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Thread: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

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    Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    I have an AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Salt Generator with an SC-60 cell. I am extremely disappointed to have a failed power supply shortly after it's out of warranty. Searching on the internet for the "low amps warning" suggests this is likely common. To me, it makes no sense to replace just the power supply board and not the fans. Therefore, I've been looking at buying a new DIG-220 electronics/power supply package, which is about $580. After looking around, I realized I could buy a CompuPool system that would cover my approx 30-32K gallon pool for $724. After looking and seeing a replacement cell is over $500 for my Pool Pilot, this total system replacement is starting to look like it makes sense.
    Am I right about this power supply problem being common?
    Have you folks seen better reliability with the CompuPool brand?
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Usually that message indicates a bad cell cord or a worn out cell. Have you checked both of those possibilities?

    The CompuPool hasn't been around long enough to be able to make any estimate of it's long term reliability.
    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: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    I looked at the cell and it looked clean. I checked all of the connections. The volts and amps both were low. (17V; 3.2A) I called AutoPilot and the factory told me that because the voltage is low too, that it must be a power supply. I looked at the power supply board and saw some tracking. I can't help but wonder if I replace the power supply at almost $600, that I'd then be spending another almost $600 behind it for another cell. I'm pretty disappointed. It seems like if you spend over $1000 on one of these units you should get more than 2 and a half years service without a failure.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Check your salt level too. Not just what the display may show, but have it tested. TOO low salt will also display Low Amps.

    Otherwise, unfortunately, they are correct in diagnosing a low amp and low volt issue to be a failed power module.

    How old is your system? If you can get me your serial number, I can track it.
    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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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    I bought it in '08.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    The salt tested out at about 3100ppm today. I added a couple of bags to hit it with high salt. The low amps alarm went away and was replaced by a check cell alarm. I decided to hit it with muriatic acid again, but this time with the pump running and putting in through the skimmer.
    Tonight, the alarms are gone. I'm stunned.

    I've added salt before. I've cleaned the cell before. I previously opened the unit and checked all of my connections and fuses. I saw some tracking.

    It's a nice surprise. I'll keep an eye on it. I hope this holds up.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    maybe it had calcium build up on some of the sensors?
    or maybe half of the cell is completely gone, but the other is still ok, so when it reverses polarity it starts working?

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Who knows? But I'll take it for now. It'll be interesting to see if it holds up.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    So, how did you test the salt level? If you look at the cell blades, do the two outer blades appear to be shorter than the blades between them? Check both ends.
    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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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    I checked the salt level with salt test strips.
    I went out and backwashed this morning. The "Low Amps" alarm is back this morning and the volts have dropped to 17 again. Go figure.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Try doing a visual inspection of the cell. Remove the cell using the unions at either end and look into the cell from one of the ends. The cell plates should either be metallic silver or black. If you see any sign of a white crusty residue you need to do a more through cleaning of the cell. While you have the cell open also look at the corners of the cell plates and check to see how worn they look. As the cell ages the corner of the cell plates wear away. Often this happens unevenly so that some of them look much more worn than others.
    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: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    it looks very much like half of the cell is gone so you will only see it working ok when the polarity is in certain direction, but it will show the alarm every time it's in the other direction.

    alternatively - half of the board is gone (not sure if that's possible)

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Sounds like half the cell is gone, as Strannik mentioned. So you're making full chlorine in one direction, and much lower production when it reverses polarity.
    You can test this by looking at the lower right corner of the display. There will either be a pixel (dot) displayed or not. Note if the Check System light is on or not and BOOST the cell, let it run for a few minutes then perform a TEST POOL PILOT. Record the Amps and Volts
    Next, go to the MAINTENANCE MENU, and scroll down to FORCE REVERSE. Let it run a few minutes (since it will already be in BOOST mode), then run your TEST POOL PILOT and record the amps and volts. Also, note if the Check System light and lower right Pixel is the opposite status as the first test (displayed or not).

    If the cell is starting to fail, adding additinional salt will help compensate somewhat. However, it may just mean that you need to replace your cell soon.
    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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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Thanks. I'll try it tomorrow and get back to you.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Here's what I got. In boost mode with no pixel after running for a while at 85F and 4300ppm, I checked and got 18V; 3.8A. I immediately checked it again and got 17V; 3.7A.
    I did a force reverse and let it run about a minute. This time there was a pixel and I read 17V; 3.5A.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    I let it run reversed for about an hour and it still was showing low volts and amps.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    I did a force reverse yesterday morning. The pixel was lit. The low amps alarm was going. I left town, got back this afternoon. I just checked it and the pixel was off and the alarm was gone. It appears to be running normally now. What do you make of this?
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    The alarm came back and I can't get rid of it. I don't know what to make of it.
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Most of that sounds just like what happens when the cell is wearing out. When the cell is nearly worn out you can get a little more life out of it by increasing the salt level, having warmer water, etc. As the temperature and salt level vary just slightly you are going in and out of working, all of which is normal for a cell that is wearing out.
    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: Pool Pilot Failed in less than 3 yrs - What to buy now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Poolsean
    You can test this by looking at the lower right corner of the display. There will either be a pixel (dot) displayed or not. Note if the Check System light is on or not and BOOST the cell, let it run for a few minutes then perform a TEST POOL PILOT. Record the Amps and Volts
    Next, go to the MAINTENANCE MENU, and scroll down to FORCE REVERSE. Let it run a few minutes (since it will already be in BOOST mode), then run your TEST POOL PILOT and record the amps and volts. Also, note if the Check System light and lower right Pixel is the opposite status as the first test (displayed or not).
    .
    Sean,
    I did the test. Any comments or suggestions?
    27' round Above ground w/sand filter
    17100 gallons calculated
    Nashville, IL

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