (to allow it to escape) and then bent the wire into a U shape and poked it down into a hole that exits the control panel at the bottom. This way, the water should drip outside the power center.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

So Cal Edison Residential Pool Pump Rebates (Updated for 2014)

Here is a list of energy-efficient variable pumps that currently qualify for Southern California Edison's $200 consumer rebate when you upgrade from an existing single speed pump. Click here for the mail in rebate application, or click here to apply online. Good news for landlords: since 2012, landlords (who typically pay to have pumps installed) qualify to receive the rebate even though their tenant pays the electric bill on the property.

So Cal Edison Rebates for LED lights

Multifamily properties (apartments and home owner associations) now qualify for rebates if they upgrade their pool and spa lights to LED. There is a $50 rebate for those properties that operate their lights from dusk to close and a $75 rebate for those who leave their lights on all night. Click here for details.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Funky, turbid water

A Review of the Venetian swimming pools in Las Vegas:

The water in the main pools at the Venetian and at her sister hotel the Palazzo is simply funky. There is no sparkle to it and you can barely see the bottom in only 4’6” of water. With water quality like this, these are not pools that you would want to put your face in—or really any bodily orifice. Furthermore, as crowed and shallow as they are, these are not so much “swimming” pools as they are “posing” pools or “standing with a beer in my hand” pools.

The main pool complex does have a lot to offer: amenities include towel service, friendly hosts that will help you find a lounge chair, a bar, cocktail waitresses, music, and countless pretty and not so pretty people. For those wanting to pay a premium, there are also cabanas for rent.

The pools themselves are nothing special. They are a series of shallow rectangles surrounded by a sea of lounge chairs and separated by planters and pathways. At each end of these pools are extremely shallow areas (about a foot of water). These areas are populated by floating lounges. The centers of these pools are only slightly deeper. The deepest point in any of these pools is 4’6”. With pools this shallow, there is no diving. Furthermore, with as many people as there are standing in these pools, these pools really aren’t good for swimming—at least not on a summer weekend. But the real reason not to swim there is the horrible water quality. You shouldn’t put your face in these waters. Despite the fact that I wouldn’t personally dare to get into these pools, there was no shortage of people who were willing to and this is their main problem.
As a Certified Pool Operator (CPO) and a pool contractor with 22 years in the pool industry I am fully aware of the challenges that face the pool operators here and at other major hotels. First is the sheer number of bathers—and as discussing as it sounds, when someone first gets into a pool they are bathing all sorts of products from their bodies. Each person brings in their own unique blend of sunblock, moisturizer, hair products, and makeup. Plus there are the bodily fluids: the sweat, the urine, and the occasionally vomit from standing in the sun drinking alcohol all day. There are also spilled drinks and detergents and dirt tracked in on people’s feet. All of this goes into the water, but what takes it out?

Chlorine can oxidize the organics—the skin cells, the bacteria, and so forth (that is, break them down into smaller parts), but chlorine doesn’t eliminate organic matter from the pool nor can it effectively break down the oil based sunblocks and makeup. As a result, organic refuse and an oily film ends up staying in the water causing it to be cloudy and having a dull look.

What a pool like this really needs is a clarifier to clump this biofilm together in large enough chunks that the filter can take it out. Filtration is key and a pool like this needs serious turnover. A standard commercial pool should, according to most code requirements, turnover its entire volume in 6 hours. Now this isn’t quite as good as it sounds since the filtered water mixes with the dirty water that is still in the pool. Because of this mixing of clean and dirty, it takes about 4 turns of the pool (24 hours on a pool with a 6 hour turnover to get 98% filtered water and 2% unfiltered. With a pool like this—with such a large bather load, a 6 hour turnover is simply not enough to provide adequate filtration. I would hope that these pools have a much shorter turnover time—something closer to the 30 minute turnover that is required for commercial spas would seem more appropriate. But whatever the turnover rate is, I can tell you from experience that it is inadequate for a summer weekend. As the water really looked bad—and that is the true test.

In addition to adequate turnover and filtration, pools like these really need to be using enzymes to help break down these oily films that float on their surfaces and cloud the water. It seems, however, that in the case of the pools at the Venetian, that filtration, clarifiers, and enzymes were not keeping up with the demand.  
Besides the main funky pool complex, there is, however another smaller pool complex on the property. This one has a small circular or octagon shaped pool with a large planter in the center that is nice for cooling off and a small warm pool – not quite spa temperature warm – but a comfortable temperature for lounging if you aren’t moving much. There are also two smaller spas (hot tubs / Jacuzzis) near by that are somewhat secluded by planters. Although these pools weren’t perfect, they looked good enough that I felt OK about getting in them – as I really did want to swim and spend time by the pool – and I even felt OK about swimming underwater here. There is no music on this side and drink service seems more miss than hit.