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Fastdriving

Watkins Hot Spring - No parts

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My control panel died on my 2011 Hotspring Aria. Found that my control panel is 'discontinued'. The replacement sent looks, and I suspect, works the same. BUT NO !!!!. The connection on the cord from the control panel to the motherboard is not the same. Of course no adapter either. So what does Watkins have to say? To make the replacement control panel work, you must buy a new motherboard. Which is close to $800 plus the control panel, close to $300.

I don't know if this is planned obsoletness (sp) or what. My tub isn't even close to 10 years old.

I will put out there, DO NOT BUY ANY WATKINS MANUFACTURING HOT TUBS (Hot Spring, Cal Spa, etc). Their proprietary parts are junk, or the parts don't exist, forcing the customer to have to buy supplement parts to fix the original part.

Be Careful out there.

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The electronic manufacturer that made the electronics for that year went out of business, which is why you need the new control box.  

$800 is a bit steep for a control box.  I would see if your dealer can help you out.  Hot Spring is very accommodating and while they can’t make a compatible control panel when one no longer exists, between them and your dealer you should be able to get a reduced price.

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Let me guess, the defunct company is in Asia somewhere. Then to top it off, the new, remodeled control panel won't work with the older motherboard, who came up with the specs for that. That person should have to pay to make my tub work correctly. So what else isn't going to 'line up' if I do get a new motherboard, is my ACE system going to work correctly or at all? How about my other control panel? WTH.

I will put it out there again, DO NOT BUY WATKINS products.

After my first post, I did a little digging and found that WATKINS have problems of reliability.

At this point, rather just sit in my bath tub and blow bubbles using a straw.

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Fastdriving, you need to discuss with Hot Spring customer service.  If done so in a polite respectful manner, they will do everything in their power to make the situation as right as they can.  Things like this can happen regardless of the manufacturer of the electronics.  If you had a different brand of electronics, say Balboa, not all their control panels work with all their circuit boards and they too have circuit boards that are obsolete and require complete upgrades.  Gecko, the other largest non-proprietary manufacturer has had the same thing.  I've seen the incorrect Gecko control panel plugged in to a circuit board a fry both.

As someone who has been in the industry for 18 years (the last 2 with Hot Spring & Caldera) I will say what everyone should already know.  Everyone manufacturer has had their issues.  I have seen Watkins go above and beyond to make the situation correct more so than any other manufacturer.  You are entitled to be pissed and I probably would be too if I was in your shoes.  The way I see it there are two options; Give Watkins, or your local dealer the chance to take care of you or move on.  There are plenty of other brands out there and while I'm not an advocate of brands I don't represent, the ones generally regarded as premium besides Hot Spring & Caldera are Arctic, Artesian, Bullfrog, Dimension One, Jacuzzi, Marquis, and Sundance.  Also, assuming you do not live in a cold climate and your spa doesn't freeze, there is some resale value for your spa in it's current condition.

Cusser, you are correct.  Watkins has no affiliation with Cal Spa.  Watkins brands are the following (Hot Spring, Caldera, Freeflow, Fantasy, Endless Pool).  Cal Spas is LMI (Lloyds Materials Inc), Casey Lloyd is the owner of Cal Spas.  Coleman is the only other brand I know that is made by Cal Spas.

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21 hours ago, castletonia said:

As someone who has been in the industry for 18 years (the last 2 with Hot Spring & Caldera) I will say what everyone should already know.  Everyone manufacturer has had their issues.

Same for automotive industry, etc., etc., etc. !!!

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It's only with that certain manufacturer of electronics, which are code named "Orca".  I can still get electronics for the preceding manufacturer which was used back to 2001.  It's a crappy situation, but that is why you need to press your dealer and or Hot Spring to help you out.

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I have a 2012 Caldera Martinique and my topside control is out as well.  Tub still works but I cannot control temp or turn jets on/off.  I called the dealer that sold me the tub and was told the same thing.  That controller is no longer available and I would need to buy new motherboard to fix it.  Is there any way you can purchase a controller that has same options and then wire it into the existing wiring harness, just leaving the old controller in the tub and mount the new one on side?

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On mine, it was a no go. I thought the same thing. Ended up having to get a new motherboard from local dealer. Their deal was the controller and motherboard for around 800-850. I already bought the new controller online, so I purchased the motherboard. It had to be shipped, surprised that it isn't in stock. But their going to flash the motherboard for me.

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15 hours ago, amccaul said:

I have a 2012 Caldera Martinique and my topside control is out as well.  Tub still works but I cannot control temp or turn jets on/off.  I called the dealer that sold me the tub and was told the same thing.  That controller is no longer available and I would need to buy new motherboard to fix it.  Is there any way you can purchase a controller that has same options and then wire it into the existing wiring harness, just leaving the old controller in the tub and mount the new one on side?

Unfortunately not.  You are dealing with two different electronic manufacturers in addition to software differences.  

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