Pentair Valve Actuator Fix: New Switches

dmh

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
61
Houston, TX
My set up: In-ground 10K-gallon Gunite pool with attached spa; all Pentair equipment and valves.

After about two years of operation, the Pentair valve actuators that switch my valves between pool circulation and spa circulation sporadically got stuck in the pool or spa position. After reading about Pentair actuators online, I contemplated switching out the Pentair actuators with cheaper Intermatic actuators. On another site, however, a poster suggested that the switches in the Pentair actuators are their Achilles heal. This sounded reasonable to me. Switches like those in the Pentair actuators are prone to carbon build up, which eventually results in failure.

Bottom line: I replaced the switches in both of my actuators with Omron SS-5T switches (two per actuator), which I purchased online at Mouser Electronics for less than $2 each. After replacing the switches, my actuators are working perfectly again. It took me about 5 minutes per actuator to do the labor. I only needed two Phillips screwdrivers (one medium and one small) to do the work.

Don't forget to cut off power to the actuators before you work on them. Install the switches in exactly the same orientation as the old ones. Try not to bend the connectors on the switches when you reinstall the wire clips.
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
Hey! That is some handy information! I might need a couple of those myself soon. Thanks for posting that.
 

gary300

LifeTime Supporter
Dec 15, 2014
560
Riverside California
I have been doing this to my Compool CVA-24 actuators for a number of years now (over 20). One thing I must stress is to NOT bend the Microswitch leads. You may cut off the center one if you like, but do not stress the other leads. I found that bending the lead stresses the internal connection of the leads and leads to pre-mature failure. I have also found that soldering ALL of the connections within the actuator will prevent other failures due to bad contact with the .110" slide on connectors to the micro-switches and the connections to the capacitor and motor leads.
 

dmh

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
61
Houston, TX
Good advice. I think I actually read your early post before I tried this fix. Thanks for the tip!

I was too lazy to solder the leads, but I was very gentle in replacing the switches. I didn't cut off any leads or do anything special. The new switches went easily into the same position as the worn out switches. I bought 10 switches from Mouser (they are dirt cheap) and will replace them as needed. In fact, my original actuators were about three years old before I had to replace them even though the valves are located in the full sun of south Texas.

Now, if the computer control board in the Pentair Intellitouch was as easy to fix...
 

gary300

LifeTime Supporter
Dec 15, 2014
560
Riverside California
A couple of other things I have done to keep the actuators functioning:

Once the top is off, remove the screws holding the frame to the bottom plastic shell and inspect the gears. I have one that the water had gotten into and rusted the gears, which I had to replace. Be sure they are well lubricated with thick grease.

Lubricate the handle shaft that sticks up through the top plastic shell with thick grease to avoid water seeping down the shaft.

The long gasket that seals the top and bottom shell pieces should be inspected and lubricated. Replace if cracked or degraded.

Hope this saves anyone from having to replace the actuators.
 

gary300

LifeTime Supporter
Dec 15, 2014
560
Riverside California
Good advice. I think I actually read your early post before I tried this fix. Thanks for the tip!

I was too lazy to solder the leads, but I was very gentle in replacing the switches. I didn't cut off any leads or do anything special. The new switches went easily into the same position as the worn out switches. I bought 10 switches from Mouser (they are dirt cheap) and will replace them as needed. In fact, my original actuators were about three years old before I had to replace them even though the valves are located in the full sun of south Texas.

Now, if the computer control board in the Pentair Intellitouch was as easy to fix...
About the only thing you can do is a visual inspection of the board, such as loose connectors or burnt components. Since there is no way to get an actual schematic, troubleshooting with a meter or scope is not possible.
 

dmh

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
61
Houston, TX
Similar here. I applied silicon grease (plumber's grease) to the rubber gasket and a little to gears. I did not see any water infiltration when I did mine, but a little silicon grease will preserve the rubber parts.
 

dmh

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
61
Houston, TX
My Pentair controller suddenly had a mind of its own. Power was supplied to the relays that should not have been powered up and no power was supplied to relays that should have been powered. I tried resetting. No help. I had to bypass the controller to run my pump manually. I called the Pentair tech line and the tech walked me through a test procedure that included measuring some voltages (Pentair has an excellent help line). He concluded the board was bad. Fortunately, the board was still under warranty because the entire system was installed professionally; apparently, you get a three-year warranty in this case (again, love Pentair...the board was several hundred dollars online). A local authorized Pentair pool guy came out soon thereafter and replaced the board. Before he came, I measured various voltages and the surface temperature of the capacitors on the board. The voltages checked out ok compared to online tech info I could find for the components, but one capacitor was much hotter than the others. I suspect this capacitor was bad and causing the problems I observed. Unfortunately, the pool tech could not leave the old board with me so I could experiment trying to fix it by replacing the surface mounted capacitor with a better one.

In my experience, bad controller boards are usually the result of bad (cheap) capacitors and/or bad (cheap) relays.
 

VegasPoolGuy

New member
May 16, 2017
2
Las Vegas
My set up: In-ground 10K-gallon Gunite pool with attached spa; all Pentair equipment and valves.

After about two years of operation, the Pentair valve actuators that switch my valves between pool circulation and spa circulation sporadically got stuck in the pool or spa position. After reading about Pentair actuators online, I contemplated switching out the Pentair actuators with cheaper Intermatic actuators. On another site, however, a poster suggested that the switches in the Pentair actuators are their Achilles heal. This sounded reasonable to me. Switches like those in the Pentair actuators are prone to carbon build up, which eventually results in failure.

Bottom line: I replaced the switches in both of my actuators with Omron SS-5T switches (two per actuator), which I purchased online at Mouser Electronics for less than $2 each. After replacing the switches, my actuators are working perfectly again. It took me about 5 minutes per actuator to do the labor. I only needed two Phillips screwdrivers (one medium and one small) to do the work.

Don't forget to cut off power to the actuators before you work on them. Install the switches in exactly the same orientation as the old ones. Try not to bend the connectors on the switches when you reinstall the wire clips.

I know this thread is old, however just want to thank you for the information. I have the same actuator that was installed about 4 years ago and all of a sudden stopped working. Instead of replacing it, though I would follow the suggestion and buy micro-switches and replace them..Boy, am I a happy camper now or what!!

$4 dollar micro-switches replacement got the actuator working again! though I bought a soldering gun, which I didn't need. Pentair-compool have a sleeve to push it into the pins for wire connection so no need to solder wires into the pin.

here is the link for the micro switches in case you need it.

http://www.mouser.com/Search/Refine.aspx?Keyword=ss-5t
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
I know this thread is old, however just want to thank you for the information. I have the same actuator that was installed about 4 years ago and all of a sudden stopped working. Instead of replacing it, though I would follow the suggestion and buy micro-switches and replace them..Boy, am I a happy camper now or what!!

$4 dollar micro-switches replacement got the actuator working again! though I bought a soldering gun, which I didn't need. Pentair-compool have a sleeve to push it into the pins for wire connection so no need to solder wires into the pin.

here is the link for the micro switches in case you need it.

http://www.mouser.com/Search/Refine.aspx?Keyword=ss-5t
Thanks VegasPoolGuy for sharing the info, and welcome to TFP! :wave:
 

FTC3

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2012
56
Las Vegas
Mine quit working after only being installed a month. Thanks for the info and link to order the switches. Mine just went out so hopefully this works!

Edit 6/24/17: it worked! Thank you!
 

ClemsonJeeper

Active member
Jun 18, 2017
37
Ashburn, VA
Follow up on this thread - I had a Pentair actuator that I only had installed for a year go out completely a week ago. Neither position of the switch on the outside moved it. I pulled it off and manually closed the valve, and happened upon this thread.

Glad I did! I ordered the internal switches off mouser and just did the swap which brought it back to life! Definitely cheaper than 140$ replacement. Glad I bought 6 of the switches since I have a feeling I'll be replacing more soon enough.
 

ctm14

New member
Apr 17, 2011
2
This fix just worked on my Pentair actuator. So simple and the micro switches are also on Amazon for $16/pair. You saved me $140 in parts let alone had I called a repair tech. Thanks!!