Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


ratchett last won the day on September 25

ratchett had the most liked content!

1 Follower

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

ratchett's Achievements

Hot Tub Aficionado

Hot Tub Aficionado (4/5)



  1. It's a new tub - new tubs are filthy from factory assembly/testing. Lots of nasty stuff festers in the plumbing before delivery day. If I were you, I'd grab a purge product like AhhSome, and then purge the hot tub extensively (run jets with purge cleaner for 30 minutes, off for 10 while cleaning scum at water line, run jets again for 30 minutes, clean scum at water line, repeat multiple times until nothing else comes out of the plumbing and settles at water line, then drain/refill).
  2. The lifespan of salt cells depends heavily on phosphate levels in the water. High phosphates can kill an ACE salt cell in as little as 18 months. Since you're the second owner of the home/spa, who knows how the previous owners maintained the spa or how high phosphate levels got when they used it. Personally, I'm not a fan of any trickle-feed sanitizer system as it makes people lazy assuming that it's working when it really might not be producing adequate chlorine to keep your water clean. I prefer dosing my tub with a bit of granular chlorine to clean, and letting my ozonator and silver mineral cartridge reduce my overall need for sanitizer by keeping the water clean when not in use. Yes I need to drain/refill a bit more often, but that's a good excuse to purge the plumbing and reduce biofilm buildup. With my setup I use a spring-loaded dosed sugar dispenser so it's easy for guests - after each soak, add one click per person (per 30 minutes of use, rounding up). Saltwater systems are more hassle (and expensive) than they're worth for the convenience. Water chemistry must be within proper ranges to generate adequate chlorine, which we all know not everyone does properly. Overall I spend around $25 in chemicals plus $90 in silver mineral cartridges per year to keep my water clean - far more economical than any saltwater setup I've seen so far
  3. How old are you filters? Have you replaced them recently? Have you flushed them with filter cleaner? I'm far from an expert, but maybe old filters are reducing flow through the heater, allowing it to get hotter than it should before entering back into the tub?
  4. The salt system test is measuring the electrical conductivity of the water between the two electrodes of the salt cell. This is not a perfect test - the cell's electrodes can give false readings if coated in calcium/scale buildup, or I think even if phosphate levels are too high. Do not trust that salt test report entirely - always get a secondary test kit for saltwater setups to confirm your salt levels are within proper range. You can test the black flakes by putting them in heavy concentrated chlorine solution and see if they dissolve or not - if they dissolve it's biological, if not then it's possibly a seal or something else. Try taking some pictures of these black bits, maybe someone can identify them for you.
  5. Actually that wouldn't be correct - it wasn't planned obsolecense - I believe Hotspring's objective to retain a catalog of replacement parts for Highlife spas up to 25 years old. To keep a very long story short, your Orca board was made by a third party manufacturer for Watkins/Hotspring. About a decade ago, Watkins and customers/dealers were hit blindsided when that company went out of business, taking their proprietary information with them. This royally screwed everyone, including the manufacturer who had minimal inventory and old stock to support existing customers - they were forced to build a new replacement control board from scratch, and unfortunately the two systems cannot communicate with each other due to the proprietary software on the old system. By this point, all new-old-stock inventory has been sold out and people with your generation of Hotspring hot tubs got screwed leaving a bad impression about the brand overall (which is valid - Hotspring should have some sort of discount program for spa owners of that spa generation) So yes, it sucks - but this was out of Watkins control. This is one reason why Hotspring spas use so many proprietary parts - the more they make in-house, the less reliant they are on third parties to continue supplying parts. Well, if it's just the topside LCD you have a few different options. Very often I find people selling or giving away free Hotspring hot tubs in the local classifieds (Because they are leaking or broken due to freeze damage) - you can possibly salavage a replacement part from a tub in your local classifieds (offer the seller $50 to salvage that part), or some people salvage parts from hot tub junk yards (which are apparently a thing) - you might be able to score a replacement part that way if you call around. Alternatively, if you dig deep enough into this, I believe someone else was in your exact same shoes a few years back and published their progress (on this forum I believe). I think that person was able to determine that his LCD screen had failed and the system worked otherwise, so he dug in and extracted the LCD screen then looked up part numbers - if my memory is correct, he discovered it was a cheap LCD screen also commonly used in a few HP PDA devices from the early 2000's, he was able to replace the screen and fire up the controller without any problems. I understand that may be out of your technical realm, but if you find the part numbers - you might be able to buy a replacement LCD screen then take it to a professional electronics repair-shop which could de-solder and replace the screen for way less than the cost to replace the entire controller - naturally I'm sure they wouldn't guarantee their work on something like this - but if the topside controller is shot already - why not take a chance and try to fix it for less than $200
  6. Made in 2018 - https://www.masterspaparts.com/master-spas-year-make-model/
  7. Yep, as CST mentioned - sounds like it could be a circulation pump issue. The ozonator generates ozone via corona discharge - the ozone gas gets "sucked" into the water via a part called a "Mazzei injector" - this part sucks air/ozone into the water as it moves through the injector. This part is actually responsible for creating the bubbles you see emanating from the vent, not the ozonator itself (this is important because many people make the false assumption that if they see bubbles, the ozonator is working, which is false - the ozonator could fail and the mazzei injector is still producing bubbles)
  8. Start a new thread instead of hijacking an old thread. Post videos of the sound, and pictures of the control board and wiring diagrams if you can access them easily.
  9. That chase wire to run speaker wire to the optional speaker compartments - the pink line is installed at the factory to make life easy for dealer's techs to quickly run speaker wiring around the tub after delivery. They are not connected to any air lines going inside the hot tub.
  10. Hotspring motomassager jets (the one on your back which moves up and down) is a "consumable" and will fail eventually. It's lifespan depends heavily on water chemistry, but 10 years seems average for a properly maintained setup (or longer if you're lucky). Watch some videos on youtube, but it is easy to replace this jet yourself without calling out a service tech.
  11. Why not replace with an oem Freshwater III High-output ozonator module? I get that the AOP Spa sanitizer system also adds a UV light. However the ozonator output is lower than the Freshwater III system, and you need to replace the UV bulb annually for optimal performance if I'm not mistaken which means more hassles. Between a higher output ozonator system or a 2-in-1, I think I'd still prefer the oem ozonator unit. Nope, you're gonna have to get creative Watkins doesn't want customers tinkering with their hardware - it's a liability concern. They will not share technical specs or schematics directly with end-users regardless how old your tub is. They want you to work with an authorized technician who they know will service the spa using OEM spec parts. This is done for a variety of reasons (liability and quality control), but obviously not ideal for the DIY weekend warrior. As much as I'm a fanboy of Hotspring highlife spas, I advise against them for friends who prefer to DIY service their own spas. I believe that is correct - the Freshwater III ozonator unit runs on 110v, not 240v. OP is gonna need to get creative to tap into power for that unit if they want to use it.
  12. Start a new thread. Take and post photos of everything - the subpanel, the wiring diagram, the control board wiring, etc. The more info you can give, the better chances one of the experts around here can help you troubleshoot the problem
  13. The air control knob might turn, but you may have a clogged air line - a bug or something else might be stuck in the air intake tube causing a clog.
  14. Have you made any changes to the spa? How old is the spa?
  15. I would use stone rockwool fiber insulation - stuff into black contractor bags and carefully place into position. Wear a respirator
  • Create New...