Dead Salt Cell?

doublespiralJanuary 22, 2011

I have an 18,000 gallon salt pool and a Goldline Turbo Cell T-Cell-15 salt cell.

We run our pool year-round and have the filter going about 6 hours per day. We have the generator set somewhere in the 20-35% range.

The water that we have here is very hard, so we check our cell every couple of weeks and clean it on an as-needed basis for any build-up (calcium, etc.). We check our water chemistry at least twice per week.

The pool has been operational for approximately 15 months and it now seems that the cell is not functioning at all.

We have plenty of salt in the pool according to the salt test strips, but our Aquarite Chlorine Generator controller no longer shows that chlorine is being generated. It just says "Check Salt" and "Inspect Cell" which we have done. Both appear fine.

Is there something else we need to do to get the cell to generate chlorine again? Or can I assume that it died early and I need to replace it?

If this is the case, is there something that can be done in the future to prevent such an early demise for the salt cell?


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What's the water temp?

Is there any evidence of erosion on the blade edges?


    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 1:54PM
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After you checked it did you reset the unit? Press the diagnostic button and hold for 3 seconds.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 8:15AM
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Thank you for your responses poolguynj and brentr.

The water temp is usually in the low 70s right now. I can't get my solar panels to raise the temp all that much, despite warm, sunny days - alas, that is a different thread.

We've checked the unit and I'm not sure what you mean by "blade edges" and erosion. If you mean the interior of the filter - the grid of white plastic inside - then I don't seen any damage to it. There is some calcification stuck in there, but minor compared to what we've removed (with acid and plastic) in the past. We had cleaned it recently. I have pix if necessary.

Yes, brentr, we reset the unit by pressing the button for 3 seconds after each cleaning.

Is it a goner so quickly?

Thank you

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 9:18PM
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The cell's blades' leading edge, are they all white and even or does there appear to be a chipped edge or two?

What are the voltage and current reading? from the control panel diag menu (instantaneous readings)?

Removed with plastic and from what? The blades? Did you scrape any of the the coating off?


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 9:48PM
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The edges appear even to me, as best I can tell. They don't seem to be abraded.

The voltage reading is 32.2V the Amps were 0.00A.

We attempted to remove the calcium build up on the inside of the cell grid. As directed in the manual, we use a mixture of muriatic acid and water to loosen, then scrape off with plastic tools - a plastic stick, a plastic cord tie, etc - to the extent that we can. It's challenging to get all the calcium off.

I can't tell if we scraped any of the coating off, but it doesn't look like it. The manual says specifically not to use metal to avoid damage, so we didn't use metal.

I attached a link to a photo so you can see what it looks like in case that will help.

Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 12:20AM
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Soak it again in fresh mixed MA and distilled water. Use a 4-1 water MA mix. Expect lots of bubbling as the calcium is eaten. Let it soak for a hour or so and check it. If it's still bubbling, let soak some more. If it stopped but there are still visible deposits, add some more acid.

Post your current pH, alk, FC, CC or TC, Calcium hardness and CYA levels. Check your fill water too.

Those deposits are calcium.

Is there a reverse osmosis service in your area? It's a truck mounted system and in a few hours, can remove the excess calcium. It will also remove the CYA so you will likely need more but it's cheap. If there is, do it. It is faster than draining and refilling and if your fill water is hard to begin with, better for the pool in that high levels of calcium can form scale.

What are you using to test your water with?


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 6:31AM
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Thanks, Scott. We cleaned the salt cell again. It looks good and clean now. The controller still says "Check Salt" and "Inspect Cell" and is not generating.

The Salt reading on the controller still says 1900 (too low) even though the salt tabs say that our salt is too high at about 4100. We used to have the problem that we would get the low salt reading, then clean the cell, then the reading would be more accurate.

We tested the Chlorine and it is right in the sweet spot of the range according to our test kit - 1.5 and medium yellow. Since the salt cell has not been working, we have had to add chlorine separately.

The pH is also right in the middle at 7.6.

The alkalinity is 300.

We don't seem to have a test for CYA.

I don't think we have any way to test the calcium levels, but my bet is that they are high.

We're located in Baja, Mexico, so I doubt that there is any type of reverse osmosis truck system.

I hope this is helpful information. Once again, thank you for your continued assistance.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Alk @ 300 is a problem. That shouldn't exceed 125. It's purpose is to act as a buffer for your pH. With a high calcium level, you will be forming scale. One look at the cell told me this is likely happening already to you pool's surfaces, plumbing and equipment.

How far from the border? I know a guy that operates in the San Diego area.

I strongly urge you get a better handle on your pool's chemistry understanding and testing needs. The best On-Line Pool School I know is at, free to sign up but user supported like Public Television to keep the advertisers out and the site up. I have no affiliation there except that I contribute there as I do here on my own.

As for the cell, I think you killed it.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:23PM
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Yeah, we're outside of Cabo - so 1000 miles from the border.

I'll try to figure out how to get the alkalinity down. We've added acid in the past, but maybe that's not sufficient. I'll try to study at the site you mention.

Thank you again for your help.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:40PM
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It will take quite a bit of MA to lower that TA. will be useful there.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 7:23PM
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