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Thread: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

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    BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    [attachment=0:37qot9g9]salt cell.jpg[/attachment:37qot9g9]
    I've noticed my chlorine output has been very low lately, and upon inspecting cell I see that the exit side is coated brown, along with some of the pvc that follows. I can scratch it off with my fingernail with some effort from the PVC, but how do I clean it from the cell? Is this even affecting it? What exactly is it?? Will it clean off with the same acid wash for calcium deposits?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    That looks like rust, Ferric Oxide, exactly!
    However, the cell should be Titanium, it contains no iron, but that doesn't mean it can't oxidize. Or "Rust", all metals do, Ti's oxidation would be white and powdery.

    So either there is a non Ti component inside that cell that contains iron, such as steel that is breaking down, or there's something upstream of it, a Ferrous metal that's rusting, thus producing Ferric Oxide and dribbling down the pipe and into the cell. Is there any on the upstream side of the cell?
    If not, then it has to be localized to inside the cell.

    Another though is that you have a very high iron content in your water, mixed with the electrolysis process is causing it to oxidize on the anode, where it combines /w oxygen molecules in the water to form rust, Fe2O3.
    This would keep it localized to the cell, and not be upstream, only at the cell, since that's the catalyst, or source and slightly downstream as the flow of generated Ferric Oxide tapers off.
    This shouldn't effect the Ti plates though, just simply clean them with MA and you're golden!!
    Ti is virtually indestructible, so they should be fine.

    EDIT: Hayward says to submerge it just to the top of the cell, so the wiring harness, the electronics on the cell are not touching the acid, coiling the harness may be helpful prior to immersing. 4:1 dilute, 1 gallon of water to 1 quart of MA. And remember, always, always add the acid to the water, never, ever the other way around.
    The manuf. says to soak for a few, then rinse with a high pressure hose, then repeat if needed, until the plates are clean.
    BTW, Acid attacks Oxides, including Ferric Oxide.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Thank you "y_not"! The stain is only downstream, therefore localized to cell. I'm guessing you might be right about the high iron content in our water. Is there a way to test for and/or reduce that? And will soaking it be enough? Should I brush/scrub between the fins somehow? And do you think this was affecting it's chlorine output?
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Westovers
    Thank you "y_not"! The stain is only downstream, therefore localized to cell. I'm guessing you might be right about the high iron content in our water. Is there a way to test for and/or reduce that? And will soaking it be enough? Should I brush/scrub between the fins somehow? And do you think this was affecting it's chlorine output?
    In municipal water rust is said to reduce chlorine dramatically.

    -sent with Tapatalk 2
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Do you mean rust accumulated on the salt cell? Or just rust in the water reduces chlorine? Is this the reason that the chlorine output of the SWCG has decreased over time, and that it should be improved after cleaning? If it's just rust in the water, is there any way to test or treat for it?
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Here's how to test for it.
    http://tftestkits.net/K-1716-Taylor-Iron-Test-p30.html

    Pool stores can do it, but I wouldn't exactly trust it to be right. LOL
    Unless they use this kit, if so, read the instructions before you go, that way you can correct them during testing if need be. Don't give them the whole sample container either, retain it while testing, as some have been known to just dump it all before finished. IDIOTS!!

    Rust, or any corrosion, oxidation that accumulates on your SWG cell will reduce it's output and can actually burn it out if left too long. It overworks it, heats it up excessively and so on.
    It increases its resistance, since it's an electrical circuit.

    As for what UnderWaterVanya is talking about, I'm not sure. It's something I have never researched, but I could see it being plausible.
    I'll let him elaborate more as to his findings.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    In municipal water rust is said to reduce chlorine dramatically.
    I don't understand what this means. Are you talking about soluble iron in water? It has little to no impact on chlorine consumption.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    In municipal water rust is said to reduce chlorine dramatically.
    I don't understand what this means. Are you talking about soluble iron in water? It has little to no impact on chlorine consumption.
    My water department had to replace galvanized pipes in our old neighborhood due to rust. A side effect of this was - So they said, low chlorine. We were on a smaller loop and had very low chlorine to the point of them giving us gallons of bottled water every few days for nearly a year. Eventually they replaced the pipe and showed us a section of the old 2" pipe which was more like 1" due to rust. The new plastic pipes delivered water that met safe chlorine levels.

    This likely is an extreme case and has no real bearing on a pool where the chlorine levels and water volume relative to rust content is quite different now that I think about it.


    -sent with Tapatalk 2
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by y_not
    Here's how to test for it.
    http://tftestkits.net/K-1716-Taylor-Iron-Test-p30.html

    Pool stores can do it, but I wouldn't exactly trust it to be right. LOL
    Unless they use this kit, if so, read the instructions before you go, that way you can correct them during testing if need be. Don't give them the whole sample container either, retain it while testing, as some have been known to just dump it all before finished. IDIOTS!!

    Rust, or any corrosion, oxidation that accumulates on your SWG cell will reduce it's output and can actually burn it out if left too long. It overworks it, heats it up excessively and so on.
    It increases its resistance, since it's an electrical circuit.

    As for what UnderWaterVanya is talking about, I'm not sure. It's something I have never researched, but I could see it being plausible.
    I'll let him elaborate more as to his findings.
    Thank you again "y_not". But what am I looking for? Will the directions tell me what is too high for a pool or SWCG? And if too high, how do I treat for it?

    I'm still looking for some information on determining whether or not I just need to replace my SWCG. It seems to be producing no, or very low chlorine (less than .5ppm difference from rest of pool), but the volt/amp numbers are still "normal" on my ProLogic display.
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    I'm not sure on the iron levels, are you on a well?
    IE. What the ranges are, I'm sure the kit will give you an idea. I'll look later as to specifics if no one has posted by then otherwise.

    Have you cleaned your SWG cell in acid yet? It's going to produce almost nothing with that coating of oxide on it. You have to clean it!
    Don't even worry about scrubbing down in it initially, just let the acid do it's thing then blast away with a high pressure water stream. Soak, rinse, repeat as needed till you get her clean. If there's some stubborn stuff, then try some pipe cleaners, as thick as you can so as to get it clean, don't scratch the coating on the Ti plates. Pipe cleaners have wire in the center which can scratch if you aren't careful.
    Maybe get some acid resistant gloves and clean it with acid soaked pipe cleaners. Wear goggles in case you fling acid water.
    Do some swishing in the solution if you feel the need, be careful, you're dealing with acid.

    The amount of power that the cell draws should actually go down as it gets dirty, do to decrease in efficiency as well as increased resistance, which means decreased conductivity of the plates in the electrolyte. Water+Salt.
    but I wouldn't trust those readings on your display. Just get it clean and then see how it does.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    We are not on a well.
    I cleaned it (the brown stuff flaked off pretty easily in the acid), but it didn't seem to change it's performance, nor any of the numbers on the display. What now?
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Due to the extremely high resistance the circuit would have caused as a result of the very dirty cell, it's entirely possible it fried something in the power supply or the controller itself.

    Before I get started, I did find this wonderful tip on cleaning these cells.
    From Hayward/Goldline themselves.
    The cells: Over acid-washing will prematurely kill a cell. Take it off every 2-3 weeks, spray it out with a high pressure nozzle and hold it up to the sun. You should be able to see through it so clearly that all you see are the plates hanging down. These cells are

    PRICEY! Protect your investment! To remove the deposits, use a 4 parts water to 1 part acid mix. If it's still bubbling after 30 minutes, 3:1, never stronger than 2:1, and only when necessary (preventative maintenance...). And never just set it in a bucket of even the mildest acid solution if you can't check on it FREQUENTLY. If you never find scale inside the cell, start stretching out the time between checking. You'll figure out how often you need to check yours. This new cleaning method was released by Goldline, based on their examination of returned cells.


    I haven't actually used one of these Hayward cells, but I know electrolytic cells and how they function. The 1st thing I would do is to test the voltage of the output lines to the cell, coming from the power supply. The system should measure at 24v according to HW spec. If you have a way to tap into the circuit, or test the terminals on the plug while it's running, do that using a multimeter set to DC range, it's not AC. Check for idle & cell operational voltage.

    If that checks out, then hook up an amp meter in circuit/series, not parallel (probing), T-15 cells are 4-8 amps of power draw.
    AMP Meters are polar specific, but if you hook them up backwards, then it just reads negative, no biggie. Won't fry it. I have found those cheapo digital meters at hardware stores made by Gardner Bender to be really useful as they go quite high on amps before blowing, at about 15-18amps IIRC. They cost about $10.
    They go much higher than most expensive meters, even my crazy over priced, but very well made Fluke DMMs and these cheepies are only "rated" for 10amps.

    Just hook the positive red meter lead to the "current source", the controller voltage output to the cell, then hook the black negative probe of the meter to the destination, your cell power connector. Some circuits are backwards. Again, doesn't hurt anything, just gives a negative instead of positive reading on the meter.

    To hook it up, just get creative with leads and electrical tape. No need to solder, just twist the wires together, make sure things don't touch where they shouldn't, or ground to nearby objects. Take apart an old electrical cord or something and use that for leads. Be creative.

    Once you hook it up in-line, then you can run the cell and see what kind of amps she's drawing. If it's very little in comparison to what it should and the power supply checks out, then odds are you have a bad cell. But I bet that's not what you'll find, what I'm betting you'll find is a proper amperage draw, indicating a bad controller.

    I suspect your cell is fine, corrosion wise, IE. any ill effects from the oxide. Reason being is I highly doubt they'd go to the trouble to use Ti plates in the cell, then bolt it all together using stainless or normal steel bolts that can rust. Yes, stainless rusts, mostly in electrolysis, not to mention it generates Cr6, which is very carcinogenic. That's as far as the cell itself goes, I know there is a salt sensor or some sort of sensor in there, from what I have read, but that should throw an error if it were bad. IE. Low salt, high salt, salt reading doesn't match your readings, +/-400ppm, etc..

    Here are some things to read up on, regarding repairing your controller, which is advised if you're handy, since they run $700+ end user price from a dealer/service tech, $450 or so if you buy one yourself and hunt for it.
    Do make sure the controller still knows you have a t-15 cell hooked up and not one of the other units.
    Also, take the amperage reading that the controller is telling you and multiply this time 4 to get the number of grams/HR of CL being output.

    I forgot to ask, how are you checking the CL output of the cell?
    PS. Sorry if my post is a bit disjointed or scatterbrained, it took me a bit to compile all of this and it got late on me, brain isn't quite working 100% yet from still getting over the flu, plus being tired on top of it. HAHA Fun combo!
    So I can clarify more tomorrow if need be.

    Note, you're going to need to be not afraid of wires, voltage and electronics, as well as have some experience doing this sort of thing in order to perform the above tasks. They're meticulous, require some precision and patience, but it isn't an impossible task by any means. Computer power supply connectors and a blade are your friend. I can see from the main plug cell>board that I found a picture of, one could easily build a pigtail out of an old, sacrificial computer ATX power supply harness. But probing in wires should suffice, checking to see what each does 1st at the board.

    Here are the links.
    This page has all sorts of diagnostic info, including how to verify that the board is good and other great tips.
    It is in French though, but Google Chrome translates that well.
    http://www.manulabo.com/Hayward/aqrsearch.htm

    Here's a site with great pictures from a guy that repaired his after a big power surge.
    http://idoneitmyself.wordpress.com/2009 ... lightning/

    This website has a step-by-step how-to on performing a common fix for these units, saving you piles and piles of money.
    http://www.nocellpower.com/
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    I should also add, as if that wasn't long enough.

    You can take the cell to just about any pool store and have it tested to at least be sure it's working. I'm not sure how thorough they are, or if they test for PPM CL output, or that the cell just simply turns on and doesn't throw a code.

    Certainly an option and worth a call around to see who does it and what they do, then take her out for a test.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Wow, "y_not", that is way above my level of DIY! (Would Google Translate help me with that too??)

    Just so you know, my ProLogic display gives me "normal" readings for the cell. For example:
    -25.12V
    -6.81A
    85 degrees F
    3000 PPM

    Are you familiar with how these work? Would the "test" at the Pool Store still give me a "fail" if my cell was not producing? (I did have my water checked at another store today, and they told me the salt reads 3700PPM.)
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Westovers
    Wow, "y_not", that is way above my level of DIY! (Would Google Translate help me with that too??)

    Just so you know, my ProLogic display gives me "normal" readings for the cell. For example:
    -25.12V
    -6.81A
    85 degrees F
    3000 PPM

    Are you familiar with how these work? Would the "test" at the Pool Store still give me a "fail" if my cell was not producing? (I did have my water checked at another store today, and they told me the salt reads 3700PPM.)
    LOL, sorry about that Westovers.
    Naaahh, Google Translate won't help with that, it doesn't have a "nerd translate" option.
    But thanks for at least reading it, that's all one can do is try.

    I think it only shows as "fail" if the cell completely shorts out or some other catastrophic failure happens. But I'm just taking an educated assumption, seeing as I'm not familiar with how these manufacturers build their controllers and what sort of paramaters and system checks they put in them.
    But I am very familiar with electolysis in general, electrolytic cells, electrolytic solutions and the different metals and reactions that occur within them. I wouldn't say I know anywhere near as much about the chemistry as ChemGeek does, but I know a lot about the process, how it works, how to build them and how to make it work.

    Your cell manufacturer states that the independent salt readings should be within 400ppm +/- of what your cell reports, asuming the cell is matched to the unit and if newer S/W, it is set to your model cell in the menus.

    Some have argued that the salt test strips, such as the Aqua Check specifically are the most accurate of the tests. The taylor drop based test other say is the most accurate, but indeed the common denominator is that fact that the Taylor drop based salt test kit is simply difficult to perform correctly, thus yielding inaccurate results due tot the difficult to determine/see endpoint. However, ChemGeek states that the Taylor drop based salt test is equally accurate to the strip at low salinity, say 1100ppm, but at higher salinity, say 3000+ ppm, the Taylor drop based kit was spot on with the cell's reading.
    You can read about his wonderful data here. Chem Geek on Salt Tests - Strips vs. Drop Test
    So given the relative variance of strips, I have heard about 15% IIRC, it may be higher or slightly lower, I'd say you're about on.

    So I wouldn't worry about it and just trust the SWG unit's report.
    The other numbers look fine, I'd say she's conducting and producing current.
    Did those numbers go up, AMPs/Volts?
    *You mentioned they didn't change since cleaning, but just verifying.

    I do have one glaring question, how do you know that the cell isn't properly producing? Of course I can think of many ways to test that, but just curious how you are arriving at this conclusion.

    Thanks.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: BROWN salt cell chlorine generator! PLEASE HELP!

    After doing more research elsewhere, and before reading the latest post above, I called Hayward and it seemed to them that the cell was failing. Still barely under warranty, they sent someone out who replaced it with a new one, and voila--the cell now tells me I've got 3900ppm of salt in my water (more than 1000 higher than the failing one said) and now chlorine is magically appearing in my pool again!

    So the moral of the story is:
    1. The salt reading on the cell can be VERY inaccurate.
    2. A lower salt reading than reality can clearly indicate a cell that is failing to produce chlorine.

    Thank you for all of your help!

    So my next question is: Can I run my new cell (Hayward Turbo-15) with 3900ppm of salt in my water? It seems to be working just fine...
    Mike
    25k IG w/ Pebble Sheen
    + 8' diameter spa w/spillway
    Hayward ProLogic + T-CELL-15 SWCG
    Cartridge Filter

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