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Thread: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

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    Taz's Avatar
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    AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    My SWCG (AutoPilot Digital) started acting up. it displays the check system light is flashing and the display gives "Purifier off; Check Flow" errors.

    I noticed the problem this morning when the normal run was stopped short. I read several old threads. Before I take the tri-sensor out or call the builder (pool finished just before Labor Day), does anyone have suggestions? See below for what I've done.

    Side question - why the system will not allow the pump to run at all.

    Info & steps taken:
    - The salt level is low (added 40lb until I can get to the store) / 58 degs. (Not that we're swimming!)
    - Water level is fine (maybe an inch or so high after rain).
    - Skimmer basket is clean; no obvious blockage in the pipe below.
    - Suction divided between main drain & skimmer.
    - Pump strainer basket is clean.
    - Cleaned cartridge filter - little bit of grunge but no chunks.

    Was able to start system at this point and bled air from check value on top of filter; pump strainer window was full of water. Filter pressure stabilized at 8 PSI. Strong flow from the return jets.
    - System ran for about 3 minutes then stopped.
    - So I checked the AutoPilot manifold screen (clean as a whistle); cell plates look fine.
    - No obvious debris in the spring valve bypass; the value moved when the pump briefly ran.
    - Connections to/from wall unit appear to be firm.
    - Noticed when I select Test System that the voltage is 0 and with 5 amps.

    Many thanks - TAZ
    30' x 15' kidney shaped, 3.5-5.5 ft deep, wet-mix shotcrete inground, AutoPilot Digital SWG - RC35/22 cell, 36" main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns, Dyna-Pro 1 HP, Sta-Rite 2 (PLM100) filter, Polaris 360 cleaner, Marbletite (Marquis/Bluestone), Screen enclosure

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    The most common problem is lack of water flow, but it sounds like you have ruled out that possibility.

    The next thing to check is the cable connections on the tri-sensor cable. Unplug it from the main unit and plug it back in, making sure that it goes all the way in. Some models also have a connector at the tri-sensor end, some don't. If yours does, check that connection in the same way. Also, follow along the cable and see if it is cut or damaged anywhere. The next step after that is to remove the tri-sensor, inspect it for damage, and then test with a multi-meter.

    Your test system results are normal, given that the cell won't turn on because of the lack of flow error.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    JesseJames's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    The pool is so new. I would call the builder.
    13K Gal., Plaster, SWG, Intellichlor IC 20, Sta-Rite 1 HP Pump, Sta-Rite PLM 300 Filter, Pentair LED, Solar, Screened Enclosure, Great White, TF-100

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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    I have nearly the same system you have with the acid feeder control, for about 3 years now. I have also had from time to time the same issues you are having, except my pump does not cut out. This leads to me to think there is a possibility that the wiring was not connected properly. I would check with AutoPilot's help desk and go over the wiring. Although I do not think this is the reason for your issue. Perhaps mine is wrongly wired and it should cut out, who knows.

    If this is not the problem then the following might help:

    1. Try and keep the Tri Sensor wiring running in a straight line not looped, keep this wiring away from any other electrical wiring this seemed to help a lot as I do not believe it is shielded. Try to keep it in such a position so that it does not get banged or moved. Doing this greatly reduced my false error problems.

    2. Although there may not be any obvious signs of debris in or around the bypass spring valve if I leave it too long, more than two to three weeks, I get the same message. Once I clean it out using the golf ball method as described in their manual it clears the error message. I do use Jack'sMagic "The Purple Stuff" weekly, which gives me excellent results in my pool but does increase the need for near weekly flushing of the bypass spring valve. Before I used the "Purple Stuff" I could get away with six weeks or so.

    3. Occasionaly because I think of the aforementioned "Purple Stuff" I do need to backwash my sand filter more often even though pressures seem ok.

    4. The biggest problem and the most often cause for the error, in my particular case, is created by the old Tri Sensor attachment which has to be jiggled so that it recieves input. I have now used masking tape to hold it in place to the pipe and this help a lot, albeit that I have to replace this weekly or bi-weekly when I flush out the system.

    The new Tri Sensor, Part Number APA0003, does not I believe suffer from this is as it is not a plugin plug, but part of the unit; I plan on purchasing it. If you do have the older plugin unit be very careful to line up the pins as they are easily bent, check to see they are not bent with a mirror, if they are you will need to replace it with aforementioned part number.

    5. The Tri Sensor the part in contact with the water does occasionaly need to be cleaned, about once every 6 to 9 months, pull it out and check for scaling, and if needs be clean with 4 parts water and one part Muriatic acid for 20 minutes. More often perhaps if you pool is not well balanced from a CSI (Calcium Scaling Index) point-of-view, but it seems you know what you are doing.

    6. Spray all electrical connections with the POWER AND FUSES TURNED OFF with "quick drying electronic contact cleaner" Napa stores carry the "CRC QD Electronic Cleaner", let dry for 10 minutes with the contacts pointing to the ground to allow for runoff. Cleaning the three prong contacts on the salt cell also helps. Reconnect everything and then turn the fuses back on and then the power. It is important you purchase the QD Quick Dry stuff and not the regular electrical contact cleaner.

    7. If you have the chemical controller for the acid feeder the flow valve may not be working, it should move up and down. I had to get a relacement under warranty. There is a method to bypass this so the system works but I forget how it is done. I do know one has to switch off the acid feeder but best to call the help desk.

    Regarding "Test System" readings, if the unit does not get to run for 10 to 15, or 20 minutes, you will not get a proper or true voltage or amp reading, mine delivers the same incorrect voltage/amp reading even after 5 or 10 minutes of run time.

    When I flush my system I cover the Tri Sensor connectors and the Salt Cell by placing a white plastic trash bag over the U pipe, so that no water can come in contact with them.

    Finally I love my PoolPilot and would not replace it with any other unit but like a high-end sports car it does need a little TLC to perform at its best especially in harsh salty climates such as Florida, Hawaii, and others. Their help/warranty desk is excellent, and definetly no hassle when I had to replace some items under warranty, which you might have to do.

    Hope this helps.
    10,000 gal plaster pool,3/4 hp WhisperFlo pump, Sta-Rite Great White GW9500 pool cleaner, Hayward 300 lb Sand Filter
    Use Magenta Stuff for Iron and Silica control.
    Balance: pH 7.7 Cl 7 -8 Alk 70-80 CH 325 CyA 30 in winter - 50 in summer NaCl 1010 TDS 1200

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Quote Originally Posted by smallpooldad
    I have also had from time to time the same issues you are having, except my pump does not cut out.
    The pump will turn off after a while of the AutoPilot sensing no flow if the AutoPilot unit is controlling the pump and you have prime protection enabled.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Jason,

    Thank you for the clarification.
    10,000 gal plaster pool,3/4 hp WhisperFlo pump, Sta-Rite Great White GW9500 pool cleaner, Hayward 300 lb Sand Filter
    Use Magenta Stuff for Iron and Silica control.
    Balance: pH 7.7 Cl 7 -8 Alk 70-80 CH 325 CyA 30 in winter - 50 in summer NaCl 1010 TDS 1200

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    Taz's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Appreciate everyone's advice. I'll remove the tr-sensor (remove screws etc) & see what might be amiss. I'll clean it with an acid solution. The cold water does impact CSI & our water is a bit hard. Will see if I can physically wiggle/inspect the spring valve as well.

    BTW the connector at the sensor end is integral to the sensor "housing." If it comes to jumpering then I'll have the builder come out.

    Nothing has changed wrt the wiring - no indication of wire damage. It is "looped" & loosely zip tied below the unit as the run is about 2 ft. Detached & reconnected the connections to the main unit. (Ex Navy type so re-seating the connectors is second only to recycling the power!!).

    Again - I do appreciate the thoughtful replies.
    - Taz
    30' x 15' kidney shaped, 3.5-5.5 ft deep, wet-mix shotcrete inground, AutoPilot Digital SWG - RC35/22 cell, 36" main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns, Dyna-Pro 1 HP, Sta-Rite 2 (PLM100) filter, Polaris 360 cleaner, Marbletite (Marquis/Bluestone), Screen enclosure

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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    First question I have is, are you running your pump through the DIG unit?
    If YES - then as Jason mentioned, go to the Maintenance Menu and Disable the Prime Protect. This is the only reason the DIG will turn off the pump.
    If NO - then you have a problem with your pump.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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    Taz's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Quote Originally Posted by Poolsean
    First question I have is, are you running your pump through the DIG unit?
    If YES - then as Jason mentioned, go to the Maintenance Menu and Disable the Prime Protect. This is the only reason the DIG will turn off the pump.
    If NO - then you have a problem with your pump.
    Sean: Yes the pump is controlled through the DIG unit. I think I fell into your solution without trying. Woke up & the system had apparently started running per the program - I hadn't yet checked with the tri-sensor so the 'tron gnomes are messing with me. After playing chauffeur this morning, I checked & the system had stopped & displayed the same errors. Tried to restart, etc - but no joy.

    Went into the Maint menu to see what I could change & I disabled the prime protect - just to see what would happen & boom - it worked. No lights, no messages. Flow valve works (modified return & intake valves a bit to change pressure & noticed movement in the spring so it isn't stuck). Selected boost - Power level 1, 16 V, 5.0 amps.

    Now, having read your note. What should the overall system setup settings be?
    Freeze protect - ON
    Remote - 1
    Prime Protect - OFF
    Force Reverse -????????? Length ???????

    Many thanks. - Taz
    30' x 15' kidney shaped, 3.5-5.5 ft deep, wet-mix shotcrete inground, AutoPilot Digital SWG - RC35/22 cell, 36" main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns, Dyna-Pro 1 HP, Sta-Rite 2 (PLM100) filter, Polaris 360 cleaner, Marbletite (Marquis/Bluestone), Screen enclosure

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    You probably had the prime protect set to too short a time. You can leave it off, or you can set it to a longer time period. Water flow will vary somewhat, especially during the startup period. If prime protect is set to too short a time the water flow may not have stabilized before the prime protection shuts down the pump. It is also possible to get into a situation where the flow rate surges up and down, often caused by air leaks, which can also cause prime protection to shut the system down when set to too short a time period.

    I like to have prime protection on, since it can prevent the pump from destroying it's self when the flow is completely blocked. There is always some risk that turning on prime protection will cause the pump to shuts down for no reason, but once you get the time set appropriately that risk is small.

    Normally you want to leave Force Reverse and Reverse Length set to their defaults. Force Reverse is only used during servicing. Reverse Length can be adjusted if your risk of calcium scaling is especially high (shorter reverse time) or especially low (longer reverse time) but the default setting works best in normal situations.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Taz's Avatar
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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Just walked outside. The same error lights on the DIG. Uggh.
    30' x 15' kidney shaped, 3.5-5.5 ft deep, wet-mix shotcrete inground, AutoPilot Digital SWG - RC35/22 cell, 36" main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns, Dyna-Pro 1 HP, Sta-Rite 2 (PLM100) filter, Polaris 360 cleaner, Marbletite (Marquis/Bluestone), Screen enclosure

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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Did you backwash your filter and flush the spring using the golf ball method, that often cures my problem?

    Good Luck.
    10,000 gal plaster pool,3/4 hp WhisperFlo pump, Sta-Rite Great White GW9500 pool cleaner, Hayward 300 lb Sand Filter
    Use Magenta Stuff for Iron and Silica control.
    Balance: pH 7.7 Cl 7 -8 Alk 70-80 CH 325 CyA 30 in winter - 50 in summer NaCl 1010 TDS 1200

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    Re: AutoPilot Digital check flow flow

    Gotta be careful with the Golf Ball Method, due to a limited time period change in the manifold assembly to a 2" section of pvc, rather than 1.5" pvc. With 2" pvc, the golf ball will travel through the pipe with the potential to make the turn and break the trisensor.
    With the 1.5" pvc, it's too small to travel up the pipe.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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