Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Fire / Burning

JoeFletch

Member
Nov 7, 2014
24
Bradenton, FL
I was doing my normal pool maintenance today and came across this in my EasyTouch panel. (The first indication was the burning smell.)
IMG_20201113_122828479_HDR.jpg

IMG_20201113_131745010_HDR.jpg

IMG_20201113_131755731_HDR.jpg

Traced the wire back to the PCB and found no issues there.
IMG_20201113_123241221.jpg

Removed the salt cell cover to the flow switch and found this.
IMG_20201113_131814557_HDR.jpg

So needless to say, I am having a pretty crappy day so far.

I was able to check the voltage out of the PCB and found 27.5VDC. So I hope all is well there.

I'm not too sure why the wire would have failed there, but I hope that I just need a new wire (Pentair 520724 $96 on Amazon) and a new salt cell.

Would it make sense to temporarily splice from the PCB through the broken wire into the salt cell to see if it the salt cell turns on? Or should I just accept that the cell and is dead and I should not risk any further damage? Has anyone seen anything like this happen before? We did have the Eta storm come through this week, but there was no lightning and we never lost power and I have no found anything else that is damaged in the house.
 

Dirk

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At least two here had some scorching to a terminal connector on an IntellipH circuit board, one of those for sure had an IntelliChlor connected downstream of the connector. Nothing was conclusive, but one theory was the connector corroded, which decreased its conductivity. That increase in resistance, and subsequent increase in current, contributed to the melting/scorching. The picture you posted looks a bit like scorching...

Here's one thread about it. It has a post with links to the other thread about it:

 

Jimrahbe

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I would jumper across the burned connector and see what happens. If the connector just got corroded, your cell should work.

My system has 40 vdc when the cell is off and 35 vdc when the cell is making chlorine.

Jim R.
 

JoeFletch

Member
Nov 7, 2014
24
Bradenton, FL
I would jumper across the burned connector and see what happens. If the connector just got corroded, your cell should work.

My system has 40 vdc when the cell is off and 35 vdc when the cell is making chlorine.

Jim R.
This is exactly what I was thinking of doing to check the cell. You don't think that there is a concern with damaging anything else? What about the burning / scorching evidence for the connections to the flow cell?
 

Jimrahbe

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I missed the fact that the flow switch and thermistor wiring was burned.. They only get voltage from the cell, so the cell may have something bad wrong inside.. Now not so sure I would connect connect it.

Jim R.
 

Dirk

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Before you unwire anything, especially cutting wires to the flow switch, you might consider giving Pentair a call about this. You're a year out of warranty, but if I were Pentair I would want that cell. This wasn't just a product pooping out, this was a catastrophic failure that could have burned your house down. They should reclaim the cell and replace it for you, not only out of an ethical duty, but to investigate how one or more of their products threatened a house fire. You might get a new cell out of it, but just as importantly you might help Pentair find a problem that could be systemic. If you start chopping wires and creating DIY bypasses and whatnot, you could compromise them finding the culprit. Or they could blame you for the failure.
 
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Dirk

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@ogdento kind'a explained this in the other thread (the corroded connectors), but what I still can't quite wrap my head around: if there is enough of a current increase to melt wires and connectors and cause scorching, why aren't fuses popping?
 

Jimrahbe

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if there is enough of a current increase to melt wires and connectors and cause scorching, why aren't fuses popping?
It won't pop the fuse, or circuit breaker, because the "problem" does not pull enough current.. The same way a red hot electric heater does not pop the breaker.

The problem is that the corroded pins cause a small resistance, the same as an electric heater.. Normal current across a small resistance causes heat. The excessive heat is the problem, not the amount of current.

I have never seen this type of damage on Pentair SWCGs before. I have seen it (here on TFP) on a number of Hayward T-15 style cells..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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JoeFletch

Member
Nov 7, 2014
24
Bradenton, FL
Before you unwire anything, especially cutting wires to the flow switch, you might consider giving Pentair a call about this. You're a year out of warranty, but if I were Pentair I would want that cell. This wasn't just a product pooping out, this was a catastrophic failure that could have burned your house down. They should reclaim the cell and replace it for you, not only out of an ethical duty, but to investigate how one or more of their products threatened a house fire. You might get a new cell out of it, but just as importantly you might help Pentair find a problem that could be systemic. If you start chopping wires and creating DIY bypasses and whatnot, you could compromise them finding the culprit. Or they could blame you for the failure.
You are 100% correct. I already called them and after a bit of a discussion, they are sending new components (the wire and the salt cell). I was pleasantly surprised that they would do this, but they never mentioned me sending the old parts back in. I will ask them once I get the new parts in hand.
 

JoeFletch

Member
Nov 7, 2014
24
Bradenton, FL
@ogdento kind'a explained this in the other thread (the corroded connectors), but what I still can't quite wrap my head around: if there is enough of a current increase to melt wires and connectors and cause scorching, why aren't fuses popping?
I agree. I think that I will have to make another call to Pentair once I have the parts in hand to see what they have to say.
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
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Sometimes the electronics in the cell get wet and short out.

When you can disassemble the cell, pry off the front control panel to see if there is water or evidence of electrical damage.
 

Dirk

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It won't pop the fuse, or circuit breaker, because the "problem" does not pull enough current.. The same way a red hot electric heater does not pop the breaker.

The problem is that the corroded pins cause a small resistance, the same as an electric heater.. Normal current across a small resistance causes heat. The excessive heat is the problem, not the amount of current.

I have never seen this type of damage on Pentair SWCGs before. I have seen it (here on TFP) on a number of Hayward T-15 style cells..

Thanks,

Jim R.
Yes, of course, that makes perfect sense. Thx.
 

Dirk

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You are 100% correct. I already called them and after a bit of a discussion, they are sending new components (the wire and the salt cell). I was pleasantly surprised that they would do this, but they never mentioned me sending the old parts back in. I will ask them once I get the new parts in hand.
Perhaps that’s because they’ve heard of this happening and already know the cause...
 

JoeFletch

Member
Nov 7, 2014
24
Bradenton, FL
Sometimes the electronics in the cell get wet and short out.
Are you talking about a salt cell enclosure failure?

When you can disassemble the cell, pry off the front control panel to see if there is water or evidence of electrical damage.
I am looking forward to it! Need to wait for the replacement to come first...then the holidays, so who knows when I will get to this!
 

Dirk

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I've had some experience with this with Pentair. They regularly swap out SWGs with flow switch problems, no questions asked, because they know those flow switches are a very weak link. They've been doing that for many years, instead of finding a better flow switch solution. The 5G light is also very failure prone. LED pool lights in general, across the industry, are notoriously unreliable, yet they still sell 'em for $600 a pop. It's not just Pentair, this is our "everything's disposable" consumer mentality at fault.
 
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