by Rob Cox, December 28, 2010
Pool Apps for your Smartphone
Application development has continued at breakneck speed for smartphones. Originally made for just the iPhone, developers now cross-script for both apple iDevices and for the upwardly mobile (sorry) Droid device. The pace of droid application creation may be faster than iPhone apps currently.
Half a million apps out there, and only a handful for the swimming pool operator. And although work is underway, I've not seen a retail application yet from the major online swimming pool supply retailers.
Chris Anderson, of wired magazine has recently woven a futuristic tale of greater application usage in the future. Moving away from the browser-based or open web, users will find convenience and efficiency in using specific stand-alone, closed systems. Apps will surely not completely kill the web as we know it, but it will certainly change the way we use it. It can be much simpler and faster to do certain repetitive online tasks through a program you manage in your hand.
Here's a list of some current swimming pool apps available now for iPhone and iTouch models. Special nod to Pool & Spa News staff writer Amy Hamaker for giving me this cool blog post idea.
Price: $6.99 Basic, $19.95/Yr Pro
Called the Ultimate Water Balancing System, the Insta-Link works with the Insta-Test brand of pool test strips, made by LaMotte. You hold the strip up to the app, and it reads the colormetric data - and instantly goes to work analyzing the colors. Program in your pool size and other details and it makes treatment recommendations. Also allows the pool owner to manually enter water balance test results for analysis. Insta-Link also stores pool equipment make/model information - for the busy pooltech on the road. One very cool feature is the graphs and charts that the Insta-LINK produces. Look back over time to make a trend analysis of your pH or Chlorine levels. The Advanced Subscription also tests for Salt levels or Biguanide (Baquacil) levels.
Your basic water chemistry calculator, built from the technology of Jason's online water test page at poolcalculator.com. He uses the fun scrolling selector to enter in your pool size and compute the gallonage. Then you enter in the readings from your test kit and it tells you just how much of certain chemicals to add to the pool water to achieve your your chemical goals. In addition to your normal water balance parameters, Pool Calculator will also make recommendations on Salt, Borate and Stabilizer levels.
Another test strip reader, this one will work with any test strip brand. Simply take a picture with your iPhone and a custom water treatment plan is displayed for your size pool. You can also enter in test readings with the easy to use sliders. Maintains a history of your pool chemistry measurements and can track dozens of pools. Includes a tutorial section and a glossary of terms.
The Saturation Index or more commonly called the Langelier Saturation Index is a measurement of not just water balance parameters, but temperature and TDS. This app, and the Index it calculates would be more useful for public facility operators or anyone held to a higher standard. Also good for homeowners that can seem to get rid of cloudy water or poor pool water conditions. Simply enter your values into the Saturation Index app and all of the complicated math is done for you.
This app was designed to help you properly manage flow rates in your pool, spa and pond filtration systems. Includes four calculators that will determine pool flow rate, turnover rate, # of turnovers, and a target turnover rate. Calculations can be shown in gallons per minute, liters per minute, and cubic meters per hour. Calculations are Approved by the NSPF, National Swimming Pool Foundation.
Designed for pool and spa owners, select the Easy Balance feature to enter pH, Chlorine and get the basic information. For those more curious, enter more information and test results (from any test kit) into the Pool Doctor app, and get a customized treatment prescription. This app has calculators for determining water volume in 3 standard pool/spa shapes (rectangular, circular, oval), along with information on how to calculate water volume in unusually shaped pools and spas. It's hard not to smile when "Doctor's Orders" are issued. Includes an Ask the Doctor feature with 24 hr email response to your tough chemical questions.
Developed originally for the plumbing industry, this app has more than 60 formulas for calculations including optimum water flow, head in feet, temperature of waters when mixed, pipe expansion rates, heat loss, area and/or volumes of different pipe shapes, pipe pressure and water flow calculations. Also measures gallons per hour of gas, and BTU input of pool heaters. Helps to determine the overall resistance calculations necessary when mating pool equipment together.