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Thread: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

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    Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    This is a little more complicated than the title suggests, but I went for most meaningful rather than exhaustive title or vague title.

    I got a 2003 Sundance Optima 850 for free on craigslist. It was in great shape. I replaced the headrests and cleaned the filter, and got it started up. The pumps are all good, ozonator is working, heater is working. Everything looked great. The cover and cover lift are a little worse for wear, but everything else is pristine. Heats up to 104 and sustains the temperature like a champ. Had to replace one of the diverter valves, but now all the valves are in perfect working order and the jets are all fully functional.

    Unfortunately there are some bugs that have shown up. 2 to be exact.

    1 ) The tub will occassionally shut off for a short interval. When this happens, the jet pumps shut off, the air pump shuts off, and the control panel goes completely blank and unresponsive. The circulation motor, however, continues churning on as if nothing has happened. No faults in breaker at all, and the tub starts back up on its own. That is all I know about this one.

    2 ) The tub get a FLO and FLO2 message. I have replaced the flow switch and the problem continues. This is where it gets strange though. When the tub is powered on, FLO2 shows, but if I turn the flow switch a quarter turn so that the switch is sideways, that message goes away and everything comes on as it should. The message FLO usually shows at this point, but I can turn the flow switch back about an eighth of a turn and everything works fine for a while. Usually I will come back to it a day later and be looking at a flow message again and tweaking the flow switch position a little will get it back to working fine. I thought maybe I had gotten a bad flow switch so I got another one and replaced it. The problem still exists. I have made absolutely certain that the switch I have installed is the correct switch for the tub. I can visually see that the switch works as intended when installed in the correct position (open when off, closed when on), but the tub doesnt work with it turned correctly. This problem is making my brain explode. I am assuming that the flow switch is actually a variable resistor using a magnetic field to vary the resistance based on the proximity of the tab to the pole. Turning the switch a quarter turn causes the tab to separate from the pole fully. Turning it back the eighth of a turn causes to to get closer, but not touch.


    Does anyone have any experience with this crazy? Are there any good ways to resolve these? Or is this indicative of a failing board that needs to be replaced?

    I refuse to give up on this tub. When its not having any of the above mentioned issues, man does it work great. Any help to fully revive this beast would be awesome.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    FLO-
    FLOW SWITCH (heater is deactivated pump may also be deactivated)
    proper flow of water is inhibited or a flow switch has malfunctioned. Check for proper water level, and check for clogged stage 2 filter.

    FLO2-
    CLOSED OR SHORTED FLOW SWITCH ON SYSTEM START-UP (system disabled)
    flow switch is non-functional. (The flow switch when the spa is off should be "open" and when the spa turns on it should "close" the switch, from the water flow)


    1) If the filter is dirty it weakens the water flow, and might not be able to close the switch.
    This only applies to the FLO error code.

    2) The circuit board needs to sense that the switch is open upon start-up, not closed.
    You need to know you have the switch pointed in the proper direction in the pipe to be able to detect water
    flow. stop turning it. the open switch is necessary it is designed to prevent spa owners that might try to defeat the flow switch by creating a constant closed switch, such as cutting the switch wire and twisting the wires together to close the switch, this is why the board needs to sense that the switch is always open upon start-up.

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    The most important thing here is to make sure the switch is positioned correctly, and you know it is open, stop turning it, and trying to manipulate it, and leave it alone, then when the spa comes on, it should only display the FLO code, again, DO NOT MESS WITH THE SWITCH BY TURNING IT AND SUCH TO TRY TO GET THE FLO CODE TO TURN OFF this code shows up 90% of the time because of a dirty filter, so clean the filter, this allows more flow to occur, which usually is enough to close the switch again, then the FLO code should disappear to.

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    Hi pool&spatech
    Thanks for the input. I have read the documentation extensively and understand what you are referencing. But as I stated initially, the flow switch works properly when installed in the correct position. That is to say that the flow switch is open when the power is off and closes when the circulation pump kicks on. The problem is that the board doesn't recognize it as open and closed properly for some reason. Turning it really shouldn't help (in my mind anyway) Turning it has the opposite effect and leaves the switch open when the circulation pump is running and for some reason, the tub is happier with that.

    For the record though, I am not turning it to try to bypass it. I'm turning it to try and figure out logically what the board is detecting and responding too so I can troubleshoot. I am no stranger to electrical work and I have the capability to build a simple circuit to replace this sensor that is closed when the circulation pump is on and open when it is off. My goal is instead to get it to work as intended with the original hardware.

    Keep in mind that this tub has only been running for a few days and the filter is clean and has been recleaned just in case. I have also made sure there is no air caught up in the pipes anywhere.
    2003 Sundance Optima 850

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    You should have been able to confirm that the 1st flow switch you bought was indeed good by checking it's continuity, for that matter the original switch should have been tested.

    I never meant to imply you were bypassing it, just explaining to you what is part of the boards design feature, as to why it needs to see the switch open, and that is to prevent someone who actually intends to try and bypass it, by closing it by twisting the wires together and making it a closed circuit at all times, which as you know, wont work, people in the past have done this a lot on older spas with mechanical controls, when you actually could bypass a pressure or flow switch.

    I get the curiosity of what your trying to do, as you try and figure out how to fix it, with regards to the twisting of the switch and why it does what it does, but if you are 100% sure the switch is open when it should be, and closed when it should be, then you are looking at a board malfunction or lock up, and board replacement is required.

    Spas that are 5 years old are considered old, let alone one from 2003, cross reference your model and specs to see if a board is still available, and replace it, if it is not available then consider new controls altogether with a new top side panel also.

    Remember there a lots of people out there paying thousands of dollars for spas that there never going to use after the 1st year, you got yours for FREE!!! stop wasting time with the switch at this point, and know you have 3 extras, and fix the board.

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    Thanks for the info. I decided to open some of the relay covers today and looks like 2 stuck relays are the source of the issues.

    The replacement board for this model is 6600-730 and is readily available for a little less than 500 from the places I have found.

    Any places you know of that this board can be had for less than 425?
    2003 Sundance Optima 850

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    I often do board level repairs, one of which is the replacement of relays, which if you know are stuck,burnt etc, can be replaced, you want to make sure if possible they are part of the circuit that involves your problem though, and you sound as if they are so, try replacing the relays, there readily available.

    Only wholesale distributor would have it cheaper, but anymore there are many online sources that are not to much more expensive than a wholesaler, but at this point because it is a Sundance, could be why the board is kind of pricey in my opinion, and the price is the price, Sundance uses there own design for controls, like hot springs spas, unlike most manufacturers that will use controls from balboa or gecko, etc.

    A new set of balboa controls with new topside panel, might be an option at around a cost of $600.00 or so depending on how easily of a retrofit to a Sundance spa would be possible, which due to the small circ pump you currently have and how to plumb it into a balboa configuration would be the only thing you would want to make sure could be pulled off, not to mention any issues with space requirements,etc, that could justify the cost,etc, of a retrofit.

    Whatever sites are coming up that offer the board are what you have to choose from basically without a wholesale account somewhere so....

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    Re: Sundance Optima 850 with a FLO/FLO2 messages

    I have no idea why I hadn't considered just replacing the relays. That's definitely what I am going to do. Any chance you know the specs for the three smallest electromechanical relays on the board? (K9 10 and 11) The blue covers on them are unmarked so I have no idea what the replacement would be. I could guess, but any help would be awesome.

    IDcbqQql.jpg
    2003 Sundance Optima 850

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