Electronic control systems have come a long way in the past thirty years, from basic pool/spa controls to complete web-enabled systems with incredible flexibility to control all aspects of your pool or spa operation.
All pool spa control systems have the same basic components.
Main Control board – this is the “brain” which holds the programming and tells everything else what to do.
Relays – the board sends a 24VAC signal to a relay which switches the power on and off to the various components (pumps, blower, light, etc). These are typically interchangeable across all brands.
Actuators – these are the valve operators that sit on top of your intake and return valve to switch the flow from pool to spa and vice versa. You can also use actuators to control the flow to pool cleaners or water features. These are typically interchangeable across all brands.
Indoor Control Panel – these have been standard on all control systems until recently. Nowadays, most people are opting for the web control feature that allows them to use their phone, tablet or computer as their main control interface. These are brand and model specific and cannot be interchanged.
Spa Side Remote – these are also becoming less and less common as it is easier and less expensive to just use a phone or tablet. These can be interchanged across brands, but requires an experienced tech and a schematic.
Web Interface – this is a module that connects your pool control system to the web via your home router. This allows you to control and monitor your pool or spa from your phone, tablet or computer, from anywhere in the world.
There are a number of other components and add-ons that are available for various control systems. You can view these on the various manufacturer websites.