Probable bad flow switch on Intellichlor IC60

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
Earlier this year I replaced my dead IC 40 with a new IC 60. Install was simple and I immediately got what I wanted, a working SWG that consistently kept my free chlorine level where I wanted it without running the pump 20 hours a day.

I typically check my salt level using the diagnostics menu in my Easy Touch Automation. About a 4-6 weeks ago it started reporting zero salt. The SWG itself was showing the salt level was fine, green light, and my FC levels were fine every week so I didn't worry about it too much. About 10 days ago, however, the salt level light on the SWG went red and the unit quit producing chlorine. I took a water sample to a pool store that I trust and he told me I'm at 3500. Before anyone tells me how unreliable pool store readings are I will tell you that this guy uses a Taylor test kit for most of his testing. He has some fancy salt level tester but everything else he does looks a lot like what I do at home.

Back to my issue, based on other threads I think that my flow switch has probably gone bad. Since I decided to save money and install it myself my crappy 60 day warranty has expired. Here's my question, can I take the flow switch out of my old IC 40 (my wife will tell you that I never throw anything away) and put it in my new IC 60? Seems like it is the same part for all Intellichlor models. I'm cheap so this seems like a way to at least defer spending $100 on a switch. It also seems like a free way to test the flow switch failure diagnosis.

TIA
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
823
Sunny SoCal
If you purchased the the ic60 from an authorized retailer and have a receipt for hour purchase, then your salt cell qualifies for a 2 year warranty. It does not require a certified installer if it was a replacement for a previously installed unit. Give pentair a call and get it replaced.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,571
Bedford, TX
Otis,

I too would like to see the results of swapping the flow switches.

There is a lot of difference in having a zero salt reading and having a low salt reading. I suspect your low salt light is a combination of your water temperature dropping and your flow switch thermistor being out of spec. A pretty common flow switch issue.

I don't believe that the flow switch can cause a zero salt reading.. So far, we have heard of members who "fixed" their zero salt reading, but replacing the main board, the SWCG board, the salt cell, and yes, even some that have replaced the flow switch... In my case, just restarting my system will clear the problem..

I believe that there is some kind of communication/timing error between the EasyTouch and the salt cell.. Something is on the ragged edge of working or not working and replacing anything that changes the timing, even just a little bit, can make the system work or not work. Just my opinion of course, I have no proof.

If you have not already done so, please reboot your whole system and see of the problem goes away before changing out the flow switch.

Did you ever see this issue before installing your new IC60?

Please let us know what happens.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
Jim,

Regarding your first comment "I suspect your low salt light is a combination of your water temperature dropping and your flow switch thermistor being out of spec. A pretty common flow switch issue." While it is true that temperatures dropped here in North Texas recently you know that last weekend we got back up in the 80's. I don't recall what that did to my water temperature but I do know that the water got warmer and the chlorine level was still reading zero. I have been getting the zero salt reading constantly going back to September so it has persisted in varying temperatures. I don't know enough to argue your theory I'm just trying to supply the fact pattern.

I have unplugged my SWG from the panel and plugged it back in. While there is no sign of scaling or debris, I used the "jet" setting on my hose spray nozzle and sprayed the interior of the SWG from both ends. Can you tell me how to "restarting" or "rebooting" the system? I'd love to try that before crack open the SWG and start cutting wires.

To answer your last question I did not see this issue before installing the new IC60. As the old IC40 was failing it started giving me some erratic readings but never zero. However, I did fail to mention in my original post that several weeks before it read zero, it read high when it wasn't. That lasted less than a week so it didn't give it much thought until right now.

Thanks for the help. I'll restart it after you tell me how and will report back.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,571
Bedford, TX
Otis,

The power to the Easytouch should come from your main circuit breaker panel in your house. You can just turn off the circuit breaker going to your pool, wait a few seconds and then turn it back on.

Or you could also just turn off all the circuit breakers in the EasyTouch, wait a few seconds and then turn them back on.. Either way will cause the system to reboot.

You really do NOT want to unplug, or plug in, the cable from the EasyTouch to the cell with the power on..

The zero salt reading is a different failure from a high or low salt reading. When the EasyTouch reads zero salt, the cell is actually reading the salt level just fine, it just can't update the EasyTouch for some reason. When the Red low salt light on the cell comes on, it is not because the EasyTouch shows zero salt, but rather because the cell itself thinks the salt level is low. Assuming the actual salt level in the pool is ok, then the problem is almost always a bad thermistor in the flow switch.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,587
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 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

Press and hold the "More" button until the lights scroll. A percentage light will light up. Note which one.

Then, immediately press and release the "More" button again and note which percentage lights light up.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
Jim R,

Thanks for the insight. I have a power switch at my panel that shuts off the power to the panel. That should accomplish the same as flipping the circuit breaker. Thanks for the tip on the SWG power line. I think I just put it in Service mode when I did that last :mad: I did shut the system down using the previously mentioned power switch when I installed the new SWG. I will do the reboot tomorrow.

James W,

I've searched the documentation for EasyTouch and I can't seem to find the "More" button. Also, how do I determine if I have Version 3.1?

Thanks.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,587
There should be a Less and a More button on the cell to change the percentage.

Press the More button on the cell.

On the bottom of the cell is a sticker with the date of manufacture and the software version number.

If your cell is relatively new, it's the newer version.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,571
Bedford, TX
Otis,

JamesW is talking about the More/Less buttons on the cell itself... Since your cell is new, you have at least Version 3.1...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
Thanks guys. I'm familiar with those buttons. However since I have automation those buttons are inactive meaning they don't change the level of chlorination. Will the More button still do what you described or do I need to do something at the panel?
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
I restarted the system several times. There was no change in the low salt indicator or the salt reading of zero.

I pushed the More button as James indicated after the first series of flashing lights I got a red Cold Water light and a green Cell light. I pushed more again I got a flashing Cold Water and Flow light. Then it went back to usual display indicating what % I have the SWG set to, the red Low light and the green Flow light.

I did this several times. One time I did get all LEDs blinking but I could never recreate that.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,587
I think that the temperature sensor is bad. I would suggest a warranty claim.

What is the actual water temperature?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,587
There is a water temperature sensor in the cell's flow switch that detects the cell temperature, which is then used in the calculation of salinity.

The cell temperature is not reported to EasyTouch.

The water temperature available in EasyTouch is from the water temperature sensor installed in the plumbing somewhere.

So, there are two different temperature sensors.

The diagnostic test that you did indicates that the cell temperature sensor is bad.

When the cell temperature sensor is determined to be bad by the cell's software, the cell ignores the data from the sensor and defaults to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit to calculate the salinity.

If the actual water temperature is higher than 75 degrees, the salinity calculation will result in a higher than actual salinity.

If the actual water temperature is lower than 75 degrees, the salinity calculation will result in a lower than actual salinity calculation.

Since your actual water temperature is lower than 75 degrees, the salinity calculation of the cell will be lower than actual.

You can increase the salinity to make the cell work again or you can replace the sensor.

To replace the sensor/flow switch, you have to cut the 4 wires and replace the flow switch and connect the new wires.

As an alternative to replacing the flow switch, you can use a 10k water temperature sensor installed near the cell and wire that in place of the temperature sensor in the flow switch.

You would leave the flow switch in place and wired.

It's not a Pentair authorized fix, so you do it at your own risk. I won't recommend it because it's not a Pentair authorized fix. It would probably void the warranty and any UL type certification it might have for safety.

The 10k sensor is the same as the water temperature sensor that's already used in the plumbing. You might even have an extra one that came with your system for a solar temperature sensor.

The temperature sensor in the flow switch is very prone to failure. The 10k sensor that installs in the plumbing is much more reliable.

I would recommend that you file a warranty claim to see if Pentair will fix the problem before you do anything.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
UPDATE: So I did learn that if you install your SWG yourself, Pentair offers an extended two year warranty if you register within 60 days of installation. I don't know if they changed their policy or if I was misinformed by Amazon reviews I read before my purchase. In any event, I registered on the Pentair website and provided my Amazon receipt as proof of purchase. Thank you for those of you who encouraged me to double check my understanding of the Pentair warranty.

I waited until the spring so that Pentair could get a good diagnosis unaffected by water temperature below 50 degrees. I called on Monday and made a warranty claim and they had a tech at my house within a day and he fixed it on Thursday. It was the flow switch. He replaced it and everything is running fine now.
 
Last edited:

peterl1365

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
242
Murrieta, CA
Thanks for the update. My cell has gone bad and I'm shopping for a replacement cell myself.
Did you purchase directly FROM Amazon or through some seller via Amazon? I'm looking to buy a new cell from an ebay seller, and I'm wondering if Pentair would give me any grief about that.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
91
Lewisville, TX
You’re welcome. I bought directly from Amazon. I’m not sure about eBay. You can download the warranty card from the Pentair website. I might remember something about “authorized” dealer. They accepted my Amazon receipt without any grief.

FWIW the price I got from Amazon was right up there with any other online retailer although I did not consider ebay. I was worried about grief from Pentair. 😜
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
823
Sunny SoCal
So I bought one of the Ebay IC40's last November from a seller in AZ called YnotPoolsuppies. He offered the new in sealed box Pentair units for $500.00 shipped. After I received the item, I found out they are actually sold from a Brick and Morter store in AZ called Arizona Pool Supply that uses that Ebay store for some of their online sales. Not a big deal, I got a great price and the item was exactly as described, with a Pentair Manufacture date of Sept 2018.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I noticed that my new IC40 was reading 0 salt under the Easytouch diagnostics. The unit was working, since all the lights were functioning and I was getting Chlorine readings in the pool. I did notice that the new unit does not seem to be producing as much chlorine as it should (will test my CYA, to make sure it isn't too low), but that could be an inbalance from this past winter. I haven't really spent the time to balance out all the chemicals and I only test PH and FC / TC during the winter.

So after reading this thread, I started to think that maybe the flow / temp sensor or the Surge board was failing. I knew I had one of the flow sensors that I purchased right before I switched out my 6 year old IC40. So I put that in my new cell and boom, 2 minutes later I was reading 3150ppm salt, which is just above my Taylor test kit results of 3100. I wonder if Pentair bought a bad batch of the flow sensors, since it seems like a lot of people are having issues.

The manufacture date on the flow sensor that I pulled out of my IC40 was 9/2018
 

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