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Your Opinions Of Vita Spas


wesj53

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Thanks to most of you for your imput on blowers. Like Altazi and Jim the Jim, I also lean towards the TP contruction style mainly for the simplicity of repair. I do fully understand the arguments against it and there may be some impirical evidence to suggest there are more leaks with inferior designed and produced TP units. I am happy to hear Jim give some plaudits to Vita and Arctic as I will be wet testing both on Sunday. Altazi, I figured you had some scientific background, considering your detailed approach to buying a unit. But what's my excuse for such conduct? I'm just an insurance agent from suburban Chicago with no technical background! Which leads me to my next question for those in the biz. My family has a summer home in Rhinelander, WI (northern third of the state) where winter temps can easily dip below 0F. We have a Keys spa (Home Depot) which we drain every fall. Does the draining of a tub and severe temps cause any problems to the shell or any of the components assuming all water has been removed? Also, is there any special close-up procedures which we should be doing that the manual may not have suggested?

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We now have modern spa pumps in the 2,3,4,5, and 6.7 HP with up to .98 power factor. The conversion from watts to horsepower is 98%.

Actually, power factor comes into play when you place a reactive load (such as an electric motor) on an AC circuit. The voltage and current in a reactive load are not in phase; assuming a sinusoidal waveform, then phi is the phase angle between the voltage and the current waveforms, and power factor P = |cos(phi)|. As the power factor approaches 1.0, more of the input power is transferred to the load; this is a good thing.

While a power factor of 1.0 indicates an efficient delivery of electrical power into the motor's windings, power factor itself does not completely describe the overall efficiency of the electrical motor, i.e., conversion of electrical to mechanical energy. Still, a motor with a power factor approaching 1.0 is more desirable than a motor with a lower power factor.

I would expect to see electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiencies around 50-75% for typical commercial electric poll/spa pump motors. Higher efficiencies are possible, but the motor construction becomes more exotic (and expensive!) Do not expect to see a 90% efficient pump motor.

If you really want more details, let me know. . . I'll be happy to bore you to death. :rolleyes:

Regards,

Altazi

PS - The typical 25% electrical energy wasted in the motors is used to help heat the water in a TP spa.*

* - According to some. TP vs. FF seems to be akin to a religious issue. . .

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Actually, power factor comes into play when you place a reactive load (such as an electric motor) on an AC circuit. The voltage and current in a reactive load are not in phase; assuming a sinusoidal waveform, then phi is the phase angle between the voltage and the current waveforms, and power factor P = |cos(phi)|. As the power factor approaches 1.0, more of the input power is transferred to the load; this is a good thing.

While a power factor of 1.0 indicates an efficient delivery of electrical power into the motor's windings, power factor itself does not completely describe the overall efficiency of the electrical motor, i.e., conversion of electrical to mechanical energy. Still, a motor with a power factor approaching 1.0 is more desirable than a motor with a lower power factor.

I would expect to see electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiencies around 50-75% for typical commercial electric poll/spa pump motors. Higher efficiencies are possible, but the motor construction becomes more exotic (and expensive!) Do not expect to see a 90% efficient pump motor.

If you really want more details, let me know. . . I'll be happy to bore you to death. :rolleyes:

Regards,

Altazi

PS - The typical 25% electrical energy wasted in the motors is used to help heat the water in a TP spa.*

* - According to some. TP vs. FF seems to be akin to a religious issue. . .

Huh?

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Huh?

I suppose I did go off the technical deep-end with that. I have that problem when I am tired. . .

I just wanted to clarify Jim's comment regarding a 98% power factor, and that it shouldn't be directly confused with a motor's efficiency. A motor having a high power factor (approaching 1.0 or 100%) is good, but that doesn't completely describe a motors electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency. You will NOT find a 98% efficient motor in a spa pump! A typical AC spa pump motor would run around 50% efficiency, and a good motor would run around 70%.

If you had a 100% efficient motor, it wouldn't get warm at all. There would be no mechanical friction, etc., etc. All of the electrical power input would be directly transformed into rotational torque on the shaft.

I ended the whole thing with a light-hearted poke at the "TP vs. FF" argument, noting that the wasted heat from the inefficient pump motor is at least used to heat the water in a TP spa. . .

Let's take a look at a typical good-quality spa pump motor - an AOSmith Sta-Rite described by the manufacturer as being a "Replacement Motor for Dimension One, Hydroquip, GPM Industries, Hawkeye, Marque and Master Spas". I suspect that is supposed to be "Marquis", and not "Marque", but who knows?

Anyway, look at the 2.5hp motor, the SDS1252. It is a two-speed motor, capable of producing 2.5hp at high-speed and 0.25hp at low speed. For high-speed operation at 230VAC, it is specified as drawing 10.7A. Doing a quick-and-dirty calculation by multiplying volts x amps, we get 230V x 10.7A = 2461W. A horsepower is equivalent to 746W, so a 2.5hp motor SHOULD require only 2.5 * 746W = 1865W. Clearly, the specs show a much higher power consumption. The efficiency of the motor can be calculated by dividing the output power (1865W) by the input power (2461W). 1865W / 2461W = 0.758, or about 76%. This is a good-quality, relatively efficient motor. Of the 2461W input, 596W is wasted as heat. Which, by the way, represents about 10% of a 5.5kW heater's output. . . So that 596W of heat provided by the motor was 596W of heat the heater didn't have to provide. OK, I'm sure SOME of the waste heat goes into the cabinet, etc., and not into the water, but you know what I mean.

Aw, darn, there I go again. . . :rolleyes:

The specs are available at aosmithmotors

Regards,

Altazi

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WOW! Nothing like a little technical discourse to utterly kill a thread! :lol:

Hey, live and learn. Who doesn't want to know more about reactive loads, phase angle, and power factor?

Thanks for the posts. I have worked with pool and spa motors for many years, and I agree that there is no such thing as a motor with 98% efficiency, at least not at room temperatures. Wow. Power Factor was always the domain of the engineers. I taught electronics in high school for a few years, so I know P/IxE, eddie currents, input/output ratios, and a Watt from a Mho, but I only used Service Factor in the field.

As I have used it went something like this: a one horsepower motor with a 1.65 sf could be counted upon to swing a 1.5HP impellor, or basically do the work of a 1.65 HP motor. Then came up rating, de-rating, and the fact that some tub makers would purposely mismatch the impellor and motor to get more flow against less dynamic head, or the same flow with a cooler motor, or more pressure with less flow, etc.

I will say that I have not seen any of the major name brands fiddle the numbers like that: for example HotSpring used a StaRite pump with an AO Smith motor for over a decade. That was a 1 HP motor swinging a 1 HP impeller, but with a service factor of 1.65, the motor was basically loafing along. In fact, the motors were swimming pool, constant-duty rated (I can't remember the number right now, but there is a certain number which always designated a constant-duty pool/spa motor), and they were 'energy efficient' models.

Anyway, if you look closely, you will find that 48 frame motors and 56 frame motors actually draw about the same amperage if you compare apples to apples. That is an often-quoted idea, that somehow the larger motors are automatically better. If you are not careful, you can compare a two-speed motor to a one-speed, and with the extra windings in there, they don't tend to be able to do the same efficiency. Also, the service factor can make direct comparisons wander a bit, and 'energy efficient' motors are built to draw fewer amps for the same output. If there is a difference, it is small, and wouldn't amount to dollars per month.

There is an AO Smith motor called the "Conservationist" which is an Energy Efficient motor which is full rated, and has taps for setting it up to run on 110, 208 AND 230 volts. But the amp draw on a 1HP version of that motor is only 7.4 amps on 230v.

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I suppose I did go off the technical deep-end with that. I have that problem when I am tired. . .

I just wanted to clarify Jim's comment regarding a 98% power factor, and that it shouldn't be directly confused with a motor's efficiency. A motor having a high power factor (approaching 1.0 or 100%) is good, but that doesn't completely describe a motors electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency. You will NOT find a 98% efficient motor in a spa pump! A typical AC spa pump motor would run around 50% efficiency, and a good motor would run around 70%.

If you had a 100% efficient motor, it wouldn't get warm at all. There would be no mechanical friction, etc., etc. All of the electrical power input would be directly transformed into rotational torque on the shaft.

I ended the whole thing with a light-hearted poke at the "TP vs. FF" argument, noting that the wasted heat from the inefficient pump motor is at least used to heat the water in a TP spa. . .

Let's take a look at a typical good-quality spa pump motor - an AOSmith Sta-Rite described by the manufacturer as being a "Replacement Motor for Dimension One, Hydroquip, GPM Industries, Hawkeye, Marque and Master Spas". I suspect that is supposed to be "Marquis", and not "Marque", but who knows?

Anyway, look at the 2.5hp motor, the SDS1252. It is a two-speed motor, capable of producing 2.5hp at high-speed and 0.25hp at low speed. For high-speed operation at 230VAC, it is specified as drawing 10.7A. Doing a quick-and-dirty calculation by multiplying volts x amps, we get 230V x 10.7A = 2461W. A horsepower is equivalent to 746W, so a 2.5hp motor SHOULD require only 2.5 * 746W = 1865W. Clearly, the specs show a much higher power consumption. The efficiency of the motor can be calculated by dividing the output power (1865W) by the input power (2461W). 1865W / 2461W = 0.758, or about 76%. This is a good-quality, relatively efficient motor. Of the 2461W input, 596W is wasted as heat. Which, by the way, represents about 10% of a 5.5kW heater's output. . . So that 596W of heat provided by the motor was 596W of heat the heater didn't have to provide. OK, I'm sure SOME of the waste heat goes into the cabinet, etc., and not into the water, but you know what I mean.

Aw, darn, there I go again. . . :rolleyes:

The specs are available at aosmithmotors

Regards,

Altazi

You are not quite correct. The power factor on these new high energy efficient motors is nearly perfect.

They are able to use brake horse power. The break down torque horse power as continuous rating, simply by using super high temperature plastics and excellent cooling. You should read up on them on line.

19 Amps is rated at 6 HP continuous and nearly 7 under up rate. We use a 5 HP wet end and give a service factor to them. Your best bet is to take a trip to Portland and try one out. The power is so different than any other spa out there.

Go to franklin electric and look up these motors.

Go online and read about the latest technology used to get more power out of a motor with less watts.

Go to my site and look at the motor tag. 6.7 HP continuous rated, but only if you want to peak out the heat.

The windings are rated in industrial temperatures of 311 degrees F.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be transformed. All energy is ultimately converted to heat according to the physicists I have sold spas too. We focus on using that energy to stop the excessive use of the electric heater.

We run these pumps at close to 200 GPM and at a higher pressuer to get more energy to the jets. As you know with jet pumps if you can increase the pressure to the higher part of the curve you get more energy with less water flow. The less mass used creates more energy to the jets with less resistance in the water pipes.

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You are not quite correct. The power factor on these new high energy efficient motors is nearly perfect.

Hi Jim,

In case you missed it, a power factor of 1.00 is PERFECT, 100%. A motor with a power factor of 0.98 (or 98%) is ALMOST PERFECT, just as you said. No argument there. I remain correct on this point.

Where you have a bit of confusion is in relating power factor to the motor's electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency. You will NOT find a motor with a 98% conversion efficiency. As I demonstrated with actual manufacturer's motor specifications, efficiencies are on the order of 50% - 75%.

Brake horsepower is measured during the brief period of motor start-up; it is not a rating of continuous power output.

Regards,

Altazi

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Hi Jim,

In case you missed it, a power factor of 1.00 is PERFECT, 100%. A motor with a power factor of 0.98 (or 98%) is ALMOST PERFECT, just as you said. No argument there. I remain correct on this point.

Where you have a bit of confusion is in relating power factor to the motor's electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency. You will NOT find a motor with a 98% conversion efficiency. As I demonstrated with actual manufacturer's motor specifications, efficiencies are on the order of 50% - 75%.

Brake horsepower is measured during the brief period of motor start-up; it is not a rating of continuous power output.

Regards,

Altazi

That was correct a few years ago. You are right there is no way to get 100% use of the power, but there are ways to get more horsepower out of the same watts (I know, blasphemy!). Check out the new Franklin motors. They have gotten very aggressive and their engineers are working on motors that other companies don't have. They have patents and patents pending on this new technology. The other part is these motors are completely made in the USA.

Many years ago I had a very long conversation with a retired hydraulic engineer. He used to design and build (field engineer) hydraulic systems for the fish hatcheries in Califorinia. Field engineers are very interestign to talk to, because they build what they design.

He told me something that is extremely interesting: "If you can cool a 1HP motor so it will not burn up, and it will keep turning at 3450 RPM, you can run up to twice the load on it as long as it does not "brake down" and keeps running. That the motor is going to run at 3450 or it wont run at all." He told me that there was an emergency situation in which a 2 HP pump quit running and it was essential to the work that day. So, he put the wet end on a 1 HP motor. Then he took a garden hose and placed it over the frame of the motor and put a sign on it. "Turn on the hose before starting pump." He says the probably still are running that pump that way after many years. One of the first water cooled pumps, maybe?

What destroys most motors when you push them like that is the heat. These were sealed motors.

Now, if you can over come hysterises and inductive loses, you can improve motors drastically to the point where Franklin has them now. They use super high temperature plastics and then they put dual cooling fans on the motors. We have been using them in our Super Custom Spas for nearly 5 years with practically no failures. The insulation rating is very high temp, but the most I have measuered with an infrared thermomoter is 145-150 F on the frame, because we tone down the impeller to give a service factor. (By the way that was one of Jon Watkins "tricks" for longevity.) The windings are rated at 311 degrees F. By running with a service factor the FLA is reduced to below what is on the other motors. 15.4 amps doing the same work as the 16.4 amp motors. One amp less, longer life, and the same work.

The A.O. Smith motors are excellent as well, but no where near as advanced or strong as these new motors. You can see a photo of the motor on our site at the SCF page.

I would put a link to the engineering data I have but links don't work here any more.

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That was correct a few years ago. You are right there is no way to get 100% use of the power, but there are ways to get more horsepower out of the same watts (I know, blasphemy!). Check out the new Franklin motors. They have gotten very aggressive and their engineers are working on motors that other companies don't have. They have patents and patents pending on this new technology. The other part is these motors are completely made in the USA.

Many years ago I had a very long conversation with a retired hydraulic engineer. He used to design and build (field engineer) hydraulic systems for the fish hatcheries in Califorinia. Field engineers are very interestign to talk to, because they build what they design.

He told me something that is extremely interesting: "If you can cool a 1HP motor so it will not burn up, and it will keep turning at 3450 RPM, you can run up to twice the load on it as long as it does not "brake down" and keeps running. That the motor is going to run at 3450 or it wont run at all." He told me that there was an emergency situation in which a 2 HP pump quit running and it was essential to the work that day. So, he put the wet end on a 1 HP motor. Then he took a garden hose and placed it over the frame of the motor and put a sign on it. "Turn on the hose before starting pump." He says the probably still are running that pump that way after many years. One of the first water cooled pumps, maybe?

What destroys most motors when you push them like that is the heat. These were sealed motors.

Now, if you can over come hysterises and inductive loses, you can improve motors drastically to the point where Franklin has them now. They use super high temperature plastics and then they put dual cooling fans on the motors. We have been using them in our Super Custom Spas for nearly 5 years with practically no failures. The insulation rating is very high temp, but the most I have measuered with an infrared thermomoter is 145-150 F on the frame, because we tone down the impeller to give a service factor. (By the way that was one of Jon Watkins "tricks" for longevity.) The windings are rated at 311 degrees F. By running with a service factor the FLA is reduced to below what is on the other motors. 15.4 amps doing the same work as the 16.4 amp motors. One amp less, longer life, and the same work.

The A.O. Smith motors are excellent as well, but no where near as advanced or strong as these new motors. You can see a photo of the motor on our site at the SCF page.

I would put a link to the engineering data I have but links don't work here any more.

Hello Jim,

I would really like to see the specs for the Franklin motors. I found a website "franklin-electic", but they provide submersible pumps (wells), fuel pumps, and other pretty specialized products. There was no mention of a pool or spa pump motor. Are these the same guys? Please figure out a way to put the link up. Just skip the "three-w's" and the ".com".

A pump motor that is around 75% efficient is pretty good. You CAN get better efficiency, but the technology becomes more exotic (and expensive).

One important point to note is that, even if you have a pump whose motor is rated at 2hp, you are not necessarily using all of the motor's power output capability. This depends upon the load placed upon the motor. The 2hp figure represents the maximum power output of which the motor is capable, under specified conditions.

This also works in reverse, to a certain extent, as you mentioned in your "critical pump" application. It is possible to use a lower-rated motor (1hp) in an application requiring more power (2hp), but the POWER required by the motor will track the shaft output power. If a 75% efficient 1hp motor is using 1kW of electric power, it will draw a minimum of 2kW if loaded to 2hp power output. This, of course, depends upon many variables in the motor's construction. First, the motor's stall torque must not be exceeded, and as you noted, the motor's temperature must be kept within reasonable bounds.

Regards,

Altazi

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Hello Jim,

I would really like to see the specs for the Franklin motors. I found a website "franklin-electic", but they provide submersible pumps (wells), fuel pumps, and other pretty specialized products. There was no mention of a pool or spa pump motor. Are these the same guys? Please figure out a way to put the link up. Just skip the "three-w's" and the ".com".

A pump motor that is around 75% efficient is pretty good. You CAN get better efficiency, but the technology becomes more exotic (and expensive).

One important point to note is that, even if you have a pump whose motor is rated at 2hp, you are not necessarily using all of the motor's power output capability. This depends upon the load placed upon the motor. The 2hp figure represents the maximum power output of which the motor is capable, under specified conditions.

This also works in reverse, to a certain extent, as you mentioned in your "critical pump" application. It is possible to use a lower-rated motor (1hp) in an application requiring more power (2hp), but the POWER required by the motor will track the shaft output power. If a 75% efficient 1hp motor is using 1kW of electric power, it will draw a minimum of 2kW if loaded to 2hp power output. This, of course, depends upon many variables in the motor's construction. First, the motor's stall torque must not be exceeded, and as you noted, the motor's temperature must be kept within reasonable bounds.

Regards,

Altazi

xxx.xxxxxxx/SixHp.html

Hi Jim,

In case you missed it, a power factor of 1.00 is PERFECT, 100%. A motor with a power factor of 0.98 (or 98%) is ALMOST PERFECT, just as you said. No argument there. I remain correct on this point.

Where you have a bit of confusion is in relating power factor to the motor's electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency. You will NOT find a motor with a 98% conversion efficiency. As I demonstrated with actual manufacturer's motor specifications, efficiencies are on the order of 50% - 75%.

Brake horsepower is measured during the brief period of motor start-up; it is not a rating of continuous power output.

Regards,

Altazi

There are two types of measurement of brake HP. One is upon start up under extreme high current, and the other is while the motor is running apply the brake meter until the motor stops.

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Hello Jim,

I went to (3 w's) franklin-electric (dot com) /SixHp.html and received the message "Sorry, there is no Franklin Web page or document matching your request. It's possible you typed the address incorrectly, or that the page no longer exists. " Well, I know that I typed it correctly. . .

what was the first part of your Franklin URL after the 3 w's?

Thanks!

Altazi

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Hello Jim,

I went to (3 w's) franklin-electric (dot com) /SixHp.html and received the message "Sorry, there is no Franklin Web page or document matching your request. It's possible you typed the address incorrectly, or that the page no longer exists. " Well, I know that I typed it correctly. . .

what was the first part of your Franklin URL after the 3 w's?

Thanks!

Altazi

it is on our site, with a photo of the motor tag.

On our message forum, where you should be asking questions is a photo of the new prototype motor that we are testing right now. Speaking of real engineering and testing. I bought a new amp meter and infrared thermomoter to test out this motor and it is amazing.

To get back to the original question, I am a fellow consumer and am only biased to the extent that I own a Vita after considering (and wet testing) several brands. We love our Vita and have had it for a year now with absolutely no trouble. Great hot tub in my opinion.

Vita is one of the better brands out there. They have excellent fibeglass shells and use good equipment.

They finally got their D&M controls to work and they work well.

The only problem with exclusive controls is that they may not always be around. We had a spa brand from a company that was 41 years old, and now we have to keep rebuilding the equipment for our customers, because we cannot buy new. When a part, like the thermostat sensor is gone, there are no replacements for it, without having one made from scratch.

Their use of diverters is not very good and normally the diverter valves have to be replaced when the get stuck and are so hard to turn that you get out the channel locks to turn it. That is a problem with all "diverter first" spas in time.

I don't like having to turn a valve to my partners seat, then wait my turn at the jets. Why not have all the jets run at the same time on full force. It is not even that hard to do.

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it is on our site, with a photo of the motor tag.

On our message forum, where you should be asking questions is a photo of the new prototype motor that we are testing right now. Speaking of real engineering and testing. I bought a new amp meter and infrared thermomoter to test out this motor and it is amazing.

Vita is one of the better brands out there. They have excellent fibeglass shells and use good equipment.

They finally got their D&M controls to work and they work well.

The only problem with exclusive controls is that they may not always be around. We had a spa brand from a company that was 41 years old, and now we have to keep rebuilding the equipment for our customers, because we cannot buy new. When a part, like the thermostat sensor is gone, there are no replacements for it, without having one made from scratch.

Their use of diverters is not very good and normally the diverter valves have to be replaced when the get stuck and are so hard to turn that you get out the channel locks to turn it. That is a problem with all "diverter first" spas in time.

I don't like having to turn a valve to my partners seat, then wait my turn at the jets. Why not have all the jets run at the same time on full force. It is not even that hard to do.

Go to Jims site to get your unbiased information...LOL Good one. Be carefull over on his forum Altarz He has the ability to change your posts to suit his needs. Or maybe his forum server is different from the last one? No he'll just ban you if you start to show him up.

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Altazi,

I have enjoyed reading your posts and expanding my knowledge of moter ratings and efficiancy. Please keep posting here so that we may all see, as most of us have been baned from Jims site.

(Myself on my first post where I asked Jim if it would not be better to spend more time on the benefits of his own brand and less time degrading others.)

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