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Jacuzzi J-385 Watchdog error - fixed - then Overheat GFCI trip error


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I have a ~year-old Jacuzzi J-385 hot tub and one day got the "watchdog" error message with dashes. Research showed likely source of problem was the water temperature sensor. Water temp was actually and nowhere near the high temps that watchdog is designed to prevent. So, I bought and installed a new sensor (6600-751 Sundance/Jacuzzi Temperature Sensor with 3 Pin Connector). Decided to drain the tub before repair since it had been a couple of weeks before the part came in and the water needed changing anyway. Sensor and new O-ring install was straightforward.

After re-filling tub, I turned the GFCI back on. Watchdog message was gone and temp measured 70-some deg which was in the right ballpark. But, a completely new set of error words came up: "Overheat GFCI Trip Call for Service"

After 4-5 minute of normal display and pump operation (except for the error message), the GFCI on the wall box trips. Checked for water leaks or loose wires inside the panel and found nothing amiss. After several cycles of the same behavior (GFCI trips every time after 4-5 mins after a reset), the GFCI breaker would not even reset. It would not pass electricity to the hot tub at all. I disconnected the wires to the tub at the breaker and still GFCI would not reset so definitely the GFCI had gone bad and not anything related to the tub or wiring to the tub. Not sure how it went bad since the GFCI worked (albeit with tub perhaps tripping it?) just before it went bad altogether.

So, had electrician put in a new GFCI breaker. Now the GFCI holds and power is restored to the hot tub. Messages on the display (Overheat GFCI trip call for service) are still there. I figured the breaker would trip again after the 4-5 minutes but this time, the tub stays on! Tub heats up to the set temp and jets work.

So, what was the problem that caused the GFCI to trip and the messages to appear? Why did the problem happen after a refill? Does the problem still persist and somehow the GFCI breaker isn't getting tripped as it was before? If there is no longer a problem, how do I get rid of the error messages? Or, is the presence of the messages an indication that there is still and equipment or sensor (perhaps the hi limit sensor) issue?

Thanks in advance!

Mike

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I have not seen the newer controls so have no idea what that message means. Some newer control systems have a feature to cause the gfci to trip if the spa overheats from a (possible) stuck relay. Of course, it can only detect that with the sensors, so perhaps it is the high-limit. I always recommend replacing both at the same time. 

If it is only a year old it should be under warranty. Have you called your dealer?

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Thanks, RDspaguy. Yes, under warranty and tech has ordered a hi limit sensor for replacement (though no current info as to when the part will arrive). The main reason for my post/questions was that I expected the original temp sensor replacement to resolve the issue but a new problem cropped up. Then, when the GFCI replacement essentially "fixed" the problem but yet the error message persists, I was stumped. Wish there was some sort of "error clear" step that could be taken (such as on your car's OBD-II) to eliminate the error message. I am also mildly concerned that the error message indicates an ongoing problem but now that the GFCI is holding, I am not convinced there isn't some latent problem that continues ...

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On 6/18/2021 at 4:31 PM, J385_Owner said:

"Overheat GFCI Trip Call for Service"

This is an easy fix.  The board needs to be cleared of the error, and the only way to do that is by accessing the circuit board and resetting it.  A new hi-limit will not fix this problem. Have your Sundance dealer call tech support to walk them through it if need be. 

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OK, ciderjack, I assume the clearing of the message is not an issue the homeonwer can resolve independently? I would also imagine that Jacuzzi tech support will not help me with the error but instead say call for dealer repair?

Do you have any insight as to why the Overheat GFCI trip warning occurred right after the drain-replace_temp_sensor-refill process (perhaps air in the heater or pump areas somehow? I have not had this issue on previous drain-refill cycles ...

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3 hours ago, J385_Owner said:

OK, ciderjack, I assume the clearing of the message is not an issue the homeonwer can resolve independently? I would also imagine that Jacuzzi tech support will not help me with the error but instead say call for dealer repair?

Do you have any insight as to why the Overheat GFCI trip warning occurred right after the drain-replace_temp_sensor-refill process (perhaps air in the heater or pump areas somehow? I have not had this issue on previous drain-refill cycles ...

I do not have any insight on that.  The overheat GFCI trip is new. It kicks in when the circuit board detects an abnormal rise in temperature over the course of several hours that cannot be explained by another logic condition, and will cause the
spa’s GFCI to trip and display a “GFCI Trip” error on screen at the spa’s next start up.  If you message me, I may be able to help you clear it

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: Dealer technician came today and replaced the temp sensor (which wasnt needed since that had been done) and also replaced the hi limit switch. I was not there to see actual results and I heard second hand from an office staff that the overheat GFCI trip message persisted after sensors were replaced. They then reported that the tech called Jacuzzi tech support and received instructions on how to do a "Dip switch 10 reset" which supposedly fixed the warning message and tub is now working. I requested a callback from the tech to see what this specific fix is. When he called, he indicated that "newer" tubs need a reset after sensor replacement. I believe the procedure is to cut power to the tub, toggle dip switch position 10, re-power the tub for 2-3(?) minutes, power-down, re-toggle the switch #10, then re-power the tub. Can't promise 100% accuracy on this procedure as the tech didn't describe it in gory detail. YMMV. Maybe others in the forum can confirm/correct this info.

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  • 3 months later...

Jacuzzi Spa (2020) Hard Reset Instructions

- Worked to clear Watchdog/Overheat GFCI Trip message on my J-325.  In my case I knew why the trip occurred AND I was able to remedy that situation by putting the spa on a dedicated circuit (as it asks for in the manual).  Please be aware that if something is wrong with your spa you will still need to contact a licensed Jacuzzi technician.  These instructions simply clear any error codes within the spa AFTER any and all issues have been addressed and fixed.

1. Turn OFF power to spa.

2. Ground yourself!

3. Put jumper pin (or a reasonable jumper) on jumper 68 (J68).

4. Turn ON power for 15 seconds.

5. Turn OFF power to spa.

6. Ground yourself!

7. Remove jumper pin.

8. Turn ON power to spa.

NOTE: This resets ALL settings within the spa to the factory default as far as I can tell.

Thank you and good luck.

 

UPDATE:

So after completing the hard reset I did get a new error within a few days indicating that the Water Temperature Sensor was bad.  Another hard reset would NOT clear this error.  I did have to replace the sensor and then repeat the hard reset above.  Now my spa appears to be in full working order again.  I was informed that a "bad batch" of sensors may have gone out on some Jacuzzi spas built in 2020.  I hope that Jacuzzi can do better in the future because this was very frustrating on a 4 month old spa.

Edited by J325_Owner
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

In case it helps others down the road I can confirm that the DIP SW-10 reset procedure mentioned above clears the error code but maintains all the previous user settings (e.g. Date/Time/Filter Change Interval/etc.) This may be a slightly easier remedial action than the full factory reset involving the J68 jumper.

I had the exact same scenario as the OP did with a “Watchdog—-Call for Service” message in my J-335 (installed 7-2021) that cleared after a power cycle but was replaced by the “Overheat GFCI Trip Call for Service" and then a GFCI trip after ~4 minutes.  This is what I did;

1. Power OFF

2. Open up Control Panel and place DIP SW-10 in ON position

3. Power ON for 10-15 seconds.

4. Power OFF

5. Return DIP SW-10 to previous OFF position and button everything back up

6. Power ON and verify normal operation.

Obviously if the root cause isn’t remedied then the error code(s) will return.  In my case we apparently got lucky. We had used the tub last night as normal.  This morning when I went to do my water chem analysis I found the red tub lights flashing and the “Watchdog” error.  The local service tech is “backed up” and will “hopefully call sometime next week” so in some minor desperation I found this site and all the helpful info.  

Sincere thanks to the OP and others who provided information. No way here in Idaho in December was I looking forward to being without my soak.

Steve

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18 hours ago, Idaho_Steve_USN said:

In case it helps others down the road I can confirm that the DIP SW-10 reset procedure mentioned above clears the error code but maintains all the previous user settings (e.g. Date/Time/Filter Change Interval/etc.) This may be a slightly easier remedial action than the full factory reset involving the J68 jumper.

I had the exact same scenario as the OP did with a “Watchdog—-Call for Service” message in my J-335 (installed 7-2021) that cleared after a power cycle but was replaced by the “Overheat GFCI Trip Call for Service" and then a GFCI trip after ~4 minutes.  This is what I did;

1. Power OFF

2. Open up Control Panel and place DIP SW-10 in ON position

3. Power ON for 10-15 seconds.

4. Power OFF

5. Return DIP SW-10 to previous OFF position and button everything back up

6. Power ON and verify normal operation.

Obviously if the root cause isn’t remedied then the error code(s) will return.  In my case we apparently got lucky. We had used the tub last night as normal.  This morning when I went to do my water chem analysis I found the red tub lights flashing and the “Watchdog” error.  The local service tech is “backed up” and will “hopefully call sometime next week” so in some minor desperation I found this site and all the helpful info.  

Sincere thanks to the OP and others who provided information. No way here in Idaho in December was I looking forward to being without my soak.

Steve

Hi Steve,

Since Monday my temperature sensor is going bad. I had the watchdog error then now since yesterday it was shutting off after few minutes. I have this jacuzzi hot tub since end of September, this is a j-280. I did what you explained and it worked. Now the temperature seems to work a bit, the tech will come Tuesday to fix the sensors, I was a bit stressed about this new problem, I guess this is related to the watchdog issue as a protection.

Really glad to have found this blog. Thank you!

Patrick

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone, 

I purchased a J-235 spa delivered Nov 24th. I came home from vacation to find these exact symptoms less than 30 days after delivery, luckily the tub didn’t freeze. This morning I found the tub out of watchdog mode with the GFI tripped. It seems to run for about 5 mins then trips again. Customer service told me that a technician would be by on the 29th, 7 days after I reported the problem. They also told me to put a ceramic heater under the tub and if it freezes, that’s not covered under warranty. What a joke. I owned two Arctic spas for 5 years each, zero issues. I paid the extra money for the Jacuzzi because I was told they were better. So far Jacuzzi has offered me a $150 credit for the inconvenience and to cover the fact that I can’t use it over the holidays. 

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3 hours ago, Justin Mace said:

It seems to run for about 5 mins then trips again.

Unplug the ozonator.

3 hours ago, Justin Mace said:

They also told me to put a ceramic heater under the tub and if it freezes, that’s not covered under warranty. What a joke

Typical for all brands, even Arctic.

3 hours ago, Justin Mace said:

I owned two Arctic spas for 5 years each, zero issues

Except that you needed 2 of them in a 10 year period. 

3 hours ago, Justin Mace said:

paid the extra money for the Jacuzzi because I was told they were better.

I'd tell you the same. They are a better quality build with a longer life expectancy and more efficient operation, in my opinion. No manufacturer guarantees there will be no problems, just that they will fix them under the terms of the warranty. Most of the parts of a spa come from somebody else. Spa manufacturers don't make pvc fittings, jets, filters, pumps, heaters, etc. Sometimes stuff happens, and you got lucky if you truly had "zero issues" in 5 years with an arctic spa. 

I will also add that 30 days is plenty of time for bad water chemistry to have damaged a number of things in that spa, so if your maintenance has been lacking, be prepared to get a bill for this. If you've owned 2 spas over 10 years with zero issues, this should not be a problem for you, but you never know. I once had a customer, when asked when they last cleaned their filter, say "It has a filter?". They had been using it for over 2 years. So I try not to assume that anyone knows what they are doing. 😉

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With it off and unused you shouldn't see much ph change, and you should shock it after it's fixed before you use it. Nothing to worry about, but keep it warm in the equipment area. 

I suggest that you start your own thread. Include pics of the circuit board, wiring diagram, and equipment area. We can walk you through disconnecting a few likely culprits so you can at least get water moving in it. With that and a space heater you're good for months if need be.

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Much appreciated. I have an update. Yesterday morning I went out, and the breaker had tripped. I followed the steps above using the dip switches to reset the error code. It’s now functioning properly. The technician is still scheduled to come out tomorrow. I hope I didn’t do anything to void the warranty. Thanks for your help. 

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  • 4 months later...

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