HELP!! Goldline SWG newbie having a problem

TarheelJohnny

Member
Jun 6, 2010
5
Hello,
First off, let me say how cool I have found this site to be so far. I have been lurking a few weeks and have learned quite a lot about maintaining my SWG system. But the past 24-48 hours have seen some substantial problems. Need some advice please:

Pool stats:
approx 12K gallon inground pool with vinyl liner
AquaRite Goldline SWG system
Pool and system are about 4 years old

Here's the skinny:
I just moved into the house back in January, and have had the pool opened since early April. No worries whatsover until the past 2 days. My salt readings were always between 2700 and 3100. But in the past 2 days, I have seen the rate drop substantially, all the way down to 2000 as of late yesterday afternoon. The "Check Cell" light was on also, so I removed it and cleaned it in the acid solution yesterday. There was a little bit of white build-up on the cell, but nothing that I would have considered excessive (although I am a newbie, so what do I really know?) :eek: I added one 40 lb bag of salt yesterday, and saw the reading go up to only 2200 (According to the pool calculator, shouldn't 40 lb of salt in a 12K gallon pool increase the salt by about 400 ppm ?)

I added a second 40 lb bag of salt earlier today and the reading has not gone up at all, it is still at 2200. Of course, this is causing the system to not even try to generate chlorine, and therefore my free chlorine readings have dropped all the way from 4.5 on Friday to 0.5 today. I am seriously concerned that there is something wrong with the diagnostics on the Goldline, and that my salt reading of 2200 is inaccurate. All levels of pH, CYA have remained within normal levels throughout this.

Two more important things to note:
1. I have had a lot of visiting guests using the pool over this weekend, so there have definitely been more people in the pool than at any other time since we've had it.
2. Our area in N. Carolina has had a very high amount of rain over the past week, and I have "back-washed" a sizable amount of water volume out.


Questions:
1. How long after adding the bags of salt should it reasonably take for the system to recognize the new salt levels?
2. After cleaning and then replacing the salt cell, is there anything more that needs to be done to (for lack of a better term) "kick-start" the system back into action?
3. If I cannot get the system to continue generating chlorine because it "thinks" that the overall salt level is too low, is it OK to manually add some liquid chlorine (i.e. Clorox) so that I don't end up with a green soupy mess?


Any other tips or advice would of course be greatly appreciated!!
 

flintstone

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 17, 2007
99
Rockville, CA
You need to add chlorine ASAP. Whenever your SWG is offline or when you need to shock your pool, using bleach or liquid chlorine is standard practice and will not hurt your SWG. Just remember to add it in front of a return with the filter on. You can turn the SWG off for now. It is supposed to be off when adding salt anyway.

After adding salt, your control system can take a day or so to accurately reflect your true level. I'm not sure of a jump start to get things moving any faster. I suppose you could reset the level by pressing the + key in diagnostic mode for "instant salt." That may also slow you down, so I'd rely on the liquid to get your FC level up to shock level, monitor your salt level readings then start the SWG up again when you register 2800 or more and FC drops to an appropriate level.
 

TarheelJohnny

Member
Jun 6, 2010
5
Jason,
Yes, as far as I know, the salt cell is the original one which was put in when the pool was installed. (Again, I am not the original owner.)

So yes, it is possible that the salt cell may need to be replaced. More importantly to me, would a failing salt cell cause improper salt readings by the Goldline system? In other words, since I have now added 80 lbs of salt in 24 hours and have only seen my reading go up from 2000 to 2200, is that even more of an indication that the cell may be shot?

Thanks to all who have and continue to reply.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
You should do a system diagnostic while the cell is on. Press the small diagnostic button over and over which will run through: temperature, volts (22-25), current (4.5-7.8), %, salt, name, version. And then tell us what the volts and current numbers are.
 

TarheelJohnny

Member
Jun 6, 2010
5
Just checked the diagnostic function, keep in mind it has now been about 16 hours since the second 40 lb bag of salt was added. The pump and filter has been running constantly since, in an attempt to fully dissolve the salt.

So far, the salt reading is still steady at 2200. The other diagnostics:

Current - 31.6
Voltage - 0.0
% - 100
salt - 0


Now what? Is this an indication that the cell is bad and that cleaning it two days ago was not the right way to solve this problem?
 

TarheelJohnny

Member
Jun 6, 2010
5
UPDATE:

About 30 minutes after the last post, I went back out and turned the Goldline back on, and it has recalculated the salt at 2400 ppm, which is still too low, but at least at this point it will generate chlorine (has to be over 2300 to do that). Voltage is at a reasonable 5.72 and the current is now down to 26.2 (both considered within normal range while the system is generating chlorine).

I'm feeling better right now than at any point in the past 48 hours, and just added a 3rd 40 lb bag of salt. I'm still surprised (amazed?) at how a bag of salt is only raising my reading by 200 ppm (instead of 400), but nonetheless, I'll do what I need to do to get it back up where the Goldline "thinks" it is so that the SWG will continue to work.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
I think you have current and voltage switched. Voltage is between 20 and 30, while current is between 3 and 8.

When a Goldline/Hayward cell is failing it behaves exactly the same as when the salt level is too low. You can even compensate for a failing cell for a time by raising the salt level above normal levels. I am fairly sure that is what is happening here. The unit isn't recognizing the full amount of salt you are adding because the cell is starting to fail. By continuing to add salt you can compensate for the old cell, up to a point. If you continue doing this as the cell continues to fail, the salt level will end up very high.

If you want to be sure I am right before replacing the cell, you could try the pool stores in your area to see if any of them are able to test the cell for you. It is more an more common these days for pool stores to be able to do that and the results of such testing are reasonably reliable.
 

TarheelJohnny

Member
Jun 6, 2010
5
Jason and flintstone,
Again, I cannot thank you enough for your advice on this post. I believe you are somewhat correct about my cell being on its last leg. However, in the past 8 hours since my last post, the salt reading has increased from 2400 up to 2900 (finally!!) and all of the diagnostic lights (check salt, inspect cell, etc.) have gone out. :party:

And my free chlorine has increased from 0.5 at 10PM last night to 3.5 today at 3PM. All other values for pH, CYA, and TA are fine too.

One other thing: I was never actually very sure about the total volume of my pool, because it is very irregularly shaped. I had estimated it to be about 12K gallons, but using the formulas in your Pool Calculator, I now believe that volume to be more like 14-15K gallons. So the 120 lbs of salt that I have added in the past 3 days would be expected to raise that volume by about 950 ppm, and the actual increase has been 900 (2000 up to 2900). So I actually think the cell may be working OK after all. It was just a very large volume of rain over the past 6 days, combined with at least 8-10 people swimming in it non-stop for the past 3 days, that led to the salt falling rapidly from 2700 down to 2000.

In any event, I will obviously continue to monitor things very closely and will make sure NOT to add too much salt if the level should fall rapidly again, until I am able to find a pool shop to test my cell.

Jason, I see also that you are in Silver Spring, MD, which happens to be my wife's hometown. We just moved down to N. Carolina from southern Maryland (Deale) back in January. A cold brew is on me the next time we are up your way! :cheers:
 

javo

New member
May 20, 2010
3
You should additionally reset your SWG!.
It will take around 12-24 hrs to give you accurate salt readings.
 
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