Stuck in Econ mode on very old jacuzzi ;)

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
This is probably a Hail Mary, but aside from electrical disconnection and reboot, removing topside controller cover, etc. is there any way to Jerry-rig and old Jacuzzi sport to get it out of Econ mode? Any troubleshooting tips? The mode button s the ONLY one not working on the controls. I do have a multimeter and solder kit...just not especially talented with such things ;)

My hot tub is a circa 96 Echo sport well past its prime, but over the last few years I've swapped out the 2 hp dual pump, fixed all leaks, replaced the light kit and bought a custom heavy duty winter cover. So d love away to keep her on life support another season...

I'm orderng a new to side controller (F105000) from Guillens ($200) BUT if that doesn't solve it, my actual board is obsolescing ($750) though I can still get one in about 3 weeks at this point. So I'm debating trying to get a few more years out of her vs buying another.

Thanks in advance for any DIY tips! My mom is coming t visit and she will be very sad f there's no working hot tub. She's had a rough year and was recently widowed.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,930
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
I did a little googling and it looks like the wiring between the control panel and the actual control panel is only two wires. If so, then it is digital controls -- there is a small brain in the control panel that converts simple on-off signals from the pushbuttons to a digital signal. Then the big circuit board deciphers it and compares demand versus actual and triggers the various relays and so on to set things where you want. Why? Simply because otherwise you'd have a huge bundle of wires going to the touchpad. Cars have the same system for a lot of stuff, such as radio and cruise control buttons in your steering wheel.

If the other buttons work and things light up, then you know the connection between the two parts is there, which leaves you with: one of the two electrical boards is bad. In the auto mechanic world, the next step in the diagnostic chart will be "replace with known good part and repeat test." Sorry. One good thing, though. Typically the part that fails most often is the one that's more-readily available. As long as the sales are there, they'll keep cranking out the parts. It looks like the cheaper touchpad is relatively easy to get, and it does make more sense because it's the one most vulnerable, being exposed. Unless you can find someone with the same spa who will let you borrow theirs for testing, you're going to have to gamble and start spending money.
 

dsmith99

Silver Supporter
Jun 18, 2016
238
SW, Iowa
Before spending a ridiculous amount of money for an obsolete board you should consider a complete spa equipment package replacement.

You can replace just the controller/heater assembly and use your pump(s) and blower (if equipped) or even replace the entire equipment pack for less than the cost of that obsolete board.

This would get you new controls, heater and pump in one package that comes with a warranty. Simply connect the in and out plumbing, replace the topside control panel and connect the power. New, modern equipment, warranty and parts availability in the future.

I've never done it but was researching last year to help a friend get his going. It had the same problem, expensive and obsolete parts. He kept putting off spending the money until it was too late, his tub froze and broke, so I didn't go any further. It looked like it would be far more economical than finding discontinued and obsolete parts.

Spa Parts and Accessories for Hot Tubs and Jacuzzi Repair by SpaGuts

http://www.spa-pack.com/

I'm sure there are others out there, this is a couple links I found.

If the rest of the tub is in good condition this might be a great option to get several more years out of it.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Lol. Love the thunderdome, but it's 95 in there, not 104...I've become quite accustomed to my 104 soak before the 95 swim ;) First world problems, eh?

Thanks, Richard. I'm trying to get a replacement topside here fast-ish to check. That is my step one. (Instead of the obsolete Jacuzzi, I am going with a compatible balboa, see below)

Dsmith, thanks for the suggestion. My pump is a 2 HP, 2 speed pump and pretty new...$800+ at the time for purchase and installation. So what I've done instead is started a controller/board upgrade of sorts whereby I don't need to change the pump.

I have found a balboa replacement circuit board from spa guts that will work (a 52518 to replace the baloa 50532) so if plan A doesn't work...I'll move on to plan b ;)

Had I not recently installed the new pump, I would for sure be looking at the spa pack...I did check those out when I was determining what to get.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Oh happy day! The topside contoller worked perfectly and no harm came to me or the circuit board and this time I didn't even get silicone in my hair! ;) I'd call that a win!

Ataching my new solar cover to my new rocky reel "swing arm" -- which had to be done IN water, IN the dome, was another matter, but all's well that ends well ;)