Softub motor cycling on and off repeatedly

dunetubbies

Member
Nov 29, 2020
12
Seattle
We have a 220 gallon Softub recently inherited from the previous owner of our house, and just got it set up and running. The motor is turning off and on frequently and we're looking for advice.

The pump runs continuously as desired until the hot tub reaches the set temperature (100), after that the pump runs sporadically, turning on for a second or two, then shutting off for about 30 seconds, then on again repeatedly.
The display shows "P" when pump is off, and shows "00" when pump is on.
When the pump is running, one or both of the Filter and Heat lights turn on.
Pressing Jets button will run the jets for about 15 minutes, then it reverts to the previous behavior.

It's plugged directly into the outlet so I don't suspect there's an issue with the electrical supply. We tried hitting test and reset on the power cord, and tried unplugging it and replugging it in. Didn't try any more complicated fixes yet. Called Softub and they have a FIVE MONTH waiting list for service "due to the pandemic" so wondering if anyone has tips or troubleshooting ideas!

Thank you!
Jessica & Will
 
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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,381
Cabool, Mo
Is it cold outside? It sounds like the temperature sensor is getting cold, triggering a call for heat, then turning it off as soon as the pump moves some warmer water in to the equipment.
Can you post a pic of your equipment?
 

dunetubbies

Member
Nov 29, 2020
12
Seattle
Thanks! Here are pictures. It is not especially cold- in the 30s overnight and up to 50 during the day. I am not sure where the temperature sensor is located.
 

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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,381
Cabool, Mo
Yeah, neither am I. I would guess it's inside of the barrel looking thing by the pump and heater, but I have never worked on one of those so couldn't say for sure.
Can you open that up and post a pic or 3?
 

dunetubbies

Member
Nov 29, 2020
12
Seattle
I don't know how to open it up, might require draining the tub?
My hypothesis now is that the temperature sensor is faulty. I turned off the tub overnight and started it today so it had to gain about 10°. Watching the temperature display it changes quite rapidly, within a few seconds it will fluctuate up and down over a range of about 5 degrees (from 94 to 99). So I guess that means once it gets up to the target temperature, it keeps getting incorrect readings that make it think it needs to turn on and then off again. If that's the case, I wonder what the remedy is.
 

Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
4,306
Chandler Arizona
That sounds like a low power situation. I have a Softub, and when I first got it, it did exactly as you described. I thought it was a bad pump, as it was brand new. Softub sent me out a new one, and it did the same thing.
I found out that the outlets on my patio would not handle the pump. (even though they are 15amp) I ran some extension cords from inside the house at different outlets, and it ran fine. So I had a dedicated 20amp GFI outlet installed on the patio, and all is fine.

Try running the pump with (the proper gauge) extension cords off different outlets and see if that corrects it before sending the pump in for service.
The electronics inside are very sensitive to needing the correct voltage. :cheers:
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,381
Cabool, Mo
That sounds like a low power situation. I have a Softub, and when I first got it, it did exactly as you described. I thought it was a bad pump, as it was brand new. Softub sent me out a new one, and it did the same thing.
I found out that the outlets on my patio would not handle the pump. (even though they are 15amp) I ran some extension cords from inside the house at different outlets, and it ran fine. So I had a dedicated 20amp GFI outlet installed on the patio, and all is fine.

Try running the pump with (the proper gauge) extension cords off different outlets and see if that corrects it before sending the pump in for service.
The electronics inside are very sensitive to needing the correct voltage. :cheers:
Good point. I had assumed it was connected to a known circuit since it was "inherited" from the previous homeowner, but that may not be the case.
 
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dunetubbies

Member
Nov 29, 2020
12
Seattle
Thank you, I think you're right about the low power situation. As mentioned, it was inherited from the previous homeowner and so we assumed the obvious outlet near the tub on the deck was the right place to plug it in, but upon further testing it turns out that circuit also powers the lights and other outlets in the living room and on the deck, so it must just not be getting enough power to the tub. Very curious what the previous owner did- if they ran an extension cord from somewhere else, or somehow manually controlled the Softub to stop it from cycling on/off. We may need to get an electrician to add a separate circuit for us.

We also put a voltmeter on the outlet that we'd been using for the hot tub. We unplugged everything else on the circuit for now. It reads 120V when nothing is plugged in, then 116V when the hot tub is plugged in and turned on. Is that typical or should it still read 120V?
 
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Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
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We also put a voltmeter on the outlet that we'd been using for the hot tub. We unplugged everything else on the circuit for now. It reads 120V when nothing is plugged in, then 116V when the hot tub is plugged in and turned on. Is that typical or should it still read 120V?

My existing outlets tested fine, but the pump (for whatever reason) just would not run on them.
Do yourself a favor and have a dedicated 20amp GFI outlet installed within 10ft of the tub. You do not want to mess with electricity and water, and it will also give you peace of mind. God forbid anything should happen, the insurance companies will look for anything NOT no cover a claim.
 

Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
10,812
NY
Do you have an over the oven microwave? Most of them have a dedicated 20 Amp outlet in the cabinet above them. Easy to get to with an extension cord and you’d know pretty quick if it helped. The tub needs a dedicated circuit either way, the manual goes over that fact profusely. But at least you’d know of that was the only problem going on.

If you don’t have the microwave, the fridge outlet *should* also be dedicated 20 amp. (I’ve never been to your house, no promises. :ROFLMAO: ). It could go 20 minutes unplugged while you test.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,812
NY
No extension cords. They are generally 16 gauge wire and will create a voltage drop, and may overheat and burn out. If you need more cord, you will have to find one with 12 gauge wire that can handle the load.
That was already covered above for testing purposes, but it can’t be said enough so thanks for making it clearer for any future readers skimming through. (y)
 

dunetubbies

Member
Nov 29, 2020
12
Seattle
Do you have an over the oven microwave? Most of them have a dedicated 20 Amp outlet in the cabinet above them. Easy to get to with an extension cord and you’d know pretty quick if it helped. The tub needs a dedicated circuit either way, the manual goes over that fact profusely. But at least you’d know of that was the only problem going on.

If you don’t have the microwave, the fridge outlet *should* also be dedicated 20 amp. (I’ve never been to your house, no promises. :ROFLMAO: ). It could go 20 minutes unplugged while you test.
We don't have a microwave but the fridge idea is a good one, we'll look into that for testing. Thanks
 
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dunetubbies

Member
Nov 29, 2020
12
Seattle
Update: the house has lots of shared circuits. Fridge shares one with lots of other lights and outlets. There's one for an electric wall heater that is no longer needed that we might be able to repurpose to get a dedicated circuit for the tub though. Thanks for the help!
 

Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
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Sounds like the whole house is sharing circuits. Do not run that tub off an extension cord (except to test) as it states it right in the manual.
I know it may suck, but to be up to code and to be safe, have a dedicated 20amp GFI outlet installed. (Mine was $400)
And as a little side benefit of doing so, you’ll have a good outlet to plug power tools into when working outside. :cheers:
 

brittann716

New member
Jan 16, 2021
1
maine
Did you find a solution? Our new soft tub just started doing the same thing. It's been on the same 20 amp gfi since july when we bought it and it's the only thing on it. all of a sudden it wont stop turning off and on...
 

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