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Chainsaw or Repair? Please HELP!


AprilMcAbee
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Ok to begin this post I need to apologize for the sad story and the length of my post….I honestly don’t want yall to think I am shoveling a sob story…Now that’s out of the way let me tell you what is going on. I am a mother of four kids. I have a son who has neurofibromatosis type 1 and Noonan’s syndrome and is disabled. He is a thriving college student that works around all of his challenges including tumors on his arm, brain and spine. He has pain every day. They thought he had cerebral palsy when he was a baby and after many years of physical therapy he was a cross country runner in high school. I have fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and a brain tumor along with several other rare diseases that left me disabled at 28. I am 38 now and I suffer daily with pain. I have also been on oral steroids twice a day for 10 years. It sucks. I am fat and miserable. I spent many years on narcotic medications…enough to kill a horse and his wife. I am off all my medication and I am looking for alternatives. The steroids, Blood clots in my lungs and a year of being bed bound from an injury to my leg…..I am over 300 pounds and exercise kills me. I need a pool….Sorry. Went off into a day dream… Where was I? Oh yeah…

Hot tubs are a therapy tool for us and also brings much needed relief. A Morgan spa was given to us. It is a large one with 98 jets. It needed two new motors witch I replaced. The spa pack melted after several months of use. I got another one. A balboa vs501sz. I am the one who connected everything. I am savvy around the house…the only income we have is my disability so learning how to do everything has been a way of life. So this is what happens….

Morgan spa

Balboa vs501sz

AquaFlo xpe2 and xp2

 

You turn on the power. The spa pack clicks and enters priming mode. Nothing will come on. If I unplug the pump 1 from the board I am able to run the blower and pump 2 but pump 2 is not pumping at speed. Like half capacity. Also when I turn on the blower the pump slows more and you can tell there is a strain on the power source. Also… not all the jets have water running thru them when the blower is on. It does not matter where I move the pump one plug to….it will not come on. I am pretty sure I have a clog or an air lock but I don’t think that’s all that is going on. Also the heater comes on and tries to heat the water and the temperature rapidly goes up on the panel and the tub turns off or I get the DRY error message. I am struggling here. I am about ready to set the darn thing on fire. I work on it all the time and nothing. AI am so frustrated. I spent a lot of money to have brand new everything and it has not worked one time yet….Retrofit kit they said. Basically plug and play they said. Brand new spa pack and pumps….it will work like a dream they said.

Keep in mind that It set for about two years while I was buying and paying out each new piece. I cannot afford anything else for this thing and I can not afford paying someone to fix or work on it.  I lay awake night after night praying that the next day it will work and I can disappear in the bubbly goodness and my pain can abate for a short period. My son does as well and I cant stand to see him suffering. Please help me. Point me in some sort of direction.

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When you filled it, did you stick the hose in to where the filter sits?  Usually filling it through the hole where the filter sucks from will help prevent an air lock.  If you just filled it by throwing the hose in to the main part of the hot tub, that may have caused an air lock (if that is your issue).

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First of all, they sold you the wrong pack.  A VS501SZ can only handle 2 pumps or one pump and a blower.   Pump 1 must be plugged into J23.   J23 is the only connector on the board that supports a two speed pump.  The second pump (or blower) must go into J17/26.

If you want to run two pumps and a blower, you need a Balboa VS510 or higher.

Is the board set for the proper voltage? 

If you have 240 volt pumps, the white wires next to the plugs must go to the "RED AC" connectors in the lower left fo the board.  For 120V pumps, they go to the "WHITE AC" connectors in the upper left.  You may have a 115V blower and a 240V pump, so make sure the correct voltage is set for the accessory you're using.  Also note, you can not run a 240V pump or blower on a 115V circuit board.

Now, let's deal with one issue at a time: 

Disconnect pump 2 & the blower so only pump 1 is connected to J23.

The DRY message means the sensors aren't finding water in the heater tube.  First, check your filters.  Are the clean?  Not just clean to the eye, but are the pleats coated with anything, like mineral residue or hair conditioner?  Anything that impeeds water flo can lead to a DRY message.

Turn on the spa.  After you get the "Pr" message, press the Jets button.  The pump should come on at low speed and some water movement should be seen.  Is that what happens?   Remove your filters - does the water flow increase?  If it does, you have dirty filters.  Clean or Replace.

Press the Jets button a second time, the pump should go into high speed and the water should move faster.

If your voltage is set up correctly, you hear the pump motor, and you can hear the difference in the two speeds, but don't see water moving, you probably have an air lock.  To remove the air lock, you can press the JETS button continuously and see if turning the motor on and off breaks up the air bubble.  If it doesn't, you need to bleed the air out manually.

Disconnect the power to the tub.  Loosen the couplings where the pipe goes into pump 1, usually the highest of the two fittings is where the air is trapped, but not always.  You should hear a "hissssssss." as air escapes.  It will probably only hiss for a second or two.  Then tighten the fitting and see if the water flow has increased.  If not, try the other plumbing fitting on Pump 1.

Let us know how you make out with this.  Once we get pump 1 working and your water heating, we'll try to resolve the rest of your frustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ScubaDave said:

First of all, they sold you the wrong pack.  A VS501SZ can only handle 2 pumps or one pump and a blower.   Pump 1 must be plugged into J23.   J23 is the only connector on the board that supports a two speed pump.  The second pump (or blower) must go into J17/26.

 

 

 
1

I dont know if this changes things but the board I have has an expansion port on it for a second pump so there is a place for two pumps and the blower. I have the instrument panel vl701s.

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The VL701s is not supported on the VS501SZ pack.   Does it say VS501SZ on the label on the top fo the pack?

The pack with a daughterboard is not a VS501.  It's probably a VS510 or VS520.

Did you buy a replacement pack alone, or the kit that comes with the topside, light and wiring?   Did you call and talk to a sales agent, or did you make a choice by yourself and just order it on-line?  If you talked to a sales agent, when they sold you the pack, did they ask how many pumps and blowers you have? 

 

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So you bought a VS510 and it will support everything you have, that's good.  This should be easy.  Plug and Play is a bit of an exaggeration, but the balboa packs are well made and relatively easy compared to other packs.  It just needs to be wired correctly, the dip switches set, and the air has to be out of the plumbing.

Let's get the first pump working properly then we'll work on the other two items.  When you check filters and air lock like I suggested earlier, please note two items off of the pump and blower, the amperage and the voltage.  Now, there are two sets of labels on the motors:  one of them says "Aquaflo XP2," it's probably blue and black ink.  Elsewhere on the pump is the motor manufacturer's label.  It may say "Marathon, GE, US Motors" or one of half a dozen other manufacturers.  Look at the specs written on that label  It will say either 115V or 230V.  Amperage is usually expressed as two numbers (for two speeds).  It'll say something like "12.0/3.3 Amps."  It may say "A" instead of "amps."  If the labels are on the back side of the motors, stick you camera in there to get a picture.

Can you take a picture of the circuit board and post it here so I can see how you've got it installed?  That will help a lot and save a lot of back and forth questions and answers.  Not the circuit board off of a web site, the circuit board in the pack you installed, so I can see how the wires are connected.

Later . . .

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I can do that. It will be tomorrow morning when I get moving but I will get the pictures and post them here. I am also considering taking it all apart and doing it over again step by step. I can probably build a house by myself but this hot tub has me stumped. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. To get this thing going would be a game changer for us. 

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Ok..  so yesterday was a horrible day. I never got out of bed. I am headed outside to work on it and get the pictures. Plus I have developed an allergy to the sun. Any sun exposure causes tiny all the way to quarter size sores that itch and burn and are filled with water. It's simple term is sun poisoning. One of my favorite things in the world is gardening and working in the yard and going to my youngest sons athletic compitions....football, basketball, and track. We are in track season right now and he is an amazing athlete. I must have been a serial puppy killer in a past life....

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On 3/29/2017 at 4:48 AM, plumber802 said:

Subscribing to this topic and hoping for a good outcome.Congrats April on being fearless and persistent and thanks Dave for your valued advice.

Thanks! I have to have hope. Any time I lose hope....everything will be lost, not just my hot tub. Adversity is a daily thing in my life and I have weak moments...maybe days, where I lose hope and it is not pretty. And YES....Thank you Dave for your help...it has given me new hope that this will work.

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I took a look at your pics.  So, my first question is:  That's the plumbing that worked fine before you put in a new pack?  Or did you move things around?

It looks like the spa is getting its power from the kind of wire you'd use for an an dryer, dishwasher or air conditioner.  That's totally dangerous.  It's probably not heavy enough to carry 50 AMPs, it's not rated for wet environments and it's probably not rated for outdoor use.  The wires themselves aren't heavy enough, the tub should be connected with a 6 gauge stranded copper wire.  That's one of those wires that's so heavy it takes two hands to bend it.  You may have burned up your previous circuit board by having wire too thin, which made it loosen over time because the terminal blocks on the circuit board are for 6 gauge, and loose connections cause electrical arcing and fires.

Because you said you did the work yourself and because I can see it isn't done properly, I doubt that the tub was connected by a licensed electrician.  I'd really like to help you out, but I think the first thing I need to do is to get a licensed electrician in there to make sure you don't kill yourself or your kids.  I know you don't want to spend the money, but you're not going to help yourself if you get electrocuted.

Can you shoot over a picture of the GFCI, so we can verify it's properly connected?  If the GFCI is improperly connected, it may be a factor with your pumps not working properly.

 

 

 

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I can. The wire is the 6 gauge and was bought specifically for this reason. It is extremely difficult to bend and about killed me to get it in the breakers and on the board. We bought it at home depot with their help and it is outdoor wire. You may be right. Right now I do not have it in conduit because it is on concrete and I wanted to make sure it was all set up before I finish with conduit. You would be right about the electrician. Its not that I don't want to spend the money....I would love to have someone else figure this out and make sure its done right, I don't have the money. I will look at the wire and ensure that I have the right one and if I have to I will purchase new wire but it will take me a couple of weeks.I do have income tax coming but it will be a couple of weeks. I may be able to divert some funds until then but the water pump is out on my car and has to be fixed today and my sons transmission went out so its sitting. Maybe I just need to give up. Hot tubs are for rich people. I have the GFCI installed and it has a second breaker that is feeding my out side shop and office.I will take the pics sand add them to my album. 

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Scuba Dave....did you happen to look at te pics of the GFCI? I am sorry about my earlier post. I have been working on this hot tub for two years and I get so discouraged at times. I have to walk away sometimes proclaiming that I give up only to dust my self off and go at it again. It is not in me to give up. I believe that I can learn to do anything so when I dont understand something I go after knowledge so that I can understand. I do not like being ignorant and only haveing some of the facts and then proclaim that I know it all makes one more ignorant. It is something that drives me daily. Where here is a will, there is a way mentality. Or what my kdis call ...all moms epic failures....lol. Its a pain in my ass but without that instinct, I would have given up a long time ago as many who know my life story 

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Hi April,

Just got home after a long day of fixing tubs.  It's the beginning of busy season in the Northeast.

No, I didn't see your photos of your GFCI, they're not in your "Hot Tub" album, or if they are, it's not showing up on my screen.  Anyhow, the gfci is for your protection.  If you were in the tub and someone dropped an electric appliance in the water, the GFCI would short out the tub in microseconds.  Without a GFCI, you (and your kids) could get electrocuted.  I'll take your word that you have it installed properly, I'm not your municipal electrical inspector or your parents.

We're going to focus on pump 1.  Disconnect pump 2 and the blower from the circuit board.  Once we get pump 1 working, we'll deal with those.

Power up the tub.  When you get the Pr screen display, press the jets button.  Does the pump come on?  If not, what do you hear?  You should hear a relay in the circuit board click closed.  If it doesn't, you have a pack or a power issue.  Every time you press the jets button,you should hear a relay click. 

If the pump doesn't turn on, do you hear a hum?  If it hums but doesn't come on, the motor isn't turning.  It would hum about 10 seconds and then the thermal overload would shut it off.

A properly operating pump with an airlock would sound pretty much like a pump that was moving water.  You'd know you have an airlock because when you look in the tub, you wouldn't see water flowing.

Is the pump wired correctly?  Most of the Aquaflo pumps I see  have 3 spade terminals marked L, H and C.  L is for the Low Speed wire, generally the black wire.  H is for High Speed, generally the Black wire.  and C is for Common, which is the white wire.  The green wire attaches to the green screw in the wire compartment.  Be aware, the Red and Black wire can be reversed.  You'll know when you press the jets button.  The first press puts it in Low speed, the second press in High Speed. 

If your old pump had the wires, from top to bottom, White, Black, Red, that doesn't necessarily mean the new pump should be the same.  I've seen plenty of older pumps where the order of the wires is different than modern pumps.

Pump manufacturers use a variety of different motors in their pump assemblies, so you may have a different order of the terminals for H, L and C.  There's usually a diagram on the motor label. 

Let me know how you make out. 

 

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