Matt Carson-Reviewer
                                                                                                                 June, 2009

CircuPool RJ Series Salt Chlorine Generator
 

This month I am reviewing a Salt Chlorine Generator System distributed in the U.S. by Pace Research Ltd, the parent company of PoolBids, in business since 1997.
 
The new RJ series is CircuPool’s flagship unit available in multiple sizes for pools ranging from 4000 to 60,000 gallons. The unit we tested was the RJ45 which has a rated capacity for a 45,000 gallon pool. As stated in a previous review, there is no standard for sizing these systems and one must look to the individual unit’s output for comparison purposes. The RJ45 has a stated output of 35 grams/hour or about 1.95 lbs. of chlorine per 24 hour day. This compares favorably to the Hayward Aquarite (AU-RITE-40) 1.45 lbs/day and Pentair’s (Intellichlor IC 40) at 1.40 lbs/day.  In my past experience, when it comes to salt chlorine generators it is better to have extra capacity and not need it, than need and not have it (a/k/a more is better).  Unlike other systems, the Circupool includes one additional component claimed to assist with the even distribution of the newly sanitized water:  Called a "vector jet," this unit replaces one of the regular eyeball returns in the deep end of the pool and is designed to change the circulation dynamics of the pool.

As with all major brands the unit can be set up for 110/v or 220/v operation. The voltage of all salt pool chlorine generators are significantly stepped down which allows them to be used safely in the pool environment. The unit draws .8 amps at 220 volts and is assumed to draw 1.6amps at 110 volts.

What’s in The Box? - The RJ came adequately packaged in a box 15”x15”x10” and weighing 27 pounds (photo A1 & A2). The box contained three (3) components and an operating/owner’s manual (photo A3). The controller is 12”x6”x5” and has a standard 4-way mount on the back for wall hanging. The salt cell has a bronze-tint clear PVC, and is cylindrically shaped (4 ½” diameter by 12” length).

       

 

The control Unit – This unit has several controls including a push button on/off, output adjusting arrows, Super Chlor Function, and winter mode. The system also has indicator lights for power, polarity, water fault, add salt, and over-salt. All controls LED and indicator lights are under a see-through hinged bronze plastic cover (photo B4 & B7).

   

The unit appears solidly constructed with closed seams and no apparent sharp edges. Two cables protrude from the base of the control unit. One (l) has the connector for the salt cell (photo B8) and the other (II) is a standard three (3) wire hookup for connecting to the power source (photo B9). Both cables measure six (6’) in length, (which the installer should be mindful of when choosing the mounting locations).

   

 

The Salt Pool Cell - The construction of the salt cell compares favorably to any other cell in the industry (that we have tested). With the clear housing it is easy to see the cell's inner-workings (photo C10). It contains seven (7) titanium plates mounted horizontally in parallel with ¼” spacing (C12). The plates measured 6.5"L x 2"W x 1/16" thick with the Ruthenium coating measuring +- .70 mils. The manufactures specs indicate 30 layers which would be consistent with the .70 mil measurement. The end cap contains three (3) connector points which align well with the controller's cable (C11). The durability of this connection is beyond the scope of this review but appears solid. The connecting cap has a notch on one side to prevent improperly connecting the cable. The unit is designed to install above the existing return line to the swimming pool. Facing the front of the unit marked inlet is located on the right and the marked outlet is on the left.

       

Both connectors are the industry standard two (2”) and the unions are threaded press fit with o-rings (photo C15). These connections appear to be well made and should allow for easy removable if needed for cleaning. The distance between the outlets (center to center) is 4 5/8” (C14).

   

The Vector Jet- The Vector Jet easily replaces one of the existing return jets in your pool. It's design forces the freshly chlorinated water to the bottom on the pool as opposed to straight out just inches below the surface, which may help in the reduction of algae build up.  (E 17).

 

Install/Owner’s Manual- The 21 page manual provides all the necessary basics to install and operate the unit. The manual contains both metric and US standard references but I was slightly irritated with having all the numbers listed in metric first. (photo D16).

 

Operation - The unit was installed on a 36,000 gallon pool. The free-chlorine reading prior to installation was 2.5 ppm and the stabilizer level was in the normal range at 65ppm. Total alkalinity (TA) was 95 ppm, PH was 7.4, and the mean water temperature 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The cell installed easily and the control unit’s four-way mount hung quickly on the composite backboard next to the existing timer. The three wire cable was fed through the timer housing using a ½” rubber grummet to eliminate fatigue at the entry wear-out point. As indicated this unit was wired for 220v and utilized the same timer as the pump. The Circupool unit’s internal timer was not utilized for this particular review, but was available in the systems menu and assumed operational. The system was run 12 hours/day with free chlorine reading taken at daily intervals. With the output set at 100% capacity the free chlorine level rose from 2.5 ppm at install to 4.2 ppm on day seven. Allowing for dissipation and temperature the 1.95 lbs/day of production seems plausible. Total alkalinity and PH levels were unaffected by the system even after 30 days. After week one the unit was set at 60% capacity and free chlorine stabilized on day 12 at 2.1 ppm. The unit operated problem-free through day 60 which concluded the test period. The superchlor feature was tested and appeared to function normally and the vector jet was doing it's job of mixing up the pool water.  Two noticeable effects of the vector jet were the absence of debris on the bottom of the pool under the jet and the occasional upwelling on the surface.

Conclusion - The unit has the look and feel of a well constructed product. The controls are easy to understand and operate.  As for the vector jet feature; the enhanced circulation seems beneficial but probably deserves testing in warm weather with a algae-prone pool. Overall, the performance of the unit is on par or better than the two primary brands on the market and except for the underwhelming owner’s manual, this system is the best tested thus far. The street price on the CircuPool RJ system was $899.00 and promo code: XDISRJ15 afforded me a $15.00 discount.

 

 

Next Up:

The Pentair Intelliflo Pump
                        Past reviews