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Unsolvable low flow error on 2015 premium leisure hot tub spa with neo 2100 pack


PondGirl
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Getting a low flow error on my 2015 Premium Leisure Spa Model 1408 with a Waterway Neo 2100 pack. Will not heat. Steps to replicate error:

1. Turn breaker on. Spa enters priming mode.

2. Hit jets 1 button, let run for 15 seconds. Confirmed good flow.

3. Hit jets 2 button, let run for 15 seconds. Confirmed higher good flow. 

4. Heater enters preheat mode for a few minutes (indicated by 1 wavy heat line on topside) 

4. Heater enters heat mode and immediately gives low flow error. Relays click off. Hit return, low flow error again. (See youtube video  - 

 What I've done to try to resolve issue:

1. Replaced both flow and temperature sensors (no pressure switch)

2. Taken out filter and ran. Replaced with new filter and ran. Ran pump 1 on high. 

3. Verified all T gates open.

4. Verified all suction ports clean and clear.

5. Verified all jets are on with good flow. 

6. Checked for airlocks. 

7. Tried flipping sensors on board. 

8. Removed pump and checked impeller and shaft to not be broken or obstructed. 

9. Removed heater to check for clog. 

10. Cleaned heater connections. 

11. Checked resistance of heater when disconnected. Registers 15 ohms. 

12. Waterfall jets had a little bit of debris in them, cleaned and replaced with no change in results. 

The only thing I haven't checked is voltage.... but assumed voltage was good or pumps wouldn't be running. 

 

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Is the pack and topside control original to the spa or has it been added/replaced recently? 

Has the heater element recently been replaced?

Can you please post photos of the circuit board and the schematic on the inside cover if there is one so we can see how it is wired.  

 

https://waterwayplastics.com/manuals/810-1940.0515.pdf

 

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As far as I know the pack and topside are both original. I have not replaced the heating element. I've wanted to because there was corrosion originally and the epoxy is cracked but I was told to test it and since it tested at nearly 15 ohms multiple times I was told it was okay and would not throw a low flow error. I did just leave it running for a few hours yesterday because everything else still works. I came out a few times and pump 2 was turned on. I would turn it off and come back out later for it to be turned on again. Then at one point I had a heater overheat message on the screen, so I'm not sure if the heater eventually turned on or what but the tub was still at 54 degrees. 

20201212_152547.jpg

20201212_152524.jpg

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Were you able to use the manual I provided to check the system fault logs?.. Or to try and reset the unit to the manufacturer factory defaults to reset the system?

I have never worked on a Waterway system but it sounds like you have gone through most of the basic steps for a flo error. I suggest you contact either the manufacturer or Waterway directly. 

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I have spoken with Waterway and he advised that the system was designed to suction through the heater, not push, and asked if we could replumb the system as so to continue troubleshooting.  This is obviously not ideal, as nothing has changed as it came from the manufacturer. The only thing that changed from it working to not working is being in storage. Premium Leisure is no longer in business, so that's not so much an option. I will absolutely utilize what you sent and see if I can check system logs / reset. I sent an email the other day about a reset to Waterway and have received no response, so I definitely appreciate the info. At this point I'm scared to order a new pack and topside, but at the same time, this is an amazing spa and I want it working.... It shouldn't be this complicated. What happens if I order a new pack or circuit board and that doesn't resolve the issue? Chain saw? Lol

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The only other thing I can wonder about (and have seen this happen) is if there is a one way check valve in the plumbing that is broken or stuck and preventing proper flow. This is something I would contact Premium Leisure about to see if they used a check valve to prevent backflow.

11 hours ago, PondGirl said:

Waterway and he advised that the system was designed to suction through the heater, not push

Seems a little odd to me

Here is a configuration chart. Please ensure you have the right config # set... https://waterwayplastics.com/manuals/807-2035.1216.pdf

Refer to the manual I posted earlier for information on how to set config # I don't think it is your issue but at this point check everything

11 hours ago, PondGirl said:

Premium Leisure is no longer in business

http://www.premiumleisure.com/ I know they were bought out by LPI in 2017. Not sure if they would be able to help or not.

 

 

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I reset the spa. "Irregular sensor" is the error it gives right before low flow in the log. I went into the temperature display and S3 says it is 15 degrees warmer than the other two. Any idea what sensor this is? I already replaced the two sensors on either side of the manifold (775-0100).

Think it's the high limit or is there another sensor somewhere?

Pic attached 

Also Configuration says Page 1 #13. This is the default setting... My pump 2 is not a 2 speed pump though....

20201218_090737.jpg

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According to the attached manual schematic sensor 3 is the one on the right hand side.. https://waterwayplastics.com/manuals/810-0343.0416_web.pdf 

So either 1 and 2 are wrong or 3 is wrong. Verify the actual water temp to determine.

Still this is a sensor error...not sure if it would create a flow error

 

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4 hours ago, PondGirl said:

My pump 2 is not a 2 speed pump though....

if you press it once and it goes to high speed and press it again and it goes off your good I would think. If you press it a 3rd time and nothing happens then perhaps it needs to change the setting but that is the least of your worries at this point...sorry to say.

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3 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

According to the attached manual schematic sensor 3 is the one on the right hand side.. https://waterwayplastics.com/manuals/810-0343.0416_web.pdf 

So either 1 and 2 are wrong or 3 is wrong. Verify the actual water temp to determine.

Still this is a sensor error...not sure if it would create a flow error

 

After speaking with Waterway again, I've confirmed that sensor 1 and sensor 3 talk to each other. They both have to be the same or within a few degrees of each other in order for the heater to kick on, if they aren't, the heater clicks on then clicks off and throws a low flow error to prevent overheating. Basically the same setup as a Balboa m7 system. Since these are both new sensors, there's either something wrong with the board or the heater is overheating in preheat mode, if that's even possible. Maybe I should just order a new heating element just to see if that broken epoxy seal is causing problems. He asked me to swap the sensors on the board first to see if the temperature flips. If it does, then maybe I got a bad sensor to replace a bad sensor. 

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6 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

Still this is a sensor error...not sure if it would create a flow error

If it's like a Balboa or Watkins it uses the sensors to determine flow and has no independent flow or pressure switch.

On 12/14/2020 at 5:33 PM, CanadianSpaTech said:

Has the heater element recently been replaced?

I'd like to know as well. On a balboa m7 heater the sensor will touch an old style 6-flo element and has to have the newer style with the bent end.

https://www.spadepot.com/Universal-Flo-Thru-Spa-Heater-Element-10in-P772

I have no idea what element that heater uses as I have never seen one of those waterway packs. But if the element is touching a sensor it will cause exactly what you describe.

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18 minutes ago, RDspaguy said:

If it's like a Balboa or Watkins it uses the sensors to determine flow and has no independent flow or pressure switch.

I'd like to know as well. On a balboa m7 heater the sensor will touch an old style 6-flo element and has to have the newer style with the bent end.

https://www.spadepot.com/Universal-Flo-Thru-Spa-Heater-Element-10in-P772

I have no idea what element that heater uses as I have never seen one of those waterway packs. But if the element is touching a sensor it will cause exactly what you describe.

Interesting thought. I took the whole heater out the other day to check for debris but I didn't check for the element touching the sensor. It definitely hasn't been replaced since I got the tub and I can't remember which one is in there. It honestly didn't cross my mind to pay much attention to the shape of the element, even though I knew there was a new design available. Since the epoxy is cracked on the one that's currently installed I figured maybe I'll just go ahead and order a new one even though it's testing fine. They're not expensive. 

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KW rating is important as well. Had a spa recently with a flo error after I had swapped in a 5.5kw (all I had with me) when it originally had a 4kw...although I have done this before without issue.

12 hours ago, PondGirl said:

But if the element is touching a sensor

Make sure it is not touching the side wall of the heater barrel as well.

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Flow-Thru Universal Spa Heater Element - Titanium or Incoloy

 

 

On these I normally clip off the front metal spreader clip so the front of the heater spreads out a bit and sits evenly on either side of the sensor better. When clipped together there is little room on either side of the sensor and IMO can create a "hot spot" near the sensor...but that's just me

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22 minutes ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

KW rating is important as well. Had a spa recently with a flo error after I had swapped in a 5.5kw (all I had with me) when it originally had a 4kw...although I have done this before without issue.

Make sure it is not touching the side wall of the heater barrel as well.

The programming is set to 4.0kw,  same as what came on it and I'm assuming what's currently in it. I'm assuming I could change it to a higher one? I don't care either way. I have a 60 amp breaker in the box. The fact that it's not hooked up to the GFCI box wouldn't have anything to do with it would it? Obviously no one is getting into it until it is. It is wired up directly to the box for testing purposes only. When we took it out of storage, we weren't going to build the platform and buy a new GFCI box until I knew it was all working. 

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So here's where I stand.... I unplugged sensor 3 on the board, it somehow reads 48 degrees with no sensor plugged in at all into S3. I would like to think Sensor 3 should not read any temp with it not plugged in. When I unplugged S3, Sensor 1 showed open in the logs. The tub still ran and the heater actually turned on for a good 15 seconds or so and I got hopeful. Then it went into "plumbing error".... so obviously that's not going to work. 

The sensor is not the problem. I switched the sensors on the board and the temps stayed the same. I guess at this point there is something wrong with the board?

Pic below shows temp screen with sensor 3 unplugged from board.

20201219_164008.jpg

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I tried a few different configurations with no change in result. For some reason my 1 speed pump #2 was plugged into AUX...

I do not have an external circulation pump but I do have an O2 machine. It is plugged into J9. Either way, I tried 4 or 5 configurations that seemed similar to what I have with no change....

So back to the previous post, the temperature on S3 is way too high when plugged in and when unplugged, and it's not the sensor. 

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There is unlikely to be any sort of diagram on or behind the circuit board. You may be able to visually track the circuit, and you will see any burned connections.

From what you describe I would agree that there seems to be a board issue. I would suspect that it should not get a reading with the sensor unplugged. 

Again, I have never seen one of these controls and am basing my assumption on other control systems that I have seen. I am generally reluctant to jump to an expensive circuit board before exhausting all other possibilities.

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On 12/18/2020 at 5:05 PM, PondGirl said:

there's either something wrong with the board or the heater is overheating in preheat mode,

Disconnect the heater element from the board and try it. You can then eliminate heater overheat and the heater being the cause of an error. 

 

14 hours ago, PondGirl said:

how do I find out what is connected to JP8

JP8 or J8? 

 

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1 minute ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

Disconnect the heater element from the board and try it. You can then eliminate heater overheat and the heater being the cause of an error. 

 

JP8 or J8? 

 

When the sensor is not plugged into JP8 it still reads a temperature on S3, so I was wondering if there was a fuse or relay connected to JP8 that may be blown or stuck open, but I guess probably not since it's just a sensor?

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Well, needless to say I gave up and replaced the board. After having some trouble setting the date and time I figured something was messed up somewhere and decided to just start over. I ordered a new circuit board and 4.0kw titanium heater. It was pretty straight forward to hook up. I had a problem with pump 2 and the audio working but it was because I had problems plugging the old plugs into the new plugs on the board all the way but I eventually got them to click in. All is well for now and it's heating. I wish I knew what was wrong with the old board or if it was the heater but at this point I really don't care lol... it's been working for almost 2 hours.... Fingers crossed it stays that way. 

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