Pentair IC20 Troubleshooting Question to isolate potential problem

fudgebar

Well-known member
Jul 25, 2010
178
North Bergen, NJ
Hey all.... I could use some next steps advice to try and isolate problem Im currently having on my IC20 SWG

  • Im currently just ending my 5th swim season with my IC20 SWG in Northern NJ and my vinyl lined pool size is approx 7500 to 8,000 gallons
  • Im fanatical about mainting the proper water chemistry over the years using the Taylor dropper kit and I always keep my numbers within the guidelines advertised here at TFP 7.5 PH, 3-4 FC, 60-80 ALK, 40-50 CYA, 250 CH
  • Recently I have noticed my Cell light flashing green and when I goto Diagnostics in my Easy Touch under chlorinator it reads the SALT level at 3700 and reads CLEAN CELL!!! below that in the display
  • Ive performed already 2 acid washes this summer and seen no bubbling whatsoever and the inside of the cell grids look sparkling silver clean and show no sign of damage. So I do not think it is accurately reporting the correct problem of why the cell light is flashing
  • Next step I tried was to go into SWG diagnostic mode by pressing and holding the MORE button on the actual cell.
  • The cell lights cycle and then eventually stop with one red light -under LOW SALT (everything else displays green) and the CELL LIFE displays 2 Bars which indicate only 4,000 hours used so I am thinking there is still plenty of cell life left to this unit
  • current pool temp is reported at 62 degrees ( we will be closing pool this week)

so my question is what does the Low Salt light red mean in diagnostics mode? Is it actually indicating low salt or something else? If so, why wouldnt it display Low Salt in regular operational mode? In regular operation mode, the Salt light is Green indicating good and my easy touch is reporting 3700ppm which should be sufficient. So my thinking is either it is trying to report a different problem or it just isnt accurately reading the correct salt level?.....or could it just need to be replaced?

Any ideas of what it could be or what else I could try before actually replacing the cell

thanks
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,282
Northern NJ
The ET does not know if the cell needs cleaning or not. I think that CLEAN CELL message is on a timer and displays after a certain amount of run time. You should reset it and ignore it.

You should not clean the cell with diluted acid if there is no visible scale on the plates. Every time you give he plates an acid bath you reduce the life of the cell. You should first try and get any scale using a strong water stream from a hose or gently knocking off with a wood or plastic stick before you resort to an acid wash.

After rereading your problem if the Check Cell light keeps flashing the cell is probably depleted.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,396
Bedford, TX
FB,

Salt cells don't work when the water temp gets below about 55 degrees, When this happens the cold temp light comes on and it will be the only light on the cell that is on..

When the water temp gets below about 65 or so, the salt reading gets less and less accurate. The problem is if the cell just "thinks" the salt is low, it will not produce any chlorine

If the Cell lite is flashing, and the cell is clean, it generally means the cell is toast. If this were my pool, I would start using Liquid Chlorine until you close for this year, and early next year. When the water warms up, you can confirm if the cell is bad or not... Or if you are lucky, maybe it will work.. :)

Put me in the toast column.. ☹

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

fudgebar

Well-known member
Jul 25, 2010
178
North Bergen, NJ
thanks for the quick feedback/

In an attempt to further isolate the problem, I did notice something odd....I noticed that the Pentair flow arrow on the wiring cap of the cell was pointing in the opposite direction of the actual flow (it is pointing away from the pool inlets and towards the Heater. My first reaction was, these guys installed this cell backwards. But after further inspection under the wiring cap, I did notice that the orientation of the flow switch is indeed screwed into the correct direction of the flow. (flow switch arrow is facing opposite direction of wiring flow cap) So it appears that they installed the cell backwards but oriented the flow switch correctly. This has functioned like this for 5 years now so no problems, but my question now is....Is this ok to install like this? Does it matter what side the cell is facing if the flow switch is correctly oriented?swg.jpg
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,281
Laughlin, NV
Not functionally with your installation. There is a screen on the inlet side (your outlet side) that is there to protect the flow switch and cell from debris. But no debris should get there as it is after the filter.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,396
Bedford, TX
FB,

I guess you have proven it does not really matter, as long as the flow switch is pointed the right way... :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

fudgebar

Well-known member
Jul 25, 2010
178
North Bergen, NJ
What is the actual salinity as measured by a K-1766 salt test kit?
Great question, that was my next step to find out true salt reading. However, im curious as to what that will tell me if the reading is different than the SWG, which it most likely will be. I guess if true salt reading is actually below what the min. requirement is for IC20 SWG, I should add more and see if it corrects the Flashing Green Cell (CLEAN CELL!!!) message. But that would also lead to another concern, as to why the cell is reporting a salinity level that is between 3450 and 3700 on different days and perhaps why it isnt flashing the correct Low Salt indicator Light during operation mode

I guess 1 step at a time here
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,061
Replacing Bad Temperature Sensor in the Flow Switch with a Separate Sensor

Pentair has the temperature sensor integrated with the Flow Switch. If the temperature sensor fails Pentair expects the entire Flow Switch assembly to be replaced. The temperature sensor in the Flow Switch is a standard 10K thermistor temperature sensor which can be used in place of the one in the flow switch.

Install the thermistor in the plumbing near the cell using a water temperature probe, like the one that comes with an EasyTouch. Drill a hole in the pipe, stick in the probe, and use a hose clamp to hold it in place.

Then cut the green and white wires in the flow switch. Attach the two wires from the thermistor to the green and white wires going into the cell using Scotchlok UR2 connectors so you don't have to strip the wires. Just crush the button and the wires are connected. The two green and white wires coming from the switch will be left disconnected.

Now the cell sees the water temp from the new probe and not the thermistor in the flow switch.

 

fudgebar

Well-known member
Jul 25, 2010
178
North Bergen, NJ
Interesting...so how does this sound as next steps in the following order:

If K-1766 Salt reading is below IC20 Minimum spec, Add salt to bring it up to min requirement (regardless of what SWG is reading)
If this resets CLEAN CELL message and starts functioning properly, then order new flow switch as this may be indicative of the temp sensor being bad

If K-1766 Salt reading is within SWG spec and/or adding the additional salt does not reset the CLEAN CELL message, simply order a new cell (dont bother with flow switch replacement)

Or is there any other things I could try

thanks all for your help


BTW, side question....I have a sacrifical anode (you can see it in above image next to the booster pump) that hasnt been changed for 5 years either and its starting to look pretty bad now. If my chemistry has been well maintained over those years, is it still important to replace this? Also could this have anything to do with the SWG problem? And is it a simple replacement of the anode I can do myself?

thanks all for helping out
 

fudgebar

Well-known member
Jul 25, 2010
178
North Bergen, NJ
The Salt level light is green, correct? It is the Cell light that is flashing, correct?
That is correct. In operational mode, Salt Light is Green and the CELL light is flashing green which is what was confusing me about low salt being the actual issue.....BUT when I run the SWG in diagnostic mode (Hold down MORE button for 3 secs) it cycles and then displays all the the lights in green, but the Salt Low Salt is RED. Also, the cell life indicates 4,000 hours used which tells me there should be much more life left in this thing
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,061
Pressing and holding the “More” button launches the System Status Mode. When the lights finish scrolling, the percent lights indicate hours of usage in 1,000s. For example, if the 40% light lights, that indicates 4,000 hours.

Version 3.1 on adds the ability to determine system temperature. Pressing the “More” button immediately after the display shows 1,000s of hours of usage, will show temperature as follows:
Lights……………………Temperature
No LEDs……………………Below 30F
40%...........................36 to 45F
40% and 60%............46 to 55F
60%...........................56 to 65F
60% and 80%.............66 to 75F
80%.............................76 to 85F
80 and 100%..................86 to 95F
100%.............................96 to 99F
100% blinking…………….over 99F
All LEDs blinking…………..Sensor bad
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,061
The thermistor can read too high or too low.

If the temperature reading is too high, the salinity reading will be too low.

If the temperature reading is too low, the salinity reading will be too high.

To protect the IntelliChlor SCG from operation and potential damage when the temperature of the pool water falls below 52° F, ±3° F, the temperature sensor switches the IntelliChlor SCG off, illuminates the COLD WATER light and no chlorine will be produced

For every degree the temperature reading is off, the salinity will be about 70 ppm off.

The temperature can be up to 10 degrees too low without activating the Cold water light. 10 x 70 = 700 ppm that the salinity can be above actual.

Given that the salinity reading at the Easytouch is 3,700 ppm, the actual salinity might be as low as 3,000 ppm.

At 3,000 ppm, the cell should work. So, the cell is probably underproducing.

If the actual salinity is 3,000, raising the salinity to 3,800 ppm will probably give you a few more months of production.
 
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