Pool pilot low volt and amps

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, HI
10,500 gal
Hayward S244T sand filter GPM/FT 20
3/4 hp PAC FAB Challenger pump
IG
plaster
Pool Pilot ST 220 SWG

FC 8 high due to fighting black algae
pH 7.6
TA 90
CH 400
CYA >100 trying to reduce over time (black algae came 1st)

I have several questions but will start with SWG (PoolPilot bought Sep 2004). We were getting check cell light with low volt and low amps (ex. 12 : 3.3) on cell power 2. Not helped by cleaning cell. Bought generic Compupool cell but still getting same results. Not sure if cell is defective but hate to buy a new non-generic cell and still have the same problem. In the booklet it says volts go up when cell fails which is not the case although the amps are certainly down. In the past the cell did scale up but now hope to avoid that with better management.

We have a lot of pitting in the plaster surfaces of our pool (also due to poor management). We can live with the way it looks but I am wondering if it could cause other problems.

We have killed off black algae (was all over the pool) thanks to following your advice. There are still some faint shadows and I wonder how long I should keep the FC high.

I appreciate any info or advice you can share
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
The Pool Pilot units ramp the voltage up slowly over several minutes. It would be good to double check the volts/amps by pressing boost, waiting 20 minutes or half an hour, and then doing a Test Pool Pilot to see what the volts/amps are (then turn off boost). Low volts and low amps at the same time is fairly unusual other than during the ramp up period.

Pitted plaster is bad for the plaster, and it can make it much easier for algae to get started, but it won't have any significant impact on the water chemistry.
 

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
Just did as you suggested got 12 and 2.7. Also am not sure if the new cell is generating chlorine since I am adding Chlorox to keep FC high. Several days ago I tested the FC at a return but got the same reading as the pool. Also do you know what the voltage should read at cell power 2?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Cell power 2 should be 6.5 amps and anywhere from 17 to 27 volts (depending on which cell you have, how old it is, how much salt there is in the water, the water temperature, etc).
 

Poolsean

TFP Expert
Apr 15, 2007
1,462
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
No. The orientation of the cell would not affect cell life or the amps and volts across the cell. It will only be affected by the "potential" penitration of water into the cell/cell cord connection.
The amps and volts suggest that
1)there is either 110 volts going to the Pool Pilot that is wired for 220 volts. As you've had the system installed for a number of years, one would assume that it had been operating properly. However, it does warrant verifying the voltage is correct. It may be possible for one of the two power wires coming in to drop off (bad breaker, or bad wires). If installed with 110 volts while the unit is wired for 220 volts, the SC-36 cell may operate without the check system light flashing when new. I do NOT endorse the generic cell.

or

2) there is a failure of the power circuit board (power module # 16084).

Another possibility that may cause the low amps and volts: very low salt.

In my opinion, with the low amps/volts and the high salinity readings, #1 above is what you're experiencing.
 

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
How /where do we test the voltage? We have a voltage meter but aren't sure where to test. The salt concentration by test strip is 3340 so the reading from the tri-sensor is off. Should we check the tri-sensor metal strip?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Solve the volts/amps problem first and see if that changes the salt reading, before worrying about the trisensor.

To check the voltage, measure the AC voltage across terminals #1 and #2 inside the AutoPilot control unit while the unit is on. Be aware that this is AC line voltage so take appropriate precautions and don't take un-needed risks. It should read somewhere between 210 and 250 volts.
 

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
We tested the voltage and got 238 so that's ok. Today the volt/amp was 12/2.2. Then, I switched back to the original SC 36 and got 16/2.6 then about an hour later 27/3.6 1/2 hour later 28/2.2. I will remeasure tomorrow as it seems to be varying a lot.
 

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
Yesterday with the Sc 36 the volt/amps measured 24/4.3, 16/2.7 and 21/4.4 about an hour apart. Today 28/2.0 The volts seem in the right range now. Does that mean it's just the cell? or are the volts supposed to go up when the amps go down when the cell fails? The salt measurements continue to be way off. Thanks for all your help so far
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
When a cell is failing the volts normally go up to 28 or 29 and stay there, while the amps drop lower and lower.

Keep in mind that the volts will ramp up slowly from the minimum to the correct level over the first several minutes after each time the cell turns on.
 

jeffhask

Active member
Jun 5, 2008
29
I bet if you take off the cover of the main unit, you'll find a fried circuit board! ( ie. black capcitors that used to be blue in the upper left corner of the board.) Try a search for " fried circuit board ".
 

srbaker

Member
Jul 5, 2007
9
Westcher, NY
I agree with Jeff take off the cover, but also check the cord that goes from the control unit to the cell. I got a new control unit (under warranty) only to find out that the both the red and black plugs (they are just banana plugs, think stereo) that plug into the bottom of the control unit had corroded. Replaced the plugs problem solved.
 

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
Thanks Jeff. Our board also looks fried - the same as in the picture. One person did say that some capacitors are brown. So Sean or anyone who has seen the board pre-fried. Are all the capacitors blue to start with?
 

smallpooldad

Well-known member
Aug 6, 2008
429
Honolulu
I to live in Honolulu and have a similar setup to you, my Pool Pilot Digital is about 3 years old, I have the SC-60 cell. I to have had issues with strange readings these are the things I would do, and have done in the past which have fixed the problem. The following are in order, I shut off my unit and throw the fuse for extra security while doing most of the following:

1. Do you clean your pH and Orp probes weekly, if not clean them so. Make sure you return them quickly to the box as they will fail if dryed out for too long, use tape on the threads or they will leak. Do not seat them too tightly or the plastic water housing will crack, hand tighten firmly.
2. Do you clean the filter and and put a golf ball in to clean out the pressure valve, and flush the line, if not clean them out monthly. Do not forget to take the golf ball.
3. Have you taken out the Tri-Sensor and cleaned them, check quarterly and clean if necessary (see manual for instructions - less acid is better).
4. Is your flow sensor moving up and down in the pH Orp box. If not it will need to be replaced.
5. Make sure the Tri-Sensor cable has a nice straight run and is not rolled up, if kinked your cable could be broken. This particular cable likes nice straight runs with gentle turns.
6. Make sure the Tri-Sensor is connected to the cable properly and you pins are not bent. If bent you will have to replace that part. Many,many, many times the cable does not seat well to the Tri-Sensor contact. Very, very gently, giggle it a tiny bit with unit switched off, after 15 minutes or so it will read properly again. You may have to do this three or four times.
7. Due to our humidity and salt air the contacts can build-up corrosion, even though not visible. Unplug each contact, including the salt three prong contact and contacts into the boxes. Spray the contact, both male and female ends, with "CRC QD Electronic Cleaner" hang so the residue will fall to the ground and let dry for 5 minutes before reconnecting, available from auto parts stores. Make sure it is the "QD ", quick drying stuff. This happens to me about every 6 to 9 months.
8. Then if all of this does not work carefully open both boxes, be careful some contacts are plugged into the front of the cover, disconnect the contacts and spray with the "QD" stuff. I also spray my board but that is up to you.
9. Check to see if your capicitators are fried, call Pool Pilot and ask them how to determine that by a visual view..

Did you get one of our famous electrical outages, if so it might have "fried" something when the power came back on. If you do get an outage, throw the fuse and turn on an hour or so after the electricty is on, because as you know, they may turn it off again. The reason for doing this is the power surges when it comes back on.

Test after each item after point 2, and see which, if any, might have been the issue. I also check my cell once a month and clean with a flush of water, daily if doing iron treatment or in-pool acid wash. Make sure you spray the contacts with "QD" before you put it back.

Finally it could of course be something else, I would replace these parts first before going to the more expensive stuff such as the board, Tri-Sensor cable, flow sensor,etc. It could be the pH probe. And yes I know, I know, that many times here on this forum it has been stated that the Tri-Sensor cable has nothing to do with the readings, well I am here to tell you from EXPERIENCE that 99% of the time it IS the cable, if seated not just right or if the cable is moved just a little the readings can go weird. It may not be your issue, but it is nearly always mine.

Hope one of these work and let us know what happened.

Aloha.
 

roycehi@aol.com

Active member
May 31, 2010
35
Honolulu, Hawaii
I noticed that several people are buying different systems (AquaRite, CircuPool, Goldline). Is there a place online where the different systems are compared/reviewed? Do they all require an electrician to put in?