Life of SWCG cell

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
647
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Someone highly experienced and respected here (How are you, Marty?) once remarked as part of an answer to why higher CYA with SWCG, that the life of a cell may be about 10,000 hours. I'm not asking if that is a good estimate, but rather of what is it an estimate. In other words, is that 10,000 hours of the unit being powered on or 10,000 hours of making chlorine? I ask this in the context of a question that Pentair dodged when I asked of Pentair tech support, "Which would provide longer life for my IC40, 10 hours a day at 20% or 5 hours a day at 40%?" The reply I received is that the cell should last around three years. So I ask again, is the life of a cell based on POWER ON time or chlorine producing time, other conditions being equal and assuming the same pump running time in all cases?

Yes, I sort of asked Marty, but I'd be happy to hear from anyone knowledgeable of the subject, as this is a big deal to me--and probably to others with an investment in one of these machines!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,308
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The cell is based on generating hours. 10000 hours of generating.

That is the coating of the plates. Reduce that for cleaning with acid. Or poor water chemistry. The electronics, etc are a separate matter.
 
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trivetman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 14, 2017
433
Jenkintown, PA
Pool Size
24000
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Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I’ve been researching the same and everything I see says that the hours rating is making chlorine at 100% output. If you are at 50% output you get double the hours. That being said, my research also tells me theres no way the cells get the hours lifespan that is published. Even if the plates are legit made to last that long, some other component will fail first
 
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BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
647
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks for the clarification, Marty. And Trivetman, I think like you that 10,000 hours may be optimistic when I run the numbers. Say I'm running on my current schedule 11.5 hours a day at 20%. That's 10 daytime hours plus 1.5 hours between 2 and 4 am. Total 840 hours in a year, with more in the peak summer time, so call it 1200 hours a year. 8.3 years based on 10,000 hours, which I've read a couple people here who have reported numbers close to that for a cell, so it may be optimistic but not impossible?

Then there's pool chemistry which I really work at maintaining at optimal levels of everything. 5-6" of rain a couple days ago didn't help, as I watched the overflow drain running my perfect pool water down the storm drain. Fortunately I'm retired, and thanks to covid, I don't really have a life outside of pool maintenance. Acid clean? After the first three months with the IC40, on Sept 1, I could find no indication of calcium deposits at all. Fingers crossed that I don't have to use acid in the future either, as I really try to keep CSI just under -0-.
 

Tcadwall0

Gold Supporter
May 19, 2021
137
Charlotte, NC
Pool Size
12900
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-20
If your chemistry is good, (ph and CSI) the IC-40 will do a very good job at self-cleaning. I started using my IC-20 in April and haven't had build-up yet. I have also been using borates since June. I think this may help the cell life as well.

I think the hours is based on the time it is actually generating chlorine - so half the time the pump is running if you are 50%.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,091
Bedford, TX
Bill,

You use up the same amount of cell production capability whether you run at 100% for 1 hour or 10% for 10 hours.. Think of a tank full of chlorine.. If you open the valve all the way it will fill up a gallon jug quickly.. If you only crack open the valve and fill up the same gallon jug, it will just take longer, but either way, you have only used up one gallon.

The average life of a cell is 4 to 6 years.. I have three IC40's on three pools.. all three have been replaced. One was about 9 years old, the second was over 7 years old and the third (at my house) never made it out of the initial 3 year warranty period. I took a lightning hit...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
647
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The average life of a cell is 4 to 6 years.. I have three IC40's on three pools.. all three have been replaced. One was about 9 years old, the second was over 7 years old and the third (at my house) never made it out of the initial 3 year warranty period. I took a lightning hit...
Jim R.
I hope I got one of those 9 year versions. Fingers crossed on the lightning. I've never had a breaker trip in a storm, but the overnight when Ida came ashore we, along with the neighbors I've spoken with, had at least half a dozen breakers trip. That can only be an extraordinary surge.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,091
Bedford, TX
B,

In my case it had nothing to do with the electrical power.. At the time I had my ScreenLogic hard-wired between my EasyTouch and my house network.. My neighbor actually took the main hit.. It blew his house water heater apart, blew holes in his copper hot water line, and a ton of other damage. I got what was left over and it came in on the com line between the EasyTouch and my house.. It took out a bunch of stuff on the house network and also took out the EasyTouch's main board, and SWCG's power supply card. The cell itself still worked, but died about a month later. I assume it was stressed by the lightning strike and it just took a while to die. It still produced chlorine when it worked, but it would often never come back on line after it ran it's every 12 hours salt test.. It would just go dead.. Reboot it and sometimes it would work and sometimes not.

I knew for sure when the Pentair tech came out it would of course work.. I was ready for a fight and had a video of it going off line.. The Pentair tech did not care.. He said he was told I had a problem and he just there to install a new cell..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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RJ-45

In The Industry
Jun 6, 2021
178
Charlotte, NC
Measure the cell life by years (or hours) is not very accurate.
It should really be how many pounds of chlorine it produced.
Or cell amps x active hours roughly.
For example, 5A x 10,000 = 4A x 12,500 = 6A x 8,833
This is a very crude way to estimate the cell working hours as water chemistry plays a big part in the cell life.
Like over cleaning with MA will shorten the life for sure, soaking a new cell over night can nearly kill the cell.
Again cell Amp is affected by salinity and water temp, so it is very difficult to give you a definite answer.
Obviously cells are made to last different amount of time (assume everything else being equal)
For example RJ+ cell have 5k, 7k and 10k version (they look the same, but the plates are made to last different length)
 
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