Overidding the flow switch on an Aqua Rite SWG

nick_shirleyJune 20, 2011

I have an Intelliflo VF variable speed pump that I keep running at about 1650 rpm 24 hours a day to turn over my 19,000 gallon pool about once a day. The low revolutions are more than enough to keep my pool clean with about 290 watts total draw, according to the pump's readout. I also have an Aqua Rite SWG (standard model, I think; installed a couple of years ago), running it for six hours a day, and everything is just fine. But recently, the "No Flow" light pops up on the SWG on occasion, which shuts off all chlorine generation. Goosing it to 1700 rpm turns off the light but there have been times it's needed to be kicked up to 1750 or 1800, and then it seems fine back down at 1650 for a week or so. The problem is that more RPMs mean higher wattage and the fact that the SWG can turn off whenever it feels a little fussy is a nightmare-in-waiting, especially where I live (the triple-digit California desert) or if I go on vacation for a while. Changing the pump setting to 2000 rpms or higher would cure the problem but result in higher electric bills. Slavishly cleaning the pool filters every week to keep the flow at peak levels isn't a realistic option either.

What I want to do is to rig up something that would allow me to override the flow switch so that the SWG always thinks the water is flowing adequately. I realize there might be dangers with something like this but it it highly unlikely that the pump will ever stop flowing on its own while the juice is still going to the SWG. I'm willing to take that risk.

This should be easy as inspection of the switch suggests that it's simply a tongue of thin flexible metal that closes a circuit when pushed enough as a result of water flow. All I should have to do is to put a little switch on the wire from the flow device to the generator box that would complete the circuit. But at least from an external inspection, that wire looks like it only has one strand. I can't figure out how to rig up something to bypass that switch.

Any suggestions????

Nick in Palm Springs

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Don't even think about this. The flow switch is a vitally important safety device. If it is powered on and there is no flow, hydrogen can build up. Think of a small Hindenburg disaster in your back yard.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 6:22AM
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I agree that you shouldn't even consider bypassing the switch. Mechanical systems fail and even if the Hydrogen doesn't ignite, any gas in a pool system can compress to a dangerous extent in the piping and cause a burst/fragmentation hazard. Even though PVC has a high burst pressure rating, my understanding is that the rating is only at relatively cool temperatures and rapidly degrades in the heat. That's why it's not safe to use PVC in compressed air systems.

Perhaps if you call the SWG manufacturer they can tell you what the minimum flow rate is, and if you're above it, it may be possible to increase the flow before the switch by downsizing the piping.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:24AM
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Sounds like wise advice! I'll come up with another way to address this issue rather than bypassing the switch. It does seem to me that there is a conflict between the traditional designs of SWGs and the new advances in low wattage, low flow pumps, which will eventually become mandatory if other states follow California's example. Moreover the flow switch included with the Aqua Rite systems is a pretty cheap and flimsy product. You'd think that with a system costing many hundreds of dollars and given the switch's safety mission as suggested by the responders, Aqua Rite would have put a little more design work and thought into these things.

Thanks for your counsel. Always appreciated!

Nick in Palm Springs

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 11:16AM
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I doubt Hayward is listening.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:53PM
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