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Hot Tub Woes - Any Ideas?

Old 12-04-2019, 01:57 PM
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Default Hot Tub Woes - Any Ideas?

THT Braintrust -

I am having a hot tub issue. It appears to be an issue on the board. I just replaced the heat relay due to a water leak that caused it to fail and arc out. It was tripping the GFCI. I've replaced this relay, and it no longer sparks or trips the GFCI, but now there is no power to the heater.

The issue is that my heater will not turn on. It checks out within spec for resistance, and there are no shorts to ground. I also replaced a damaged heater relay that arc'ed out. This was due to the water leak. I can hear the relay clicking to engage the heat, however there is no power between the heater straps. It's a 240v tub. I would expect to see that voltage when the tub is in heat mode, however there is none.

Anybody have knowledge of hot tub electronics? The manufacturer has been useless since "no parts are end user serviceable." The would much rather I pay $400-500 and replace the board. I am very comfortable with 220v electric and component level repair. I just need some ideas on other sources that may cut off power (sensors, etc). A schematic would make life so much easier, but I have none available to me.

Andy
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:05 PM
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I went through the exact same thing. I was sure it was the relay on the board but could not buy a replacement. Wound up biting the bullet and replacing the whole board.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:28 PM
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I would think if the relay is clicking, the board is doing its job. Problem is in power, not control. Follow 220 circuit step by step. Look for a fusible link in the heater power circuit. Remove power wires from the relay and make sure you actually get continuity when it is powered.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:40 PM
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Faulty pressure switch perhaps.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:42 PM
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Are there any small led's on the main board, like a temp high limit?
Does the heater connect to a smaller always-on pump to circulate water?
Does the heater have a hidden reset button?
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:07 PM
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What make and model hot tub? Can you post a pic of the circuit board?
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:14 PM
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Hot tub warehouse is a good source for parts
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:16 PM
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The heater relay looks for temp , water pressure and resistance. You really need to check the heater with a megohm meter to ground. If it checks out , then you must find the 220v legs to the relay , energize the relay and see if it goes the the heater. You may not be hearing the heater relay , it may be something else.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:08 AM
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Just watch craigslist free, there are plenty of those for free, just get a new one, that's what they are worth
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by andycfi View Post
THT Braintrust -

I am having a hot tub issue. It appears to be an issue on the board. I just replaced the heat relay due to a water leak that caused it to fail and arc out. It was tripping the GFCI. I've replaced this relay, and it no longer sparks or trips the GFCI, but now there is no power to the heater.

The issue is that my heater will not turn on. It checks out within spec for resistance, and there are no shorts to ground. I also replaced a damaged heater relay that arc'ed out. This was due to the water leak. I can hear the relay clicking to engage the heat, however there is no power between the heater straps. It's a 240v tub. I would expect to see that voltage when the tub is in heat mode, however there is none.

Anybody have knowledge of hot tub electronics? The manufacturer has been useless since "no parts are end user serviceable." The would much rather I pay $400-500 and replace the board. I am very comfortable with 220v electric and component level repair. I just need some ideas on other sources that may cut off power (sensors, etc). A schematic would make life so much easier, but I have none available to me.

Andy
First off, Who is the manufacturer?

"No parts are end user serviceable" is complete BS. I've repaired / replace a few things on my tub and dam near rebuilt two friends hot tubs. Hope your tub doesn't have 10 inches of spray foam everywhere, they are the worst to deal with

Do a search online for a manual and schematic, I'm sure you can find one.
Balboa makes 99% of the boards - electronics for hot tubs.
Give a call to Spa Depot, they are a great help
Find a Forum for your tub and join it
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:30 AM
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I ended up replacing the board. The temperatures are going into the mid 20's quickly, and I honestly do not have the time to troubleshoot and fuss with the existing board. I probably could figure it out if it were another season, but time is not on my side. With that said, somehow I blew the topside panel when troubleshooting this. I really do hate these things. ZERO parts available locally. It's really making me think twice about getting rid of it for what I have in repairing it. I just don't have the patience for all of this troubleshoot, order, wait 5 days, oh wait, that didn't do it ... rinse and repeat.

I'd be a lot more patient if I could get things locally but thanks to Amazon, etc, NOTHING even remotely specialized can be had locally anymore. Before you know it, we're going to have to mail order our groceries. It's one thing about the future I am really not liking.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by andycfi View Post
I ended up replacing the board. The temperatures are going into the mid 20's quickly, and I honestly do not have the time to troubleshoot and fuss with the existing board. I probably could figure it out if it were another season, but time is not on my side. With that said, somehow I blew the topside panel when troubleshooting this. I really do hate these things. ZERO parts available locally. It's really making me think twice about getting rid of it for what I have in repairing it. I just don't have the patience for all of this troubleshoot, order, wait 5 days, oh wait, that didn't do it ... rinse and repeat.

I'd be a lot more patient if I could get things locally but thanks to Amazon, etc, NOTHING even remotely specialized can be had locally anymore. Before you know it, we're going to have to mail order our groceries. It's one thing about the future I am really not liking.
So what brand of hot tub is it?
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:15 PM
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That is a major reason why I assembled my own from generally available parts instead of buying a package unit full of proprietary parts.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:19 PM
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I feel your pain. Heater went out. SpaGuts.com (a great resource BTW) said that if your spa is 8 years old or more, but the shell is in good shape, you're best off buying a "spa pack" that includes all mechanical and electrical parts on a small skid pan mount. Just hook up the power, attach inlet and outlet water, mount the controls, you have a new spa. Priced around $600 to $1,000.

They said that if it's just your heater, you might be OK with just replacing that. So, I did that, everything worked, hurrah. Except that 4 months later, the low speed pump was spraying water out of the seal. So I replaced that. Worked. Except that 4 months later, a relay on the board fried. Replaced the board, but spa wouldn't heat up past 94 degrees. Replaced the heat sensor. Still no go. Fooled around with my multimeter, figured out the heat sensor needed more resistance. Figured it was a problem with the new board - the new and old sensors agreed with each other. Board's not returnable, so I cut in a 0-10k rheostat, and tuned the system until the controls showed the actual water temperature. I still have to tune it, as it drifts.

Next time? Spa pack, no question.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by V13 View Post
I feel your pain. Heater went out. SpaGuts.com (a great resource BTW) said that if your spa is 8 years old or more, but the shell is in good shape, you're best off buying a "spa pack" that includes all mechanical and electrical parts on a small skid pan mount. Just hook up the power, attach inlet and outlet water, mount the controls, you have a new spa. Priced around $600 to $1,000.

They said that if it's just your heater, you might be OK with just replacing that. So, I did that, everything worked, hurrah. Except that 4 months later, the low speed pump was spraying water out of the seal. So I replaced that. Worked. Except that 4 months later, a relay on the board fried. Replaced the board, but spa wouldn't heat up past 94 degrees. Replaced the heat sensor. Still no go. Fooled around with my multimeter, figured out the heat sensor needed more resistance. Figured it was a problem with the new board - the new and old sensors agreed with each other. Board's not returnable, so I cut in a 0-10k rheostat, and tuned the system until the controls showed the actual water temperature. I still have to tune it, as it drifts.

Next time? Spa pack, no question.
What a mess! Next thing that goes and this tub will be cut into pieces. I'll probably just save up at that point for a new one. My in laws bought brand new and the company is out same day with parts if there is a problem. I don't mind doing the work myself, but I HATE not having my hands on parts when I need them. I used to be able to go down to Radio Shack and there were all kinds of components. I shop exclusively at local specialty shops that still exist. The eCommerce world is killing them, and one day we won't be able to get any kind of part anymore. I HATE IT!!
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by andycfi View Post
What a mess! Next thing that goes and this tub will be cut into pieces. I'll probably just save up at that point for a new one. My in laws bought brand new and the company is out same day with parts if there is a problem. I don't mind doing the work myself, but I HATE not having my hands on parts when I need them. I used to be able to go down to Radio Shack and there were all kinds of components. I shop exclusively at local specialty shops that still exist. The eCommerce world is killing them, and one day we won't be able to get any kind of part anymore. I HATE IT!!
I had that same attitude - until I priced a new spa. My spa is probably 15 years old, shell's perfect. Plus, I know it's comfortable. That's not always easy to tell when shopping. It's also huge - we play water polo in there, although the goalies have to deal with the jets.

Something else goes, I get a spa pack.

FWIW, Sawzall with demo blade makes quick work of a spa shell.
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