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Thread: Lightning storm induces bad pool behavior

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    Lightning storm induces bad pool behavior

    At the end of a recent lightning storm I heard a buzzing from the indoor Compool 3400 control pad and when I went outside to hit the breaker there were disturbing electrical sounds coming from the pool equipment area. The one of the 3 pumps was buzzing so I quickly flipped the breakers on the Compool 3600 power box w/subpanel. I was pretty sure that it was the filter pump since it was the only one scheduled to run at that time. My initial troubleshooting was to break out the Compool manual and familiarize myself with the layout and basic equipment wiring scheme. I then verified the line power delivered to the Compool breakers was in spec (it was) and looked for obvious electrical damage in the guts of the power box (nothing visible). When I flipped the Compool breakers back on it went into service mode. So far so good.
    I checked the spa and pool lights and they worked without incident. However, the 3 pumps (filter, cleaner, water feature) all would just pulse with energy as the relays would spark about once every second. I didn't leave them on but for a few seconds. Throwing the breakers to off, I disconnected the power lines at each motor. I then re-powered the box and hit each pump control to see what the relays would do. They stayed on (no pulsating clicks). The voltage being delivered to the load side of the relays measured 230V. I then hooked each motor up separately with no real change in behavior except the water feature motor would now sometimes pulse a few times then start running "normally" before I quickly turned it off.
    As luck would have it I had a spare BRAND NEW motor for the filter pump and switched it out to no avail. It still pulsed in electrical agony when energized. Thinking the pump relay contactors may have been damaged I switched a working identical light relay with the filter pump relay to see what happened. No joy and still no joy when I changed the switch position on the circuit board to the working light spot.

    Right about then, as I was contemplating chasing down a new Compool circuit $board$ my wife says from just inside the back door,"Is it supposed to be making this noise?"
    My irritated reply, "Noise? What (&$@#@);} noise!? What's making noise?"
    The response from my now similarly irritated lovely spouse of 30 years, "The pool controller thing here on the wall!"
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    .
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    Ever have one of those flashes of insight only to be overshadowed by how stupid you are? And rude to loved ones?
    Anyway, wall controller plugged in -> Compool freaked out. Wall controller unplugged -> Compool functioning member of society. Since I was nowhere near the wall pad when troubleshooting I never heard it buzzing except for the night of the storm (doh!). I'll now be debugging if it's the connection or the wall pad controller by a direct plug in to the primary controller. All thanks to my wife who knows she saved the day.

    As an ugly aside, each relay runs about $50 - $120 each when the word 'pool' is associated with it but when bought from an industrial supply they seem to run between $9 - $20 depending on quantity. I only found a single wholesaler apparently with stock.
    16K gal w/ 7ft. spa, plaster, Jandy CS200 cartridge, Waterway 2hp pump, Raypak P-R405BL heater, Polaris 280 w/pump, retired Nature2
    Magical 2ft wide waterfall cascading over a built-in bench seat with the lawn boy's name on it

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Re: Lightning storm induces bad pool behavior

    Ghesh... hope you get it figured out! And take that lovely wife of yours out to dinner!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Lightning storm induces bad pool behavior

    Thanks for the cheering section Casey. The missus will be swimming in sushi for her efforts.

    I did the cable integrity check by taking the indoor controller pad out to the main power/controller box. There was an OEM cable attached to the inside of the unit so I had no problem chasing down a new one with the appropriate pinout (mentioned in another thread on TroubleFreePool). The indoor pad did not work. Both the main circuit board and the pad had two comports on them and no configuration produced anything but a buzzing from the pad. At the time I thought that was better than a screwed up cable since it was a complete pain to run when the pool was installed.

    Until I priced a replacement PCCP3600 or the circuit boards that apparently can replace it. $250 to $400.

    Are there alternate and less expensive paths than chunking a wad of cash at the problem? I once helped a friend chase down a new security alarm keypad that was 4 times cheaper than what the documentation listed. The manufacturer would only refer you to security companies and the security companies wouldn't service anything that did not belong to an active customer. My friend had discontinued the monitoring service a long time ago and just wanted a noisy alarm. Pool equipment manufacturers seem to be set up in a similarly evil fashion.
    16K gal w/ 7ft. spa, plaster, Jandy CS200 cartridge, Waterway 2hp pump, Raypak P-R405BL heater, Polaris 280 w/pump, retired Nature2
    Magical 2ft wide waterfall cascading over a built-in bench seat with the lawn boy's name on it

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    Re: Lightning storm induces bad pool behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerJohn View Post

    Are there alternate and less expensive paths than chunking a wad of cash at the problem? I once helped a friend chase down a new security alarm keypad that was 4 times cheaper than what the documentation listed. The manufacturer would only refer you to security companies and the security companies wouldn't service anything that did not belong to an active customer. My friend had discontinued the monitoring service a long time ago and just wanted a noisy alarm. Pool equipment manufacturers seem to be set up in a similarly evil fashion.
    LOL, looks like dropping more than a $1000 for the Compool -> Easy Touch DIY upgrade ain't gonna happen. Have opted for a $180 used CP3800 from ebay. Looks like the seller is parting out his old pool equipment from his own upgrade. Has a 14 day return policy. My fingers are crossed this goes smooth since swimming season is upon us in Texas.
    16K gal w/ 7ft. spa, plaster, Jandy CS200 cartridge, Waterway 2hp pump, Raypak P-R405BL heater, Polaris 280 w/pump, retired Nature2
    Magical 2ft wide waterfall cascading over a built-in bench seat with the lawn boy's name on it

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