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Thread: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

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    Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    I really some need help and advice from the forum.

    I have an Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital SC-36 system that was purchased / installed in May 2007. It has worked perfectly for the past 2+ years until a pretty severe storm passed through our neighborhood. When I went to check the unit, it appeared to have lost power completely. On further inspection, I discovered that the F1 6A fuse was blown. So, I marched down to my local Radio Shack and got a replacement - only for it to immediately blow as well. Thinking that there was some 'special sauce' with the Autopilot fuses, I ordered a replacement directly from Autopilot. No luck - these immediately blow as well. Digging thru the forums, I have checked the MOV-1 and it appears to be in good shape. There are however several capacitors that might be fried, but I need someone else to tell me what to look for. I have attached a composite picture of the areas of concern and would appreciate any feedback.

    As I have now passed my 2-year 100% warranty period, I have been informed that it will cost a whopping $500 to replace the main board (apparently Autoclear list price on this is $1,000 and the third year only covers 50%). Realizing that spending this kind of money provides ZERO assurance that it will actually fix the problem, and I will be left with a unit with no warranty, I am hesitant to spend the money. Add to the fact that I will probably have to replace my cell within the next year or two at a street price of $424, I am faced with the difficult decision to spend the money repairing the unit or just cough up the cash (roughly the same amount) and get a new unit. I have been doing ALOT of research and Autopilot seems to get consistently good reviews. That said, it really gets me that this rather expensive unit only gave me 2 years of life.

    So, I am faced with the following options -

    1 - Attempt to repair the main board - pictures attached, I believe that the issue is some fried capacitors, but I really need some feedback;
    2 - Pay the $500 to replace the main board with a refurbished unit with no warranty;
    3 - Buy a new Autopilot system and hope it lasts longer than 2 years (fool me once....)
    4 - Buy a Brand X unit (my research has not shown any brands to stand out as having a great lifespan)

    Any ideas on how to repair the existing unit ?? Any advice ??
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    874

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    those are resistors, not capacitors

    it looks like your board is fried beyond repair

    what's on the other side of that dark area?

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    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    Thanks for the clarification !! How can you tell definitively that the board is damaged ? I'm not sure what to look for (I'm a computer guy, not an EE). Below, is a picture of the front side that corresponds to the darkened area on the back.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    874

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    it's not much different from computers

    when i say it's beyond repair i mean it will be too much hassle to fix

    if you look at that picture in bottom left corner you can see that one track which is totally black, potentially it has burned out

    you obviously had too much current going through that one track, so it couldn't handle it.

    now this could be cause by failure of one of the components downstream, or even short circuit of the cell (if you get metal object across the plates) or somewhere else on a board

    now i'm no expert on autopilots, and i never had a board in my hand, but to me the extent of visible damage indicates that there is a high chance that there will be also some invisible damage to the board too, and without extensive testing it's hard to say which components need replacement. plus you will need to put a jumper in place of that track if it's burned out.

    so yeah, if you are an electronics enthusiast i would probably give a shot fixing it, if not - don't bother
    I think you can buy one of these boards on the net for less than 500 bucks (or a brand new system for not much more than that) .

    Might want to wait for Poolsean to come along, he is an Autopilot expert on here, but i'm pretty sure he'll say the same

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    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ft Lauderdale, Florida
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    1,455

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    Hi Troy,

    I would agree with Strannik. There appears to be damage on the circuit board. Whether it's repairable is hard to determine from photos.
    I've made this offer that rather than the rebuild board option under 50% warranty, you can send the board back to our factory for bench testing. If it is repairable, we will bill just the bench charge, hourly labor rate, and parts needed for repair. You will need to get an Return Goods Authorization (RGA) number first.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ft Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    1,455

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    Further information. It seems that one of the reasons the fuse repeatedly blows, is due to the transformer, which may be a result of the storm. Since we really don't know if it got struck or what happened to it, the Power module, will include the circuit board and the transformer, which should resolve your problems.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    So, you are saying that both the circuit board and transformer are damaged ? At that point, is it better to go with the warranty or the factory repair ? Thanks for everything !!

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    Hey all - I just wanted to close this one out and let you know that Poolsean is THE MAN !! He worked with me to help identify the issue (both the circuit board AND transformer) and go thru the warranty process. I now have the replacement unit installed and it is working perfectly.

    Thanks everyone for the help and suggestions !!

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
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    441

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    TexasTroy,

    Great news!

    How much were you out of pocket for the repair?
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital - Blows Fuses

    Around $400 - not bad considering the options..

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