Programming IntellaMaxx Controllers 11.15.2010

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Date: 11/15/2010

Okay. I’d like to welcome everyone to our Solar Programming IntelliMaxx Controllers Webinar. I’m going to take the next thirty minutes and cover in as much detail as I can domestic hot water and IntelliMaxx controller programming. I’m going to try and answer all your questions. Please feel free to as always send me a question in the chat box. I usually do my best to answer them right away. Before I get into it can anybody confirm for me that they can actually hear me? That would be a good start.

All right, perfect. Let me begin by introducing our two basic controllers that we have for here the IntelliMax-DHWBPlus and the IntelliMaxx Economy Plus. Obviously the Economy plus is a much more complicated controller. It allows you to tie into heating systems quite easily and often it can replace some of the home heating system logic. Now the IntelliMaxx-DHWBPlus which is what I’ll focus on today gives you many options for your solar system. With only two relays and as you’ll see there are many things that we can do with those two relays. We can run pumps and valves or two valves and two pumps. As well as monitor performance data and log that data we can also tie into second tank or heat dump loop and obviously the b bus data logging capabilities.

Okay the DWHBPlus has a thermostatic function as well as differential function. I’ll go into more detail as far as what that means momentarily. It allows you to set certain programs to activate at pre-determined temperatures rather than pre-determined differentials. They do use the PT1000 temperature sensors. As you might be able to barely make out in this photograph there’s a black and grey sensor. Just to point out the black sensors are rated for 280 degrees Celsius. So the black sensors are always what you use in the solar collectors. The grey sensors are used for the tank. These are a good controller to use for drain back systems. There are a few important functionalities in terms of how effectively a drain back system can operate using one of these controllers.

There are nine different systems that are selectable that we can pre-program settings and just choose which array is most suitable. I’ll go over those in a minute too. There are also energy metering and very simple settings that you can activate. That allows you to monitor performance without having any additional software or any other components. This will be able to monitor performance for you as along as you activate that function as with all resale controllers. Yeah, it sure does Don and I’ll discuss that momentarily. You can pre-program your controllers based on the parameters that I’m going to introduce to you in a moment. But you can also tell your controller to do anything that you need it to do. There’s software that you can purchase and it’s fairly high end. It’s in the neighborhood of $800 for the software. But it’s a one time use and that will allow you to tell your controller to do things that’s outside of the standard factory setting options. So that is always an option for you.

Now let’s just get right into wiring the controller first. Right out of the box you’re going to have a pre-wired controller. This photograph here you see the wires that the lead in the neutral and the green ground. They come pre-wired with our DWHB Plus pump station. Okay so if you order the controller separately you have to wire the circuit in. Very simple the lead in the neutral go to terminals 19 and 20 and the ground to 12. But if you buy the pump station with the IntelliMaxx controller it comes pre-wired and all you have to do is plug the controller into the wall.

The sensor wires on this photo I showed the brown on the left and the white on the right. However there’s no polarity to these sensors. So you can wire them which ever way you want. There’s no polarity on the sensor wires. If for some reason you don’t have the sensor wire wired properly there will be a flashing triangular sign on your controller. That indicates to you that the sensors are improperly wired. So it is relatively foolproof. The instruction manual is very detailed and laid out with troubleshooting guides in an attempt to make this what could be a complicated procedure and turn into something very simple. Often people will say “Do I need to hire an electrician?” Or “Should I get a certified or licensed electrician to do this?” And really the answer is up to the municipal code but in terms of what pre-knowledge it takes to wire these controllers is very basic. So my answer is “No, you don’t need an electrician in order to wire or program these controllers.” As you get into the economy system and tie into furnaces and boilers it does help to bring in an electrician or HVAC guy in. But this is something that you should be able to handle quite easily I believe.

Okay now in terms of programming. You have only three buttons to choose from. They’re numbered one, two and three from the right to the left. My finger is on button number one. That button will forward the menu. So right now you see the photograph that says collector. That’s sensor is reading 71.9. It’s going to move forward to the next sensor. It’s going to move to all four sensors if they are installed. And then it will give you the Hp percentage the number of hours that the pump has run. Then the last option will be a time menu. Once you get to the time menu then you can begin to access the sub-menu by holding down button number one.

So let me go to the next slide real quick and show you the different arrays. So these are the different options. This I took right out of the instruction manual just to remind you folks that you can go to in the information section and download this controller instruction manual ahead of time. And often the manual will help you understand what type of system might work best for your application. So rather than working backwards building the system and deciding which array would work best. You may go the other way around and choose the array that best suits what you’re trying to do. Then build your system around that particular array and the functionality of the controller.

So basically I have a standard solar system as array number one. Then you have a solar system with a heat exchanger. Array three is solar system with after heating. And then you have a solar system with tank charge where you’re trying to maintain stratification. We’re going to see more and more stratifying tanks and stratifying valves. They’ve been doing it for years in Europe and they really utilize and maximize tank stratification. I don’t believe the United States market has really tapped into this stratification performance yet.

Now that’s a good question typically for array number seven it’s designed as an east west type of arrangement. I would recommend that you can use one pump with two valves because you don’t want to run…What you definitely need to have is two separate returns coming from the collectors. Because in the morning the east bank is obviously going to be hot. You don’t want the west bank to be circulating it all because it hasn’t picked up any heat whatsoever. So although this diagram here shows two separate pumps for the east and the west bank you could also just do one pump and one valve. It would be a little tricky for you to regulate the flow through each respective bank but it certainly is possible Joe.

Then for eight the solar system with after heating by a solid fuel boiler. Number nine is solar system with heating circuit bringing the temperature from the solar tank and delivering it to the heating system. So basically array number nine is a mildly complicated copy system that you’re able to accomplish with only a basic controller. Those two relays can actually do quite a lot for you. What you won’t be able to do however is tie into the logic of your boiler with this particular controller.

All right so basically what you want to do and let me remind you…Choose which array represents what you’re trying to do. I do recommend that you look at this instruction manual before you build your system and you can model your system after the functionality of the controller. Rather than trying to make the controller fit what system you have designed.

Couple really basic settings before we get into it too much. You have the delta t o and the delta t f. You turn the pump on and your delta t o comes out of the factory set at 12 degrees. For northern climates we recommend you change the delta to o to 17 degrees. This gives your collectors a greater chance to heat up and really start to produce energy before your pump turns on. We’ve experienced a lot of short cycling the pump will turn on and then the fluid in the pipe will be enough to cool the collector off and then we’ll turn the pump off. Then we’ll turn the pump on and turn off and turn on and turn off. So by raising the delta t o up to 17 degrees particularly for northern climates then it reduces the short cycling of the pump. Now if your homeowner or service call for your own contract you can visit your systems twice a year. And if you did it in the spring and in the fall you would change the delta t o. Because in the summer time there’s no reason for your collectors to be seventeen degrees hotter before they turn on. So I recommend turning your delta t o down in the spring and then turning your delta t o back up in the fall. Particularly for northern climates but same is true for most of the places in the country. In the spring time you turn your delta t o down and then in the fall you turn your delta t o up. This is very simple to do and you can instruct your homeowner to do it or you can provide it as part of your service contract.

The delta t f is what is going to turn the pump off. When the approach temperature or when the differential decreases and the factory setting is eight. We see in our systems we’ve turned that down as low as possible and five degrees seems to be a nice delta t f. So we recommend you change your settings down to five degrees. Okay anybody have any questions?

Now in order to change those settings again there’s three buttons that you have to work with one, two and three. My finger is on button number one. Moving okay is button number two. And then button number three is the minus. I would like to point out that I do have a typo on button number three that’s actually button number one. On my screen you see array number one. Array number one that’s on the sub-menu. So you get to the sub-menu by pressing the plus button until it goes to the option called time. That’s the end of the main menu. Once you get to the end of the main menu you have to hold that button down for a few seconds. As you hold it down for a few seconds the sub-menu will appear. The sub-menu begins with your array options.

So the first thing that’s going to appear in my sub-menu are the arrays. That would be array number one so I scroll through by pressing the plus button until I reach the array that is most suited for what I’m trying to do. Once I get to that array then I want to change that setting to array number two for example. So I hold the okay button down. By holding the okay button it’s going to cause the set. There’s a little icon in the screen with the word set. That set button is going to flash. As soon as that set button flashes then I can change the setting or I can push okay. If I push okay then it automatically changes to whatever appears on my screen. So I’ve gone to array number three and I like array number three. So I hold the okay button down for a few seconds. I get the word set to flash and then I press okay again one last time. I’ve automatically changed the setting to array number three.

Now for each of the nine arrays factory settings will cause this controller to work. So all you have to do is change the array that you’re looking for and plug your controller in. The factory settings are pre-determined to make this controller function as recommended by the factory settings. So you really don’t have to do anything beyond choose the array. If you don’t even choose the array then the factory setting will be array number one which basically turns a single pump on. Now even though you’ve chosen the array. There’s still some functions within each array that you can activate. Many of the functions will not be active until you manually activate that function. Once you activate the function then you can change some of the parameters within that function.

So I’m going to go through some of the functions here just a few technical things. This does have a built in transformer so you’ll bring a 110 volts in. This has two semi-conductor relays. So you will bring in 115 and you’ll send out 115. The display operates at 24 volts but like I said it’s got a built in transformer. So really this is fool proof. There’s no re-wiring or re-wiring of relays and switches. All you have to do is plug this controller into the wall and it will work.

All right now let’s get into programming array number two. Here’s what I done is just showed you the two different arrays. Two of the nine and for instance every array has number one operates both relays. You have to enable certain functionalities. So I’m going to go through those functions now. For example there’s a table in your instruction manual that lays out the definitions of all these features. I’m going to go through some that I think are the most important and highlight why they are important.

SMX is your maximum tank temperature. Now this does have a non-adjustable setting of 200 degrees. No matter what happens when your tank reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit your entire system will shut down and it won’t be able to turn back on again until the tank drops below 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can’t change this. You can however change your maximum tank temperature your preferred max tank temperature. We recommend that the tanks don’t exceed 180 degrees. So given a slight delay we recommend that you change your SMX function to 175 degrees. Now SMX has to be activated and you do that the same way that you choose an array. Once you’ve chosen an array then you continue through the menu until the three letters SMX appear. Once SMX appears on your screen and you hold the okay button down until you get the flashing set. Once you have the flashing set then you can adjust that temperature accordingly. And press the okay button and you’ve programmed it. So we recommend 175 for SMX.

The emergency collector shut down now this is where you’re system will shut down when the collectors exceed the maximum temperature and it ranges from 170-390. We’ll 390 degrees is the stagnation temperature of the collectors. That is what they’re testing for at SRCC and Solar Key Market in Europe. Where there’s been no damage to the collectors and they’ve stagnated for thirty days at those temperatures. However right out of the factory or right out of the box these controllers are set for emergency shut down at 270 degrees. Now if you’re using type L copper or stainless steel you can handle 270 degrees. You’d certainly wouldn’t want your fluid to be circulating at 270 degrees. But if you have your pump on the return line going back to the collectors then you should be okay. So this is sort of a preference but you should not exceed what the factory setting is. You can’t turn it down but don’t turn the EM up. Again this EM is a function that you have to activate.

OCC now this is going to cool your collectors down this is the heat dump loop or you have a secondary tank. OCC will be active once SMX is reached. SMX is the max tank temperature you set that at 175. Once your tank reaches 175 then OCC will be active. OCC will either trigger a second pump or it will open a normally closed valve. By opening the normally closed valve your solar pump will continue to pump even though you’ve exceeded SMX. So if OCC is not activated and you reach SMX then your solar pump will shut down. That’s okay as long as you have a second pump activated that’s going to act as your heat dump. But if you want your solar pump to continue to run even though SMX is reached then you’ve got to activate your OCC function.

System cooling is another function so you have collector cooling but you also have system cooling. Now system cooling is where you want to cool your entire system down. Don, all systems don’t need a heat dump. Most often heat dumps are used in cases where you’re producing excess in the summer because you designed an economy system. Most often for hot water systems and as long as the storage tank has been designed properly. Then a separate heat dump loop is not required. There are ways such as steam back which I talked about last week. Steam back is going to allow your collectors to basically shut down their production in the case of over stagnation. So heat dumps are not always required although heat dump may not necessarily be wasteful. For example if you have a secondary tank the OCC function will activate that secondary loop. So rather than dumping into a heat dump loop you’ll dump into a secondary tank. Now system cooling function is when your entire system reaches maximum temperature but it’s less than emergency shut down. Now this OSYC function is something that you activate if you’d like your system to be able to bypass EM. In other words you’re going to exceed your maximum tank temperature that you’ve set but it’s still less than the emergency shut down then you can dump into a high temperature heat dump somewhere. I do not suggest you using OSYC with evacuated tubes. So that function is disabled the only way you can enable it is to activate it in the menu bar. For evacuated tube systems we recommend not using OSYC because the temperatures can spike so rapidly.

Now the tank cooling function OSTC is a good way to cool your tank down during times of overproduction. So if you have a slightly oversized system and you’re producing a little too much everyday for the month of August. Then you can dump some of those Btu’s out at night into your collectors by activating the OSTC function. This is something that you can activate seasonally if you like. It’s very simple. It literally will take you about five seconds to turn it on or turn it off. What’s going to happen if the OSTC function is enabled it’s going to automatically adjust your SMX. It’s going to bring your SMX down to whatever you set it at let’s say 150. So it’s going to cause your OCC loop to run once your tank is above the maximum set point. So by activating OSTC and setting that temperature that will automatically replace your SMX temperature. Which will cause the collectors loop to circulate at night time. Which means that you start the day with more of a buffer before you have to begin sort a safety mechanism.

There’s another long term OSTC that you can activate and that’s called OHOL. This where you are going to be producing a significant amount of energy for an extended period of time with no load. In this case you’re going to everyday your solar loop will turn on while you’re gone and it will dump heat out until your collectors are the same temperature as your tank. So at night time what you want to do is deplete your tank of as much energy as possible because there’s no load. So essentially you’re creating a load on your storage tank using the OHOL function.

Another important one especially in the north is the OCM. This is going to allow you to determine the temperature setting that you don’t want your pump to turn on until that temperature has been met. For example if you have a concrete floor and you’re operating your concrete floor at 65 degrees or 70 degrees. If you have a 17 degree differential your collector may kick on when it reaches 75 degrees. But at 75 degrees you’re not producing nearly as much energy as you might be consuming by running your pump. So it really isn’t paying to run your pump because you’re really not pulling any energy in your floor. So even though you’ve met your differential you activate OCM so that your collector loop will not turn on until you exceed 85 degrees or 90 degrees. Something that is a significant amount of energy that makes it worth your while to run your pump.

Another very important one that I think is going to become more and more common. Replacing the antifreeze is the OCF function. Remember these are functions of the basic domestic hot water controller. So by replacing the antifreeze they glycol in your loop with this OCF function. What this is going to do is turn your collector loop on when the heat transfer fluid drops below a certain temperature. Now we recommend starting off at 35 degrees Fahrenheit this is going to be based off sensor number one which is in your collectors. Your collectors tend to cool off at a slower rate then you’re piping will cool off because they’re very well insulated. So what you should do if you’re going to use OCF is monitor it very closely because if for some reason you haven’t programmed it properly then you’re going to have some freezing in your line. So you’re really putting a lot of weight and a lot of importance on this proper operation of OCF. But if you can get it to work and give you accurate readings of temperature then it eliminates the need for any glycol in your loop and it also increases your heat transfer. And it increases your total system efficiency by eliminating that glycol.

You do however sacrifice some of the energy that you’ve captured in order to keep your loop from freezing. So I’ve heard estimates and these are estimates only. But I’ve heard by using your OCF function in place of glycol you reduce your total Btu production by three to five percent. It consumes three to five percent of those Btu’s that you produced in order to keep your loop from freezing. But to me that seems like a pretty good tradeoff particularly because think about first thing in the morning when your collector loop might be 20 degrees and it’s slushy. Your collectors are heating up and now you’ve got to spend more energy to try to bring that entire loop up to temperature. So rather than spending the two hours of morning time sun just bringing your whole loop up to temperature. You could already start your loop at ten or twenty degrees hotter from using the energy that you captured yesterday. So I like the OCF function but I caution you to be very careful about accurate readings for your sensors. You should find the coldest spot in your collector loop. You can use sensor four which is just the data acquisition sensor. Use sensor four and place it where you think is the coldest spot and correlate sensor number four with actual readings of sensor number one. If those too…Yes, you can Don. Although it’s sort of redundant to use glycol and OCF it would be a good way to practice using your antifreeze function without the risk of freezing your loop.

Okay couple of other important ones before I close it up here. OHQM is an energy metering function that doesn’t require the use of any other software or equipment. What you do need to have however and it’s included in the IntelliMaxx. You need to know the flow rate in liters per minute. Open up this OHQM in your menu and press the okay button. Set button will blink. Once the set button blinks it’s going to ask for the flow. You have to enter the flow in liters per minute. And that’s the maximum flow. So you set your maximum flow and once you’ve pre-programmed your maximum flow for your system. Maximum flow is if your pump is running at a hundred percent speed what is your optimal flow rate. So once you program that it’s going to store your performance data on a daily basis. So at the end of each day you can go to your OHQM and look to see how many Btu’s have been produced by your system. It’s going to give it in kilowatt hours. But it can be easily converted to Btu’s. The manual shows the conversion chart. This is a good a way and most people don’t take advantage of OHQM. In fact most people don’t take advantage of most of the functions for this controller because they just aren’t familiar with it. But it can do a lot. OHQM is an important function especially for your clients’ ease of mind. To show them that your system is actually producing. It’s also a nice way for you to trouble shoot. Perhaps find places where you think you’re producing the energy but you’re not consuming it. So where do you have some losses.

The drain back option this is going to do two things. Drain back option one will first start off your system siphoning by activating a secondary pump or ramping up the pump’s speed to a hundred percent until the siphon is achieved. That can take up to five minutes. So ODP has a time delay option that’s going send voltage to a secondary pump. That secondary pump is going to double your head which allows you to overcome that initial head from zero. Once you’ve created that siphon it might take up to five minutes then ODP will disable the secondary pump and allow the variable speed function to operate the circulator. It will also ramp up your existing circulator to a hundred percent or whatever’s required to overcome the head. So you can get away with a larger more powerful pump just for system siphoning. Once that siphon is created based on the time sequence that you’re going to pre-program. It won’t be able to read whether there’s a siphon or not. But it’s going to be based on a time sequence that you’ve pre-programmed that you’ve observed how long it takes for this siphon to yield you. Then it will ramp it back down to the optimum flow rate.

Obviously you have manual one for relay and manual two. This gives you the option of turning a relay on or turning a relay off or using the auto settings for your relays. So often times you want to override the factory settings for one time shot. So you go to man one and press your okay button and then it gives you the blinking set. There’s going to be three choices for man one. It’s going to say power on or power off or auto. So you can keep your relay off. You can keep your relay on. Or you can allow the automatic settings to override. So this is an important feature especially for starting the system up and trying to play around with it. You want to make sure that you get some circulation before you put your tubes in different things that you want to be able to change.

Those are some of the most important features of the DHWBPlus that I wanted to go through with you. I did run over. I try to keep it at thirty minutes. I do have more that I’m going to just quickly introduce and move on. I’m going to do another webinar for the IntelliMaxx Economy Plus. All the same functionality as the DHWBPlus however there’s many more things that we can discuss. The Economy Plus this is going to be another webinar we’re going to do in two weeks.

Real quick some of the accessories that you can purchase with your IntelliMaxx are the v bus. V Bus is going to allow you to integrate into a home computer system network system wireless. The data logger is basically an external hard drive that’s going to collect data for thirty days from your DHWBPlus or the Economy Plus. You can also get a touch screen monitoring system that can be monitored remotely. You can run some cables and bring it up to your homeowner’s kitchen if they want to see what’s going on. You can also download software for the IPhone and look at the entire system monitoring anywhere in the world. There’s also flow meters that can be installed for long term system monitoring system performance. As well as flow switch that will activate other relays not based on temperature or anything just based on there’s flow. Flow switches are used more often with domestic hot water systems and external heating exchangers. And anybody with an IPhone can download this app that allows you to see what your system is doing no matter where you are in the world. You log into a URL address that you have your v bus downloading all the information to.

I know thirty minutes is not enough time to do nearly as much as I’d like to do with controllers. I do encourage you to ask questions. Yes, Don both controllers will log the data with the Economy Plus and the DHWBPlus. Contact your sales rep for more information and go to and download the DHWBPlus installation manual. Take a look at the arrays that are possible and start to think about designing systems and installing systems that the controllers are pre-programmed for. It’s going to make your job much easier and the performance is going to be better.

So again there’s a lot more that we can talk about for controllers but I like to keep this at thirty minutes. I’ve already gone over for seven minutes. So please do email me and I’ll try my best to respond right away. Thanks a lot for taking the time to learn about the controllers and I hope to see you again next week. You can always go to and look at the archives for a review of any information that we’ve covered again. So thanks you all take care and we will see you next week.

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