return valve actuator not working

waterouzelMay 15, 2008

I have a pretty standard pool/spa set up with a Pentair VS, EasyTouch panel and jandy valves with actuators. When I switch from pool to spa the valves work just as they should. However, when I want to switch back to pool the return valve doesn't move, it stays open to the spa. Moving the toggle switch to the other position does nothing. The actuator seems dead in all settings except spa where it responds as it should. It doesn't matter if I'm in auto mode or service mode it behaves the same way. The suction valve operates just fine either through the panel or manually.

I've opened the back of the actuator, which is essentially new, and there is nothing obviously amiss. I checked the EasyTouch low voltage section and everything seems to be hooked up correctly. I have a feeling it's in the programming somewhere but even after careful study of the user's manual I don't have a clue as to what the problem is. At present I only have the pool scheduled to come on for 8 hours a day automatically. With the return valve not working I don't dare schedule the spa.

I'd appreciate any thoughts.

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poolguynj

Try powering down, swapping the valve actuators connection in the EZ Touch and power up. Does the problem follow the valve actuator or the panel connection.

If it now moves both actuators, you had a bad connection.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 2:29PM
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waterouzel

poolguynj,

Thanks for the suggestion. I swapped the valve actuator connections in the EZ Touch and the problem followed the panel connection--no change in valve behavior.

Also, in testing things out I discovered that the return valve actuator works as it's supposed to in spa and drain functions but is dead in pool and fill regardless of which connection is used. It looks like the problem is in the EZ Touch panel. Is there anything else I can try?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 6:35PM
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waterouzel

Ops! I'll blame the 100+ degree heat we've been having--my thinking seems to have gone south. If the return valve actuator doesn't work after switching connections in the EZ Touch panel then the problem is in the actuator, yes? But then how is it that the actuator works fine in spa and drain functions but not pool or fill?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 6:52PM
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barco

So when you switched the connection, the same panel connection was bad now with a new value on it? However the actuator that was bad now worked fine at the new panel location...right?
Not following you.

I would expect the actuator to be the problem...they are just cheap solenoids. Just give it a pop with a screw driver handle and you might see it start working again. If you get a piece of salt or sand grit in that, it might be causing it to stick. You might have to take it apart and clean it if the screwdriver handle trick doesn't fix the problem.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 8:42PM
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waterouzel

barco,
Thanks for the response.

'So when you switched the connection, the same panel connection was bad now with a new value on it? However the actuator that was bad now worked fine at the new panel location...right?
Not following you.'

Sorry for the confusion. No, the panel connection was fine--the actuator didn't work on either connection. When I switched the connection there was no change-- the return actuator still didn't work. The suction one worked fine as always.

I've taken the cover off the actuator and it looks squeaky clean. It's only 6 months old and has had very little use. I'll give it a tap or two and see what happens. Where would a piece of salt or grit be to cause a problem?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 9:39PM
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poolguynj

One the actuator's leads has a cold connection, that is it looks like it terminated well but isn't. The red or black connector that get plugged into your automation system has pinching teeth that grab each of the wires. Disconnect the wires by gently walking them off. Trim them back and re-insert them. Use a small screwdriver or an automotive feeler gauge to press the wires between the connector's teeth.

IF that doesn't do it, then have it replaced under warranty.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 8:39AM
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waterouzel

I disconnected the red and black wires from the connector at the panel, re-cut and reattached them. I used old dentist tools left me by my FIL to extract and replace the wires in the connector, they work really well. Unfortunately, that didn't fix the problem, nothing changed.

I then removed the black wire from the connector and by plugging the connector back in to the panel determined that the red wire is the dead one. I reattached the black wire, then opened the actuator and unplugged the cable and plugged it into another actuator which then worked fine, telling me that the problem is not in the connections of the cable or in the panel but somewhere in the actuator itself.

The red wire circuit that is dead leads directly to one leg of the toggle switch. I removed the switch and checked the circuit board it is attached to and it looks O.K. I haven't redone the dozen or so connections within the actuator. Is that likely to be where the problem is or is there any other place within the actuator I should be looking? I hate to give up and call Pentair.
Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 10:00PM
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