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Total newbie. Controllers/pacs/whatever you call them

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So long story short I bought a house and have been completing the hot tub room from the previous owner. I finally started running electrical to the controller. I'm planning for the worst and hoping for the best. 

The current controller is a CRL MI series that screams 90s. Nothing digital about it with air line switches. I hope to clean it up and if it works....well I won't worry about it. If dead I'd like the replace the whole unit with heater. The issue is which unit should I go with? My searches always seem to show balboa and ACC brand systems with huge price differences. 

So really the question is what controller pack should I get if I need one? Theres so many brands and series. I know I have 240 volt, One 2 speed pump, air blower, and light




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I use balboa exclusively. They were the first fully digital control pack, are widely used in new spas, easy to troubleshoot, parts are easy to find, and they are not expensive. Everyone else is just trying to be like balboa. I have installed hundreds of VS packs.

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I use Gecko exclusively. They were the Second fully digital control pack, are hardly used in new spas, hard to troubleshoot, parts are hard to find, and they are  expensive. Everyone else is just not trying to be like Gecko. I have installed tens of Gecko packs....lol @RDspaguy

Just Kidding Gecko makes a great pack as well

Clean that old unit up and I bet she works like a charm.

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BTW, gecko is a canadian company in case you were wondering...😉

The advantage of your pack is the cheap repairs. No circuit board means when something fails, it's a $50 part not a $350 board. But only us old guys, like me and @CanadianSpaTech, know how to troubleshoot them. Most spa techs these days would be lost just looking at it.

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Well I'll probably know shortly. No corrosion. Cleaned up the main contactor. Only thing I see wrong is the gfi won't reset but is also making continuity. Good enough to run tests, bad to lay in water for hours 😂. I'm an electrician by trade. 


So with balboa systems since I'm in the US, why do they have 50 million series of them? What's the difference between a 1000 and 3000?



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25 minutes ago, PoconoChris said:

an electrician by trade. 

Me too. IBEW Local 1 class A apprentice for 3 years before I parted ways during my (nasty) divorce. Now I do spas for the past 26 years.

It's really a pretty simple 3-wire motor control system, but most spa techs in the digital age have no real clue how to use a multimeter. Compared to the assembly lines at the GM plant it's a joke not worth laughing at.

That gfci only protects the equipment and you can still kill yourself just as dead as you'll get by touching the water with a shorted heater and a bad ground. I'd get a gfci breaker on it if I were you. If you're worried about code, it needs a disconnect, which can be the gfci breaker, no less than 5ft no more than 25ft in a direct line of sight from the spa. This is measured from the water surface.


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