Trouble with Sundance spa- FLO error and heating issues

Raven0829

Member
Nov 26, 2012
7
I recently picked up a used Sundance spa to help with my ailing back. I wish I could tell you what year and model it is, but my best guess is that it is a Capri. It sits 3. I have noticed that that I have a constant FLO error, and the water will NOT heat unless the jets are running. I also believe that my circulation pump is causing these issues. It buzzes and is warm to the touch, but I can't feel the water moving at all. I just don't think it is working properly. It's annoying to say the least to have to go outside every few minutes to manually turn the jets on in order to bring the water temp up. I have a new filter on order right now, but I'm afraid I may have to replace the circulation pump also. If there is any more info that you guys need from me I will be happy to try and provide it. This is my first spa and I love it, but it's also a PITA with this issue. Don't get me started on the leaking either:( I can say that it has an 850 circuit board if that helps any. Sorry I don't have more info to provide, but I think we can figure it out. Thank you for your time.

Don
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,009
Evans, Georgia
I have a Sundance Altamar spa, and I've occasionally had that FLO error message too in the past. If I recall it might have been caused by air in the lines (not filling tub properly?) or possibly from obstruction. I had one of the small cotton intake covers get sucked into pipes before. The service tech guy had a very quick trick to blow it out, but I forget how?

Do you have the manual with schematics? I found it easily at the Sundance site online and keep a copy on my computer for reference.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Nine times out of ten, a flo code means the pressure switch isn't working, and ergo your circa pump wont work right, nor usually the heat.
It's a cheap part and won't take a repair guy more the 20 minutes to fix. It's worth the call unless you're handy and plan to DIY.

If you DIY, you're going to need to google the make and model to get the repair manual.
Guillens.com usually has good diagrams to help you identify make/model plus parts.

If that doesn't fix it, then there are some tests you can do on the pump -- assuming you have two, not one. If you ave one and the jets work, it's even more likely that it's a bad pressure switch.
Good luck.
 

CPSScott

In The Industry
Aug 5, 2012
41
Knoxville, TN
If the circ pump is buzzing and hot to the touch most likely it is the culprit. If you can remove the equipment access panels, locate the flow switch to see if it is in the closed position or even moving/fluctuating. The circ pumps are fairly expensive at about $175-250.

Good luck!
 

Raven0829

Member
Nov 26, 2012
7
Ok, I busted out the screwdriver and flashlight to do some more digging. I removed the panel just to the right if the circuit board so I could see what was going on. The first thing I noticed was that the circ pump was smoking. I immediately turned the breaker off. Whereas yesterday it was just warm, today it was scalding hot. This leads me to conclude that the pump is responsible in some way. I think at this point since I'm neither handy or lucky, it may be easiest to replace the pump. I'm not sure I could identify enough parts on or related to it in order to fix it as opposed to just putting a new one in. It could just be a valve or clogged up with hair. I just don't know.

FWIW, I found that the tub is indeed a Capri, made in 1998. I also pulled some numbers off the pump. Model is sm-909-nhw-18. Part # is 6226.9. A few other #'s I pulled were 230v, 1ph, 60hz. It also said 30 psi (2bar). I googled the model number and found quite a few options for a replacement. The cheapest replacement I found was about $100, all the way up to $200+.

If it is allowed, could someone link me to a reputable site with the right replacement part so I don't buy the wrong thing? I currently have an order pending from a site that I ordered a new filter, some fix-a-leak, and a couple other items. The problem is that the only shipping option was FedEx ground, which in reality meant Smartpost. This means I might get my order by 2015. Price isn't that big an issue, but getting the correct part in a timely manner is. I just don't have enough experience ordering spa parts yet and thus don't know the good sites to use. I've worked at UPS for almost 15 years and trust them, but again, I just don't want to wait 2+ weeks for the pump to arrive. I wish I was handy enough to fix it myself as I have a feeling that it's something minor. That's just how it works for me.

I apologize for the wall of text, but I wanted to provide as much info as possible so you experts can help me in the best way. In fact, I typed all this from in the spa on my phone. I'm in love with it and can't wait to gain more knowledge and get this thing working properly. I've already learned a ton by lurking and reading posts. Again, thanks to those that took the time to read all this and answer my questions.

Regards,
Don
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
If you're uncomfortable ordering online, are in a hurry, and don't care about the pricing difference, why not call a local authorized dealer? They usually stock parts on their trucks. Further, it's possible it just needs a part, like an impeller. Alternately, is the online source an authorized dealer? You could simply check to be certain you're using an authorized dealer, and by phone ask to accelerate the shipping, though I personally haven't had issues with fedex ground.

Based on the prices for the circ pump, though, it's likely cheaper to replace it than rebuild it, because $200 is actually cheap in hot tub land. And if the pump is 14 years old, well, decent chance it's about due for
replacement regardless (though I got 17 years out of my 2 hp variable speed jacuzzi.)
 

Deibi1016

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
28
New Orleans LA
Hello, my problem is that I have the FLO ERROR, and I buy a new heater and a new circulation pump, and the error still there. I think because of that, the water does not heat.

Thank you. I really need help pn this.
 

pHmadness

In The Industry
May 2, 2020
5
Middle TN
Hello, my problem is that I have the FLO ERROR, and I buy a new heater and a new circulation pump, and the error still there. I think because of that, the water does not heat.

Thank you. I really need help pn this.
I'd guess either your system is air locked, or your pressure switch is bad. Do the jets work on high/low speed?
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
587
Cabool, Mo
You should always fill throught the filter pipe to ensure no air lock.
Do you have ozone? If so, you should see a sream of bubbles from the small heat return jet, usually all by itself in the footwell. If no ozone, check for water coming out of that jet. Or disconnect the hose at the top of the heater until water comes out. Make sure power is off if you do that, because stuff is going to get wet (including you).
 

Deibi1016

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
28
New Orleans LA
Yes, I always fill the spa from throught filter, and no ozone, it jad the ozone before and I took out because was broken. The small heat return jet is working, water coming out of that jet. Everything works in the spa, the only problem is the error.

There is a pic, where the ozone was connect.
 

Attachments

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
587
Cabool, Mo
In the hose coming off the top of the heater is a blueish tee with a gray tube out of the top and a wire. This is your flo switch. This is likely your problem. These can fail 2 ways. 1 is a failure to close when the pump is on (flashing flo) the other a failure to open when pump us off (solid flo, no temp). Flashing flo is usually (95%) a dirty filter. It can also come up from a faulty circulation pump or other flo restriction, such as an air lock. With a new heater and pump, and the filter out with good flow, it must be a faulty switch or circuit board issue. Just to be sure, turn off power and check the main sensor plug (big gray plug with all the tiny wires in it). It has clips on each side that lock it in. Undo these by pushing back and away from the plug, they swing away like a door. Make sure all wires are tight in the plug and there is no corrosion on the terminals. If that is good, you need a new flow switch.
Here is a video on how to do that.
 

Deibi1016

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
28
New Orleans LA
No heating yet, Now I realized that I pressed the button to remove the standard, and I removed the error flo, but when I turn on the pumps the error returns and does not heat up.