Balboa pack leisure bay spa melted terminal block

Johnny99976

Member
Dec 12, 2021
5
Florida
Hello, I have a bunch of questions. I have a friend with a leisure bay hot tub built in 2000 with a balboa pack. She says it did work and the neighbor says it’s broken and can’t be fixed. Anyway I looked at it and the terminal block is melted on the black and it’s a complete rust bucket inside the pack. On the side of the pack it has three inputs. Ozone, pump and light. Well I unplugged the harness from the pump for whatever reason and when I plugged it back in nothing happened. I plugged it into the ozone harness By accident. which only has 3 wires not 4 I seen a little arc in the harness but the tub turned on and seemed to be working fine. I told the neighbor and he changed his tune and said “oh, well it won’t stay running. It keeps tripping the breaker. “ before I could do more research I noticed a huge leak in the tub. So I repaired the crack and now I’m not sure what I should do. It has a 20Amp breaker in the sub panel and I heard that’s not good. It’s supposed to be a GFCI 50 or 60. Idk I’m not a electrician but I’m handy and eager to learn.
 

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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,518
Cabool, Mo
Hello, I have a bunch of questions. I have a friend with a leisure bay hot tub built in 2000 with a balboa pack. She says it did work and the neighbor says it’s broken and can’t be fixed.
What does the neighbor have to do with it?
Anyway I looked at it and the terminal block is melted on the black easily replaced

and it’s a complete rust bucket inside the pack. could be a problem. Your pic won't load for me so I can't zoom in on the board, but can tell you it's older than dirt. I would consider a replacement for that reason alone. A new balboa vs pack with box, heater, circuit board, and topside control is just over $400 these days. On the side of the pack it has three inputs. Outputs. They are outputs. Ozone, pump and light. Well I unplugged the harness from the pump for whatever reason and when I plugged it back in nothing happened. I plugged it into the ozone harness By accident. which only has 3 wires not 4 I seen a little arc in the harness but the tub turned on and seemed to be working fine. It's not working fine if the pump is in the ozone plug. In fact, all you need is a faulty safety device (pressure switch or high limit) to burn the house down. Do not run it this way, and if you don't understand electricity you shouldn't be playing around in this pack or you're going to hurt someone. Burn her house down and let the insurance find out that you, an unqualified random person, worked on it last and they will be sueing you for damages. I told the neighbor and he changed his tune and said “oh, well it won’t stay running. It keeps tripping the breaker. “ you seem really hung up on the neighbor. Not sure why, but so far I'd say you should be listening to him. He seems to know enough to not hurt anyone at least, which is more than I can say for you. before I could do more research I noticed a huge leak in the tub. So I repaired the crack oh lord! The crack? In what, exactly? and now I’m not sure what I should do. It has a 20Amp breaker in the sub panel and I heard that’s not good. It’s supposed to be a GFCI 50 or 60. that system may not even be convertable. Worry about fixing it first, then we'll talk power to it. Idk I’m not a electrician We can tell. but I’m handy and eager to learn. can tell that too.;)
For starters, post some clear pics of the circuit board and wiring diagram. And unplug the pump from the ozone plug before someone gets hurt.
 

Johnny99976

Member
Dec 12, 2021
5
Florida
I did work for the neighbor (don’t worry it wasn’t electrical) he introduced me to his neighbor because she needed some work done. drywall etc... He is retired and when I’m at her house he is always around and up in my business. He’s a nice guy and tries to help. But it’s taking more time to finish the work. Example. I was putting fence posts in and i asked him to put the level on the post. He put the level flat on top of the post. Flat meaning lying down i guess you could say??
 

Johnny99976

Member
Dec 12, 2021
5
Florida
The crack is in the tub itself. I put some fiberglass underneath the tub and it seems to be holding water. The breaker has been off and the sub panel and I unplugged the pump from the ozone output immediately. I was wondering how it could run like that? And that’s what led me to this forum. I haven’t moved any wires except for plugging the pump into the harness labeled pump and accidentally plugging the same pump plug into the one labeled ozone . I would never leave it plugged in like that and say it’s all fixed. Im not trying to kill anyone or myself. That’s why I’m here so that doesn’t happen. About the neighbor again. Every time I go near that tub he’s like “ it’s broke, it can’t be fixed it’s old etc…” and I’m not going near the tub to work on it. I’m just walking past it because I’m working on something completely different. He keeps telling her that it’s broken and won’t turn on but it did. Then he said the jets didn’t work, but they were working .plus When her and I turned the tub on the lights inside the tub came on. When I went back a week later I noticed one of the wires was pulled out of the harness. The pin was still inside the harness but that broken wire was nowhere close to the harness. She said the tub worked when she bought the house a year ago but now it doesn’t Idk if the neighbor messed with it or what. Now he went behind my back and told her that I can’t fix it it’s broken and she should just buy a new hot tub. I’m not charging her for anything. I just wanna shove it in his face when it is fixed. And you sound like the person to help me accomplish that. Lol. I will get better pictures I believe it can be fixed because I’ve seen it run
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,518
Cabool, Mo
Ok Johnny, fair enough. Post those pics and we'll see what you've got there.
In most cases, spa shells do not just crack. There is generally a cause, like uneven support or rotting frame, that will need to be addressed or any repair to the shell is just temporary. Most cracked shells are not worth fixing, as the value of the repaired spa would be less than the total cost of repairs. I would recommend she shop the used spa listings on fakebook marketplace and craigslist and see what's out there before going too far down this rabbit hole.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,518
Cabool, Mo
Those relays are shot. They may work one time and not the next. I'd say you need to solder in some new relays at the least, or replace the board, if it's still available (unlikely). It would not be a direct swap with a replacement control and would require some plumbing work.
Frankly, judging by what little I can see under the cabinet, and the fact that the shell is cracked, I would suspect it's not worth fixing. I guess if you're doing it for free and can repair the board she has nothing to lose, but I wouldn't take that tub for free. There is no profit margin in it after the repairs are done. If she has to hire someone to fix it she's better off shopping for a used spa.
 

Johnny99976

Member
Dec 12, 2021
5
Florida
I fixed the leak and it’s been holding water for 2 weeks now. Do you know why the sub panel has a 20 amp breaker? And ME not being an electrician lol it doesn’t look like a GFCI. Also what do you think caused the terminal block to melt? It was like that I swear 😎. And how did the tub work when I plugged it into the ozone?? I really want to fix this thing just to shut this guy up. It’s personal now haha. I really do appreciate all of your knowledge and responding to my messages. Thanks again
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,518
Cabool, Mo
Do you know why the sub panel has a 20 amp breaker? And ME not being an electrician lol it doesn’t look like a GFCI.
No I don't, and no it's not.

Also what do you think caused the terminal block to melt? It
Usually loose or corroded connections.

And how did the tub work when I plugged it into the ozone??
You were sending voltage to the pump, but on the ozone circuit which will run it at different times than it should and will eventuall over-amp the ozone circuit (blowing the fuse or damaging the board) since it is not rated for such high amp draw.
Have you ever soldered electronics? You need new relays on that board (which may not fix it) or a new board. Since that board is likely no longer available, that means a new control system. Or bring it to a computer/electronics repair guy. The relays are cheap and available online.
From the burnt insulation on the visible heater wire and the condition of the terminal I'd say you'll need a new heater too. This is serious, as with no gfci this can kill anyone who touches the water or metal parts if you get it to turn on. No different than a toaster in a bathtub.
I understand that you (unfortunately) have some personal stake in this now, but try not to let your pride endanger your customer. If you are not qualified to work on electrical appliances, you should not. If an accident does happen, you will be held legally and financially responsible. Does your insurance cover you for electrical work? If not, DON'T TOUCH IT! It could cost you your home, car, bank account, business license, and freedom. All so you can show up some guy in front of some lady customer? I gotta be honest, Johnny, it sounds pretty darn stupid to me. Out of curiosity, are you romantically involved with this lady, or maybe trying to be? I really can't fathom taking this kind of risk for no reason or gain. It's definitely a poor business decision that could end your career. Call your insurance provider and ask if you are covered for this type of work.
Get the board fixed, and get a heater element and watch some videos on how to replace it. Or just get a new control system. Get a gfci breaker in that thing before you fix anything else.
You can't fix this for free. It's going to take some parts in addition to your time. Even your cheapest route (repair the board and buy a heater element and gfci) will cost $200 or so if you do the work yourself. Closer to $300 if you have a pro fix the board. $450 to buy a new control, which does not include the gfci breaker.
 

jseyfert3

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Do you know why the sub panel has a 20 amp breaker? And ME not being an electrician lol it doesn’t look like a GFCI.
My entirely different control system can be wired to 40, 50, or 60 amp service, as there are dip switch options that change how much current the heater pulls and how many pumps can run with the heater running. So it is possible that your tub could have some option that allows it to run on 20 amp, 240 volt service. HOWEVER, given how that's not a GFCI breaker and how unprofessional that wiring looks inside that sub-panel I would hazard that whoever hooked that up initially did not know what they were doing. This happens entirely too often.

I understand that you (unfortunately) have some personal stake in this now, but try not to let your pride endanger your customer. If you are not qualified to work on electrical appliances, you should not. If an accident does happen, you will be held legally and financially responsible. Does your insurance cover you for electrical work? If not, DON'T TOUCH IT! It could cost you your home, car, bank account, business license, and freedom. All so you can show up some guy in front of some lady customer? I gotta be honest, Johnny, it sounds pretty darn stupid to me. Out of curiosity, are you romantically involved with this lady, or maybe trying to be? I really can't fathom taking this kind of risk for no reason or gain. It's definitely a poor business decision that could end your career. Call your insurance provider and ask if you are covered for this type of work.
Get the board fixed, and get a heater element and watch some videos on how to replace it. Or just get a new control system. Get a gfci breaker in that thing before you fix anything else.
You can't fix this for free. It's going to take some parts in addition to your time. Even your cheapest route (repair the board and buy a heater element and gfci) will cost $200 or so if you do the work yourself. Closer to $300 if you have a pro fix the board. $450 to buy a new control, which does not include the gfci breaker.
^THIS^ Very much this. Anything that deals with water and electricity isn't the place to be learning how electricity works. This goes double when it's not your device. :)
 
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phonedave

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I fixed the leak and it’s been holding water for 2 weeks now. Do you know why the sub panel has a 20 amp breaker? And ME not being an electrician lol it doesn’t look like a GFCI. Also what do you think caused the terminal block to melt? It was like that I swear 😎. And how did the tub work when I plugged it into the ozone?? I really want to fix this thing just to shut this guy up. It’s personal now haha. I really do appreciate all of your knowledge and responding to my messages. Thanks again


That is a two speed pump. It has 4 connections - a ground, a neutral, a low speed hot, and a high speed hot.

The Ozone Generator has 3 connections - A ground, a neutral, and a hot

When you jammed the pump connector into the Ozone receptacle, you provided ground, neutral, and power on one of the hot legs for the pump. That is why it ran. But it is not "working" there is no low/high speed choice and as was mentioned, likely under sized wiring and a accident waiting to happen. You did however prove that the pump is not frozen and it actually works, so that is a start.
 

phonedave

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My entirely different control system can be wired to 40, 50, or 60 amp service, as there are dip switch options that change how much current the heater pulls and how many pumps can run with the heater running. So it is possible that your tub could have some option that allows it to run on 20 amp, 240 volt service. HOWEVER, given how that's not a GFCI breaker and how unprofessional that wiring looks inside that sub-panel I would hazard that whoever hooked that up initially did not know what they were doing. This happens entirely too often.


^THIS^ Very much this. Anything that deals with water and electricity isn't the place to be learning how electricity works. This goes double when it's not your device. :)


That spa can be configured to be 240V / 20A or 120V / 30A it seems (There are instruction on the wiring diagram how to do so). As to if it was actually done, and done correctly - well that is a guess right now.

And yeah, no GFCI = no bueno.
 

jseyfert3

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That spa can be configured to be 240V / 20A or 120V / 30A it seems (There are instruction on the wiring diagram how to do so). As to if it was actually done, and done correctly - well that is a guess right now.

And yeah, no GFCI = no bueno.
Hmm, I'm not certain I'd make that claim. The wiring diagram does not specify what the input protection should be. If anything, from reading the instructions I see it as 120 V @ 20 A or 240 V @ 30 A. And if it needs 30 A at 240 V, then a 20 A breaker is certainly not sufficient.

Also the question would be is the 30 A what it draws or what the input breaker is supposed to be? NEC requires permanently connected devices that are designed for continuous usage to draw no more than 80% of the current provided by the current limiting device. In other words, you are limited to 16 A off a 20 A breaker, 24 A off a 30 A breaker, etc. For example my spa control panel tech notes explicitly break out actual current draw in X configuration vs appropriate breaker size.
1640023862462.png
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
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Cabool, Mo
Breakers protect wires from overheating and burning your house down. You cannot simply put a larger breaker in the panel without first replacing the wire. Be very clear on this when talking breakers, as the results of a misunderstanding can be fatal to everyone in the building.
 
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phonedave

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Hmm, I'm not certain I'd make that claim. The wiring diagram does not specify what the input protection should be. If anything, from reading the instructions I see it as 120 V @ 20 A or 240 V @ 30 A. And if it needs 30 A at 240 V, then a 20 A breaker is certainly not sufficient.

Also the question would be is the 30 A what it draws or what the input breaker is supposed to be? NEC requires permanently connected devices that are designed for continuous usage to draw no more than 80% of the current provided by the current limiting device. In other words, you are limited to 16 A off a 20 A breaker, 24 A off a 30 A breaker, etc. For example my spa control panel tech notes explicitly break out actual current draw in X configuration vs appropriate breaker size.
View attachment 385621


It's very nice that your spa manual goes the extra mile and explains that a 60A breaker is only rated by the current NEC for 48A continuous duty. Anybody doing their own electric work should understand that anyway, as well as understand all of the derating requirements that are included in the NEC, but it's nice that the spa manual explicitly states it for those that do not know about it.

Looking at the pictures provided with a bit more time than I took last time, it looks like that is a 115 V only pump. Therefore I suspect that this tub was only set up for 120V

It LOOKS like when on 120V power there is a 30A main fuse in the tub. When you convert it to 240V, the one leg that gets dedicated to the pump gets a 20A fuse on it.

Since it has a 4KW Max heater on it, you are looking at 33 amps draw on that heater.

Looking at it a little more, it looks like it is also a "plug in" spa, which technically has different safety requirements (which is a load of junk, electricity is going to do what electricity does, regardless of if you can remove a plug or not)

I guess the overall story is:

They need to find the actual power requirements for this tub
They need to install an appropriately sized breaker for those requirements (keeping in mind derating requirements)
They need to have the appropriate GFCI protection
While there is usually no requirement for a line of sight service disconnect for residential units, it is still a good idea and cheap insurance
While there is usually no requirement for a bond halo for a hot tub, it is still a good idea and cheap insurance.
They need to have the correct size wire for the breaker that is installed (Again, derating as necessary for conduit fill if necessary, or for other applications)
They need to have the correct enclosure for the breaker correctly installed
 
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jseyfert3

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It's very nice that your spa manual goes the extra mile and explains that a 60A breaker is only rated by the current NEC for 48A continuous duty. Anybody doing their own electric work should understand that anyway, as well as understand all of the derating requirements that are included in the NEC, but it's nice that the spa manual explicitly states it for those that do not know about it.
To be clear, that’s from the control panel tech manual I found online. It’s intended for spa manufacturers building a spa with that control panel and service techs, not the end user. It’s certainly not the owners manual.

While there is usually no requirement for a line of sight service disconnect for residential units, it is still a good idea and cheap insurance
Last time I read the 2017 NEC I thought it was a requirement for hot tubs in general. I could be wrong though. My hot tub, installed in 2008 by the previous owners, has a disconnect near the tub.
 

RDspaguy

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No less than 5ft, no more than 25ft, in a direct line of sight from the spa...
it looks like that is a 115 V only pump. Therefore I suspect that this tub was only set up for 120V
Any convertable tub has 120v pumps. You can run a 120v pump while still having 240v to the heater (the only thing that changes voltage in a convertable) but cannot run a 240v pump with only 120v available.

Since it has a 4KW Max heater on it, you are looking at 33 amps draw on that heater.
16.6 amps at 240v.
Watts law says: W=V×A
Basic algebra makes this: A=W÷V
So, 4000÷240=16.66666... amps. If running only when pump is on low (typical for older packs) and low speed pump is less than 3.3333 amps it will work on a 20 amp 240v breaker. Typically, a 20 amp setup is 120v, where the heater is now 1kw and the amps are about 8.3.

it looks like it is also a "plug in" spa, which technically has different safety requirements
No it doesn't. The plug counts as a disconnect, and spa plug in cords are always equipped with a gfci cord end.

no requirement for a bond halo for a hot tub,
No requirement for a portable spa, but still required for inground. Since bonding is about voltage variance in the earth and a portable spa has no conductive earth contact it does not need to be bonded to earth. A portable spa is always built with internal bonding, just like any electrical appliance.

60A breaker is only rated by the current NEC for 48A continuous duty.
The key words being "continuous duty". This is because motor loads have a temporary amp spike at startup, and if the breaker is already loaded to the max this will cause nuisance tripping. The spa is not a continuous load, and the pump is already on by the time the heater kicks on, so no motor trips.
I will also point out that every electrical component made has a +/- 10% in the rating. So that 50 amp breaker can still be considered good if it trips anywhere between 45 and 55 amps.
 
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phonedave

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To be clear, that’s from the control panel tech manual I found online. It’s intended for spa manufacturers building a spa with that control panel and service techs, not the end user. It’s certainly not the owners manual.


Last time I read the 2017 NEC I thought it was a requirement for hot tubs in general. I could be wrong though. My hot tub, installed in 2008 by the previous owners, has a disconnect near the tub.

My BIL is a licensed electrician. While he firmly believes that it is a good idea to have a disconnect within the line of sight, according to him it is not required in a single family, non-rental property. Of course that is here in Bergen & Morris counties where he works. Different areas adopt different codes.
 

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