Salt cell age? Controller board faulty? Getting mixed advice from local chain store..

#1
Hi all. New to the forum and salt pool systems. I inherited a pool with numerous issues in 2016. I got the in-floor cleaning system working again, added a solar heating system, replaced the pump, got the salt level up to normal, etc.
Now I have new issues. The chlorine levels were not where they should have been, and we started noticing the water turning slightly green with visible algae appearing on the pool surface. The SWG cell has been cleaned and examined by a local pool store, and we were told yesterday that it is bad. They want me to reinstall the (bad) cell, restart the pump/filter, switch the control panel off, and back on after two minutes, then call the store to report readings off the control panel. This is supposedly to let them determine if the control board is bad. Is this normal? And can I determine whether the board is bad on my own? I'm not sure if I trust the store. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks. Jon
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,677
#2
The serial number of the cell shows the warranty and date of manufacture.

For example, a 3E13 means 3-year warranty, E means cell and 13 means 2013.

If the salinity reported by the box is accurate in both polarities, the cell is good.

Turn the switch to auto and check all readings. The instant salinity will start high and slowly drop and stabilize.

Then, turn the switch back to off for a few minutes, check the readings, then move the switch back to auto and recheck all readings.

The voltage should be about 30 when not generating and about 26 when generating.

The instant salinity should be zero when not generating. It should be the same in each polarity and match the actual salinity as tested by a good kit like the k-1766.

The cell type (T-9) should be correct in the diagnostic readings.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,677
#4
See the updated post above.

The cell was made in 2014.

5 to 7 years is typical for most cells. Smaller cells like a T-9 age faster than normal due to higher run times. However, at 10,000 gallons, the cell should last longer than normal.

If the cell is not scaled, I would suspect that it probably has another year but maybe not.
 

JodieM

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2013
155
Brownsburg, IN
#5

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,677
#6
If the board goes bad, it's almost always the thermistor. A bad thermistor will usually be visibly cracked and it will cause the voltage to be low while off and while generating.

The thermistor can be replaced if you can solder.
 
#7
I watched that one. Thanks!

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks for the above info. Man, what an amazing amount of knowledge you can pick-up from here and spending a few hours watching videos! I was told that the cell was made in 2009, but from what you say, it was made in 2014, correct? Also, my board should still be good as long as PCB is not displayed, correct? Here are the readings from the display:

First: After:
1800 1800
83 83
28.1 31.4
2.39 0.00
97P 97P
-1600 -0
AL-0 AL-0
r 1.59 r 1.59

Is this telling me that the cell is bad, as the amps read zero, but cell voltage is normal? Also, instant salinity would read zero, since the cell isn't working? (I know the salt level is fine.) Would I be able to save a bit of money and downgrade to a T-3 cell, as the firmware is newer than 1.5? And just how DO you upgrade the firmware, or is that only done when you replace the board? A LOT of questions, I know...
Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,677
#8
Did T9 show up in the diagnostic readings?

Note that the T looks odd, more like t.

What is the salinity and how did you verify it?
 

MannyT

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2017
213
Pembroke Pines, Florida
#10
Jace, is your SWCG on a timer? Is your vs pump on running 24hrs? I just had a similar problem. The amps @ 0 and instant salinity -0 could be when the 3% of the time your pump is generating.

I would have problems with avg salt reading being low and it was because SWCG didn't turn off and kept generating while the pump was off, faulty flow switch.
 
#11
MannyT, the SWG is not on a timer. it is wired to start and stop with the flow of water and pump operation. I believe that the cell is bad, but want to buy the correct size ONLY after making sure that the board is still good. Mrs. JACE will be happy spending money on chlorine rather than spend over $1000 to buy a new board AND cell.
 

MannyT

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2017
213
Pembroke Pines, Florida
#12
So was mine but the flow switch failed. So it said it was generating when the pump was off. I scheduled my pump to run 24hrs and all of sudden my salt readings made sense. Even when my reading said -0 and my amp 0 I was able to recalibrate my salt reading and it gave me a correct reading. Does your flow light turn on when your pump is off?
 

MannyT

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2017
213
Pembroke Pines, Florida
#14
Yes no chlorine would be generated with the a salt reading of 1800. I was having the same problem if I manually recalibrate it would read correctly and it would start generating. You manually recalibrate by turning the switch to off and then on hit diagnostics 5 times until you get to -0 instant salinity and then let it count down until it stops, you can switch to super chlorinate and back to auto. I don't know if you have done that but its worth a try if you haven't?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,677
#15
Based on the available information, I think that the box is ok and the cell is bad.

You can use a smaller cell but I recommend using a T-15 or at least a T-9.

Usually a bigger cell is a better value because it lasts longer and you can reduce pump runtime.

If you change cell size, you have to change the cell setting in configuration.

Since you have a VS pump, which has an onboard controller, how does the SWG get turned off when the pump turns off?

The aquarite has a flow switch that should show no flow, but the flow switch can fail.

If the aquarite doesn't turn off right away when the pump goes off, it can cause errors as MannyT has indicated.