Spa Techs: Balboa Circuit Assistance Needed

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
Any Spa Techs in the house?

First a little background: I'm a long time TFP member on the pool side, but just now getting back into the Spa world after 20 years without one. I am also a hardcore DIY'er type (see my pool repaint thread) so when my wife found a "Free Hot Tub! Just take it away! Doesn't work!" Facebook marketplace ad on New Years day, we ran over and grabbed it.

The shell itself is in fantastic condition for it's age (2001 Marquis Mirage) and it holds water fine with no leaks. A quck look and I could see that the whole thing was mis-wired, sensors in the wrong places, etc, so I pulled the pack to check it all out. The pump tested out good (2-speed, 48 frame), the ozone generation was shot (looked original), so I pitched it, and this model had no blower. Easy peasy right? It was already wired for 110v, so I hooked it all back up according to the lid schematic, ran a temporary extension cord, and it came to life! Both topside panels worked, and the pump cycled both speeds. Everything looked great so I ran to Home depot, where I bought a Spa Panel and all the required stuff for a legit 220v hookup. I got it all wired up, moved the amperage jumper on the board from 20a-50a, GFCI tested good and I was cooking with juice! I tested and adjusted the pressure switch and it called for heat with a light on the panel, so I left it to warm up overnight. The next morning, it was still 50 degrees. Ugh! The heater coil ohmed out good, so I pulled the circuit board for further bench inspection, which brings me to the issue I have today.

The board is a Balboa 52149 "LEZURR1D". From the board layout it looks like a very common 2000's era design, and the mother of today's "LITE LEADER" boards which although newer, appear to have pretty much the same layout. I've done plenty of circuit board repairs on other devices, so I tested all the relays and found that the coil on the heater relay was shot and wouldn't activate when hit with bench voltage (this is the relay in the upper left corner when looking at the board as installed). Aha! I ordered a three-pack of relays (just in case), and a few days later replaced it. Back in the tub, everything was great! The relay engaged as it should and she heated right up to the default 100. Everything seemed great. The problem we soon realized, is that after doing all of the above, the pump wont cycle to high speed. When you press the pump button on either panel, it just cycles from OFF-->LOW-->OFF. It is supposed to be, and WAS working as a three state cycle: OFF-->LOW-->HIGH-->OFF. What gives? It isn't like it tries to go high and the relay doesn't work, it doesn't even try. I can swap the HI-LOW pump hot wires and it kicks right into high speed, so it's isn't the pump itself, the relay simply isn't being engaged by the board logic. It's as if the board is in a 1-speed pump mode. The thing is, there aren't any jumpers, etc in which to change pump behavior and it doesn't have a battery so cutting the power resets the board to the factory defaults. The only other thing that changed was the heater jumper, so I put it back on 20amp as a test to see if that made a difference, and it did not.

So I'm stumped! Any ideas or clues?

Thanks!

B.
 
Last edited:

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,390
Bedford, TX
B,

My guess, and it is only a guess, is that when you replaced the heater relay, you caused an open in the PCB, so now the pump speed relay no longer works.

Basic troubleshooting says if it worked before you did any repair work, and it don't work now, it was something that you did... :)

If this were my tub, I would temporarily add small wires to the coil on the speed relay and see if you can get it to change speeds with an external input. It could have lost either the power side or ground side of the relay coil connection.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
Yeah, I thought about a similar hack. A manual two pole switch to go from low to high.

I could manually energize the high relay as you described, but the low could still be on and you don’t want both on at the same time. I’d have to instruct my entire family to be sure the pump is off (not on Low) before engaging the high speed. And I guarantee someone would forget and burn up the pump by having Low and High on at the same time. 😆

I guess the next step is to pull the board again and see if I nicked a trace somewhere. That still wouldn’t explain the logic weirdness though. If I nicked a trace to the relay I would at least expect it to try and engage on the second push, instead of shutting it off.

Thanks for the ideas!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,390
Bedford, TX
B,

I did not mean to install a switch.. just a couple of temporary wires to run some tests.. I had also 'assumed' the same relay was used to switch between hi and lo speed. If that is not the case, then yes.. you absolutely must ensure that you don't turn on both the hi and lo speeds at the same time.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2009
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SouthWest Alabama
I think those boards use two separate relays to switch high and low. You should be getting Low-High-Off, so what's strange is that you aren't getting Low-Off-Off which would be the case if it was just that the high speed relay wasn't pulling in.
 

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
I think those boards use two separate relays to switch high and low. You should be getting Low-High-Off, so what's strange is that you aren't getting Low-Off-Off which would be the case if it was just that the high speed relay wasn't pulling in.
You are exactly correct on both counts. There are two relays, a PUMP LOW and PUMP HIGH, and I have tested both as good. And LOW-->OFF-->OFF is exactly what I would expect to see as well if the logic was correct but the relay was bad. But as I said earlier that isn't the case, it's as if it isn't even trying. I wonder if somehow the PROM with the programming got zapped? I wouldn't expect it to work at all of that was the case though. I plan on pulling the board after work tonight and giving it a good look, just to see if there is some solder bridge/cold joint/etc that I missed.
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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There are a few soldered in jumpers on the board. I think one of them may be to set up for two speed vs. single speed pumps. Check those to see if they're making good contact with the lands.
 

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
Thanks Bama. I pulled the board again last night and went over it with a fine tooth comb and saw nothing wrong. No bad solder joints (there were only four I touched from the bad relay anyway), no obviously scorched parts, etc. I found the attached doc regarding those soldered in jumpers, and it looks like none of them are for pump speed. So for now I'm at an impasse. Balboa doesn't get into component trouble shooting, they just say "Bad Board. Replace." which is a shame, sadly. My plan is to just live with it until I can save up for a spa pack from this century. :D

Thanks for the ideas everyone!
 

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Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
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If you look about 3 components to the right of J33 you'll see a couple of soldered in jumpers. That's the ones I thought were for pump speeds.
 

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
To put a coda on this saga:

I never could figure out what was wrong with my circuit board logic. So, I got a little creative! I purchased a SPDT latching air switch and a wood look air button for a garbage disposal. I connected the line from the working pump relay to the switch common and pumps High and Low leads to the two poles. I then mounted the button up high on the skirting. It works perfectly and the family is ecstatic! Now, we have an easy way to toggle between high and low speeds, without affecting any other spa functions.

And it cost me about $30. Score!

Here are the part links.
Air Switch
Button
(You can probably find these cheaper elsewhere, but I was in a hurry and they were Prime. :D )