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Thread: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

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    Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    I have an Aqua Rite unit - Code says AL-1 and software 1.4. I think it's probably 4 or so years old. My salt reading was around 2600 and I kept adding salt and eventually began getting algae in the pool. I went to the pool store and had the water tested and they showed a salt level of 5000. Thinking the cell probably needed to be replaced after that many years I ordered a new T-Cell 15 and replaced the old cell and the salt reading even with the new cell continues to be low.

    I drained some of the water and put in fresh and according to a recheck at the pool store I got it down to 4000 now - but the Aqua Rite now shows only around 2000.

    The unit comes on and says its generating for maybe a minute, but then stops and the check salt and check cell lights come on.

    I tried recalibrating the cell per the instructions I read on this forum but since my instant salinity reading never goes above 2000 to 2100 level I cannot set it any higher than that. I reset it to 2000 thinking if the reading was low the unit would still think it was within limits and generate - but no luck. It continues to run for a minute and then the check salt and check cell lights come on.

    I opened the box and inspected the boards and I could see no issues. No burned spots - at least from the front of the board - and no dirt, ant issues, etc.

    I have ordered one of the water testers and hope to get that soon so that I can confirm the salt reading from the pool store. Having tested it twice, though, a week apart, I'm guessing their reading it fairly accurate.

    Any ideas on why the salt reading is so low or how I go about resetting it? Do I have a problem with the main board? The cell is new - so I'm pretty sure that isn't the problem now.

    Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Welcome to TFP!

    That problem is almost always the cell, but there are some other possibilities. Does the old cell cable, or the connector the cable plugs into on the main unit look at all burned or melted? If the cable/connector looks burned you might be getting a bad connection even with the new cell. Otherwise, it is probably the main circuit board.
    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: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Thanks for the welcome, Jason. Looks like a lot of good information can be found on the site so I was happy to run across it.

    On your question, no, the cell connector looks clean and nothing looked burned or melted on it. Looked about like new.

    One other question I forgot to ask was whether the cell goes in one specific way. I could not find a direction marked on it so my assumption is it can go with the flow going in either direction. In my case I put the new one in the same way as my old one was mounted - with the flow coming in the end with no electrical connection - and going out the end with the electrical connection on it. My assumption is that's not the problem since my old one operated fine for years like that.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    The cell can be mounted either way. The flow switch must be mounted so the water flow goes in the direction of the arrow.
    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: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Sequentially press the diagnostic button and post the following
    1. Temp
    2. Cell voltage
    3. Cell current
    4. output %
    5. salinity
    6 produt name
    7. Software revision level
    poolschoolgrad

    20x40 free-form IG vinyl, 1hp Hayward superpump, Hayward pro grid DE filter, Raypak heatpump, Goldline Aquarite SWCG, Polaris 280 with booster, and tested using a Taylor K2006.

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    I will get that information when I get home tonight and post it. Thanks.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Poolschoolgrad - the readings are as follows:

    1. Temp - 74 degrees
    2. Cell Voltage - high of 32.4 but dropped and stayed around 26.2 until the unit stopped generating (approx 1 minute)
    3. Cell current - started initially around 18 to 21 - but dropped and stayed around 4.4 until the unit stopped generating
    4. Output % - set at 80%
    5. Salinity - 1900 to 2000 (pool store tested it 2 days ago at 4000)
    6. Product name - AL-2
    7. Software revision - r1.4

    This is a new cell. I put the old cell back on the other day after putting the new one on and getting the same low salt levels and when the old one was back on the unit never kicked on and showed it was generating. So I put the new one back on and those are the above readings on the new one.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    I should have mentioned that I set the default salinity setting to 1800 the other day - thinking that even if the reading was wrong as long as the default was lower than the instant reading maybe that would trick it into thinking the salt level was high enough (which is actually is) and so it would keep generating.

    It runs okay for the first minute and then stops and the check salt level and check cell lights come on.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Cell voltage should be 22 to 25 volts when generating otherwise 30-35v
    Cell current is 0 when not generating and gradually increases to between 4.5 and 7.8 when generating depending on temperature and salinity.
    A higher than normal cell voltage of 26 and cell current of 18-21 would indicate a problem with the main control board.

    You can contact Goldline at 888-921-7665.
    A Goldline service tech will help you diagnose the problem.
    Replacement main boards are around $200
    The boards can be refurbished, but the cost is about $150.

    The main component to be damaged on these boards is the current limiting diode. It is a round black disk in the top right corner of the PCB. This component takes a hit when lightning hits the unit.
    Look for burned marks on the board around the diode or the diode may be split or partially burned.
    If you are handy with a soldering iron or know someone who is, this can be an inexpensive fix.
    My brother-in-law was able to replace this diode and repair his board for less than $10.
    poolschoolgrad

    20x40 free-form IG vinyl, 1hp Hayward superpump, Hayward pro grid DE filter, Raypak heatpump, Goldline Aquarite SWCG, Polaris 280 with booster, and tested using a Taylor K2006.

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Thanks, Poolschoolgrad. I did pull the cover off of the unit and looked at the parts - based on other posts on this forum - and everything looked good from the front side of the board. I did not remove the board to look at the back side of it. I have seen others post that the part you are talking about broke into pieces when touched - or that the board was burned on the backside - and not on the front. So even though it looked okay it may still be the culprit.

    I went ahead and ordered one of the parts and when I get it I will swap it out with mine and see how that goes. Worst case I will get a new main board for it.

    Seems like the main boards I see on Ebay are later models - so I don't know if those would work on my unit. If I had to replace the main board it would be nice to go back with the latest model as long as swapping it out while keeping the other parts is no problem. If you happen to know the answer to that you might let me know for sure - or maybe one of the sellers will know.

    Thanks again for you input.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Poolintexas

    The new boards have software version 1.5
    The firmware on my older board is 1.33
    Your board has version 1.4.
    There are boards on e-bay with version 1.4.

    Here is a website with the newer boards
    http://www.poolsupply4less.com/st_prod. ... _catid=189

    It is my understanding that the newer boards are backward compatible, but
    please contact the seller or Goldline at 888-921-7665 to verify.

    Please keep us posted of your findings.

    Thanks
    poolschoolgrad

    20x40 free-form IG vinyl, 1hp Hayward superpump, Hayward pro grid DE filter, Raypak heatpump, Goldline Aquarite SWCG, Polaris 280 with booster, and tested using a Taylor K2006.

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    I received my new diode part from Digi-Key yesterday so I will try to put that in when I get a chance.

    Once I get it installed I will post what impact it had on my unit. Hopefully that will resolve the issue.

    I also received the TDS tester I ordered and I did a quick check of my pool water and the reading on that was 3000 - versus the pool store reading of 4000 and my Aqua Rite unit reading of 2000. I probably need to do another test with the new tester I purchased since I did it quickly the night I received it in the mail and I'm not sure if I held it in the water long enough or used it exactly right. That does tell me, though, that the actual salinity of the water is probably the pool store number and not my Aqua Rite number.

    Thanks for the link on the newer board, by the way. If it comes down to getting one they look about as cheap as anyone.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    pool1999's Avatar
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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Make sure you install it correctly.........the polarity should be marked on the Diode.
    Anton and Michele

    11.5K Gallon (14X30), In Ground Fiberglass Pool, Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Chlorinator, Hayward Super II 1 hp Pump, Hayward Star Clear Plus 90sqf Cartridge Filter, TF100 Test Kit, BBB
    Well ok, the construction is still ongoing but i just want to dump SOME bleach in that dang pool

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Thanks for the heads up Pool1999.

    I will be sure to check everything out before taking the old one off to make sure the new one goes back on the same way.

    I hope to get a chance to work on it this afternoon.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    As an update, I swapped out the current limiting diode but the results are exactly the same.

    Same low salt reading - around 1800 on the AR unit but 3400 with the electronic tester I just purchased.

    The unit comes on and shows its generating for maybe a minute - despite the low salt measurement, and then after a minute it kicks off.

    Is it logical that the main board would have something wrong with it causing the lower than actual salt reading?

    Or did I perhaps end up with a bad "new" cell - since I thought the salinty sensing unit was built into the cell - and not the main board.

    I will give the Goldline folks a call and see if I can tell them what's going on and get their input.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    The actual sensor is in the cell, but there are various bits of electronics that interpret the signal coming from the sensor which are on the main board. Having some failure in the salt sensing circuit is rather uncommon, but certainly possible.
    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: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    PoolinTexas

    Sorry it did not work out. It was worth a try.

    The service reps at Goldline are great. They can diagnose the problem within a few moments over the phone.

    Please post what you learn from your call.

    Thanks
    poolschoolgrad

    20x40 free-form IG vinyl, 1hp Hayward superpump, Hayward pro grid DE filter, Raypak heatpump, Goldline Aquarite SWCG, Polaris 280 with booster, and tested using a Taylor K2006.

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    I installed a new T-Cell on one of my pools a couple months ago. Worked perfect, no issues, then 3 weeks later it starts reading low salt and stopped producing... I cleaned it numerous times, checked everything... Ended up being a bad "new" cell. I got another new T-Cell, and never had a problem since. Sounds like you got a lemon of a cell. It happens a lot more than you may think!

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    pool1999's Avatar
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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    Quote Originally Posted by poolintexas
    Thanks for the heads up Pool1999.

    I will be sure to check everything out before taking the old one off to make sure the new one goes back on the same way.

    I hope to get a chance to work on it this afternoon.

    Sorry replacing the Diode didn't fix it....im no pool expert but i do know my electronics and i didn't want you to stick that part in there backwards.........i've been working with electronics for 20 years and i still have to remind myself of the simple stuff

    Don't worry, you will get a fix from all the helpful people on TFP!
    Anton and Michele

    11.5K Gallon (14X30), In Ground Fiberglass Pool, Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Chlorinator, Hayward Super II 1 hp Pump, Hayward Star Clear Plus 90sqf Cartridge Filter, TF100 Test Kit, BBB
    Well ok, the construction is still ongoing but i just want to dump SOME bleach in that dang pool

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    Re: Aqua Rite - low salt reading despite new cell

    PoolNinja, I think you may be correct. I found a guy on Craigslist today who had a new control unit - box and all. So I bought that rather than risk buying just the main board and swapping that out in current control unit. Plus he was asking only a few bucks more than I could get a main board for.

    I just put that new unit in and hooked everything back up and tried it and it is doing exactly the same thing as before - salt reading around 1900 (electronic meter reading 3440) and generating for about a minute before the check salt and inspect cell lights come on and the generating shuts down. So a totally different control with exactly the same results - which to me points to the new cell.

    I put my old cell back on just to see if that one might work with the new control unit and that one won't even pick up a salt reading now - and never even tries to generate.

    So I will get in contract with the Ebayer who sold me the cell and see about getting a replacement to see if that will do the trick.

    Thanks for everyone's input so far.
    14K gal, IG, concrete/plaster, 36 sq. ft. DE, 1.5 HP pump
    Laars Lite 2 Heater, The Pool Cleaner, BBB
    Southern california

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