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Thread: Rainbow Chlorinator 320 - Installed wrong or too small for pool?

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    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Rainbow Chlorinator 320 - Installed wrong or too small for pool?

    So, I have this hunch and i'm hoping a pool expert can help.

    Let me start by saying, we pretty much follow BBB to the letter -- I only use our inline chlorinator at the beginning of the season to keep our pool in shock until it's clean and we're ready to officially open it/swim (and the pucks let me introduce CYA somewhat effectively) and we use the chlorinator when we go out of town of more than 3-4 days.

    We used to have a Hayward 220 inline system. I could put 9 pucks in it, turn it on 1/2 way, and the pucks would last for ~7-10 days and my chlorine would stay a constant 7-10 ppm. When we had our heater removed at the beginning of this season, they couldn't replumb the old inline system and sold us a new Rainbow 320 (in my defense - I was 7 days postpartum and seriously lacking sleep when I agreed to just let them sell us a new unit without doing any research on it. I stupidly assumed they would replace it with the same system, only new).

    That was two weeks ago. My husband added 9 pucks the day it was installed and there are still 6 in the system. We're running is FULL OPEN and I can't get the chlorine to register at more than .6 ppm (and this is after I've been shocking it liquid chlorine every other day). You can tell there's water running thru it (the pucks are wet) -- but it doesn't seem like they're dissolving at ALL. These pucks are left over from last year, but according to the bucket -- are still good.

    I don't know if the inline system was installed incorrectly, or if it's just a super sucky system in comparison to our old Hayward system. With a new baby -- I was kinda hoping to use the inline system to keep the chlorine up until we could have our liquidator installed. I'm just not sure if I should call the pool company and tell them to come out and fix the inline system - or if it's just undersized/crappy for my pool size.

    Anyone have experience?
    21K gal, IG - Free Form, Vinyl (replaced in 2012) with Hayward S-244T Sand Filter, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator (installed in 2015 to replace Hayward 220 Chlorinator), in process of installing Liquidator

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    SW Indiana
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    Re: Rainbow Chlorinator 320 - Installed wrong or too small for pool?

    The 320 is a pretty good chlorinator. Sometimes the water flow isn't sufficient and you need to add a longer feed tube that connects to the top hole.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Rainbow Chlorinator 320 - Installed wrong or too small for pool?

    The Rainbow chlorinator is usually connected to the plumbing as follows:
    • The input to the chlorinator is connected between the filter and the heater.
    • The output from chlorinator is connected between the heater and the pool.


    When you open the chlorinator to put put pucks in, all the water runs out, and then when you put the lid back on and turn on the pump, the difference in pressure betwen the inlet and outlet determines how much the air inside the chlorinator will be compressed to allow a pool of water at the bottom. If the difference in pressure is small, you will not have enough water at the bottom to dissolve the tablets at the rate you need.

    Fortunately, if you aren't getting enough water in, you can add it yourself.

    Follow these steps every time you add pucks:
    1. Turn off the pump, and open the chlorinator. (At this point, it is best to have the chlorinator valve set greater than zero, so the highly chlorinated water will run out, and you won't be overcome with fumes, and you won't be splashed when you add tablets.)
    2. Add your tablets.
    3. Set the output valve to zero (0) to prevent water from running out.
    4. Add one cup of water. Use a consistent amount every time you do this, so you'll have a consistent rate of chlorination.
    5. Replace the cap on the chlorinator.
    6. Turn on the pump, and wait a few seconds for most of the air to work its way out of the system.
    7. Set the chlorinator's control valve to the level you desire.


    The water you add in step 4 will let the tablets dissolve the way you expect. The trick is to remember to reset the chlorinator control valve back above zero at the end (step 7). It's easy to forget that last step.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    SW Indiana
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    Re: Rainbow Chlorinator 320 - Installed wrong or too small for pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomBorg View Post
    The Rainbow chlorinator is usually connected to the plumbing as follows:
    • The input to the chlorinator is connected between the filter and the heater.
    • The output from chlorinator is connected between the heater and the pool.
    A Rainbow 320 has it's inlet and outlet in virtually the same place inside a T at the base of the chlorinator. You couldn't have the inlet and outlet on opposite sides of the heater.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Rainbow Chlorinator 320 - Installed wrong or too small for pool?

    Ah, you are correct, thank you. My detailed instructions were for a Rainbow 300, not the 320. But the basic idea of adding water to the chlorinator (steps 3, 4, 5 above) might still be valid. I don't have hands-on experience with that one.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

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