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Thread: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

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    Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    I've been a bad pool owner and ignored my AGP all winter long. Well the days are warming up and I've decided that its time to get things going again. During the winter, I kept my pump running, but the SWG was complaining about low salt, so I turned it off. A test at the pool store in November showed I was at 3200ppm salt. I figured it was too cold or for the SWG to run and due to a baby on the way, I didn't follow up. This weekend I took the SWG apart and used vinegar to ensure there was no calcium buildup on the electrode plates, then took two water samples down to Leslie's to have them tested. The results are as follows:

    FAC 0
    TAC 0
    Salt (first test was 1600, second was 2300) - two different meters at the local pool store
    CH 250
    CYA 60
    TA 120
    PH 7.4
    Copper 0
    Iron 0
    Phosphates 200

    I'll add some more Pool Perfect Plus PHOSfree to get rid of the phosphates, and the FAC issue is pretty obvious; the SWG isn't producing chlorine. I added the last 8.8lbs of salt that I had and several hours later got it re-tested (yeah, I know I should wait longer). I then added another 40 lbs of salt to the pool. If I just needed to bring it up from 2300 to 3000 in a 7000 gallon pool 40 lbs 12 oz should have done the trick. I can get the SWG to start producing bubbles and it does so for a while (not sure how long that is). I'll come back outside some time later and I get a code 91 (low salt) flashing on its desiplay. I figure I should be around 2900 ppm. We got very little rain this year and I back-washed the pool yesterday for the first time in probably 6 months so I can't figure out why I'd go from 3200, to 1600 to 2300ppm. I don't trust either of the electronic gauges at Leslie's so I'm left with two alternatives. Either I could so buy some salt test strips (the Aquacheck version) or make a 3000 ppm solution and take it down to Leslie's then test it with both of their meters and compare it against a new sample from my pool.

    Another thing that's got me questioning everything is what looks like either rust or rusty colored alge (it seems to move within the water flow) IN the SWG where the extension from the plug meet the electrode plates. ***?
    Attachment 28560

    Any suggestions on where to go with this? I think that piece is sonically welded to the plastic that holds the electrodes so I'm not sure I can take it apart otherwise I would have done so already. It looks like it needs a really good scrubbing if you ask me.

    Thanks in advance guys!

    --Jonathan
    19,000 IGP TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    How old is the SWG? When they wear out they will complain of low salt. If only one year old that shouldn't be an issue (yet).

    Did you run the pump overnight to mix in the salt? Salt sometimes takes as long as 24 hours to completely mix in.

    I would completely ignore phosphates. If you maintain an appropriate FC level the phosphate level doesn't matter.

    Cold water (fifties or lower usually) will make the unit shutdown with a low salt error even when salt is fine.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    The Intex unit is 3 years old.

    The pump has been on and off for about 12 hours since I added the salt. I'll turn in on in a few minutes to see if additional mixing helps out. I was using the Leslie's pool salt which is much finer than the stuff I got @ Ace Hardware a few years ago.

    The water WAS cold this winter (40-50), but now its around 65-70.

    I have a spare SWG that Intex sent to me and if all else fails, I'll pull out the new one. How long do nicer SWGs last?

    Thanks Jason.
    19,000 IGP TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Quote Originally Posted by jspeacock1978 View Post
    Any suggestions on where to go with this?
    My biggest recommendation would be to invest in one of the Recommended Test Kits and stop trusting the notoriously unrepeatable and inaccurate pool store testing.

    Also, solar salt is much cheaper than the pool salt and works just fine.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Fancier SWGs last 3 to 5 years, though actual lifetime can be shorter or longer depending on usage. Intex tends to be at the low end of that range. It sounds to me like it probably wore out late last season.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Your picture reminds me of the problem I have had with the Intex SWG systems. Mine started showing low salt. I don't think the weather seals on the electrical plug are strong enough. When I look in to the electrical plug goin to the pins you show on the cell mine are burnt. I think they get water in them and start arching which overheats and causes the electrical contacts to be damaged. The first picture shows the plug. The left contact is black on the bottom and corresponds with the cracked plastic on the pin. Intex replaced this one under warranty. The replacement did not have a warranty and lasted about 5 months and did the same thing. I think they need to be protected from the weather.



    Gerry
    27' x 54" AG Salt Water Pool Installed 2014, Hayward 23" Sand Filter, 1 HP 2-Speed Power-Flo Matrix Pump, AQ-TROL SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Jblizzle,
    I picked up a smaller PH/Chlorine test kit a while ago so I could keep an eye on the two items I need to test more often. This may be what I need to kick me in the *** and get the TF-100 test kit. I'll add the salt test to the order as well. Apparently I can't trust Leslie's salt tests. How often do you run the full suite of tests? I'm thinking PH/Chlorine weekly (or when I use the pool, which ever is more often), CYA, CH & salt every few weeks. Thoughts?

    JasonLion & gwc, I think you may be right, this unit may just be dead. I'll work on getting my salt concentration correct, then I'll re-test my swg. If its still busted, I'll look into replacing the electrolytic cell for $80. Yeah I know I'm lucky I'm spending so little.

    I'm a bit bummed though. Intex offers a 2 year warranty on the system, but won't honor a warranty on the replacement. Oh well ..
    19,000 IGP TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    My Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit just showed up (yeah Amazon Prime)! I can never wait to play with toys, so WFH became work on pool, then go back to "work". I just tested my water and used 21 drops of the Silver Nitrate. Lets see here, 21 x 200 = 4200ppm of salt.

    So I'll never trust anyone's testing again. Why do I always have to learn stuff the hard way?

    Needless to say I need to drain 25% of my pool to get to a target of 3000ppm, but I'm in CA and we're in the middle of a water crisis so I'll be nice and drain 13% to get me to 3500ppm (max for an Intex). Before I do any draining, I'd like to ask a question about the test.

    The instructions say to put 10ml of water into the test vial (got this water from arms length depth) and add 1 drop of R-0630 Chloromate Indicator and swirl to mix. My test turned yellow, but apparently its supposed to. I then starting adding R-0718 Silver Nitrate one drop at a time, swirling after each one. For the first several drops, it seemed to clump up and when I was done, there were several large clumps (well large for the sample size) in the vial. If I let the sample sit for a moment, everything dropped to the bottom of the vial, but a quick swirl put it back into temporary suspension.

    Question: Did I do this right? Why would there be chunks in the test? I was going to call Taylor, but they're closed for the day. Does anyone know whats going on?

    Thanks guys!

    Side note: My results really upset my wife. She totally agrees with me, Leslie's tests can no longer be tested. She is reluctant to put Piper (our 4 month old daughter) in the pool until we're sure the chemicals are correct. Last week she was unsure we "needed to buy a good test kit. This week seems to be a different story.
    19,000 IGP TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Sounds like you did the test correctly, chunks are normal. The end point can be tricky. SpeedStir helps a lot.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Jblizzle, Thanks for the info. I feel better about my test. You did remind me of the other question I had; I was warned that Silver Nitrate will stain "everything" black for weeks. Does it stain "pill" inside the speedstir?

    Is there any other option for lowering salt than replacing water?

    Thanks!
    19,000 IGP TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    I don't think my pill is stained from the salt test.

    Water replacement is the only way to lower the salt.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    The pill does not become stained. It is a Teflon coated magnet.
    Gerry
    27' x 54" AG Salt Water Pool Installed 2014, Hayward 23" Sand Filter, 1 HP 2-Speed Power-Flo Matrix Pump, AQ-TROL SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir ordered.
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    If you were in Orlando, I would give you one. It's sitting in my garage waiting for me to decide what do to with it. Mine looked "rusty" inside to but it worked prefect while I was using it.
    Sharkline Reprieve 15x52 (3/14). Still using Intex 2650 Sand Filter with Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 3/4 HP pump (6/15). Solar Cover cut into strips for easy removal, (2) 2*10 Space Saver solar panels. Swim Jet HD Robot (by Aquabot) (3/15). Chlorine Liquidator (4 gal). 4 person hot tub. Hard pipe is the way to go for improved flow! Retired Lil Shark (3/15). Starite Max E Therm 333k BTU Propane Heater w/ 24 gal tank (7/15).

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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    My TF-100 kit showed up and I'm ready to start maintaining my pool correctly.

    Numbers from today:
    Salt: 3400
    FC: .5
    CC: .5
    TC: 1
    CH: 275
    TA: 110
    CYA: 50
    PH: 7.2

    I had a new Intex SWG NIB that I hooked up to the pool a few days ago. I've been running it quite a bit. Yesterday and today it ran for 5 hours. Shouldn't I have more FC??

    I went to Walmart to pick up some shock (HTC) so I could shock the pool to get things started, but I thought I was supposed to SMA until CC was .5 or lower. Does this mean I shouldn't bother? I do think CYA needs to come up a bit and TA needs to come down. When I fix TA, PH should pop up a bit.

    I never put the cover on this winter. I just put it on last weekend, but should it be on or off for a SLAM? Is it okay to leave my SWG connected while doing a SLAM?

    Thanks guys!

    --Jonathan
    19,000 IGP TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    You want the cover off for SLAMing.

    Your CYA level is a little low for use with the SWG, but you might as well leave it there for the moment, until SLAMing is done.

    You should still slam because you are having trouble maintaining an FC level.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    Yep that is Intex horrible engineering. If you noticed the new ones are redesigned to eliminate the problem. Problem is where you see the rust, that was a bad design and water starts leaking into the prongs, and the black female connector causing it to short, thus LOW salt beeping. You have to swap out the electroLyric cell. Forget craigslist 90% have the same problem that's why they are selling them. When you put new one one, don't wiggle it, just push straight on. Wiggling causes little crack near the prongs in electrolytic cell.

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    Re: Intex SWG "low salt" & rust???

    I just cleaned my prongs on the connection and used a healthy coating of bulb grease to help seal against the elements.
    Intex 18ft dia. Ultraframe, 6500 gal. above ground Intex pool with Hayward C550 cartridge type filter and Intex Krystal Clear Ozone and saltwater system model ZS8110, Taylor K-2006 test Kit, Pool filter supplemented with Duda Diesel 1 micron filter bag
    Located in Cypress, Tx.

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