AutoPilot SWCG Low Amps Cell 0V 0.6A

vgg659September 8, 2010

My Pool Pilot Digital is broken, again. In the three years that I have had it, I have replaced the display board (failure), the power circuit board (high temps), and the cover (screw post breaking).

Now, I am getting the error "Low Amps - Cell". Testing reveals 0V and 0.6Amps. Per the troubleshooting guide, I inspected the cell for scale and found very little. I cleaned it anyway.

I also test all three fuses - all good. Even though it tested good, I replaced the ceramic fuse just to be sure.

I checked my cable connectors, and cleaned my manifold screen filter.

I doubt that my SC-60 cell is bad, as it's only three years old. I purposely bought the larger cell for my 25,000 gallon pool so that it would last a long time. Three years is not a long time!

My water is 7.4pH, 3200ppm salt, and 87F.

I have a multi-meter, and know how to use it. Are there tests that I can do to narrow my problem down to either the power unit or the cell, and/or diagnose the problem?

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fighting_irish

I will lay money on it that it is your cell. I realize you bought a larger cell. But that makes no difference. The life expectancy on most cells is 10,000 hours. No matter what size they are. That being said if you run your pool at 8 hours a day 365 days a year then then cell would last less than 3 1/2 years.

Good luck,

David

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 5:05PM
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poolguynj

How many hours a day are you normally running the system?

What output percentage is your's set to in normal usage?

What are your other chem levels? pH, Alk, CH, FC and either CC or TC. Dip strips are not, IMHO, valid.

What are you using to test with?

How did you determine the salt level?

If free chlorine is low, and I suspect it is, supplement it with either Clorox, which is 6% Sodium Hypochlorite or liquid from the pool store which is usually 10 to 12%. This is the same chlorine the generator is making except the cell does it on a smaller scale. Choose the more economical solution until we resolve this. My local super market has been running a special on Clorox 1.4 gallon bottles all summer making it a very attractive buy.

When was the last time you cleaned the cell?

What do you normally use to clean it?

Have you inspected the blades of the cell? Do they show any signs of wear?

Your answers are important to helping us find the solution and the cause.

While you checked the leads, did you remove any corrosion on the male connector pins?

The broken screw, while an annoyance, is not something would put in the same category as the other failures.

Do you have a picture of the equipment pad? I am also wondering if something in the general environment it's installed in could be the cause as these units tend to be extremely reliable.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:06PM
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racket

Having a larger cell will increase the life. The hours don't have as much to do with water flowing through them, but the amount of hours that the cell is energized, and creating chlorine. It doesn't mean that a cell 2x the size will last 2x as long, but it will last longer.

Typically, if the cell is going bad the amperage goes up. I'd say it's more than likely a power supply issue, or possibly a cell cable.

Some of the older systems had issues with the spade connectors on that goto the cell melt and cause this same error. Usually replacing the connectors helps.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:32PM
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poolguynj

Strange how this thread almost got lost.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 8:35AM
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vgg659

>> if the cell is going bad the amperage goes up

So, does that mean that resistance would be nearly zero on a bad cell, but a good cell would have some resistance?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 5:50PM
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vgg659

Do the cells suddenly go bad. My SWCG was working fine without any warnings. It would seem that these cells would degrade and start giving some warnings or errors before they completely go ka-put.

>> How many hours a day are you normally running the system? What output percentage is your's set to in normal usage?

That varies, depending on the pool water temps and the time of year. In the summer, 12-18 hours per day. In the winter, 4 hours per day. Output automatically varies depending on water temps, too.

>> What are your other chem levels? pH, Alk, CH, FC and either CC or TC. Dip strips are not, IMHO, valid.

7.4 pH, 80-100 TA, 4-5 FC, low CH. The only test strips I use are for salt.

>> What are you using to test with?

I use Taylor drop test chemicals for testing.

>> How did you determine the salt level?

Test strips, but I was actually higher (4200 ppm) than I thought, so I recalibrated the PPD (Pool Pilot Digital) almost a week ago. No change.

>> When was the last time you cleaned the cell?

A week ago, after the warning message showed up. Very little scale (as usual).

>> What do you normally use to clean it?

25% muriatic acid solution, per the owners manual.

>> Have you inspected the blades of the cell? Do they show any signs of wear?

Some, but I don't know what wear is acceptable. The center blade is 2mm worn on the bottom, and 1.25mm worn on the top. Out blades are worn between 0mm and 1mm. Is this excessive?

>> While you checked the leads, did you remove any corrosion on the male connector pins?

Absolutely no corrosion or wear on the leads or cable.

>> Do you have a picture of the equipment pad? I am also wondering if something in the general environment it's installed in could be the cause as these units tend to be extremely reliable.

No picture, but the pad is open, clean, and very much environmentally friendly.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 6:04PM
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poolguynj

The blade wear points to the cell. Cells are typically rated ate 10,000 hours. 12 hrs/day X 240 days + 4 hrs/day X 120 days = 10,080 hours.

Replace the cell with a 40K cell. Please use a genuine Auto-Pilot cell. The "generics" tend to have connector and cell life issues.

What is the CYA level? With a salt cell, I set my customer's to about 70 to 80 ppm and cell power/ run time to get to about 5 ppm FC during the day.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 9:49AM
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tb_lemke_yahoo_com

I have a SC-36 that we put in in the year 2007.. It was working fine up until August of 2010. I am getting the same message. I have changed out the cell, the connector cord, and the fuses and still getting error.. My pool is green... I am at my wits end.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 5:57PM
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racket

check the fuse on the upper left hand corner of the control board. There are a couple of connections up there with black wires with spade connectors. I have seen those melt a few times./

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 1:58AM
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vgg659

Tanya, sorry for the delay in responding to your inquiry. My problem had nothing to do with the cell or the cable, but rather the control board. For me, my control board was darkened in the upper right corner (above the 20A fuse), and was significantly burnt on the back side of it. I ultimately sent it back to AutoPilot and had them replace the board. It's working now. Given that you've changed nearly everything else (cell, cord, fuses), I'm thinking it is your board, too.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 10:00AM
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diannemj

I have had many parts if my pool pilot fail. I think I had a lemon. I only operated it 5-6 months a year, 8 hrs a day, and it stopped producing chlorine at the end of year 4. It took forever to get someone to fix it and when they did, I started getting low amps and clean cell warnings. The only hint we had that the board was bad was that I could not set the timer. At the same time, I was having extremely low chlorine levels. This was last summer and the same things are going on this summer. It seems now it can be fixed for just $750. It was also suggested that maybe my system had worn out. My system should have gotten more than 22 months use before everything started failing. I am not happy with pool pilot though the first three years, I could not praise it enough. Right now purifier is operating at 20%, it says 1.8 amps and 3.3 v.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 9:16AM
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