Pentair i9+3 Comm Issues

mbking

Silver Supporter
Jul 28, 2020
7
Lakeway, TX
I have a Pentair i9+3 Intellitouch system with 2 wired remotes; the Intellitouch Indoor Control panel and a SpaCommand panel next to the Spa. The Indoor Control panel has power, but will not communicate with the system. The SpaCommand panel displays ERR. I disconnected both panels and reconnected each one individually to the 4-wire communications buss. Each one still failed. I don't see any other 4 wire connections, so I believe these are the only devices using the Comm Port. Given these results, it appears to be a comm issue on the main board.

1) Does this sound correct or are there other tests I should try?
2) My main board has 3 part numbers on it: 520165, 521221, and 520073. The replace board seems to be the 520287. Does this sound correct?
3) Other than physical damage which I don't think has occurred, could the issue be with the personality board which is the 520074? It seems like only a wiring interface to the mother board.
4) If I replace the mother board, will the system configuration be downloaded from the Indoor Control Panel?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Mark
 

mbking

Silver Supporter
Jul 28, 2020
7
Lakeway, TX
Jim,

Single speed Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro Series filter pump. We have a pool/spa setup. Two control valves with one filter pump. There is also a heater for the spa only and two additional pumps for water features. All pumps are single speed.

Mark
 
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ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
561
Chico, CA
Hey Mark,

I'll try and answer your questions from above...
1. Per Jim's comment, if you've got an intelliflo pump (one that connects to the comm port) we'll throw that into the mix. But, if you've pulled both 4-position terminal blocks off the personality board, then there's nothing else connected to the comm port.
2. 520287 is the correct part
3. the personality boards are - as you suspected - just a "pass-through" to the mainboard. i've only ever seen one fail and it was a physically broken relay (somebody dropped it)
4. yes, if you buy a cleared outdoor board, it will download the programming from the indoor unit - provided the indoor unit's comms are OK ;)

Thanks,
Tom
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
561
Chico, CA
Ah, I took too long to type... it does sound like the outdoor board's comm port is not working.

Before buying a new board or having yours repaired, let's make sure the wiring is ok. Do you have a multimeter so you can test conductivity on the 4 comm wires to the indoor panel? These cables frequently rot in the sun, get chewed by animals, or nicked by humans with shovels. You'll want to power down the system before messing with it
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
561
Chico, CA
Hey Mark,
Not sure how electrically inclined you are but to rule out bad wiring I'll connect devices to the outdoor board using a short 2-ish foot long "known-good" cable. If the device works with the short cable but not with the installed wiring... then we've found the problem.
Tom
 

mbking

Silver Supporter
Jul 28, 2020
7
Lakeway, TX
Jim and Tom,

I really appreciate all the input. I can definitely check the wiring out and will do that before buying a new motherboard. This board is a great resource and I will be making a donation.

Again, thanks,
Mark
 

mbking

Silver Supporter
Jul 28, 2020
7
Lakeway, TX
I've been bouncing back and forth between projects, but I can finally declare this one complete, well, mostly. I never got an estimate from a pool company to come do the repairs, but I suspect based on the other posts I've seen and past experience, this repair would have cost us in the area of $3K. With the help of this board and especially @ogdento, our costs have been more in the range of $800-$900 and that includes a spare main board with updated firmware. The main board, Indoor Panel, and Spa Command including cable were all damaged; probably from a lightning strike. I now have a fully functioning system with surge protection, which will hopefully prevent this from happening in the future.

The main board and Indoor Panel had blown comm chips. The cable going to the Spa Command had an intermittent short from +15 to +D. It's not possible to repair the Spa Command without destroying it, so I had to buy a new one with cable. @ogdento was able to repair the main board and Indoor Panel and update their firmware. In the process, I purchased a spare main board he had to keep my system running while repairs were being made. A special thanks to @ogdento for his help and wealth of information.

I've installed a surge suppressor at the main board and Spa Command and have one ready to install on the Indoor Panel. I used the RS-485 Surge Suppressor, Part No. ISO-485-P, from SerialComm.com. It was $26 and they have great customer support. The suppressor was small enough to fit in the conduit below the Spa Command. This time I raised the base plate of the Spa Command by 1/4" to allow the control to sit above the stone around the spa. I used silicone sealant to make that water tight and after I snapped the Spa Command to the base, I used acrylic latex caulk to seal the panel to the base. This should keep water out and seal along the lower edge of the panel to prevent it from separating. I keep the Spa Command covered with a flower pot base when not in use. This keeps it out of the sun and the occasional hail we get here in Texas. When the pool maintenance folks installed the 3rd Spa Command, the last one under warranty, they recommended covering it and that has worked to extend its life significantly.

I made one hugh mistake which made this repair more difficult than it should have been. I ran several rags through the 100' conduit run for the Spa Command thinking I was doing a good thing removing some of the water and other debris. The 3rd rag got caught in the conduit and would not budge. I took a simple pull and turned it into a nightmare. With a bore scope and drain snake, I was finally able to break it free. I don't recommend anyone do that. Let it be wet.

I'm going to attach a few pictures of the installation if anyone is interested.

I have begun to spread the word about this site to my neighbors. I'm glad I found it and thanks again for all the help.

Mark

IMG_0405.JPGIMG_5136.JPGIMG_8237.JPG
 

ogdento

Bronze Supporter
Mar 30, 2015
561
Chico, CA
Hey Mark, nicely done!! Thanks for the kudos... always glad to help a fellow electro-nerd get things going again.

I'll be interested to see a follow-up on those rs485 surge arrestors after a couple of lightning storms. I really hope they do the trick. Countless boards get zapped and just tossed in the garbage... so much waste, it keeps me up at night!

Also looking forward to seeing your teardown pics of that stupid spa command - with an extra order of plastic shavings and chips please. I understand why they're sealed... but I hate that they're sealed! Can't fix what you can't open :mad:
 

mbking

Silver Supporter
Jul 28, 2020
7
Lakeway, TX
Mark
I suggest you think about supporting this site... Become a TFP Supporter - Trouble Free Pool

Without this site, Tom and I would not have a place to hang out and do what we love to do..... Helping other pool owners is what we are all about. :thumleft:

Thanks,

Jim R.
Hello Jim,

I became a Silver Supporter a few weeks back. I was happy to contribute and can hopefully do more down the road. Thanks for work you guys do on this site.

Mark
 

mbking

Silver Supporter
Jul 28, 2020
7
Lakeway, TX
Hey Mark, nicely done!! Thanks for the kudos... always glad to help a fellow electro-nerd get things going again.

I'll be interested to see a follow-up on those rs485 surge arrestors after a couple of lightning storms. I really hope they do the trick. Countless boards get zapped and just tossed in the garbage... so much waste, it keeps me up at night!

Also looking forward to seeing your teardown pics of that stupid spa command - with an extra order of plastic shavings and chips please. I understand why they're sealed... but I hate that they're sealed! Can't fix what you can't open :mad:
I will definitely post some pictures of the breakdown of the Spa Command. I don't expect there to be much left of the case when I finally get to the board. They go to all this trouble to seal the rear of the board, but the membrane they use is fragile and that's what lets the water in. I'm now using a UV blocker on the panel in addition to covering it to add a little extra protection and try to keep the membrane flexible so it won't separate or crack. Only time will tell. We've got storms on the way, so we'll see how things hold up.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,796
Bedford, TX
I became a Silver Supporter a few weeks back. I was happy to contribute and can hopefully do more down the road. Thanks for work you guys do on this site.

Duh!! I must have missed your silver badge... :rolleyes: Thanks for being a supporter.

Jim R.