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Hotsprings Sovereign Blinking Power Light

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I have a 98 Hotsprings Sovereign model. It just started shutting down with a red blinking power light. From what I've read that indicates the heater shutdown as a protection.

In the past year I replaced the circulation pump, heater, and thermistors. It ran fine for the past ~6 months. Now I'm getting the blinking red light. If I reset the breaker it takes a good 20 minutes before the light starts blinking and the spa shuts down. 

I put in a service call to a local company but I'm not confident in their abilities either. They suggested "trying" to replace the heater relay. I would think if the relay was bad the heater wouldn't kick on at all. I have tested the input and output voltage in the past and never noticed any issue with those relays. Their next suggestion was trying to replace the entire IQ board. He did note that he expected more bubbles to be coming out of the heater. That makes me think something is wrong with my new circ pump or some type of blockage. Filters are new. 

I've already put about $800 into this spa that I bought for $500. I don't really want to put another $800 just to have the spa guy swap parts and hope for the best. Any ideas on what I could test?

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Your instincts are correct- the heater relay is not an issue. 

Unfortunately, if the flow is good from the circ pump, and the thermistors are working properly, you're in an unfortunate position, as the IQ2000 used in 1998 is no longer available.   You'd be on the hook for a new IQ2020, a new control head, new themristors, and even a new light for everything to work properly.  Therefore, before going to that level of expense, you want to be 100% certain in your diagnosis.

Have you tried just taking out the filer dedicated to the circ pump?  that's the first thing you should try.

Blockages are typical in the ozone venturi valve, if hardness if present in the water.  You would need to visually inspect it to look for hardness inside the valve.  You can also run a flow test on the circ pump - it requires a 1 1/4" male thread fitting and tube to thread into the drain (Where the output of the circ pump pushes water), and time how long it takes to fill a 1 gallon container.- This will tell you if there's a flow issue


A few more random thoughts...

Since you've replaced the circ pump recently, are you certain the circ pump isn't entering a "priming cycle" at any time?  The 74427 has a unique feature where, if it doesn't detect water pressure in the pump, it will turn itself off for about 20-30 seconds, then turn itself on again.  This logic is only located in the circ pump, so if the heater energizes while the circ pump is in a priming cycle, it will energize, and overheat.   Low water level, or a slightly clogged filter, debi in circ pump are all things to look for.

Additionally, a little corrosion on the thermistor harness itself may be to blame.  try unplugging the thermistors, and plugging them back in several times.  Anything to avoid the expense of replacing everything is worth trying at this point.

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I've taken the filters out long enough for the problem to occur again. I do have hard well water.

I have a breaker for the heater and one for the rest of the spa. I left the heater turned off and turned the spa turned on. It still goes in to the mode with the flashing red light after a while. That makes me think it's not the heater actually overheating. 

I can check the ozone valve. I don't actually have the ozone generator hooked up (it went bad). There is just a check valve that draws in air. 

edit: Is there a way for me to test the high thermistor?

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yes, just OHM out the thermistors one at a time.  If they're very close, they're okay.  Set your meter on a 20k OHM scale. 

About the Ozone valve, I'm not talking about the Ozone check valve, I'm talking about the Ozone venturi valve.  Hardness accumulates at that valve, and can block water flow.  Since you don't have an Ozone generator anymore, simply remove the venturi valve. 

You can also just buy a new thermistor (38416) and plug it in, but don't plumb it in, leave the original plumbed in.  You can meter out the original as the spa runs to see just how warm the water is getting inside the heater.  Here is a chart 




This is only to determine if the heater actually is overheating as indicated.

If this doesn't make sense to you, stop here, and call a pro.

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I replaced the venturi valve with a straight piece of hose. I tested the thermistors that were in the hot tub and the ones from my old heater. One of them was out of range by 200-400 Ohms. I suspected that one of the new thermistors was bad. I put the thermistors from the old heater in and everything is working now. Thanks so much for the help!

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