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Thread: Valve actuator stopped working

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Valve actuator stopped working

    Hi,

    I have a solar heating system with Pentair SunTouch controller with Pentair CVA-24T valve actuator. When I swam a few days ago, everything worked fine then. But this morning I noticed that even though the controller activated "solar", the valve didn't move. I turned off and on the pump again and solar was activated immediately but valve didn't move.

    This is a fairly new system that was installed two years ago.

    1. What are the first things to check? How can I isolate the issue (is it the actuator? Or some wiring issue? Or controller? Or actually something inside the pipe?)?

    2. Is there a switch or anything in the actuator that allows me to turn the valve manually?

    Thanks.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Welcome to TFP!

    There is a small switch on the valve actuator. Note the current position of the switch and then try switching it to one side and then the other. If the actuator has power the valve will switch one way when the switch is one way, and the other way when the switch is the other way. The middle position is off.

    The most common failure is a cut in the wire between the actuator and the controller. If the actuator does not respond to the switch, check the wire.

    If the actuator does respond to the switch, then there is some kind of programming problem in the controller.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Jason beat me to it but here are my thoughts too:

    Welcome to TFP!

    Do you have any other actuators? Are they working? Have you checked the circuit breakers on the front panel of the SunTouch? One of them is for the 24VAC supply for the actuators. Did you try running the self check on the MB? I forget where it's hidden but I think it's under the advanced menu.

    There is a switch somewhere on the side or bottom. It's a three way switch with the middle being off. Try flipping it to the other side; if the valve moves then the actuator is fine and you have power. Most likely it won't move though so...Next you'll want to trace the wire back and see if it got damaged anywhere - animal chewing on it? If you are comfortable opening the panel you can check to see that the plug is firmly seated in the mother board. If you have another actuator try swapping it's plug into the solar socket on the MB and see if it will work then. Do you have a multimeter? You could test for power at the socket. If power checks out etc. then it could be the actuator itself. But let's see what you can find out to all my questions above first.

    Good luck and we're here to help
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Thank you very much for the replies.

    I have only one actuator.

    I've toggled the switches while the solar is activated but it didn't make any changes. I also examined the wire from the actuator to the controller but didn't find anything specific. I haven't checked the motherboard yet.

    Then at some time in the afternoon, it suddenly started working. I was not at home when it happened so I don't know the details. I haven't touched the controller for a while, so I am not sure if it is related to the program setting.

    I'll see if I have the same problem tomorrow and then I'll check the items you mentioned and will post my findings.

    Thanks!

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Ok. The problem continued today. I tried to flip the switch under the actuator, but that didn't make change. I repeatedly turned on and off the system to see if that makes any changes. And at one point, it actually worked (I don't know what I did differently for that) and moved the valve, but when I retried, it stopped again.

    The wire looks okay to me, but a section of the wire is looped and tightly tied with other wires and I didn't get to check that part.

    I also tried the black buttons with the number 4 on them ("PRESS TO RESET POWER" is written below them on the front panel). I pushed them multiple times but no changes.

    Then I opened the panel and check the actuator plug. The connection to the motherboard seemed okay to me.

    I also ran the self test under 'Diagnostics' menu. During the "output" test, it checked VALVE A after RETURN and INTAKE. I think that is for the solar valve actuator? On the motherboard, it is VALVE C, though. Anyway, is the check for VALVE A supposed to operate the valve actuator? I don't see any movement though. The test failed for LCD backlight issue, but the error code table in the manual doesn't list an error for output test, so I don't know if it passed or failed the test.

    I don't have a multimeter, though. If I get one, how do I test for power?

    I tried to remove the actuator so that I can attach the handle and operate the valve manually to rule out any valve issues (which I doubt), but the screws were too tight and I couldn't remove it.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Valve c is the solar. Valve a is for switching a suction side valve which you don't have.

    Since it was working intermittently I would guess its the actuator that has gone bad. I don't know anything about fixing them. But If you do have to replace it you can go with any brand to replace it - they're interchangeable. Amazon has an Intermatic one for about $80 which is far cheaper than the Pentair branded ones.
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    I agree that you should replace the actuator. I had the same problem. The bad part is most likely the motor inside the actuator. Impossible to replace.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    ChasingWaterfalls's Avatar
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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    I realize this is a 2 yr old thread, but I recently encountered a similar problem and thought I'd update this thread for the benefit of future people that come across it while searching for a solution as I was. I was able to find and fix my problem.

    Although I opened our pool a couple of months ago, I hadn't checked out the Glacier Cooler components until now, as it's just now getting warm enough to start needing it. A Intermatic pe24va actuator would not open the cooler valve. I had not made any changes since it was last used and working last season. In the first "poking around" I got it to run a little... I manually opened the valve part way and then the motor opened it the rest of the way. I was then able to close the valve with the controller. But after that it was "stuck" again. Motor ran smooth and quiet when it did run, so I didn't think it was the motor.

    I started by checking voltage at the cable wire ends where they enter the actuator. There are 3 wires, red, black, and white. You should have 24vac across either the red and white or the black and white, but not both at the same time. Voltage across one color (red or black) will occur when the controller turns the valve on while while voltage across the other color will occur when the controller turns the valve off, so you need to do 2 checks. In my case, I had 24vac at the cable end. If I didn't, I would have checked the other end of the cable where it connects to the controller. If you have 24vac there, the problem is a broken wire in the cable. If you don't have 24vac there, the problem is in the controller, not the valve.

    Once I saw I was getting 24vac to the cable ends in the actuator, it was simply a matter of tracing the wires and checking voltage at each connection point until you find where you are losing power. It might be something simple such as a bad wire nut connection. In my case, I found the problem to be a solder connection on one of the toggle switch terminals to the little pc board the toggle switch attaches to. I had power to the point the white wire was soldered to the pcb. I could trace the foil on the pcb to know which toggle switch terminal(s) was the next check point. The pcb foil jumped the white wire to two of the six toggle switch terminals. I had voltage at one of the toggle terminals, but not the other (remember to check with the switch in all positions), so I knew either the solder joint was bad or there was a break in the foil on the pcb. I was able to resolder the switch terminal to the board and that corrected the problem. If that hadn't fixed it, I would've soldered a jumper wire across those two terminals to take the place of the damaged pcb foil that was suppose to serve as the jumper. We had a much colder winter than usual, so I'm guessing the contraction/expansion from the extreme temp changes caused the solder connection to crack.

    One really needs a multi tester to trouble shoot these things, but there are a few things you can do if you don't have a tester to find the problem or at least narrow it down. You can check the micro switches by shorting across their terminals with a jumper wire or a screwdriver. If that makes the motor run, you have a bad micro switch. You can temporarily jumper the incoming cable wires directly to the motor wires. If the motor runs smoothly, then your problem is a connection problem within the actuator (bad toggle switch, bad micro switch, bad solder joint, bad wire nut connection, or broken wire).

    Another thing I have always done as a matter of preventative maintenance is to make sure the actuators are wired such that they work correctly with the toggle switch in the down position. I'm not sure how much difference this makes, if any, but my thoughts in doing so is that rain hitting the switch lever will run away from the actuator and drip off the end of the lever instead of running down the lever towards the actuator and possibly getting inside the switch. It may not help, but it doesn't cost anything to do and can't hurt.
    19,000 gal gunite pool/spa combo, Pool Waterfall feature, Jandy RS-6 One Touch controller, Pentair VS 11018 pump (new 2012), Pentair 2 hp Challenger Pump for spa jets, TR-100 Sand filter, Jandy Lite 2 Heater (250k BTU), 320 Tab Chlorinator, Stenner 45MPH2 bleach metering pump (new 2012), Glacier Pool Chiller GPC-25 (new 2012), Polaris 280 cleaner w/ 3/4 hp Booster Pump

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    I realize your reply is over a year old...Yet your info will help me out "today".
    Thank You !!!!
    22K gal Plaster, 3M color, (4) Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro pumps (P6E6G-208L), Sta-Rite System 3 Filter (Sm8-500),
    Pentair Intellitouch System I9 + 3,Pentair Intellitouch System I10X Expansion center, Intellitouch Spa remote.
    Helicoil Solar Heating, Sta-Rite SR400 (Propane) Heater
    (3) PG2000 Illuminators, Pentair 320 Chlorine Feeder, Zodiac Nature2,
    Pool Shark (GW7700), All Jandy Neverlube valves (with Actuators), Jandy Check Valves.
    Sam Light Spectrum Amerilite (color changing w/color swim) SaL (color changing w/color swim,also)
    Pentair Auto Fill ... 100% real Rock all Hand picked, no concrete formed rocks, or slab

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Before replacing the actuator, replace the micro switches. There are two of them inside the actuator and they are the most likely point of failure. The switches are cheap and easy to replace.

    653-SS-5T
    MFG Part No:SS-5T
    SS-5T
    Omron Basic / Snap Action Switches

    You can get these at Mouser, Digi Key or any other electronic parts supplier.

    I have done this many times to my actuators over a 20 year period. The actuators are very solid, except for the micro switches which are delicate.
    38000 Gal, IG, Plaster, 20' x 40' x 10', Attached Raised Spa, Intelliflo VS 3 HP (011018), Pentair Quad DE 60 Filter, Raypak (Rheem) 400,000 BTU (407a low Nox), Easy Touch 8 upgrade, Screenlogic 2 with wireless, IS-4 Spa Side Remote, Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15 gal tank, Intellibrite 5g (3), Dolphin Triton Plus robot with PRO remote, Water Tech Catfish handheld vacuum for spa, TF100 with SpeedStir.

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Ran into the same issue. My Pentair valve actuator would not turn the valve to solar when the controller requested. Valve was stuck on pool mode. Tried flipping the switch at the base of the valve with no response. Had the pool guy come out and he stated valve is bad 300+ to replace. Told him no and started my research. Starting messing with the cams and noticed the motor would move one way when I would moved the lever that touched the micro switch.I decided to disconnect the valve from the controller since I could pull the cable from the controller to the valve once I disengaged the grommet. Grabbed my ohm meter and test resistance on the coils of the motor. Got around 11 ohms if I recall correctly across both windings. Tested one micro switch with meter in diode mode/tone mode and it tested good immediately. Tested the other micro switch and the meter registered resistance and not a tone. I replaced this micro switch with one from Radio Shack $2.45. I had to remove the rocker lever the new switch came with but it fit right in. I made sure the switch was installed the same way as I removed the old one. Connected valve back to controller and began adjusting my cams. The switch at the base allowed me to move the motor back and forth. I decided to adjust the valve without physically attaching it to the valve somewhat aligned with the way it would fit onto the valve. Made it easier to align. Verified valve would move from 90 degrees to 180. Physically attached motor to valve and verified position by using the switch. Set switch to match controller request which was solar mode. For me this was the down position. Came back and verified valve moved to pool mode when controller was not requesting solar. In summary fixing my valve cost me $2.45.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Pool Clown's Avatar
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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    Good News. I would keep an eye on that actuator though. Pentair had QC problems with their actuators going on three years. I believe that the current replacements are good but there are hundreds out there (that should be recalled, but wont be.) If yours is a new pool (within 3 years) I would consider getting it warrantied before the three year mark.

    Good job again on the repair!
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Austin TX
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    Re: Valve actuator stopped working

    hi... newbie here. Great website.... i just "fixed" the Pentair actuator for the water feature by replacing both micro switches. Nice and easy except... now the valve stays open and closes when I press the push-button to ON. Basically it behaves like a normally open valve. Did I screw it up or the micro switch are the reverse ones?

    Thanks for your help.

    Olie

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