Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Oingofan

  1. Hello all, This last week I found that my 2006 Vanguard Hot Springs spa had a few problems with it...that all seemed to occur at once. My circulating pump went out, tube going into the ozone injector pulled off (creating a leak), and the spa decided to barely heat up...with the temperature going down rapidly over the week when it was so cold out. Well, I replaced my old pump with a new E5 pump (which pumps more and uses less energy). After some research on this great forum, I found how to diagnose the heater relay board problem and am pretty concerned about the type and amount of failures occurring. Additionally, I wanted to share some additional tips that I found along the way. As always, I'm just offering advice from a home owner perspective and this is my first experience dealing with problems in my spa. If I'm wrong on anything, please let me know and I'll try to correct it. It's important not to ever let your spa freeze with water in it as it will destroy your plumbing and parts inside. If you can't get it running, it is better to drain/winterize it. I discovered my problems in the dead of winter after 10PM at night...with ice on the spa cover. It was not a fun night. That being said, the temperature of the water was low and I didn't have parts on hand, so I decided to drain my spa. In the meantime, I hoped on this forum and started doing my diagnosing. After that, parts were ordered. I decided to replace the recirculating pump first. The new E5 circulating pump is much lighter and smaller than the old pump. When it showed up on my doorstep (which I ordered online to save $$$), I was surprised at how small and light the package was. Since the inlet to the pump is shorter, I needed to get new vinyl tubing from Home Depot which I cut using a PVC pipe cutter. Before you take the tubing off, you need either the spa to be empty of water or prepare to stop the water from coming out by using corks/stoppers of some type (rubber, etc.). Using pliers, I removed the pipe clamps, but initially had trouble taking the old tubing off easily. The trick to taking the tubing on and off is using a heat gun (or a match if out in the field). You just need to barely heat the tubing and it will be pliable to easily go on and off the pipe nipples. Don't forget to put your pipe clamps on before putting the pipe back on! Just use the old screws with some elbow grease to put the pump back down to the area where the old pump was. It doesn't matter if the holes don't match up to the old ones. Since I now had extra vinyl tubing, it would be ideal to replace the older yellowish ugly tubing where I could. Not only that, but the ozone injector tube had been pulled off earlier...and was now shorter than what was needed. Why after all these years was it shorter to where it fit before? Well, I believe that as the temperature in the spa dropped to the 40's, the vinyl tubing contracted (shrank) and pulled off. Fair enough. The older tubing was looking like it's had enough anyway...so it was easily and quickly replaced. The only area where I didn't replace was where the tubing was glued into fittings. OK, now for the problem with the spa not heating. I opened the panel to the IQ2020 inside (with all power shutoff) and found all kinds of cool looking stuff. Within the IQ2020, you'll see two primary circuit boards. The smaller one on the left is the heater relay board and the big primary board is the one on the right. It is very important to not touch anything inside with the power on...unless you want to get fried since we are talking high voltage here (220V in my case). The power was turned on and I observed that the heater LED was in fact turned on...great! That means that the thermostats (that go into the heater core) are working properly. It should be noted that heating tubes in the No Fault heater will not be hot to the touch when they are working, so you can't judge if it is working based on that. Instead, your tool of choice will be a multi-meter (or volt meter). Measuring AC voltage on the heater relay board while the primary board was showing that the heater was on, I was able to carefully insert the probes of the multi-meter inside of the flag terminals of the large wires leading to the No Fault heater. Since my spa is wired for 220V, this is how my readings should have been if the heater relay board was working properly: Black to Green: 120V White to Green: 120V Black to White: 220V Instead, this is how my readings were: Black to Green: 120V White to Green: 120V Black to White: 0V The No Fault heater wasn't getting the power it needed. Visually looking at the heater relay board, I noticed some areas that looked like it could have overheated on the left-most relay: I turned all power to the spa off and proceeded to carefully take the heater relay board out. To take the wires off of the terminal block, you simply insert a small flat head screwdriver into the slot above the wire and gently lift up...releasing the wire. Perform the reverse to put them back in. The flag terminals can gently be pulled off using needle nose pliers. After I removed the board, I then looked on the backside and saw this: Closer view of the failure: This is a rather large failure that appeared to have overheating and fire involved. It even torched the area on the side and behind the board: What concerns me is that this is a major failure that many others on this board have experienced and it involves fire...yet there has been no recall of these boards. Instead, replacement boards are happily being sold to everyone who experiences these problems. The replacements boards have been updated with wider circuit paths, increased electrical capacity on the relays, cuts in circuit board to separate circuit paths and an updated terminal block that does away with the flag terminals. Front view of new heater relay board: Rear view of new heater relay board: Old vs. new front view: The new heater relay board comes with good 2-sided page instructions on taking the old board out and replacing it with the new board. You'll need to cut two flag terminals on the black and white heater wires for them to use the new terminal. After I replaced the board per the instructions and double checked my wiring, I turned the power back on and found everything working 100%. Even though I was able to find the heater relay board for $110 online, I'm very concerned about such failure and feel that Watkins (Hot Springs) and/or Invensys Appliance Controls (manufacturers of the heater relay board) should voluntarily place a recall for the older boards since they are failing in the large numbers (according to the respective number of people having this problem on this forum), at the same relay location...and most of all...causing heat/fire/smoke within the circuitry of the spa. If only 5%-10% of everyone experiencing this problem join and write something on this forum, imagine the number of spas in use that are respectively having this problem. Wayne
  • Create New...