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Thread: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

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    Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    Hello, all. It's been a while since I've visited TFP, but I'm in need of some assistance.

    I have an Aquarite system with a T-15 Turbocell that I installed in July of 2007. It's been working great for nearly seven years, but it started reading low numbers for the salt level about 6-7 weeks ago. I figured the cell is probably at the end of its life, given its age. Today, I noticed my chlorine levels are a little low, so I checked out the SWG system. The panel is showing about 30.6 volts and zero current in both polarities. It says the water temperature is 34 degrees, though it's really about 88. That last part is strange and I can find no info on why the temperature would be so wrong at the same time it's no longer generating. I assumed the temperature sensor would be unaffected by the cell's age since it's its own sensor in the cell. It makes me think it's either a coincidence, the temperature sensor failed with the cell, or the control board has failed.

    I found a diagnostic chart that made me think the zero current and high voltage indicate a faulty control board and not necessarily a bad cell. I visually inspected the board and it looks brand new with no cooked components, no unusual smells, and not even so much as a single spider nest. The connector to the cell looks clean, too.

    I'm wondering if I should just replace the cell and gamble that the control board is fine. Do these symptoms tell anyone here that I should be considering something else? The water is in great shape with all numbers in the ideal range. The water is sparkling clear.

    Thank you in advance!
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    Most cells are good for 3-5 years, so i would immediately suspect the cell. Have you inspected for scaling? Might try what was recommended in this thread:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...y-reading-2600
    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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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    That's interesting about those sensors. AFAIK, I clean mine in a stand with the cord end up, too, but I fill it to the brim with the acid solution. I wonder if I'm still missing those sensors doing that. I cleaned it a month or so ago when I noticed the low salt readings, but I have never actually seen build-up in my cell as our water is pretty low on minerals.
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    The temperature is probably set to metric. 88 f is close to 33 c. To change to standard, move the switch from auto to superchlorinate and then back to auto while the temperature is displayed

    What is the actual salt reading and what does the box show?

    Try this:

    Turn the switch to off.
    wait 5 minutes.
    move the switch to auto
    In about 20 seconds, you will hear a click
    wait 10 seconds
    scroll through the diagnostic readings.

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    Ah, it was metric! Thank you for that. I must've toggled it when I was messing around with the readings.

    Here are the readings in order from the first screen:

    2600 > 90 > 23.4 > 4.96 > 55P > -2600 > AL - 3 > r 1.40

    The actual salt reading is around 3100. I don't know why it's now showing a more-reasonable voltage and current when it wasn't earlier today.
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    Everything looks good. If you need a quick boost of chlorine, liquid chlorine or regular 8.25% sodium hypochlorite bleach would be better than trying to use the salt system. The salt system is good for maintaining the fc.

    There are a few reasons why the fc could be low other than an underperforming salt system. Possibly algae or other organics. Possibly insufficient pump run time etc.

    It's normal for the salt system to read the salt level lower than actual as the cell gets to the end of its life. You can increase the salt level to compensate. I would change the cell when the box reads 1,000 to 1,200 lower than actual.

    Also, the system is set to 55 %. That means that the cell is on 55% of the time and off 45 % of the time. If the cell is off when you scroll through the diagnostic readings, then you will get the 30 to 31 volts and 0 amps.

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    Thank you, JamesW. I'll have to keep an eye on it as I don't know why it was not showing any current this morning and it refused to generate any chlorine. I'm generally not a fan of intermittent problems as they make troubleshooting trickier.
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    The earlier readings don't necessarily indicate a problem. The cell might have been off. It is on for the percent of time as set on the controller and off the rest of the time.

    Note: Some salt systems, such as the Hayward Aquarite, use the cell to calculate the salt level. If the salt level is calculated more than 400 ppm too low, that would be an indication that the cell is wearing out.

    However, some salt systems, such as the Autopilot and Jandy Aquapure, use a separate salt sensor. A calculated salt level more than 400 ppm too low would indicate a problem with the sensor but would not indicate any problem with the cell.

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    I was getting the zero readings and the "check cell" indicator within a minute of turning it on, so it wasn't behaving in the normal manner. Regardless, I'll continue to monitor it to see if I need to order a new cell. I've gotten a good run out of this one, but I sure wouldn't mind getting even more life out of it!
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    If the "check cell" is flashing, then it is only a reminder to check the cell. It is on a timer and can be cleared by pushing the diagnostic button for a few seconds.

    If "check cell" is lit solid, then the cell might have a problem.

    Try raising the salt level some to get the box to read about 3000 to 3200.

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    The check cell was solid and production was halted (Generating LED turned off and the relay clicked off). I do use the flashing LED to remind me to at least visually check the cell before I reset it. I also recalibrate at that time "just in case."

    I'll add some salt, but I saw in the diagnostics manual that they really do not want salt added if the generator is reporting low readings. They seem quite adamant about it, even though I've often done this in the past and have been told to do so by countless people.

    From the guide:
    Low salt should always require a cell cleaning first and then an actual meter measurement of the salt level in the water. If the cell is clean and the level of salt measured in the water is correct, then the cell has began to age, which results in a lower calculated salt level. This is an acceptable situation, assuming the level of free chlorine in the pool is appropriate. NEVER add additional salt in this circumstance.
    They say to increase run percentage to compensate for any weaker production instead of adding salt. They don't detail, however, how to deal with a salt reading so low that it shuts off production. I suppose, in that situation, it's finally time to replace the worn cell.
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    If you raise the salt level to compensate for a worn out cell you will quickly end up with the salt level so high that a new cell will refuse to function and you will end up replacing water to get the salt level down.
    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

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    I suspect that is exactly why they don't want salt added. I think there isn't any harm in keeping the salt level near the top of the ideal range to offset what my current cell thinks is available. Once even that is insufficient for it, I'll order a new cell.
    blubluenoiseise

    My pool: 14,750 gallons in-ground plaster
    FAFCO Solar panels (seven 4' x 12') with a Goldline automatic controller
    1/2 HP WhisperFlo filter pump, Kreepy Krauly cleaner, Cartridge Filter
    Aquarite SWG, Satisfied user of the TF-100 Test Kit

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Aquarite Cell or Controller Board?

    I agree that you should not add too much salt. I would suggest a maximum level of 3800.

    It might be time to replace the cell if the check cell indicator is lit solid.

    Note that with the high water temperature and solar heat, a new cell could pull too many amps while the solar is on if the salt is too high.

    As noted above, adding salt to compensate for the failing cell might require a partial drain and refill when the cell is replaced.

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