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Thread: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

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    Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    New pool owner here so go easy on me. I'll answer the best I can.

    Bought a house with a pool. Went through pool school with a company here, read pool school here. (Awesome site, by the way...learned more here than any other place combined without having to create my own thread...until now!) A new heater and salt cell installed on the pool a week before I took possession but the water was awful so I drained and refilled on the advice of my pool school guy and my own peace of mind. After a little over a week I was comfortable with where I had the water. pH was continuing to rise and I was fighting it, but the other numbers looked acceptable, at least to a newbie.

    Pool is PebbleTec with a T-15 SWG. Roughly 20K gallon play pool, though I haven't had time to measure each individual section down to a degree.

    I had the pool tested on Saturday. I'm not sure I'm completely buying their results but here is what they had:
    FC - 3
    TC - 3
    Salt - 2600
    CYA - 20
    TA - 70
    ph - 8.0

    I'm doubting the salt is that low as I've never had a reading that low from anyone else and my display unit read 3000 to 3300 consistently. The pH number sounds right...I've been fighting it with MA, bringing the pH down and then having it rise again as my alkalinity dropped (when I opened the pool the TA was at 220). Their TA number is also lower than I was seeing in my own testing, but it was continuing to drop as I added acid.

    Sunday is when the problems started. I had a "Chlorinator Off High Salt/Amps" error on my control unit. Looked it up and found the issue was likely a burnt/broken/weak solder point on the K1 relay. Had to leave town until the next day and on Monday night it had turned into a "No Cell Power" error, which appears to need the same fix as the first error.

    Attempted to fix it last night using the fix seen by so many others online by resoldering the post. It didn't work but I'm a terrible at soldering so it's possible I just didn't do it right. It's also possible the K1 is fried, which I don't have any equipment to confirm. Praying I don't have to buy a new board.

    I just tested the pool:
    pH - 7.7
    Alk - 90
    Chlorine - maybe 0.5 for both FC and TC, at most.

    I don't have a kit that does CYA because I haven't been smart enough to buy the kit from this site yet.

    After the long winded intro, my two questions. My chlorine levels have dropped to almost immeasurable (both FC and TC) and I don't want to lose the pool, so....
    1) It is harmful to run water through the SWG when it has no power? It is less than two months old and I'd hate to wreck it.
    2) Can I add chlorine or bleach myself to keep the pool sanitized until I get can this fixed?

    I'm going to take another stab at fixing the K1 relay connection or possibly replacing the relay itself but I want to make sure I don't leave myself in a hole if it takes me a couple of days to do it.

    Any advice is appreciated.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Easy answers
    1. It is fine to run water through the cell with the SWG off. In fact, it normally does this while not generating.
    2. YES! Maintain adequate FC using bleach until you get it fixed. And by adequate I mean as a function of your CYA level. See the FC/CYA Chart.

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, for a CYA we recommend a much higher CYA level than you reported. See Water Balance for SWGs

    And get your pH down
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Easy answers
    1. It is fine to run water through the cell with the SWG off. In fact, it normally does this while not generating.
    2. YES! Maintain adequate FC using bleach until you get it fixed. And by adequate I mean as a function of your CYA level. See the FC/CYA Chart.

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, for a CYA we recommend a much higher CYA level than you reported. See Water Balance for SWGs

    And get your pH down
    Man, this place is awesome. I'm fighting the pH but it's punching me back. I've added four gallons of MA over the course of weeks which made sense while the TA was high, but the TA actually went down to 70 and the pH was still too high. That had me confused - could it be due to low CYA? I have CYA here and wasn't going to add it until I had some other things figured out, then the wheels came off the bus the next day.

    Should I add the stabilizer now, or should I fight the pH with MA, or should I add the bleach right now? I apologize if these rookie questions are bothersome but I'm in more of a hurry now than I was prior to this SWG issue.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Yes, now would be a fine time to start raising the CYA level. You ned to raise CYA quite a bit. It is best to make large changes in two or three steps. That gives you a chance to measure the level in-between and adjust as needed. It is easy to raise CYA more later, but difficult to lower if you get too high accidentally.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    When the SWG is generating, that is a form or aeration which raises the pH (any aeration like spa overflow or waterfalls will do this). So, because your CYA is too low, you have to use a higher % setting on the SWG to maintain FC and thus are generating more. This results in the pH going up more than if you had higher CYA and the SWG did not have to run as much.

    Your TA is fine and the last thing you should consider worrying about. You pH is not really high enough to worry about, just keep it in the 7s.

    So, the first thing you need to always ensure is that you have enough FC in the pool so as to not get algae.
    If your water looks clear and you are pretty sure there is nothing in the water, then you could start to raise the CYA. I don't think I would go higher than 40ppm until you have the SWG working again and then raise the CYA more.

    So, use PoolMath to calculate how much bleach you should add. Then I would add 20ppm of CYA (put it in a sock and hang it in front of a return or put it in the skimmer if you leave the pump on). Realize that you should test and add chlorine every day.

    And just hurry up and get the TF-100 ordered
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Thanks to both of you for your help. The water looks fine, I just don't want to let it get away from me. I still have a lot to learn and I was comfortable learning it as I went until the SWG took a **** on me. It probably wouldn't bother me much but it's just piling on as this new house has been a general disaster. We're over a month in from taking possession and it seems like I have contractors here every day to fix something that wasn't disclosed but was clearly known about and managed to be hidden from inspection. I'm about ready to crack.

    Attempt #2 at soldering the K1 relay also didn't work, so now I'm going to replace the relay. If that doesn't work, I guess the wallet will get a little thinner. And it was already pretty thin.

    I'll get on adjusting the CYA and getting some sanitizer back in there, and I'll order the TF-100 tonight if a toilet doesn't fall through the floor.

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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    I decided to skim the pool and give it a good brushing before getting down to the chemical biz. Skimmed it, got in and brushed 3/4 of it, then a huge wind gust came through while I was standing in the pool, dumping more leaves in it than I'd seen in it at a single time to date.

    I really did something to anger the karma gods. Wish I knew what, because I'd sure like to rectify it.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    That usually happens when I am sweeping up the carport. As soon as I get everything in a pile, a bunch of wind shows up and spreads it all around again
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    aussieta's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    how many hours a day are you running your SWG and at what percent
    SWG inground peanut shaped eco-bright concrete pool
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    are you taking care of your pool or is the poolshop taking care of you

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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    The PH is showing 8. That means the PH could be much higher than 8. That would explain the large amount of MA use. Is it still at 8?
    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: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    aussieta - I was running my pump for 5.5 hours a day with the SWG set at 50%, before the SWG bombed out on me.

    gwc - I've been fighting the pH for awhile, but after adding just a little acid last night my test this morning showed somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6, and the pool store told me 7.4. So I should be able to keep that under control.

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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Good to hear that -- sorry about the karma
    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: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Another update - after a trip through the pool math wizard, yesterday at 5pm I added 4/5 gallon of bleach and fired up the pump. At 8pm, I added a rough guess at 4 lbs of stabilizer which should raise a pool my size by 25 ppm (it actually turned out to be 3.8 lbs...I weighed it later...pretty good guess). I also added 1/3 gallon of MA at 10pm then hit the sack.

    This morning at 7am:
    pH - 7.6 on my own test, 7.4 at the pool store
    CC - 3 (free chlorine was nearly the same...I couldn't tell a difference)
    Alk - 90
    CYA - still at 20.
    CH - I actually didn't catch the level, but he told me I was at the top of the acceptable level and to start keeping an eye on it.

    So after adding nearly 4 lbs of granular stabilizer (mixed with water, slowly added through the skimmer), my CYA doesn't seem to have moved at all. I'm hesitant to add any more. Should I let it run through another night or two and see if it moves before adjusting that level?

    I'll be keeping a close eye on the chlorine levels.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    You need to give the CYA a week to fully dissolve before it will all reliably show up on the CYA test.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    You need to give the CYA a week to fully dissolve before it will all reliably show up on the CYA test.
    Based on what the bag said and what I had read, I figured that was the answer but wanted to confirm. Thanks for doing so.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    You order that test kit yet? You need to wean yourself off that pool store testing, they are notoriously bad at the CYA test.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    You order that test kit yet? You need to wean yourself off that pool store testing, they are notoriously bad at the CYA test.
    Just completed the order. Thanks for staying on me!

    And after watching the CYA test video, I couldn't turn down the magnetic stirrer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Dang it - I just moved and my credit card still had the old address. I changed the address on the order to get the transaction to process, but I was moving too fast and didn't list a different ship to address. I'm getting frazzled.

    Is there someone I can contact to have that ordered updated to send to my new address? I'm sounding like a real idiot here...this house stress is killing me.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    You can call them at tftestkits.net ... either Dave or Meg will answer: (919) 528-1454
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    OK, now I'm getting somewhere. My soldering kit arrived Friday, a new relay a couple of days earlier. The test kit arrived on Friday as well - thanks to Meg for straightening out the shipping address after my goof on the order.

    Though no one will be hiring me to re-wire their TV circuit board anytime soon, I did manage to get the relay off and put the other one on. Not only did the board have a burn mark but the relay was fried as well. The diagnostics came back normal for the chlorinator when I fired it up...after about 30 seconds it shut itself down. It took awhile (maybe an hour or two?) for the system to figure out the correct salt count, but once it came back up to where I knew it to be, it seems to be working normally. My remote unit also quit working at the same time which scared me, but it turned out to be coincidence. The connection inside the wireless unit fell off during my monkeying. Removed the cover of the wireless box, plugged it back in and everything worked fine. A $15 soldering kit and a $6 relay did the trick. Phew.

    So my system seems to be back to normal, assuming my sub-par soldering job hangs on. I tested everything on Saturday. Here are my numbers - any advice?

    18K gallon PebbleTec pool with spa and water feature, T-15 SWG.
    pH - 7.4
    FC - 8.5
    CC - 0
    TA - 80
    CH - 240 for purple, 300 for blue
    CYA - two tests, one right after the other - 34 on the first, 39 on the second

    I struggle to read the chlorine number so I love the FAS/DPD chlorine test. My chlorine number is pretty high, probably because I couldn't read the standard test very well.

    I was a little unsure of how to read the calcium hardness test, and the CYA test is just difficult to do. I was pleased my two independent CYA tests came back similar.

    How does one read the CH test? I noted when it hit purple (240), then kept adding drops until it turned a definite blue (300).

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Cell no power - what to do until I get this fixed?

    Quote Originally Posted by kchacker View Post
    How does one read the CH test? I noted when it hit purple (240), then kept adding drops until it turned a definite blue (300).
    Yup, blue is what you want. And that means if you add yet another drop it doesn't get any bluer (you won't count that last drop you added just to make sure you were as blue as blue can be!)

    Same idea with the TA test- go until it's as pink/red as it will get and that last drop which doesn't change it anymore (brighter pink red) won't be counted. I always get pink at 70, then bright pink-red at 80 and no more change if I add yet another drop.
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