Time for a new salt system

DirtyRat91

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2013
144
Curious your thoughts. I'm sold on the convenience of salt water pools. Did the daily bleach routine for several years, but life got busy and salt is my preferred chlorine method now.

3 years ago I installed a Circupool SJ-40 system for my 14k gallon pool. Year one was amazing. Short run times, great chlorine production, life is good. Year 2 started out with no chlorine production, customer support was good, they shipped out a new control panel, and the season went fine. Year 3 I had to crank the thing to almost 24/7 runtime to keep chlorine levels stable. I had passed overnight FC tests, the output was just weak. Assuming the cell is showing its age, I'm looking at replacing the cell or system.

Going into year 4, should I attempt to buy a pro-rated warranty cell from Circupool? Or perhaps move to the RJ series for $1150. I'm neither upset nor impressed by the SJ system I installed. It worked great for a season, then gave trouble. Perhaps I went too cheap? Perhaps I'll get several more years of manageable use from a new cell?

Curious other people's experiences. I'm not married to Circupool, but their DIY warranty coverage is nice. I can't find a pool guy local who will come anytime before the season is over.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,143
Bedford, TX
91,

I am not a fan of the SJ version as the minimum salt level is 3500 ppm...

What are you doing to make sure your actual salt level is correct??

I would go with the RJ or one of their newer products..

Most people have had good luck with CircuPool so I am a little surprised..

Let's see if some of our members with a CircuPool SWCGs can chime in..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
5,749
Southern OK
I have loved my SJ, I have the SJ 45.. They actually changed it after I bought mine to the SJ 40.. Mine has been running for since Aug 3rd 2015 on the same cell, I just changed my cell out and it is cranking away with no issues... So Mine went 6 years.. I am not sure if they changed the cell in the SJ 40.. But I know the last 2 years I had to run my pump WAY longer to create the same chlorine as the first years... Once they start going out they go down fast... last year I was running 16 hours...

In Virginia how long are you running your system?
What is your salt level?
What is your CYA level?
what do you keep your FC level at?
 

DirtyRat91

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2013
144
Thanks for the input you two. I use AquaChek salt strips to check my pool. Been keeping it just over 4000ppm. The first year I was able to run the system at 50% for half the day. Last year was 100% with the timer not even cycling the pump off. CYA is 80 and I aim for 4-5 for FC. I dosed a fair amount of bleach last year to keep things happy. I may have just had bad luck with my unit, not sure. But I'm going to do something about it this year to avoid the headache I had last year.

cowboy's experience makes me think I either screwed up with my pool care, or just got a bad roll of the dice.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Without knowing your other chem levels I can only throw some ideas out there. Do you see any Ca deposits on the cell? That can affect Cl production and a light acid wash can fix that. What is the salinity reading from the cell? When the two readings start to diverge that is often a sign the cell is going out. And not to beat the point home, the K1766 is a better salinity test that the strips. Also, what are the conditions that you run your SWG in. Water temp can have an effect on cell longevity for example.
 
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DirtyRat91

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2013
144
Without knowing your other chem levels I can only throw some ideas out there. Do you see any Ca deposits on the cell? That can affect Cl production and a light acid wash can fix that. What is the salinity reading from the cell? When the two readings start to diverge that is often a sign the cell is going out. And not to beat the point home, the K1766 is a better salinity test that the strips. Also, what are the conditions that you run your SWG in. Water temp can have an effect on cell longevity for example.
I do prefer the drop style tests as I have far more confidence in their accuracy, I simply didn't know a drop test existed for salt. Thought I saw folks saying the strips were fine for salt and never thought twice about it. As far as deposits on the cells, they've always ran clean. The SJ-40 switches polarity regularly, and while the cells briefly get a chalky scale on them, it falls off when the polarity changes. I typically open the pool when the weather starts getting fairly warm. We have a solar blanket, so the water temp rises above 80 degrees, and stays there most of the season.

The control panel on the SJ-40 is fairly basic, there's no reading about salinity. Basically a power LED, and you pick 25, 50, 75, 100% or SuperCL output.

I'm mostly leaning toward buying the RJ-45+ from DiscountSaltPool. The ability to tune the output further, salinity reading, compact plumbing form factor, and lower salt level required all make it an appealing upgrade from the SJ-40. At $1150 currently, at giving me (hopefully) reliable service for the next 4-5 years, that's not a bad value. I see the AQR15 from Hayward is only $1320 currently from Amazon. A little lower advertised output, and only a year warranty, but much more established brand.
 

Jason245

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2019
87
Fort Lauderdale FL
I do prefer the drop style tests as I have far more confidence in their accuracy, I simply didn't know a drop test existed for salt. Thought I saw folks saying the strips were fine for salt and never thought twice about it. As far as deposits on the cells, they've always ran clean. The SJ-40 switches polarity regularly, and while the cells briefly get a chalky scale on them, it falls off when the polarity changes. I typically open the pool when the weather starts getting fairly warm. We have a solar blanket, so the water temp rises above 80 degrees, and stays there most of the season.

The control panel on the SJ-40 is fairly basic, there's no reading about salinity. Basically a power LED, and you pick 25, 50, 75, 100% or SuperCL output.

I'm mostly leaning toward buying the RJ-45+ from DiscountSaltPool. The ability to tune the output further, salinity reading, compact plumbing form factor, and lower salt level required all make it an appealing upgrade from the SJ-40. At $1150 currently, at giving me (hopefully) reliable service for the next 4-5 years, that's not a bad value. I see the AQR15 from Hayward is only $1320 currently from Amazon. A little lower advertised output, and only a year warranty, but much more established brand.
The Taylor K-1766 Is the drop style test for salt.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
5,749
Southern OK
I really like the new 3rd gen edge and the brand new 4th gen core but it is hard to beat the price and lasting power of the RJ unit, it is a beast of a unit and with the sale on the 45 now it really is a deal :)