I finally got around to installing my Pentair SunTouch Solar Controller at my Fort Myers home. I don’t have solar pool heat (yet), so I have been procrastinating. Why install a SunTouch without a solar pool heating system? Because it does so much more than just control a solar valve!
The SunTouch is made to work with an actuator to automatically turn solar pool heating on and off based on the desired temperature and the available heat on the roof.
Here are several great reasons to install a SunTouch Controller:
- It’s a great compliment to my Pentair Variable Speed Pump (VS-3050). The SunTouch takes over the control of the pump functions and speeds, allowing you to program various speeds for things like water features, automatic cleaners, solar, and auxiliary heaters.
- It will control a heat pump or gas heater with or without solar pool heat. I happen to have a heat pump (I know, not good, but it came with the house).
- I can control my landscape lighting (LED, of course) with one of the auxiliary relays and put the transformer on a timer.
- I can control the pool lights and program run times.
- With the QuickTouch remote, I can activate features from the handy remote control. While I have the landscape lighting and pool lights on programmed schedules, I can manually turn them on from the remote. I can also manually force the pump on at various speeds.
Because my pool and landscape lighting were on the same circuit, and because I still have old energy-hog incandescent pool lights (2 x 300W), I am excited to be able to run the landscape lighting independently now. For added security, and because they use virtually no energy, I set my landscape lights to run all night – something I wasn’t able to afford with the pool lights. One day I’ll spring for the LED pool light upgrade.
I set out to do this project yesterday and it took a little longer than expected with all of the auxiliary features I wanted to control. I also had to rewire the lighting transformers because the pool and landscape lighting were on the same circuit. I went ahead and installed the water and solar sensors so I’ll be ready to go when I add solar pool heat this spring. Finally, I took the opportunity to wire a GFCI outlet next to the SunTouch for extra convenience when running my electric trimmer.
The initial programming of the SunTouch is a bit complex, but fortunately my experience at has me prepared for this challenge. The menu operation is not very intuitive, but once you understand it the button functions, it all makes sense. The SunTouch documentation on the variable speed pump programming is a bit confusing, but once you read the pump manual itself, it all comes together. I was able to easily configure my remote control to control my pump and lights. The QuickTouch remote connection is also
I didn’t connect the heat pump relay, partly because I ran out of time, but after thinking about it I would rather not have it on a controller. I want to feel the pain every time I manually turn it on, and remember how much that thing costs to run! I can see the benefit of connecting it for people who have pool/spa combinations to fully automate spa heating.
Overall, I am very impressed with the system, and I look forward to installing my solar pool heating system soon!