Bad Board or Bad Salt Cell?

RonInSoFla

Member
Jul 4, 2020
10
West Palm Beach, FL
Pool Size
15000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I have an AquaLogic salt chlorination system that is reporting "Very Low Salt" and resulting in the "chlorinator off" with the check system light on. I have a Hayward T-15 salt cell which I took out and inspected. The plates are clean and free of any debris or build-up, and are unbroken. The AquaLogic is reporting the salt level as 1500 ppm, but independent checking at the pool store was actually high - 4800 ppm, no doubt because I was relying upon the inaccurate reading from the AquaLogic and added salt before I knew there was a problem. I have had this problem twice before over the last 15 years, once it was the board, once it was the salt cell. I also inspected the board and did not see any bad or burned solder points (pic attached - what seems to be across the middle of the board is the reflection of the rain gutter on the roof).

I would appreciate any guidance on how to identify and determine whether it's the board or the salt cell. Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks.
 

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mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
14,729
Pleasanton, CA
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Sounds like a bad cell. A few pool stores can test the cell for you.
 

RonInSoFla

Member
Jul 4, 2020
10
West Palm Beach, FL
Pool Size
15000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Removed the salt cell and went to the pool store to get it tested, hoping for a board issue because it's cheaper to repair/replace than the salt cell. It was the cell. :-( Looked online and was able to find one new from a reputable seller for a bit less than retail at the pool store, but even so, ouch! Can't help wondering if I wouldn't be better off buying a cell bypass tube for $18 and switching to liquid chlorine .....
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,200
When did you buy the cell?

What are the first 7 characters of the serial number?
 

RonInSoFla

Member
Jul 4, 2020
10
West Palm Beach, FL
Pool Size
15000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
So after taking my salt cell to the local pool store for testing on their Hayward cell testing rig (done right in front of me), my T-15 cell is bad. It was suggested to me that I might be able to replace my T-15 (40,000 gallons) with a T-9 (25,000 gallons) to save some of the high cost associated with cell replacement, since my pool is only 15,000 gallons. However, when I go into the Config Menu to change the setting on my cell from T-15 to T-9, T-9 is not an option. The only options are T-15 and T-5. My Firmware Revision version is 2.92, and the paperwork the T-9 came with says anything below 4.10 and I cannot use a T-9.

Before I return the T-9 and suck up the cost of the T-15, is there any way to update the firmware so that I can use the T-9 that would be less expensive than returning it and buying the T-15? Or perhaps a way to configure the system so that I could successfully use the T-9 and still get accurate salt level readings? Thanks!
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,200
is there any way to update the firmware so that I can use the T-9 that would be less expensive than returning it and buying the T-15? Or perhaps a way to configure the system so that I could successfully use the T-9 and still get accurate salt level readings? Thanks!
It really won't work well.

You could increase the salinity to make it work, but that is not a good solution.

You could try it on the T-5 setting and it will read the salinity as higher than actual, but it might shut down depending on what the shutdown amperage is.
 

RonInSoFla

Member
Jul 4, 2020
10
West Palm Beach, FL
Pool Size
15000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I was thinking that's more than likely what the responses would say. First time I was praying for a board issue instead of a cell issue due to the lower cost of replacement these days. Guess I either have to bite the bullet or just buy a bypass tube and switch to liquid chlorine with more frequent testing .....
 

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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,200
How much more is the T-15?

Try it on the T-5 setting, it will probably work.

If it shuts off with a high salt warning, just lower the salinity some and it will be fine.
 

RonInSoFla

Member
Jul 4, 2020
10
West Palm Beach, FL
Pool Size
15000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
The difference was about another $120 before tax. The best price I could locate online for the T-15 cell was around $650 plus tax, which brought it to just under $700. Retail at various pool stores was even worse. The best price I could locate online for the T-9 cell was around $530 plus tax, which brought it to just under $590. I can get a cell bypass tube for about $17, and can make one for even less, and liquid chlorine is going for around $6 per 2 1/2 gallon jug in these parts. It's really tempting to make the switch to liquid chlorine and to heck with the ridiculous pricing on the salt cells. Anyone want to talk me off the ledge with the pros of sticking with a salt system? ......