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Solana TX issues


REM
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My wife and I just bought a used Solana TX and either I'm not doing something correctly, or it's not working correctly.  We plugged it in and hit the LOW setting on the jets, but it does not warm up.  Did some research and assumed it was the pressure switch based on what I read online.  Replaced the pressure switch, plugged it back into the wall (115v) waited 15 minutes and it never kicked on by itself.  The display will light up, flash "102" as the temp but "READY" light continues to flash, all for about 10-15 seconds then the display goes dark.  The only way the jets come on is if we hit the jets button.  Even then, it runs for approx. 1 hour then shuts off and again, the "READY" display will flash.  The image is of course the control board.  The video shows what it does continuously (still doing it as I type this).  Talk to the local Solana/Caldera/Hot Spring dealer and they were less than helpful.  He's not sure why it's not sending power to the jet pump to kick in automatically.  Getting a technician out won't happen until 31 Jan.  

What do I need to look for?  This is our first hot tub so we're learning 

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Edited by REM
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Post pics of the equipment area so we can see what's in there.

The pressure switch could be the issue, but not because it's bad. It could be a dirty filter, obstruction, or damaged pump causing low pressure at the heater and so the pressure switch does not close.

At 115v, it will only heat up a couple degrees per hour when working properly. Are you sure it's not heating?

I am not very familiar with this control. It may have an "economy" mode, which only allows it to heat when filtering, or it might use a separate circulation pump, so it doesn't need to turn on the jets to heat, and turning them on manually will turn off the heater. I can tell you that in the pic of the board the spa is not trying to heat, so the heater is disabled at that time.

Do you have a multimeter? 

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1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

Post pics of the equipment area so we can see what's in there.

 

Let me know if there are more pics you need/want

1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

The pressure switch could be the issue, but not because it's bad. It could be a dirty filter, obstruction, or damaged pump causing low pressure at the heater and so the pressure switch does not close.

We went ahead and bought a new filter as well.  I even ran it without the filter just to make sure there was no obstruction (or at least "hopefully" no obstruction).  

1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

At 115v, it will only heat up a couple degrees per hour when working properly. Are you sure it's not heating?

I am not very familiar with this control. It may have an "economy" mode, which only allows it to heat when filtering, or it might use a separate circulation pump, so it doesn't need to turn on the jets to heat, and turning them on manually will turn off the heater. I can tell you that in the pic of the board the spa is not trying to heat, so the heater is disabled at that time.

We're sure it's not heating.  Based on what I've read online and the owners manual, there is no circ pump for this system.  There is a "hack", if you will, where you can add a circ pump and completely bypass the low pump but that's a rabbit hole I'm not willing to go down.  According to the manual, the hot tub should heat when the pump is on "Low" and shut off when it's switched to "High."  If it is switched back to "Low", it then goes into "Tranquil Mode" where it waits ~ 10 minutes before the heater kicks in.  So based on what I've read (and what I'm assuming), we turn the pump on "Low", the thermostat sensor determines if there is a need for heat, turns the heater on, and the pump runs continuously until it reaches the desired temp then shuts down.  It (pump) then cycles on/off to maintain the set temp. When we turn the hot tub on "Low", it will only run about 1 hour then turn-off.   There are no other modes other than "Sleep Mode."  

I contacted another guy after watching his video on YouTube on how to test the heating element.  Based on the readings I got, he suggested I replace the heating element.  I'm waiting the tub to drain so I can change it out.  The reading I got were about 15 ohms, 0 voltage, and 0 amps.  I checked the voltage at the point the wires connect to the heater and also at the connectors on the circuit board itself.  Same-same:  0 voltage w/tub running on "Low"

I do have multimeter (bought a newer one today in fact since my other one is rather old).  And there are no wiring diagrams either located behind the cover/panel.  

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Well, a 5.5kw heater is 10 ohms, and a 4kw is 16. A bad heater is either infinity or a ground fault which should trip the breaker. I am inclined to say it is not the heater. But if it were, you would measure voltage at the heater terminals.

In your pics the green "lim ok" led is lit, but the red "htr on" led is not. This means it is not trying to heat. 

Unplug the pressure switch and place your tester leads in the wire connector and take an ohm reading with pump off and again with pump running.

With power off, unplug the thermistors ("lim therm" and "reg therm") and take an ohm reading in the 20k range. Be precise, and post results.

I am amazed there is no diagram on the box cover. There are jumpers on the board that change it's behavior, and the chart should be on the diagram. Maybe @castletoniacan find the jumper configuration?

Something looks odd on one of the thermistor connectors (near pressure switch) check that the wire is good and not pushed out of the plug.

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43 minutes ago, RDspaguy said:

Well, a 5.5kw heater is 10 ohms, and a 4kw is 16. A bad heater is either infinity or a ground fault which should trip the breaker. I am inclined to say it is not the heater. But if it were, you would measure voltage at the heater terminals.

I measured the posts/leads separately using a ground and got ~60v on each post.  Together, however, there's zero.  

43 minutes ago, RDspaguy said:

I am amazed there is no diagram on the box cover. There are jumpers on the board that change it's behavior, and the chart should be on the diagram. Maybe @castletoniacan find the jumper configuration?

Something looks odd on one of the thermistor connectors (near pressure switch) check that the wire is good and not pushed out of the plug.

I'm attaching a pic of the inside of the cover.  It's lined with an insulating material.  I pulled some of it away the other day to see if by chance there was something back there but I didn't see anything.  I also re-checked the compartment itself to see if I missed anything but there's nothing.  I should mention, the manual has diagrams in them.  Not sure if this is what you were referring to though.  Glancing over them, our set-up is not listed.  The only 115v diagram listed is for the 30 amp conversion (ours is not). Other than that, no other diagrams exist on the hot tub that I've been able to find.  

43 minutes ago, RDspaguy said:

Unplug the pressure switch and place your tester leads in the wire connector and take an ohm reading with pump off and again with pump running.

With power off, unplug the thermistors ("lim therm" and "reg therm") and take an ohm reading in the 20k range. Be precise, and post results.

When I get home tomorrow, I'll get these readings and post them. 

 

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I should also add, I checked the wire you were suspicious about.  It checks out fine, visually.  I can see in the image I posted where it might look damaged but it could be the black/white stripe color of the wire you're seeing.  

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18 minutes ago, REM said:

measured the posts/leads separately using a ground and got ~60v on each post. 

60v to ground? On a 120v system, you should have 0 volts to ground if properly wired, and 120v to ground if the hot and neutral main power wires are reversed, at all times that the power is on/plugged in. You will only see voltage between the terminals when the heater has turned on. There is no reason to have 60v to ground unless you have low voltage coming to the spa or you have partially lost your neutral or ground. What point are you using for ground in this test?

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@RDspaguy, I was finally able to get the readings you were asking about.

With the thermistor, the reading was 20.33

The hi-limit switch was 21.22

The pressure switch is new but I checked for continuity.  The beeper went off but it was all zeroes across the display

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1 hour ago, REM said:

With the thermistor, the reading was 20.33

The hi-limit switch was 21.22

The reg therm and hi-limit are both thermistors. On most watkins systems a difference of nearly 1000 ohms between sensors will cause errors. Again, I am not familiar with that exact control, but I would suggest you you replace both. This is where having a truck full of parts comes in handy, but they should be fairly cheap.

1 hour ago, REM said:

The pressure switch is new but I checked for continuity.  The beeper went off but it was all zeroes across the display

The pressure switch needs to be tested with the pump on and then off. It should have continuity when on and not when off. 

On 1/18/2022 at 9:12 PM, RDspaguy said:

60v to ground? On a 120v system, you should have 0 volts to ground if properly wired, and 120v to ground if the hot and neutral main power wires are reversed, at all times that the power is on/plugged in. You will only see voltage between the terminals when the heater has turned on. There is no reason to have 60v to ground unless you have low voltage coming to the spa or you have partially lost your neutral or ground. What point are you using for ground in this test?

This is important. You need to figure out what is going on with your electrical. You should not read 60v to ground under any circumstances. 

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1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

The reg therm and hi-limit are both thermistors. On most watkins systems a difference of nearly 1000 ohms between sensors will cause errors. Again, I am not familiar with that exact control, but I would suggest you you replace both. This is where having a truck full of parts comes in handy, but they should be fairly cheap.

I actually replaced both of them because as you said, they're fairly cheap and I have no idea how old they are.  

 

1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

This is important. You need to figure out what is going on with your electrical. You should not read 60v to ground under any circumstances. 

Now I'm questioning if the ground wire (or what I presume is the ground) was replaced by someone else at some point because this is the only wire with yellow crimps.  Is this normal?  Is it possible someone did some work and re-connected the ground (again, what I presume is the ground) incorrectly?  Or am I doing something incorrectly?  You're not going to hurt my feelings if you say I'm a d'ass lol

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Upper left corner, grey box-like connector with white and black wire and green wire in lug below. Test white to black (should be 120v), white to green (0 volts), and black to green (120v). 

Then test from each heater terminal to the same ground (should be 0 volts). Then each to the ground on the heater (also 0).

Post results. 

 

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7 hours ago, RDspaguy said:

Upper left corner, grey box-like connector with white and black wire and green wire in lug below. Test white to black (should be 120v), white to green (0 volts), and black to green (120v). 

Then test from each heater terminal to the same ground (should be 0 volts). Then each to the ground on the heater (also 0).

Post results. 

 

Here are the results:

White/Black: 120.5

White/Green: 1.158

Black/Green: 121.5

Left Terminal/Green: 0.82

Right Terminal/Green: 0.83

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That's a plug-in tub? Unplug it and do the same test on the plug. Test between the two flats, then from each flat to the round (ground).

If you get the same result, call an electrician. If one of the two flats has no voltage to ground replace the cord end gfci. If plugged in to a gfci protected plug you can use a standard cord end.

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2 hours ago, RDspaguy said:

That's a plug-in tub? Unplug it and do the same test on the plug. Test between the two flats, then from each flat to the round (ground).

If you get the same result, call an electrician. If one of the two flats has no voltage to ground replace the cord end gfci. If plugged in to a gfci protected plug you can use a standard cord end.

Neutral + Hot: 122

Neutral + Ground: .02

Hot + Ground: 122

Tells me the outlet is good but the GFCI cord is wired incorrectly?  

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So an update...

I replaced the plug at the end of the power cord but that did not fix the issue.  Last night I replaced the entire control box and control panel, installed the software, programmed the control panel per the instructions (J1-J26), wired everything the way it's supposed to, but, the red "Heat" LED on the circuit board flashes red.  It has a new Hi-limit, thermistor, pressure switch, new filter (it's not even installed right now) and heating element.  I refilled the tub through the filter opening and ran it on high a few minutes to purge any air.  I've basically done everything I believe needs to happen to make this thing work.  What am I missing?  😖

FYI...ignore the improperly connected Thermistor in the upper RH corner.  I reset it correctly.  But even before the improper connection, the red "HEAT" LED would flash and even after resetting it, the LED still flashes red.  

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17 minutes ago, RDspaguy said:

If you are sure it's wired correctly and the jumpers are correct it must be a flow issue.

That's what I was thinking too!  It had to be the reason why it wasn't heating.  Turns out, it wasn't.  Two weeks ago when we started having all these issues, we scheduled for a technician to come out and look at it.  In the meantime, my manly self thought I could get it going, we cancel the technician, and everyone is good.  Technician came out this morning and I missed one little jumper (see arrow) that I noticed in the old box but assumed I didn't need it for the new one.  At no point did the instructions say to install it or set it.  The thought crossed my mind to maybe remove it from the old box and set it in the new one but never went through with it.  Tech moved that jumper, checked everything else, said it was good to go and didn't charge us anything.  It's now heating up nicely!  

Thanks @RDspaguy for the help and advice!  I really do appreciate everything!  

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