Salt test reads fine but SWG is saying low salt?

ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
I know air temp is chilly now but the water temp is being kept at 70 so why would my SWG suddenly say my salt is low when its been at 3000ppm practically all summer?

Today's water chem:
FC 6
pH 7.4
TA 100
CH 274
CYA 80
Salt 3000
water temp 71
 

ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
I used this:

Taylor K-1766 Salt Test Kit instructions

Salt Water Test Instructions PROCEDURE: CAREFULLY READ AND FOLLOW PRECAUTIONS ON REAGENT LABELS. KEEP REAGENTS AWAY FROM CHILDREN. For 1 drop = 200 ppm Sodium Chloride. 1. Rinse and fill the plain graduated cylinder to 10 mL mark with water to be tested. 2. Add 1 drop R-0630 Chromate Indicator. Swirl to mix. Sample should turn yellow. 3. Add R-0718 Silver Nitrate Reagent dropwise, swirling and counting after each drop, until color changes from yellow to a milky salmon (brick) red. Always hold bottle in vertical position. NOTE: Do not add enough R-0718 Silver Nitrate Reagent to give a brown color. First change from yellow to a milky salmon (brick) red is the endpoint. 4. Multiply drops of R-0718 Silver Nitrate Reagent by 200. Record as parts per million (ppm) salt as sodium chloride (salt water).
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,383
Bedford, TX
2it,

If this were my pool the first thing I would suspect is the Flow Switch Assembly... There is a thermister in there that adjusts the salt level based upon the water temp. When it goes bad, the salt reading is almost always low..

It is an easy DIY replacement, but I'm not sure it makes sense to do it now.. I assume you will be closing your pool soon???

If you know that you plan to replace the flow switch next year, you can cut the green wire coming out of the flow switch, which will disconnect the external thermister and cause the cell to use a fixed internal resister.. Basically makes the cell thing the temperature is somewhere in the 70's..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
2it,

If this were my pool the first thing I would suspect is the Flow Switch Assembly... There is a thermister in there that adjusts the salt level based upon the water temp. When it goes bad, the salt reading is almost always low..

It is an easy DIY replacement, but I'm not sure it makes sense to do it now.. I assume you will be closing your pool soon???

If you know that you plan to replace the flow switch next year, you can cut the green wire coming out of the flow switch, which will disconnect the external thermister and cause the cell to use a fixed internal resister.. Basically makes the cell thing the temperature is somewhere in the 70's..

Thanks,

Jim R.
Thanks Jim. I will see if I can figure out how to check this. Correct, we will be closing in the first part of November. Our temperatures have been a bit too high to close now. Cold at night, but warm in the afternoon where its not really below 60 long enough. Of course, my warranty was up on the 3 year for my salt cell, this past April. Figures.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,383
Bedford, TX
2it,

I just realized that your salt reading was only 3000.. The cell can have an error of about 500 ppm and the K-1766 of 200ppm.. Since the cell will turn on the low salt light at 2800 ppm, you would not have to be off much to get the low salt light to come on...

Generally when the flow switch is bad, the actual salt level is often at 3800 or so, yet the low salt light will still be on..

Did you already try to bring the salt level up??? Why are you running at 3K?? The idea salt level is 3400..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
2it,

I just realized that your salt reading was only 3000.. The cell can have an error of about 500 ppm and the K-1766 of 200ppm.. Since the cell will turn on the low salt light at 2800 ppm, you would not have to be off much to get the low salt light to come on...

Generally when the flow switch is bad, the actual salt level is often at 3800 or so, yet the low salt light will still be on..

Did you already try to bring the salt level up??? Why are you running at 3K?? The idea salt level is 3400..

Thanks,

Jim R.
Hi Jim,

No, I've not tried to bring it up yet. I will do so based on what you're telling me though as I had no idea. Again, no clue other than staying in a range for the "ideal level", but now that I know I will give that a try. So the other thing I've run into is that if I run my SWG at 20% my FC sits at 6-7, but perhaps that's too low for salt to be at the ideal level? If I run my SWG at 40% then I'm constantly fighting to keep FC lower than 6.

Which brings me to another question that I hope one of you here can answer...the automation thingy which I don't have, do you recommend getting one and how hard/easy is it to install on your own so should I have a pool company do this? I feel like if I had it automated then I can find that sweet spot for run time, etc to better maintain my water chemistry. Right now its kinda painful.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,383
Bedford, TX
2it,

The amount of chlorine that your SWCG produces is based upon two things... One is the output percentage and the other is pump run time.. So, the cell will produce the same amount of chlorine if it is run at 100% for 1 hour or 10% for 10 hours... Without an automation system, you set the output% to more than you need and then simply reduce the pump run time down to what you need to make the amount of chlorine your pool uses each day. In your case, you can set the cell to 20% but run your pump longer, or set the cell to 40% and run the cell less.. Whichever works best for you.

I find that it is easier for me to run my FC a little on the high side.. This means that if I skip several days between tests, I never have to worry about letting my FC drift too low.. How fast the FC gets used is based on your CYA level.. If the CYA is low the FC will get consumed quickly..

An EasyTouch or the new IntelliCenter will control your SWCG in 1% increments instead of the current 20%.. If you can install a new electrical outlet or add a 220 volt dryer outlet, you can install an automation system. That said, trying to retrofit an old pool with an automation system, is much harder than installing one as the pool is being built..

I am an automation kind of guy, but I would recommend you initially try to control your SWCG using the output% and pump run time first, before going down the automation path.. I suspect it would cost about $2K to install an EasyTouch and ScreenLogic if you did it yourself..

Some advantages of an automation system are...

1. SWCG control in 1% increments
2. Pump Speed control
3. Heater control
4. With ScreenLogic you can control things via your PC, phone, or tablet.
5. Automated valve control (assumes you have a water feature or spa)
6. Scheduling can be done at your PC rather then at the pump.
7. Automated light control and color (assumes you have a color LED lights)

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
2it,

The amount of chlorine that your SWCG produces is based upon two things... One is the output percentage and the other is pump run time.. So, the cell will produce the same amount of chlorine if it is run at 100% for 1 hour or 10% for 10 hours... Without an automation system, you set the output% to more than you need and then simply reduce the pump run time down to what you need to make the amount of chlorine your pool uses each day. In your case, you can set the cell to 20% but run your pump longer, or set the cell to 40% and run the cell less.. Whichever works best for you.

I find that it is easier for me to run my FC a little on the high side.. This means that if I skip several days between tests, I never have to worry about letting my FC drift too low.. How fast the FC gets used is based on your CYA level.. If the CYA is low the FC will get consumed quickly..

An EasyTouch or the new IntelliCenter will control your SWCG in 1% increments instead of the current 20%.. If you can install a new electrical outlet or add a 220 volt dryer outlet, you can install an automation system. That said, trying to retrofit an old pool with an automation system, is much harder than installing one as the pool is being built..

I am an automation kind of guy, but I would recommend you initially try to control your SWCG using the output% and pump run time first, before going down the automation path.. I suspect it would cost about $2K to install an EasyTouch and ScreenLogic if you did it yourself..

Some advantages of an automation system are...

1. SWCG control in 1% increments
2. Pump Speed control
3. Heater control
4. With ScreenLogic you can control things via your PC, phone, or tablet.
5. Automated valve control (assumes you have a water feature or spa)
6. Scheduling can be done at your PC rather then at the pump.
7. Automated light control and color (assumes you have a color LED lights)

Thanks,

Jim R.
Hi Jim,

The pool is only 4 years old and has what appears to be current Intellichlor IC40, sand filter, etc. It also looks like the subpanel has more "room" on the breakers, in theory, but I'm no electrician. I leave sparky things to my husband. So it sounds like, assuming we can add another breaker on the panel, that we could in theory install the automation. That would be next year if its even a possibility.

For now, however, it seems that I have to run my pump 24/7 or deal with switching circuit breakers off due to the risk of explosion in having the SWG not running but still having electrical to it? I don't see any easier way of sorting this out...unless I'm missing something (and that's possible).
 

ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
Alright, backwashed, rinsed and topping off water. I turned off the SWG/heater (same circuit) and added 40lbs of Mortons pure blue bag and we wait. I'll retest tomorrow and see where things sit. CH will no doubt spike. Our water is HARD here. I have liquid chlorine on hand if needed and more bags of salt if needed.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,383
Bedford, TX
2it,

The simplest thing to do is run the AC power that goes to the SWCG's power center through a timer box.. Then you can adjust the amount of time the cell gets power.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
865
OV, CA
I feel like if I had it automated then I can find that sweet spot for run time, etc to better maintain my water chemistry. Right now its kinda painful.
Really what exactly is painful? What are you expecting automation will do? You will still have to monitor the chem levels and adjust the SWG output to the conditions (Temp, bather load, etc) And that should not be any more difficult that turning a knob. I find once things stabilize after opening the pool at the beginning of the year I really only have to test once a week.
My SWG is automated by a simple timer as Jim suggests.
 

ajup2it

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2019
73
Indiana
Really what exactly is painful? What are you expecting automation will do? You will still have to monitor the chem levels and adjust the SWG output to the conditions (Temp, bather load, etc) And that should not be any more difficult that turning a knob. I find once things stabilize after opening the pool at the beginning of the year I really only have to test once a week.
My SWG is automated by a simple timer as Jim suggests.
1. I'm trying to learn. So please be nice.. :)
2. The options I have available presently is to let it run 24/7 or use the circuit breaker to shut off power to my SWG, as I've mentioned previously. So yeah, I'm looking to learn what my options are and what might work best for me because, to me, using the circuit breaker is a pain - since you asked.

I'm glad your timer works for you. If you'd be so kind as to offer what timer you're using, that would actually be helpful to me as I learn. Thank you.
 
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mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
865
OV, CA
I was just trying to ask what was painful with dealing with your pool as you said? We all just want to help

So it sounds like you don't have any kind of separate timer for the SWG? Can you post some pics of your setup and we can make some suggestions. I just use a basic Intermatic timer for my SWG and and pump, so it comes on when the pumps turn on. Can you explain your setup?
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,383
Bedford, TX
2it,

Tell us if your SWCG is running off 220 volt power or 120 volt power.. We can then tell you which is the best timer.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,740
Northern NJ
2. or use the circuit breaker to shut off power to my SWG,
CBs are not built to go through many cycles as an on/off switch. Best way to "turn off" your IC40 is to use the LESS button and lower the SWG % to 0. When you want to turn it on use the MORE button and raise the SWG %.

From page 8 in https://www.pentair.com/content/dam/extranet/product-related/product-manuals/pool-and-spa-equipment/intellichlor/IntelliChlor_Owners_Manual_Version_3_units_after_Nov_2011_English.pdf

More and Less Output Buttons
The More and Less buttons control the percentage of the total output capacity that the IntelliChlor SCG is producing while the pump is on (see Sanitizer Output LED indicators above). The lights act as a bar graph: the more lights that are on, the more chlorine is produced. Blinking LEDs represent 2%, 4%, 6%, 8% & 10% while solid LEDs represent 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%. Slide the panel cover up to access the More, Less and Boost On/Off buttons.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,383
Bedford, TX
2it,

Older SWCG's do not have the 2% thru 10% adjustments.. I am not sure if yours does or not.. If it does, it will have printed numbers between 2% and 10% above the row of output lights... and the numbers below the output lights will be between 20% and 100%

Jim R.