Sunday, September 22, 2013

Intermatic Actuator Review

Intermatic Actuator Review
This will be a review of the 24volt Intermatic Actuator (Manufacturer part number PE24VA) by
Swimming pool automation systems use actuators to change valve positions from the main controller. The most commonly found brand is the Jandy JVA actuators followed by Compool, Hayward and then Intermatic but all models are universally compatible with the others. Each actuator does vary in price and they are cosmetically slightly different looking.
(Click on any picture to see a larger version)

Intermatic actuators generally cost less than the other brands. This makes them an attractive choice.

What is included?
The actuator comes in a box containing the actuator, 4 long screws and instructions for the install.

The install
The new actuator will be installed the exact same way the previous actuator was placed except using the new actuator and screws (always use the new screws since they could be different lengths from what was originally used).

Issues with the install
Sometimes after years of regular use an actuator can move out of alignment. When they are new and just out of the box they are supposed to be preconfigured, but this one was not.
After the installation was complete the actuator did not stop in the correct positions.

Since the valve stopped after it turned too far, water was draining backwards through the pipes (gravity was pushing the water from the spa down into the pool)

To adjust the actuator the top lid needs to be pulled off by first removing the smaller screws around the lid with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Remove the single plastic screw holding the valve handle onto the actuator, then pull the handle off.

Inside is a single thin metal nut holding the two larger blue plastic nuts down.

Loosen the metal nut.

The two blue plastic nuts’ positions determine when the actuator will stop once it has been activated.
Notice the two switches on the side of the actuator.

These are triggered when the stopper on each of the plastic nuts turns around and pushes the switch in.
If these are not in the correct position the valve will either turn too far or not far enough.

Place the handle back on top of the actuator post, it will be needed to adjust the actuator position.

Adjust the bottom blue nut position first. Then being careful not to move the bottom, adjust the top blue nut. This is a lot of trial and error, so after each adjustment flip the switch on the actuator to see where the new stopping position is.

Note: These blue nuts have marks on them consisting of 0 and 180 to show a 0 position and then 180 degrees from that 0 position. However, just by lining these up, it will not always be the correct stop positions for the actuator.

After both directions have been calibrated, tighten the small thin metal nut.

Place the top lid back onto the actuator and secure it with the 4 small screws.

Final thoughts
The Intermatic Actuator works well and cost less than similar alternatives, the down side is that this one (and the last 2 out of 3) needed to be calibrated after it was installed. If I was going to do the install this is a minor inconvenience since it is something I have done before. If a home owner was going to try and do it themselves this could be a problem. I would recommend the Intermatic Actuator to anyone already familiar with adjusting these and for everyone else to get one of the other brands.

For reference I have included a few pictures doing the same alignment procedure on a Jandy and then with a Pentair actuator. These below are all weathered actuators that after years of use moved out of alignment.
Jandy JVA2440

Pentair Compool CVA-24