IC-40 - NO FLOW - RED flow light illuminated!

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Hi everyone! Water temps are finally warm enough here in NH to turn on our I-40 SWCG. Until today, I have been manually adding chlorine to pool based on pool math calculator & decided, with the warm weather coming, to start running the salt cell to get ready for swim season.

A little back story before my question on what to do... last year we purchased our home in August and quickly learned our I-40 cell was not working correctly. Brought it in for professional cleaning (since we were new to pools and didn't know how to do it properly) then reconnected it. After doing so we found out that we were still not generating chlorine. Had cell tested and was told it was shot. We didn't have money to replace the cell at that time (and really no point in buying one for it to sit idle over winter burning thru the warranty time for no reason), so for remainder of last season we maintained pool with manual chlorine.

Fast forward to this season, we purchased not just one, but 2, floor models of the IC-40 salt cells for $100 each. We were told they were in good functioning order with low usage prior. Grabbed them both so we had an extra handy to swap in and out. Also kept our "shot" cell for parts.

Hooked up one of the two new salt cells and checked usage hour meter to get a sense of how "used" it was. Looks like we are at 40% usage hours -- so, hopefully good long life left. Cell blades are pristine, so looked ready to use. Installed and turned on and immediately flow light turned red indicating NO FLOW. We decided to do a little trouble shooting and clean the DE filter (pool had been running, but not used, since mid-April so it was time to clean anyway). Checked for strong flow from return before attempting to turn IC-40 back on. Turned on and gave it some time to think -- FLOW LIGHT STILL RED.

After doing reading here, I know the flow switches on these things can be temperamental. Before we go ahead and replace or bypass the flow switch, we were going to swap in the second used salt cell we purchased to see if we get flow & function or not. If that fixes the issues and I can generate some chlorine for now, GREAT. I will be mad at the store that sold us a gently used store models under the premise that it was in good working order -- and one is already failing --- but that is a separate gripe. I will deal with them later.

So, here we are and would like to fix the problem with the first one that is showing no flow. Seems like most people here are able to bypass the flow switch by cutting some wires, but wanted some better instruction on how to do that -- and what kind of results we should expect. I run my own salt tests with the Taylor K-1766 (test results earlier today show 3800 ppm), so not concerned if bypassing flow switch will mess up with IC-40's ability to read level properly.

Please note that I am in NO WAY handy with electric kind of things, and we don't have an ohm meter, but I do follow directions well and can cut wires if told exactly what to do and what steps to take. Please help me learn! We want to have at least one of our IC-40s up and functional.

Sidenote: thanks to this forum I have learned that it is potentially BAD NEWS to have your salt cell receiving power when pump was off. Who knew?!? Certainly NOT the homeowner who sold us the house -- he has his timer set to control pump only and left his IC-40 powered on 24/7. That we are changing immediately. Going out to purchase a timer that can handle the load of both the pump and IC-40.

Thanks in advance to my forum friends who can hopefully help us fix this for the season!
- Newbie in NH
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
H,

Well we do have some confusion going on.. The cell has a single Flow Switch Assembly, made up of two parts.. One is the flow switch, and the other is a temperature sensor...

The flow switch is just like a light switch in your house.. When the switch closes the light comes on. The switch will only close if you have enough water flow.

The temp sensor is a thermistor that changes resistance with the change in water temp.

The first step is to ensure you have a good strong flow at the eyeball returns in your pool.. Do you?

I suggest that you install the other IC40, before cutting any wires.. Do both cells have the same no flow problem?

If you really want to test the flow switch you need to connect (short) the Red and Black wires that are coming out of the cell (not out of the flow switch). This should make the cell think the flow switch is closed.. If that does not turn off the red no flow light, then the cell is bad.

This is a test only. you do NOT want to leave it with the flow switch shorted, as the cell can explode if the flow switch is not working.. Does not happen often, but does happen.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Last edited:

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Thanks, Jim R... to answer your questions:

1) the first step is to ensure you have a good strong flow at the eyeball returns in your pool.. Do you? YES good flow. Difficult for me to cover the eye and occlude flow with my hand.

2) I suggest that you install the other IC40, before cutting any wires.. Do both cells have the same no flow problem? Just swapped out IC-40s and this one does NOT show the same no flow problem. Light is now green. I also checked percentage to see how "used" this one was and it is 20% used.

Now that we are generating chlorine, how do we go about fixing the first IC-40 so we have it ready for the future? I am going to approach the pool store that sold us this floor model to let them know upon immediately turning on the red light lit up -- but suspect they won't be very helpful since it clearly isn't under warranty.

Ideas to trouble shoot?

 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
H,

Well we do have some confusion going on.. The cell has a single Flow Switch Assembly, made up of two parts.. One is the flow switch, and the other is a temperature sensor...

The flow switch is just like a light switch in your house.. When the switch closes the light comes on. The switch will only close if you have enough water flow.

The temp sensor is a thermistor that changes resistance with the change in water temp.

The first step is to ensure you have a good strong flow at the eyeball returns in your pool.. Do you?

I suggest that you install the other IC40, before cutting any wires.. Do both cells have the same no flow problem?

If you really want to test the flow switch you need to connect (short) the Red and Black wires that are coming out of the cell (not out of the flow switch). This should make the cell think the flow switch is closed.. If that does not turn off the red no flow light, then the cell is bad.

This is a test only. you do NOT want to leave it with the flow switch shorted, as the cell can explode if the flow switch is not working.. Does not happen often, but does happen.

Thanks,

Jim R.
Answers to your questions are above. Any input you have here would be helpful. Thanks!
 

Jimrahbe

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TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,106
Bedford, TX
H,

On the one with the no flow light.. I'd short the red and black wires as I outlined.. If the light goes out, then install a new flow switch assy. If no,t take the cell back to the pool store and get your money back.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
H,

On the one with the no flow light.. I'd short the red and black wires as I outlined.. If the light goes out, then install a new flow switch assy. If no,t take the cell back to the pool store and get your money back.

Thanks,

Jim R.
Thanks! We hope pool store will trouble shoot and fix the problem for us, but not too optimistic since we purchased a "floor model" and it is unlikely covered by any kind of warranty.

So... if we are "stuck" with it, and we short out the red/black wires as you instructed and that fixes it -- is there any way to completely bypass the flow switch entirely -vs- replacing it? Seems to be a faulty type of issue with IC-40s from what I read on these threads. I'd like to avoid continuing to dump money into flow switches.

Thank you :)
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
H,

Only if you are trying to blow the cell up!!!

SWCG systems must have two safety devices.. The Primary device is that when the pump is off, the cell cannot get any AC power, the Secondary safety device is the flow switch..

It is kind of like asking "can I drive my car around with the air bags disconnected??"... Sure you can, right up to the moment of the crash.. :mrgreen:

I know they were used when you bought them, but the pool store said they worked, so they should at least give your money back..

The flow switch part of the Flow Switch Assembly does not go bad very often.. The temp sensor is the weak point..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Oops! Thank you for the clarification. I understand the point you are making now.

So when people are talking about bypassing the flow switch they are REALLY talking about the temp sensor part of the assembly then?

I am going to presume that my temp sensor is okay if the cold water light is not illuminated -- or is that a bad assumption.

Thank you again for all the help!
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
19,106
Bedford, TX
H,

The temp sensor is used to adjust the electronics so that the salinity test is accurate over a changing water temperature. When this thermistor fails, the cell usually reports a salt level a lot lower than the actual salt level. This is why you should have a Taylor salt test kit.

People that by-pass the flow switch are just doing it for a quick test, to confirm if the cell is bad, or if the flow switch is bad.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Got it! Now lets hope the pool store does right by me. We dropped off the IC-40 earlier today and asked them to investigate the problem. I will report back with their findings!

Second cell seems to be working just fine, so that is good for now!
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
OMG! I can't believe it... the salt cell #3 of 3 which we installed when cell #2 was getting checked out by the pool store just went DARK. Yesterday it somehow went into boost mode and I was unable to cancel that and today it just never turned on. So, I checked the fuse and sure enough it was blown. Went and picked up a 5 pack of 10A/250V fuses to replace blown one. Unplugged cell, replaced fuse, plugged back in and immediate POP. Thinking that perhaps somehow our outlet was bad, I replaced fuse again and then plugged cell into extension cord... also immediate POP.

So, to problem solve, I grabbed our old bad cell (cell #1 of 3) that we kept for parts and changed fuse and then cord and then plugged that in... Totally fine. Powers up and no blown fuse. This leads me to believe that we have another bad cell! We still don't have cell #2 back to use and we are unsure if that one is even going to be good.

How are these things so fragile?!? We have had the worst luck with these IC-40s and ready to just jump ship and swap it out entirely for a new brand. Anyone have any thoughts? Different brands to consider? I am reluctant to make the decision to just buy a brand new IC-40, but I know if we swap brands we will have to change out the entire Intellichlor Power Center too which will add to overall cost.

I am about to call the pool store to check in on cell #2 and complain about cell #3. We only powered our cells on 5/24 -- so it hasn't even been 2 weeks and 2 cells are now non-functional.

HELP!
 

mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Laughlin, NV
Unless you have a Pentair automation system, then there are better standalone SWCG;'s out there. For DIY install, Circupool is well regarded. If you are going to have a professional install, then a Hayward Aquarite T15 is best.
 
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The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
We do not have a Pentair automation system. We inherited this IC-40 when we purchased our home last Fall. 3 cells later, nothing but headaches. Our IntelliChlor Power Center is mounted on a post outside near the pool and there is a dedicated outlet there for both the pool pump and the salt cell. Guess we have some decisions to make and HOPEFULLY the pool store will do something about these 2 bad cells they sold us. So upsetting to have the pool just perfect and now no SWCG working to keep it that way :(

I will look into the Circupool and the Hayward you mentioned and search the threads here too. Appreciate the advice.