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Thread: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

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    New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Hi,

    I have a 425 gallon Cal Spa GII 750B with the gecko in.clear system. I live in Vancouver, BC.

    Some questions.

    In.clear system questions:
    My in.clear system almost always says 'hi'. I just drained, refilled and added the bromine yesterday, following the instructions precisely and inevitably it always says 'hi'. Why?
    I don't understand the 'tds' test, as when I do that, I never get a number it just says '8H'.
    The maintenance mode, it says to set it at a certain number, but it doesn't explain what that does or how increasing or decreasing it makes a difference. The 'help' video just says to increase or decrease if the tds is not correct. Ok, well, I don't know how to get my tds nor do I know if I should increase or decrease?

    Test kit questions:
    While my in.clear system always says 'hi', the bromine test is always at the bottom end of low. I don't understand how the test says one thing and the in.clear says the opposite. If it's low, do I add more bromine? Is 'bromine' different than the in.clear system bromine?
    And the chlorine test and bromine test are exactly the same. Same, steps, same number of drops of solution. Why two tests? I don't get.
    PH/Alkalinity/etc. I understand these tests, although when they are not in ideal ranges, how do you know how much of the appropriate solution to add?
    The alkalinity--if it's low, it says add sodium bicarbonate. Does that really just mean baking soda? How much?

    I've looked through the forum and everyone seems to have access to specific numbers and ppm, how do you get that? My test kit is just colours and it's frankly hard to determine if it's close much less have a specific number.

    This is a lot of info, I'm happy to provide photos, more info anything you need to help resolve this. There seems to be very little on the in.clear system on the internet...

    Thanks!!

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    It is recommended here that you get a standard, reliable drop-based test kit. The one's recommended here are the TF-100 from tftestkits.net or finding a Taylor K-2006 from either a pool store or online. What test kit are you using to test the water? Both of the test kits I mentioned have two free chlorine/free bromine tests. One is the color match like you mentioned which is for daily ball-park testing with intervals of 0.2-0.3 on the pH scale and 1 FC or 2 FB on the chlorine/bromine test. The other free chlorine/bromine test in these kits is called a FAS-DPD test. It tests for FC/FB with a resolution of 0.5 FC or 1 FB in ppm. There are also drop-based tests for TA, CH and a test for CYA.

    I'm not familiar with the in.clear system but to me it looks like a salt water brominator system, which is not all that common. Well at least we don't see them much on TFP. It's the same as a salt water chlorinating system but is using sodium bromide rather than sodium chloride.

    TDS is a relatively meaningless number. TDS is actually many chemicals combined into one number, which makes it fairly useless. TDS was used to approximate CYA concentrations back before reliable testing was available for this compound. There is information on TDS with a good explanation here: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...l=1#post617240 The short answer is that TDS is very meaningless, especially in a bromine spa.

    You're best served starting with a few things to get familiar with maintaining water chemistry:
    1 - Get a test kit that is reliable and drop-based. For a small bromine tub, I'd recommend the K-2006 kit.
    2 - Do some reading in the Pool School section of this site. Start with ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and then what is interesting to you in the Getting Started section. Even though you're "auto-brominating" the sticky thread on How do I use Bromine in my spa is helpful.

    I would follow the start up method for Bromine spas in the Bromine Spa thread I linked and treat your in.clear just like you would adding any oxidizer to your spa. In your case, your auto-brominator is providing the oxidation rather than bleach, MPS or bromine tablets in a more traditional spa system. You'll have to tinker with the output of your brominator to keep it in balance. Likely a low setting most of the time and then a higher setting during and immediately after soaks in the spa to keep up with bather load/waste.

    It's a lot to take in right away but read what you can and ask questions!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    I don't know the answers to most of your questions, but you clearly need a better test kit. See the list of recommended test kits in Pool School.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Just to follow up for clarity, I am using sodium bromide 'bromicharge', not bromine.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The in.clear system is this one: https://www.geckoalliance.com/en/conso/Products/ProductInfo/4/in.clear

    And I am using the blue devil test kit: http://www.poolandspa.com/catalog/product000008000096.cfm

    I thought I posted this already but it didn't show up.

    So, I will look into the k-2006 test kit.

    But no one has any experience with that particular in.clear system?

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by waldenvancouver View Post
    Just to follow up for clarity, I am using sodium bromide 'bromicharge', not bromine.
    In a pool sanitation context, sodium bromide is bromine. The difference in terminology just has to do with the chemical formula of the product you add to the pool vs. the active ingredient.
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Basically, you use an oxidizer to activate the bromide to bromine. When the bromine is used/consumed it reverts to bromide again.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    So, when my test kit shows my bromine level as very low, but the in.clear system says 'hi', which do I believe? When the system says 'hi', it stops converting the bromide...

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Looking at your manual (http://www.geckoalliance.com/Documen...manual_bil.pdf), it appears the the HI indicator is when the Sodium Bromide or salt level has gotten too high or it could be due to a problem with calcium hardness (CH), total alkalinity (TA) or residual organics (bather waste).

    Using a test kit, check the TA and CH levels first and get the pH in range. Your system recommends:

    Calcium hardness (TH): between 150 and 200 PPM
    Total Alkalinity: between 100 and 120 PPM
    pH: between 7.2 and 7.8

    The pH and CH (TH by in.clear manual) are in line with what the bromine thread on this site recommends. The TA, we typically recommend lower but you should try to get those in range based on in.clear manual or your system will complain at you. If those 3 values are in line, then your sodium bromide level, the sodium bromide salt you added NOT free bromine, is too high. The only way to lower that would be draining some water and replacing with fresh.

    Right now it seems like your automated system might be outsmarting itself or something was not done correctly with the start up additions.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Ok. Thanks for that. I will work on getting the levels in the correct range. I hope that is the issue and not the bromide.

    Thanks!

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    In looking for those test kits, they are all only available in the US and won't ship here....

    Is this one comparable?

    http://www.hottubessentials.ca/Rainb...-Test-Kit.html

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Not comparable.

    I neglected to look at your location... my bad.

    Here is all I can offer:

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...Water-Test-Kit

    EDIT:

    Turns out the link to the ebay seller is broken in that thread... I'd look on ebay for a source.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    The Taylor website lists this for Canadian ordering:

    At the present time we are only equipped to handle domestic orders (all 50 states) on this website. Please print out the contents of your shopping cart and use it to place your order by telephone or fax. Contact information is presented below:

    For all Canadian orders, contact Lowry & Associates in Newmarket, Ontario:
    905-836-0505 (voice)
    905-895-4539 (fax)
    info@lowryassociates.ca
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Try Apollo Pools
    http://piscines-apollo.com
    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

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Great, I'll give them a call.

    Thanks!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    That link is dead for me...

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    That is too bad, they were by far the best place to shop for Taylor stuff in Canada.
    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 JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    I don't remember when, but I know Apollo lost the Taylor sales in Canada toward the end of last year. Out of business?
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Hi all,

    I'm using my old kit, while I wait on my new kit.
    Sorry if these questions seem, dumb...I'm struggling to get this with my apparently unique system.

    Is calcium hardness the same as total hardness? I just measured using test strips that I have and it registers total hardness as very low.

    I also tested for chlorine and after adding the drops, there was no colour change. That means I have basically none? The salt system I have doesn't require chlorine so I'm confused as to what to add?

    Like I said, all I've done since I refilled the tub is add the bromicharge, I haven't added anything else to the system yet.

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Calcium hardness is a portion of total hardness, which includes hardness from sources other than just calcium.

    Active bromine will test as chlorine, so the test should have shown some chlorine if the salt system was working correctly. I suppose it may just need some more time to get going.

    If you want you could add 5 ppm chlorine using bleach, see PoolMath for exact numbers for your situation. That will get some bromine activated and should be more than enough to take care of any initial contaminates.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Calcium hardness is a portion of total hardness, which includes hardness from sources other than just calcium.

    Active bromine will test as chlorine, so the test should have shown some chlorine if the salt system was working correctly. I suppose it may just need some more time to get going.

    If you want you could add 5 ppm chlorine using bleach, see PoolMath for exact numbers for your situation. That will get some bromine activated and should be more than enough to take care of any initial contaminates.
    Thanks--just household bleach?

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    Re: New hot tub owner---lots of questions!

    Yes, normal household bleach is exactly the same chemical as liquid chlorine that pool professionals often use, just at a slightly lower concentration. You want plain bleach, without any scents or special features (avoid outdoors, no splash, etc).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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