Ecomatic ESC-24 cell issue

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
Hi guys,

I have just recently drained and refilled my pool due to high calcium levels and have since noticed an issue with the second LED light on my Ecomatic ESC-24 which was not giving problems before. According to the manual the light indicates either low salt levels, dirty cell,cold water, or a failing cell.

It being the middle of summer I know its not the water temp and I have tested the salt levels and get a 3600 ppm reading from the salt I added and the ESC-24 requires a minimum of 3000. The only other chemical I have added is the water conditioner to keep what little chlorine is in the pool now.

Now the cell maybe dirty but have come to be aware that my particular model is self cleaning with its ability to reverse the polarity and even then I follow the manual's instructions and made an acid/water solution and cleaned them off anyways just to be sure. The only downside is the cells are enclosed in a plastic cover that cannot be removed so it is very difficult to visually see and calcium build up at all on the cells.

So it just leaves the possibility that the cells are dying out. The system is at least 10 years old and from what I can ascertain the cells have never been looked at until now.

The output display gives me a reading of 80-95 for any given polarity and at times seems to run just fine for hours on end and up and out of the blue i go to check and the LED has turned red. So it seems to function when ever it feels like. The terminals are connected on tight, except for the gas censor which does make contact with the bolt but is very easy to slide on or off. But I would not even get an output display if the gas censor was the issue.

Is there a way for myself to check the cells and test whether or not they are failing, aside from the fact I'm getting a red LED indicator? Because it seems to be the only possible reason I'm having this issue to begin with. Perhaps I damaged them when I cleaned them with the acid/water mixture?

If I have to replace the cells so be it but I just want to make sure that's the issue and not drop the money on a new one when it could be something else.

Any thoughts would be helpful

Thanks.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
10 years is longer than a cell usually lasts, so it seems likely that it is wearing out.

Acid washing should be fine. In theory it might shorten the cell life just slightly, but not enough that you would notice.

Some pool stores are able to test SWG cells.

Nearly all SWGs are self cleaning these days, and that is not always enough to actually keep the cell clean. If your PH, TA, and/or CH levels are high enough, you can still get calcium buildup on the cell despite the self cleaning. If there was any calcium buildup you would have seen bubbling or foaming when you did the acid wash.

You can usually see a little bit of the cell plates when you remove the cell and look into the cell from the end. The plates should either be black or silver, with no sign of white chalky deposits.
 

Strannik

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
874
Brisbane, Australia
that light would also illuminate if the cell is dying

given that it's 10 y.o - i think that's what's happening

the way to test it yourself would be to measure current and voltage and compare to the specs

if you got higher voltage an lower current - cell is dying
 

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
Thanks fellas,

The cells did bubble when I did the acid wash so they must have had some level of calcium build up like JasonLion said.
I have a multimeter so I'll go ahead and give the terminals a test. By chance does anyone know what the desired voltage and current should be at for this particular model?

I'll give google a shot and see what I can find and post my finding afterwords.

Thanks again.
 

aaronsappl

Member
Jun 18, 2010
17
MS
I thought I had issues with my Eco-Matic 36 which is 3 mths old. It was not making enough chlorine. I called Eco-Matic and they gave me the voltage and amperage readings. Come to find out I did not have enough salt. I had 3500 ppm salt. The Eco-Matic 36 needs 5000 ppm with a minimum of 4500. Once I added the salt I was able to turn mine down from 100% running 12 hrs to 40% running 12 hrs and producing twice as much chlorine. Eco-Matic telephone # 877-885-0585.
 

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
Thanks for the info aaronsappl about the hotline number and yes i would be happy having a SWG lasting 10 years but it's a bit of an annoyance when it decides to break down on my watch.
 

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
Well after having the technician out here to check the salt cells he said it was one of two things since he got the same reading off of mine and a new cell he tested. Not enough salt, even though I had a 3700 ppm level according to him, or the motherboard for the unit was fragged. So I opted for adding more salt to see what happens.

Turns out after adding another 120 lbs of salt the unit finally gives me a -100 reading all the time and both LED's have remained green for hours on end.

Funny thing is after adding the salt I'm told my salt levels are about the same according to the pool store. Makes no sense whatsoever. All I know is my pool ate up about 520 lbs of salt to make things right...finally.

Now all I need is a decent water testing kit so I can stop making trips to the pool store though they always offer free testing but I'd rather learn it myself and tackle opening up and cleaning out the filter since it's been a while that was done too.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me out.
 

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
Hey Strannik,

I believe the tech got about 20 Amps DC for the cells, new and old, and I completely forgot that after figuring out I had a 18K gal pool and not a 14K gal pool that I needed to add more salt to make up the difference. Though in my defense the bloody Aquacheck salt test strips were giving false readings and I took the strips in to my pool store to make sure I was reading it right and I was .


Oh well live and let learn :hammer: I just need to get a decent test kit that's all.
 

aaronsappl

Member
Jun 18, 2010
17
MS
I have found out if you keep your salt at 4500 or above with the Eco Matic it will make plenty of chlorine. Drop to 3500 and it will struggle. Glad you got it working right.
 

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
The strips are less than a month old and have no way been exposed to water unless I wanted to test for salt levels. Is there a tester out there that can can actually give me legitimate levels so I can bypass the guessing game?

Oh and another question about chlorine levels. I've had the cells on full for about half a day and I'm still getting low to nill levels of chlorine. How long should it take to get to noticeable levels when starting from scratch? All other levels (pH,CYA,TA) are within normal ranges.

Thanks
 

Strannik

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
874
Brisbane, Australia
you shouldn't use SWG to bring up chlorine levels from scratch
it's not designed for that

you will need to add chlorine manually to bring it up to the level
 

aaronsappl

Member
Jun 18, 2010
17
MS
I was told by Eco-Matic that the Goldline salt meter was very good. I also read on another forum and they recommended the Goldline meter. I found it for $99.00 but I have not ordered it yet. Just bought the TF-100 kit and stirrer. Was gonna wait a few weeks before buying.
 

roguesandman

Member
Aug 25, 2010
10
La Verne, CA
Yeah I threw in about two pounds of sodium based chlorine to shock the pool already and every time I go in to get the water checked on one associate tells me just run the swg longer and it has some chlorine and the other says not enough chlorine and shock the pool. These people are giving me a headache with all this back and forth. :grrrr: