Pentair EasyTouch automation -- random restarts

quickslvr

Member
Aug 14, 2015
11
Aurora, IL
My Pentair EasyTouch control panel is randomly re-starting. Initially I thought this was just the main circulation pump restarting (which is happening) but upon further inspection, I noticed the LCD panel was basically doing a reboot. The panel will go blank for an instant (as if it is losing power) come back on, the time will then sync, after another second or two the air temp moves from 0 to the actual temp, and a few moments later it will complete it's "powering back on" and the pump will come back on. Upon returning from being out of town for a couple of days, my system was "dead" -- and one of the little low voltage breakers was tripped. The first few times of resetting the breaker it would just instantly blow again. I had the pool company come out, he did the same thing to reset the LV breaker except this time it didn't blow again -- and the system came back on. However, the same behavior of restarting was happening. He indicated it was likely a bad motherboard. A couple days later, the whole system is "dead" again but no breakers tripped. I was able to run the pump manually - and with zero resets in manual mode (restarts not related to dirty filters, etc). I ordered Pentair EasyTouch UOC Motherboard 520657 and installed. System powered on, I assigned the pump to a circuit and was back in business... Literally 5 minutes later, I hear the pump restart. Upon inspection, I notice the EasyTouch control panel is rebooting again - with the new motherboard. Originally when this started the rebooting would only be a couple times a day, seemed more prevalent on hot days. Over time this became almost every hour. Today, even after the new motherboard, I'm seeing it restart every 5 minutes or less. Yesterday I grabbed a video of 3 restarts in less than a minute. (Out of concern this will destroy the motherboard I just replaced, I have disconnected the power to the motherboard so I can just run the pump/filter/salt water chlorinator manually). However, I don't have access to the heater like this -- would be nice to also put heat in the hot tub!).
I'm at the point where I am suspecting the transformer is bad and causing the re-boots. When I trace the blue wires from the Low Voltage circuit that had previously tripped (blue wires) they lead directly to the transformer (Pentair PN 521082).
1) Has anybody experienced this rebooting/restarting randomly (but constant), and if so, how did you resolve it?
2) Inside my IntelliTouch is transformer PN 521082. I'm not finding this part. However I am finding transformer PN 521233 - which appears to be the exact same thing. Did Pentair update this PN? Will this 521233 work with my system?

I am open to any advice - I'm so frustrated and have spent many hours trying to resolve this. Thank you for any help you can provide.
 

Jimrahbe

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Q,

I used say that in the past 50 years I have never seen a bad power transformer, unless it was connected wrong.. But... about a week or two ago, we had another EasyTouch owner with a dead main board and after some troubleshooting, it appears that the system transformer was actually dead. The same transformer that you suspect is bad..

If this were my system I would do this... Remove all connections to the main board except the plug from the transformer/min-circuit breakers.. Then I would set up a voltmeter so that I could measure the three AC inputs to the main board.. You can measure these with the card connected. 12 VAC, 18 VAC and 24 VAC.. You want to know if these voltages are good or not when the system reboots... If they go away, I'd check them with the main card disconnected. I'd also want to make sure that the input voltage to the system transformer was good.. It would be 120 or 240 VAC, depending on how your system is wired..

Thinking about this, the very first thing I'd want to test is the 240 VAC coming into the panel.. It is possible that over time the connections at the load center have compressed and become intermittent. I'd tighten every connection where the power comes into the EasyTouch and at each circuit breaker, including the main breaker in the house..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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quickslvr

Member
Aug 14, 2015
11
Aurora, IL
Jim - I really appreciate your input and ideas. I apologize for the delay. I *thought* I had this fixed, but unfortunately I do not. In the last month or so, I have replaced
- EasyTouch UOC Motherboard 520657 (Pool & Spa). This had died thru this, whether it was old age or possibly "burnt out" from the constant reboots - I don't know, but replacing this put me back in online, but 10 minutes after turning system on, it rebooted again.
- Load Center System XFMR 521233. Replacing this seemed to make a big difference. I didn't notice any reboots until about a week into use.

Key Notes / Behaviors:
- The main panel never loses power (240V). I can confirm this because when the automation system reboots (screen goes blank, clock and temperatures reset, etc) the Chlorinator, pumps, and other accessories don't lose power.
- If I completely bypass the Pentair Automation (by either disconnecting the wires to the motherboard, or if one of the 3A circuits is tripped) I can manually power the pump and it runs all day with no issues.
- the system reboots seem much more common during hotter weather. I never notice them in the morning, mostly in the hotter parts of the day, and more frequently on days above 85 degrees.

There is something causing the automation system to reboot and I'm afraid it's going to cause further / additional equipment repair. I'm beginning to suspect that whatever is causing this is what caused the motherboard to fry the first time.

What does the the Pentair Surge Board PCBA do? Is there any chance this could be causing the issues I'm seeing? I'm hesitant to spend $200 on this if it's not the culprit.

Is there ANY chance that the Load Center OCP Bezel could be causing this issue? It seems far fetched, but it is 7 years old and there is some heat warpage on this bezel. What is the likelyhood that there is some sort of a short-circuit here contributing?

With all the pumps and chlorinator receiving power (not rebooting) I feel like the problem is somewhere between the Load Center XFMR and the Load Center Bezel -- and I feel like I've replaced the two main components in that chain. What am I missing?
 

Jimrahbe

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Q,

The Surge card is really just a power supply that generates the DC voltage needed by the SWCG.. It also links the RS-485 between the main board and the SWCG, plus it also gives you extra connection points for the RS-485 com port.

Since the card has Gnd and +15 VDC, I can see how if anything connected to it, loaded down the +15, then I suspect that could cause the system to reboot. The first thing I would suspect would be the Salt cell.. Then, any other device that is connected to the Surge card and uses +15..

As a test, I would disconnect the cell and see if the reboot problem goes away. I suspect the card itself could be bad, but have never seen this specific failure before.

Let's see if Tom has any other ideas... Calling @ogdento

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
558
Chico, CA
Hey Q,
I didn't see any answer to Jim's question about the 12/18/24 vac voltage measurements... but let's focus on the 12v one since it drives the board electronics (the others do relays and valves).

At the comm port, use a multimeter set to DC volts and measure the voltage from the black and red terminals. It should be about 15vdc... if it's lower than 7 or 8 the onboard 5 volt regulator for the electronics will "drop out" and the board will restart. If this is what's happening in your case, something is shorted or drawing too much current for the transformer to keep that voltage up - and that's why Jim suggested you remove the salt cell from the equation.
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
558
Chico, CA
I wanted to further clarify my comments about the 15vdc... the 12vac from the breaker is converted to dc and ends up being 15vdc. The 15vdc is connected directly to the comm port and to the 5 volt regulator (labeled U2 on the board) that drives all the electronics. The 15vdc is not regulated - i.e. it has no means to put out a constant 15vdc as the load changes - so a large load (like a short, etc) on the 15vdc will cause a voltage drop... if the voltage drops too low the 5v/U2 regulator will not be able to generate 5v and your system will reboot.
 

quickslvr

Member
Aug 14, 2015
11
Aurora, IL
Thanks guys - much appreciated. I'll brush up on my multimeter skills and report back...
Removing the salt cell from the equation is easy enough... however, I will point out that I did replace the salt cell earlier in the summer. I was previously running an IC40 that seemed like it had trouble keeping up the last 5 years, so I replaced it with an IC60. And come to think of it... the pool didn't measure any free chlorine when I tested Saturday morning (no load the previous few days) - so perhaps something is off there... Also of note, when the system reboots, the salt cell does not -- the red/green lights stay on the entire time. Not sure if you would expect it to also power cycle based on your experience.
 
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ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
558
Chico, CA
Good question about whether the salt cell should reboot... I don't have one so I'm not positive, but my gut says it shouldn't since it's got it's own transformer? Jim?
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
18,730
Bedford, TX
Tom,

The cell is supposed to be wired so that the cell gets no DC power unless the pump/filter relay is closed in the pool or spa mode.. If wired incorrectly, the cell will get constant power no matter what the automation is doing..

The +15 volts for the cell is just for the com line.. all the lights and the cell itself runs off of the 40 VDC supplied by the surge card. So not sure the cell would care if the 15 volts dropped too low for a half a second or not..

I remember an old problem with the IC60 causing intermittent issues with the EasyTouch.. I have some appointments this morning, but I'll see if I can find that old thread, when I get back. Seems like they had to upgrade the surge card, but to be honest I'm not sure what they did as a fix.. Since the OP originally had an IC40 and switched to the IC60, that may be the issue..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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quickslvr

Member
Aug 14, 2015
11
Aurora, IL
I tested the voltage at the COM port on the main board. The system is “on” but nothing is running. The voltage shows 15A. It might prove to be really challenging to get a reading of this at the instant the reboot happens - sometimes it will run for 3-4 hours and not reboot. Sometimes it will reboot 6 times in an hour.
I’m sorry for my lack of knowledge here, I’m not sure how to test the 12/18/24 with the multimeter.
371833D4-CE38-4B36-8BA1-07DF4FF8D349.jpeg
 

Jimrahbe

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I suggest that you unplug the SWCG and let it run for a day and see if the problem reoccurs.. Before you do that you might want to test the voltage coming out of the Surge card between the heavy black and red wires on the white connector going to the cell. Just put the leads in the back side of the connector with everything connected.. You should be about 40 Volts DC when the cell is off and 35 volts DC when the cell is making chlorine...





If you look at the upper right side of the card, you can see a white plug labeled with the AC input voltages.. 12, 18, and 24 You have to measure between the two sets of pins.. Think of measuring between 1 and 2 and then between 1 and 8 and then 2 and 4... If you look from the edge of the card, you should be able to see where you can put your probes.




Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
558
Chico, CA
two quick questions for you in addition to Jim's post above...
1. are the pump and your swcg the only things connected to the comm port (on the surge board)? or do you also have a transceiver card for a wireless remote or a cable going to an indoor panel?
2. have you noticed any pattern related to what aux circuits are on when the restart business is going on?
 

quickslvr

Member
Aug 14, 2015
11
Aurora, IL
Thanks - I'll test those other items tonight.
Last night I disconnected the SWCG so the system could run on the automation today without it -- to see if it was still rebooting. This morning when it didn't turn on at the time it was supposed to, I found the 12V circuit tripped. This happened sometime overnight with nothing "on". I've seen this circuit trip when the reboots are constant. The LCD panel was "on" and normal last night after putting it back together. Not sure if this additional info provides any more clues or insight - but my gut tells me that if the breaker is tripping when the SWCG is unplugged and nothing is running -- it's not directly related to the SWCG itself.

ogdento:
1) I do have a wireless remote - EasyTouch (8 buttons). After installing the new motherboard, I have not yet "paired" it back up. When the pool was installed in 2012, they also installed the Wireless/iPhone connection kit. It worked for 2-3 years, but quit working and I never really pursued "fixing" it -- but I'm guessing it's also connected to this board.
2) No pattern detected. Most of the time it's just the pool running with the SWCG. The only patterns I think I've noticed is: I don't think I've ever witnessed the reboot when in SPA mode (the same pump drives both, the valves rotate for each specific mode). However, it was hot here most of the summer and we really didn't use the hot tub for most of June, July, August -- just in the last couple of weeks have we even had the lid off. Lastly, the reboots seem more common in hot weather or during hotter parts of the day.

Lastly - I'll point out that my system appears to have an older model surge card. See attached.
PCBA 521091.jpeg
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
558
Chico, CA
I think this does help actually... if the swcg was disconnected, and the 12v still tripped, then something's still drawing too much current on the 12vac supply. It's likely something on the outdoor board (think relay drivers) or something connected to the comm port. The next thing we should do is pull everything off the comm port(s) except your pump. This will make sure that the old wireless card and screenlogic aren't the problem.

You'll shut the power OFF and work with the com1-3 ports on the surge card. The surge card has a 4-conductor cable going to the outdoor board... leave that one alone.

Pull off any terminal blocks you don't need. You may or may not have to unscrew the other wires on the com3 block with the pump - i can't tell if they go to the outdoor board or to your wireless card/screenlogic (the com2 port has red/blue/yellow/black wire that is probably your wireless card or screenlogic, and I can't see what's on the com1 port)

**knowing that there's still something drawing too much current, my thought process is:
1. remove all devices except pump from the surge card's comm ports to eliminate them as potential problems
2. if the problem persists, connect the pump directly to the ET comm port and eliminate the surge card as a potential problem
3. if the problem persists, check the current draw on the board and/or replace the relay drivers. i've got the relay drivers as a last step since the relay coils operate from the 18vac supply - and that's not tripping. but the drivers are controlled via the 12vac supply, so if a driver is shorted it could be causing a heavy load.
 
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Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Q,

Looking at what Tom said... the 12 volts AC makes the 15 Volts DC that is on all the com ports. If the 12 volts pops a breaker that "could" be caused by the SWCG, but also other things.

If this were my system, I would disconnect all the items connected to the com port.. Should just have to unplug them. Then run everything from the main panel for a day or so and see what happens..

Something is causing the breaker to pop and I am assuming that when it does not pop the breaker, the 12 volts is still being loaded down enough to cause the system to reboot.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

quickslvr

Member
Aug 14, 2015
11
Aurora, IL
@Jimrahbe @ogdento First- I'm incredibly grateful for you time and expertise. It's greatly appreciated!
Per your guidance, I disconnected COM1, COM2, and COM3 from the surge board. The system ran all day (well from noon anyway) with NO reboots! This evening I went back out and connected the power to the SWCG, then let the system run for ~5 mins. I am assuming one of the COM connections is for the SWCG... I have power, but there does not seem to be any communication from the SWCG to the EasyTouch Automation (so this is probably totally expected) - but I can manually at least set the % Chlorination (at least the lights reflect so).

I took a few photos so you can see what I'm seeing.
I took a "before" photo. When I pulled COM1, off, it didn't seem to be "seated" correctly - It just felt different, like there was less resistance to pulling it off. Not like it would just fall off, but different. Looking back at this photo, it almost looks like it's not seated correctly/crooked.
IMG_9506.jpeg

COM1 also seemed like maybe there was more bare wire exposed that what should be. Maybe this isn't a big deal. (?)
IMG_9507.jpeg

I also noticed that the pins on the board at COM1 were bent. You will also see a set of bare wires at the bottom of the image not connected to anything. When I had the pool installed, I was concerned about the iPhone connection kit being "wireless" (the way they installed it by default) instead of hard wired. So I had the electrician also run a hard wire back to where the ScreenLogic2 device was... I'll have to check but I don't think that set of wires is actually connected to anything at the other end - I just never got around to changing it from wireless to wired (and honestly, at the time wasn't sure which wires I needed to swap out -- seems like NOW might be a great time to change that). Anyway, pointing that out because I figure one of you will ask what that set of bare wires is for.
IMG_9509.jpeg

I didn't have time to fiddle with this today - but wanted to document it while I was doing it.
From here, I assume it's a game of trial and error - adding each of the COM ports back on individually to see if they re-introduce the rebooting? I am "assuming" that one of them goes back to the SWCG and if it were connected would give the communication bt the automation and the SWCG. Would it be COM3 (the one with Black and Red wires)?

Any other voltage tests I should do?
THANKS!
 

Jimrahbe

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Q,

There is only one com port... it is on the main board.. There is normally a 4-wire jumper that connects the J20 com port on the main board to your surge card.. This allows the com port connects on the surge card to be connected to J20.. None of the com port connectors on the surge card will work, unless the main board is connected to the surge card.

My sequence would be connect J20 on the main board to the surge card, with nothing else connected to the surge card.... Run a test to see if it reboots..
One at a time, reconnect a single com connector to the surge card.. Run a test to see if it reboots.. Rinse and repeat until all the connectors are back together or you find the bad one.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
558
Chico, CA
Maybe this is normal but I don't have a surge board ;) The pump is connected to the terminal block that was on surge card com3 along with the cable that goes back to the outdoor board. That's kind of nice because as long as the other end of that cable is connected to the outdoor board at J20, the ET can talk to the pump whether it's plugged into the surge board or not.

I also didn't realize the surge board did it's own talking to the ET... but alas there's a transceiver chip on there (U2). At this point, we can assume the pump and ET comms are good but either the surge board, wireless transceiver or screenlogic could be the culprit.

So back to Jim's suggestion... make sure the comm cable is connected to J20 on the outdoor board, and then plug only the com3 block back in (the block with BOTH the 2 pump wires and 4 wires going back to J20)...
1. If the system reboots, the surge board is bad (chip U2 would be my suspect).
2. Otherwise add in the transceiver card (antenna)... If the system reboots, the transceiver card is bad.
3. Otherwise add in the screenlogic... If the system reboots, the screenlogic is bad.
** If you get a reboot on any of those steps, put your meter on the 15vdc comm port pins and see if it's low or drops.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,883
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Would it be COM3 (the one with Black and Red wires)?
In Com 3 you have 2 devices connected, regularly its the pump R,Y,G,B + the extra device Y,G(Do you have an Intelliph?) You dont have a signature with your equipment and pool description. You will have to unplug the extra device Yellow and green so you can start your isolation trial. None of the com pins looks overheated or corroded, that is good. Is your SWG connected directly to the bottom of the ET? Its a great idea to loosen and retighten all the wires on the connectors for the coms.