By Adrian Aspenson

Almost nothing is accomplished in the recreation water industry without the assistance of electromechanical devices, systems and components. It’s simply the nature of the task of circulating, cleaning and treating this water that leads to these mechanisms needed to deliver safe, sanitary and consistent water quality to the swimmers that enjoy the benefits.

A comprehensive standard
NSF/ANSI/CAN 50
is a standard organized by sections according to product types. It includes requirements for filters, valves, skimmers, chemical feeders and more. One section stands out as covering (arguably) the most technically complex products within the realm of recreation water. Section 19 addresses automatic controllers, which are described in this section according to Figure 1. Taking into account the scope of NSF/ANSI 50 with regard to automatic controllers, one might wonder what specific evaluations for automatic controllers are included and what additional standards or evaluations could apply. Let’s explore. NSF/ANSI/CAN 50 Section 19 evaluates the following:

1. Chemical resistance of any part that is in contact with treated water
2. Monitor display functions including status of set points, parameter levels and units of measurement.
3. Life test consists of testing three units with minimum cumulative cycle of 295,000. There is a minimum of cycles for each controller and at least one controller must meet 110,000 cycles.
4. Output performance including evaluation of:
a. Set point tolerances
b. Failure sensing designed to alert the end user of parameters outside of the specified range of delivery
c. Operational protection specifically for chemical feeder and injection functions
5. The standard also requires evaluation of the installation and user manual of the product to ensure the manual expresses
a. The correct settings per testing conducted
b. Any cautionary statements applicable
c. Replacement parts
d. Correct installation procedures
e. Expressed electrical ratings and requirements for service.
6. Lastly the data plate is required to be evaluated so that at a glance the end user can visibly reference a label on the controller, to include the following relevant information:
a. Equipment name
b. Manufacturer’s name and contact information (address, phone number, website, or prime supplier)
c. Model number
d. Electrical requirements; volts, amps and Hertz
e. Maximum external load rated in volts and amps
f. Serial number and date of manufacture
g. Caution statements (prominently displayed)
h. Replacement sensor model numbers

Other aspects of automatic controllers – electrical safety As comprehensive as the standard is, there are some aspects of automatic controllers that are not covered. These aspects include electrical component recognition, electrical product certification, or EMC testing. It doesn’t provide documentation to support a CE declaration for electrical safety, it doesn’t guarantee the product will pass an installation inspection and it doesn’t represent every aspect of safety needed for the end use.

When considering electrical safety of automatic controllers, there are certain standards that could be applicable. These include:

1. Ul 61010-1 Electrical equipment for measurement and control
2. EN/IEC 61010-1 and Low Voltage Directive (LVD)
3. UL 979 Water Treatment Appliances
4. UL 1563 Electric Spa and Associated Equipment
5. CSA 218.1 and CSA 218.2 Spas, Pools, and Hot Tubs
6. Directive 2014/30/EU relating to electromagnetic compatibility. EN 61326-1 – Electrical equipment for measurement, and control – EMC  requirements – Part 1: General Requirements
7. FCC CFR 47 Part 15, subpart B – unintentional radiator (FCC SDoC)
8. ICES-003 – Information Technology Equipment (ITE) – Limits and Methods of measurement

Elements of conformity assessment
The first step to electrical safety conformance is for a construction review to be performed. This process includes a technical assessment of the components and how those components may or may not be electrically recognized or certified and if they are properly sized and used in an application appropriate to the complete system. Findings identified during the construction review must be addressed and corrected prior to testing.

Upon completion of testing, whether that testing is to the requirements of NSF/ANSI/CAN 50 or electrical safety, reputable testing laboratories will issue test reports and/or certificates of conformance. If non-conformances are identified, accredited certification bodies will require an investigation into each non conformance and a corrective action to address each of them.

Certification – the ultimate demonstration of conformance
Manufacturers seeking third-party certification of automatic controllers, whether for electrical safety or according to NSF/ ANSI/CAN 50, are required to have an audit of the manufacturing facility. Depending on the scope of the certification, these audits are required either annually or quarterly.

There is tremendous value in third-party certification as a demonstration of conformance. A test report without certification is simply that – a test report. The additional oversight provided via an audit ensures a consistent configuration is being manufactured and distributed – the same one that was tested and certified. It’s the added credibility regulators, consumers and installers depend on to be sure a product consistently conforms to the need.

Evidence of certification is provided by marking on the product. These marks are specific to the certification body and they convey the scope of certification. For automatic controllers, certification marks will make it clear whether the certification is covering the requirements of NSF/ANSI/CAN 50, or electrical safety, or both. Additionally, all accredited third-party certifications are verifiable via online listings per the certification body’s website.

Assuring safety and performance
The complexity of a product such as an automatic controller and the potential sensitivity of its end uses with recreation water, dictate a regulatory, human health and safety response proportional to the risk. Certification bridges the gap for the client wanting to get their product to market and general need for market acceptance. Certification creates confidence for manufacturers, regulators and end users alike.

Figure 1. NSF/ANSI/CAN 50 Scope of Automatic Controllers Automated controllers are used to monitor water conditions such as pH, ORP, free chlorine or other parameters specified by the manufacturer and to control equipment such as chemical feeders and pumps. Equipment covered by this section includes the controller and the chemical probes, and flow cells. Water contact components and materials of automated controllers shall be evaluated to the health effects criteria of Section 4. Mechanical chemical feeders are covered in Section 11, and flow-through chemical feeders are covered in Section 12.

NOTE: Verbatim text from NSF/ANSI/CAN 50.

About the author
Adrian Aspenson is a Business Development Manager, specializing in recreational water and wastewater products, along with municipal drinking water products. Aspenson uses his expertise in understanding the standards to help develop cost effective and appropriate scopes of work to help manufacturers achieve certification. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Aaspenson@nsf.org

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