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Question on running multiple pumps from a single board connection


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Hi All,

Question on running multiple pumps from a single board connection.

As background, the Thermospa spa I inherited has 5 jet pumps, a circ pump, a blower, a light and a diverter valve for a wave lounge.  I had no idea how 'over-featured' this tub was, but it's all mine now and I'm working through a series of issues slowly (with much help from the guys on here).

On my existing board (Balboa EL8000 Mach 3), pumps 2 & 4, and pumps 3 & 5 connect to the same connector on the board with a 'Y' or splitter connector. Then the 'hot' pin on one of the split connections is jumpered straight to one of the 240V spade connections near the incoming electric hookup. 

Is this a common and acceptable way to run 2 pumps from a single board connection? Where the hot connection on one is coming from a different 240v connection I’m guessing that it only shares the ground with the board connector. Is there any downside to this arrangement?

Does this change any of the power requirements on the board, or as long as the incoming power is 240v does it not matter? The GFCI would remain rated the same at 60W.

As a follow up question, even if this is an acceptable/common practice, these pumps would need to be controlled topside separately.  In addition to my main control panel (heat, pump 1, 2, blower and light), I have a single button panel for pump 4, a single button panel for pump 5, and a wave lounge panel that controls pump 3 and the associated diverter valve. My board has control connections that allow me to hook these all up and control the corresponding pumps/diverter as required.

The ultimate reason for my question is how I would shop for a new PAC/board if I ever need to.  When I read the specs for spa PACs or individual boards, they mention the number of jet pumps supported (never 5), but how would I know if there are enough 240v spade connections to reproduce the scenario I currently have? Then, assuming I have available 240v spade connectors for all of my pumps, how can I tell if there are sufficient topside control connections to be able to control them as needed?

As of now it appears that the EL8000 is still available, but the price varies up to $450.  This is more an exploratory exercise to see where the breakpoint is between replacing a board and replacing the entire PAC.  This is a Thermospa and I’m continually running into challenges finding replacement parts as in some cases the part was specifically manufactured for Thermospa and has a different part number, although in most cases it just a rebranded standard part which I find out after some research.  Thermospa is now defunct and this spa is coming up on 12 years old.

Sorry for the long post.  I’m trying to learn as much as possible to prepare for future repairs and bring my stress level over this spa down.  Who said hot tubs were relaxing?

Thanks,

Rob

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That is a proprietary board made specifically for thermospas. I don't know if there is an aftermarket system that can handle all of that as designed.

That said, I would not hesitate to replace that pack with another pack and add in a few relays and fuses to accommodate the extra pumps, just using the board to fire the added relays. The system would end up turning on multiple pumps with a single button on the controller, but everything would work. I'm not sure I would recommend the average homeowner try it, but it can be done for not a whole lot more than that circuit board.

They are simply using high and low speed relays to fire separate single speed pumps, with some changes to the logic to let that happen. It may look like other mach3 boards, but it does not work like them.

As for wiring, that is how it must be, because if they brought both common (white) pump wires back to the plug there would be a double load on that circuit, which was designed to operate one pump, and would fry the board. So it's not a matter of it being "acceptable" or "normal", it is electrically necessary.

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1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

I don't know if there is an aftermarket system that can handle all of that as designed.

GECKO in.yt-12 supports 12 configurable outputs, a 4kW heater and a standard 12V light. Ideal for mid-range to high-end spas with up to 5 pumps, blower, circ. pump, ozonator 

 

https://www.yseries.ca/overview-yt

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Thanks guys.  This is super helpful, even if not necessarily what I wanted to hear :)  It's possible, but not easy to swap out the PAC.

That Gecko unit is interesting. I found it strange that with all the functionality it only supports a 4kW heater.  Wouldn't a unit like that normally be for larger spas and need a 5.5kW ideally? Certainly an option if it came to it.

I think what I'm learning is to keep my board as healthy as possible so I'm not faced with needing to replace it. Luckily I had a new one that came with the spa (it was a warranty repair for the original owner that turned out not to be the board and the tech just left the new part) and was able to swap it in when the heater connector burned up.  I haven't fired it up since replacing it yet, so hopefully it works as expected (it's been kicking around in a closet for a few years).  The one that burned up I'm sending off to a place in Arizona to have the connector, relay and PCB pad repaired for $175 plus shipping.  This just confirms for me that is a good decision to have that as a backup. Oh and I'll probably be checking my heater connections on a weekly basis to ensure they stay tight 🥴.

I am considering, at some point and if possible, in closing off some of the jets in the tub.  We never use all of the jets and I'd gladly get rid of 2 pumps to simplify things.  Is there any jet replacement part that screws/seals in and closes the hole off minimizing space for water? I'd need to do the same thing at the start of the line that is the 'intake' for the pump as well to avoid any standing water. 95% of the time my family is in the spa we are just enjoying the hot water and an occasional few minutes in front of the jets. 3 pumps would be more than enough. Have ever seen this type of thing done?

Once again @RDspaguyand @CanadianSpaTech you have both been a wealth of info and I greatly appreciate the time and effort you spend on helping guys like me learn a new repair arena.

Rob

 

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1 hour ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

 

GECKO in.yt-12 supports 12 configurable outputs, a 4kW heater and a standard 12V light. Ideal for mid-range to high-end spas with up to 5 pumps, blower, circ. pump, ozonator 

 

https://www.yseries.ca/overview-yt

I can't even find one available or one with a price even listed, but the in.yt-7 which supports far fewer items shows a price of $725. I'm not sure I want to know what the in.yt-12 lists for....

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4 hours ago, rmcderm313 said:

Wouldn't a unit like that normally be for larger spas and need a 5.5kW ideally? Certainly an option if it came to it.

The 4kw gives you more amps left available for the pumps. It will still heat, and maintain temp just fine, though it may take a bit longer to get hot at fill.

As far as eliminating jets goes, I would not advise it. But if you did, your best bet would be winter plugs.

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