Zodiac iAqualink items – Response from Zodiac

As a follow on to this, Mat at Pool Tech let me know that Zodiac has since released a fix to correct the concern above so that you are able to trust “Service Mode”. I do not know if they received any other notifications other than mine (via Pool Tech and via my own mailing to Zodiac) but I’m pleased that a potential safety concern was addressed so rapidly.

Now if they could direct some effort toward my lighting issue.

I *did* receive a response from Zodiac’s customer service almost immediately that indicated they’d cursorily scanned the email and did not really take my point:

Thank you for your suggestions. Your comments have been forwarded to our engineering department.

As far as the lighting goes, we don’t have the logic for your specific lights included with our system. Unfortunately, we can’t provide functionality for every light on the market. We only have the most popular programmed in our firmware.

The reason the water temperature isn’t shown at all times is because the reading won’t be accurate. The temperature in your plumbing is going to change more quickly than the temperature in your pool water. This is why the temperature is only shown when the pump is on and the water is circulating.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

So I clarified for them:

I’m working with my suppliers to see about swapping out the lights for another one but it’s looking like the holes in my pool are not going to be compatible.

With respect to the temperature suggestion. I am not suggesting ongoing temperature readings while the pump is off, but only reporting the last accurate reading (pump was on for at least 3 minutes). For myself, knowing what the accurate water temperature was 2 hours ago is sufficient for me to make decisions about what I want or need to do. If I see it was at 76 degrees and I’m going to swim when I get home I know I’m going to activate the heater. If I see it was at 84 degrees I know immediately that I won’t be needing the heat the pool just doesn’t cool down that much over a few hours and so the readings. This ballpark just saves me the 3-5 minutes waiting for the temperature to settle down.

Thank you for responding,

 

Marc

Unfortunately I don’t know that it will go much further than this. I’ll post if I’m able to achieve any progress / satisfaction.

Posted under On the Home Front, Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on June 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

Zodiac iAqualink Concern, Issues and Suggestions

It’s pretty difficult to find a contact email address for Zodiac USA. All I can find on their site is one of those moderately useful forms. So I’m going to post this message here on my blog and then send them a link.

 

Dear Zodiac,

As the new owner of an iAqualink I have come across a few items that I felt should be brought to your attention.

Concern:

Android Application does not reflect current conditions and ignores Service mode
The Android version of the iAqualink application does not refresh at reasonable intervals. If I log into the application hours or days after my last logon, the information from the previous login is still being displayed. Information such as which devices are on and what the temperatures are should be refreshed, certainly after a new login, but they should also be refreshed with much greater regularity than is happening now.
There is a dangerous side effect to this. Since the device does not check the current system status at reasonable intervals, it is possible to be logged into the Android iAqualink application, manually put your system into “Service” mode and continue to start and stop pumps and manipulate the system as if it was still in “Auto” mode. I recently demonstrated this to Adam of “Pool Tech” (6/5/2012) and he indicated he was going to bring this to your attention due to obvious safety concerns.

 

My Issues:

Can you program my lights for me?

On 5/29/2012 I spoke with Denise in your customer support area. My iAqualink was installed as part of a new pool installation and the lights that had been installed are Fiberstar’s “Pal Treo” LED lights. Unfortunately these are not among the 4 lighting systems already supported by iAqualink. I am able to get some use of my lights by selecting “Jandy LED Watercolors” which will change my lights to something other than the default color, but of course the colors in the PAL Treo system do not line up at all with the Jandy LED Watercolor system. This is something that would require a programming change on the Zodiac side to implement (or my suggestion below). Denise was to check with your developers and get back to me. It’s now 6/15/2012 and I’ve not heard back from her. I would like an answer on this.

You can choose your light color when explicitly turning on the lights but not for any programmed mode.

If you select Lights (at least as it’s set up on my system and verified by Pool Tech) as part of a “One Touch Setting” you do not have the option to select the color that comes up. Certainly for different “moods” one would like to have the option to choose a color other than the initial start up color.
Similarly, when setting the “Dusk” settings for the lights there are no provisions to select a color when choosing your light device. This needs to be corrected.

 

Suggestions:

Allow a DIY lighting setting so that consumers can set up their lights themselves

My experience here is somewhat limited, but a common theme among light systems seems to be that you turn on your light switch and then you flick the switch off then on again to cycle through the offered lighting options. An interface that allows you to specify how many of these options there are, plus the colors that result from these off/on cycles might make the iAqualink system compatible with more lighting systems while reducing the overhead for keeping up with them.

Retain Pool Temperature information when the filter pump is not on

Just like on a weather page, provided you indicate the time for which the reading is current, it would be very useful to me to be able to see my temperature at a glance without needing to turn on my pump system and wait for the water to cycle long enough to get an accurate reading. The temperature will not be exact but since you can see how old it is you can decide for yourself if you need to force a more accurate reading. Since the system is on at least once a day I will always be somewhat in the ballpark and to me this is much more useful than a BLANK reading.

Allow me to change labels for Temp1 and Temp2

It took me a while to figure out that Temp2 was my pool temperature. I’d like to be able to just change the label so that this is obvious to my wife.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Marc Bourassa

Posted under On the Home Front, Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on June 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

2012 Home Renovations – Part 32 – Usable, final punch lists outstanding

We are down to a couple of punch lists. I need to sit down and do a final reckoning and accounting for this project. Hopefully that will be of use to anybody else thinking of embarking on a similar voyage.

Our salt system is not yet functioning – this should be rectified on Monday as well our iAqualink system is not able to do its job properly as it was not configured correctly. I’ll be working with the pool guy (Dwight) to get these items sorted out and some issues with our Fastlane. Hopefully I can get everything set up for virtually hand’s off functioning after that.

But we shocked the pool with some chlorine to make sure it is OK after sitting for a week plus with tap water in it. After that we were able to go in and try it out. The heater was able to do its job and pulled the pool up the last couple of degrees to make it really comfortable. I figure about 80 is going to be good for daytime jumping about and being refreshed and I’m guessing that 83 – 86 will be needed to make it comfortable for night use.

I’m reading through all the manuals to make sure that I understand everything there is to know about my system. I’m finding that asking questions about specifics concerning most of my equipment yield only general, and often incorrect, answers. So, as in anything else, you are your own advocate and you really want to be as expert as possible so your investment doesn’t go South on you. The information that I’m finding valuable has to do with the anecdotes and overall approaches to pool maintenance.

Our next mini-project is to pick up the furniture that we want for the new area. Then to build an area within which to perform maintenance tasks (cleaning filters, mixing chemicals, etc). This was never considered in our original planning.

Finally we’ll move on to some basic landscaping and then settle down for a while as we absorb where we are and what we think is important for our next step.

If anybody has suggestions for fun / practical purchases for a small swimming pool (12 by 28 feet) let me know…

2012 Home Renovations – Part 31 – The Pool Liner is In

2012 Home Renovations – Part 33 – Landscaping

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on May 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm

2012 Home Renovations – Part 31 – The Pool Liner is In

We came home from a week in Puerto Rico to find some minor updates had been made and that our pool liner had been in stalled and water was trickling in.

The sandbags are to hold the liner in place until the water can come up to that level and do the job itself.

Also the Fastlane has been installed

Michelle has some concerns about the liner color, but you can already see how it changes as the water is added.

Here is a nice overview shot from the sheltered part of the patio.

The screens in all these pictures look blurry because it’s actually pouring rain as I take these shots.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 30 – Driveway Prepped and Poured

2012 Home Renovations – Part 32 – Usable, final punch lists outstanding

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on May 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

The insanity of outdoor lighting “standards”

Maybe I’m missing the boat here. We want to install outdoor lighting fixtures. Of course these installations need to be waterproof – at least between the base plate of the fixture and the junction box.

Can anybody tell me why it is that you can only buy 4 inch outdoor junction boxes, yet nearly everybody and his dog makes their fixtures with a 5 inch or greater base plate?

It seems the only fixtures I can get that will mate up with the junction box and be guaranteed to pass electrical code inspection are ones that are designed for use in or around barns or industrial areas. This is fine if that is the look you are going for. Unfortunately that look does not at all complement our vision for our back patio.

I *could* buy the larger light fixture and silicone the hell out of the back so it would certainly be watertight, but that seems ridiculous and may or may not pass inspection.

Both my contractor and my electrician have lamented the silliness of it all. Apparently, if anybody could make 5 inch outdoor junction boxes they’d make a fortune as this is a common issue.

Does anybody know more about this where they could offer some sage advice?

Call me frustrated

 

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on May 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

2012 Home Renovations – Part 30 – Driveway Prepped and Poured

This post comprises 3 working days on the project. The first and last days were too small for me to want to post separately about them and they are all related.

On Friday (April 27) the driveway leveling was completed using the bobcat which was also used to tamp it down.

One of this project’s goals were to change the grade of the driveway such that the top portion would be on less of a grade than before to make it easier to get into and out of a car if you were in the turnaround pad and to make it easier to load and unload any vehicles near the house.

We also widened the driveway such that we can now park cars along one side while allowing other cars to get past them so that people should no longer need to park in the street when we have guests over.

To accomplish both goals consumed all of the earth dug out from the back yard and necessitated the creation of the modular retaining wall to accommodate the extra dirt used for leveling.

A pleasant side-effect of needing a place to store the dirt was that the grass / weeds in the front yard have largely been obliterated and we now have a clean slate to start again with either some more robust (and slow growing) grass or something completely different.

Also on this day the outside portion of our old half-bathroom window was covered over by some vinyl siding that was repurposed from some other part of the house. A quick pressure washing will have it looking ship shape. The entire deck area will be pressure washed shortly to get rid of most of the dirt and grit from the construction work.

On Saturday the cement trucks arrived. I think it took a total of 4 of them for this pour. I was very happy to be around for the whole job this time. The first truck had trouble backing up the grade of the driveway and eventually gave up and the next truck came and did it. I’m not sure if this is to do with the skill / aggressiveness of the driver or just the treads on the tires but it was something to watch the truck rev up and then hurtle its way up the driveway.

The cement was much courser than that used on our deck

As usual, the J&A crew worked like a well oiled machine. Everybody seemed to know what to do and where to do it. It was a marvel to see them in action

While the cement pour was going on, Michelle was meeting with a Landscape Architect (Jim Collins). He was supposed to review the entire yard, front and back and create drawings that we could use to fill our now barren areas. Unfortunately he found the cement activity a bit too distracting and wasn’t able to do the front yard. The back yard drawing looks pretty good and incorporated much of what Michelle had expressed. But the price was pretty steep @ $125/hr and 3.5 hours. Does anybody know if that’s reasonable? Does it make sense to have him back for the front? He knew his stuff but I’m much happier knowing the price before we do the job.

Also, any opinions on the plan would be welcome.

Meanwhile the work continues

And things start to look more finished

And here they begin cutting the expansion joints (or crack directors)

Work for today stopped short of the to-be-stamped areas

On Monday J&A came back and poured, colored and stamped the base of the driveway and the walkway to the front patio

We were a bit freaked out at first since Michelle had originally asked for the color to be “Smokey Blue” but then called back and changed it to be “Pecan Tan”. As you can see it looked WAY more like the Smokey Blue than Tan.

It turns out that the grey/blue stuff is just the releasing agent. The cement will be pressure washed in a few more days and we’ll get to see it’s real color then. When this was done on our back deck we were just leaving for vacation and did not see that part of the process.

Also the electrics have been largely roughed in. If you look closely you can see where the outlets and light fixtures will be going on the back wall of the lanai

And the downspout for our supergutter has been installed and hooked into our new drainage system

We did have a mishap today and now some extra ventilation now in the laundry room. That was my excitement for the morning.

Now we are waiting for the inspectors to OK the electrical rough-in and then we can finish that up. Michelle is still looking for sconces / lighting fixtures – hopefully this will be faster than the rock wall decision but that was such a smashing success that I suppose good things do come to those who wait.

I am told that the vinyl for the pool should be in any day now and all is ready to begin that installation. Best case scenario has the pool filled by this coming weekend.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 29 – Driveway Demolition, New Door, Window Gone

2012 Home Renovations – Part 31 – The Pool Liner is In

 

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on May 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm

2012 Home Renovations – Part 29 – Driveway Demolition, New Door, Window Gone

Today was a day of much progress. We had a contractor and sub meeting and made more decisions – each of which I’m sure will cost me a wee bit more…

We had ordered some sconces with the intent of mounting them on our two interior supporting columns facing the pool.  We had also intended to mount three lighting fixtures – supplied by the company that supplies the materials for the lanai enclosure – above the deck on the far side of the pool.

Handy Tip 1: You cannot mount lights within 5 feet of a pool (under 12 feet above the pool). Our columns are 4 feet away and the height was going to be about 6 feet off the ground. Fortunately we were able to cancel the order for those sconces before they shipped.

Handy Tip 2: You’re not going to get very far with the inspectors if your lighting fixtures are not grounded and especially if they do not have a UL seal on them. Surprisingly the fixtures from the enclosure supply place suffered from exactly those two deficits.

Handy Tip 3: Between 5 feet and 10 feet from the pool, lighting fixtures cannot be less than 7.5 feet above the pool.

So we obviously had some drivers that moved us from our intended roof mounted lighting to wall mounted (right at 7.5 feet) that will extend out from the wall far enough to throw a cone of light on the new rock wall as well as to provide accent lighting for the deck. Now we just have to find light fixtures that will mate properly with the electrical boxes that will be installed over the next week or so so as to have a weatherproof and water tight seal.

We had the window from our tiny half bathroom removed

 

We replaced the laundry room door with one that has a blind build into the window

 

And the old solid laundry room door has been repurposed as the door to our garage replacing the hollow core door that served that function before.

Demolition began on the driveway and front walkway

 

It took quite a while since there were *two* driveways to remove. We’re still trying to figure it out but it looks like the original driveway was poured and, very soon after another driveway was poured over top of that one.

This picture below shows this for the walkway – the top layer is broken off and the bottom layer is waiting underneath

Anyway, much progress was made

The view from the garage

and the view from the front porch

and from the street

The pile o’ dirt grows smaller still, it seems we will have much less dirt than I expected to use in leveling the lawn after the driveway has been suitably built up.

Below you can see that the Lexan roof has been mostly installed,

As for the pool, holes have been cut for two lights in the primary filter (those black circles in the center of the picture)

And the electrical sub panel has been installed and the wiring is beginning

2012 Home Renovations – Part 28 – Screening of Lanai Done

2012 Home Renovations – Part 30 – Driveway Prepped and Poured

 

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on April 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm