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poolguy810
poolguy810, owner - pool and spa service company
Category: Pool and Spa
Satisfied Customers: 1550
Experience:  Servicing pools and all brands of spas for over 28 years.
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I have a Hot Springs Vanguard Watkins (VQ1C1135) Hot Tub.

Customer Question

I have a Hot Springs Vanguard Watkins (VQ1C1135) Hot Tub. The circulation motor runs. The outside power light is on but the ready light will not turn on. In the interior panel, the LIM OK LED is green. The HTR ON LED is red. The CONTROL UNPLUGGED LED is not on. The filters are new. What do I need to do to get the heater to work?
Brent
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Pool and Spa
Expert:  tomen99 replied 3 years ago.
What year?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I do not know. It was with the house when we purchased the house five years ago. I cannot find a year anywhere on the unit. I do not find anything when I search the model number.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Hello, how can I help you today? I've got a pretty good idea what the problem is with your spa, just need a little bit of info. Down below where you opened up the control box to see the led indicator lights on the circuit board, look at your control box cover, do you have an IQ2000 or an IQ2020 box?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
IQ2020
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
ok, does it have a separate smaller circuit board on the left hand side of the box that all of your incoming wires are coming in to, as well as your heater wire? I'm also assuming that you're not getting any heat out of the unit as well?
poolguy810, owner - pool and spa service company
Category: Pool and Spa
Satisfied Customers: 1550
Experience: Servicing pools and all brands of spas for over 28 years.
poolguy810 and other Pool and Spa Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Small board on the left. Invensys 2003. Large board on right. Invensys 2000. The two heater wires are on the far right of the larger board on the right.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
okay, no that model, the smaller board normally runs the heater circuit. when you have the red heater indicator light lit up on the main board, then it indicates that the entire safety circuit, which is the limit sensors, thermostat, etc, have all made contact and the board thinks it's heating the spa. If the red led is lit up, then the next thing we'd need to see is if you've got a meter, to check for voltage at the two heater terminal wires, also, with the cover off of the box, look closely around the relays on the smaller board, those boards have been failing for years on those models and I constantly replace them with the newer style boards. 99 percent of the time the relays short out on the backside of the smaller board and kill the heater circuit but sometimes you can see the burn marks from the front of the board without even removing it. If you don't see any burn marks then we can still tell by checking for voltage at the two heater terminals, if the board is still good, you'll get 240 volts or so, if the board has gone bad, it's normally either zero volts or like the one i changed a few days ago, which was something random like 34 volts feeding off of the board to the heater terminals.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Will have to test and jump back in tomorrow. Had company. Thanks for everything so far.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Not a problem, i'll keep an eye out for a response and we'll work on it from there, thanks, jeff
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I checked the front and back of the smaller board. It looks OK. The three black relays were replaced as you described three or four years ago.

The three heater wires are on the small board. When I place the black lead on ground and the red lead on white I get 121 volts. The same 121 volts when I place the black lead on ground and the red lead on the black. I have tried the red reset button on top of the heater with no results.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Ok, but the only true test for the heater circuit is with both meter leads on both heater terminals at the same time, don't test to neutral or ground from the heater terminals, its a false reading. The only two readings you can get are 240v or zero volts. There are also a red and black wires that jump from the large board to the smallest heater board. Test across both of those wires the same way as you do the heater, if the large board is sending 240v to the heater board and the heater board is not passing that voltage on to the heater terminals then the heater board is bad.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Reading across posts on small board is 244 volts. Reading is 242 volts on the black and red posts on the large board leading to the small board. The heater got hot briefly and the large green ready light came on briefly. Now the power light is blinking and the red and green leds are off.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
So both the sensor and heater lights are out now ? Are we absolutely sure the circ pump is actually pumping water through the heater and back out to the spa ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It is not now. I can feel a vibration on the pump but do not see any swirl inside the spa. I turned the breaker off and waited 1 minute two different times. The power light would only blink.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Ok, the pump circulation is what keeps the heater from momentarily coming on and overheating, which in turn triggers the sensors to disconnect power and shut everything back diwn. So as of right now, the circ pump is the primary concern. I doubt that you've got an air lock in the pump line, and if It's warm then the pump is getting power, which brings you back to either a clogged filter or a bad pump, as one of the two is keeping you from circulating water through the heater.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If you mean the four large paper type filters, They are new and I have them removed during this process. Do i have another filter possibly in the pump that I need to check?
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Nope, no other filters anywhere, the only other thing you run into sometimes is that some hot springs have a small three quarter inch check valve in front of the pump that can stick closed occasionally if you have really hard water. Not all models have them, but its a clear check valve, so you can usually see if its moving.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I will disconnet the hoses and check for any obstructions.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Alrighty
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Jeff,

I disconnected the pump tonight. Based on the water flowing from both hoses, I do not suspect any restrictions in either hose, so the pump should have been the problem. The pump is a Watkins SilentFlo 5000. I separated the housing from the motor to check the impeller. I found a small piece of trash inside but it should not have been large enough to cause a problem. Initially I thought that the impeller was bad because of a wobble, but upon further examination the part appeared to be made to pivot on a type of white ceramic looking ball. I reassembled it and reconnected it to the spa. After switching on the breakers the heater began to get very hot. The pump motor was running but after a clicking sound and app. 3 minutes the power light began blinking.

I switched off the breakers, then on again and placed a water hose in the upright that holds a filter. This was to force water through in case of a loss of prime or air bubbles. The heater remained warm but not very hot. After an hour, the motor is running and the heater is warm, so I assume that it is heating.

I have fought with this spa for over a year. Last year I finally just gave up for the winter. This time I have done nothing except disconnect and disassemble the pump as well as disconnect a few wires for voltage testing. I will let it run all night to see the results and will keep you posted. It this works, I would like to hear your theory.

Brent
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
alrighty, on that pump, yes it's different from most common pumps that the impeller is mounted to the motor shaft and as the shaft armature turns, it rotates the impeller, so basically if the motor is running, the impeller is turning. Now on the Laing pump, that's who makes that pump, but on that pump, it's a magnetic drive, the impeller just kind of floats inside the housing just held on center by the tiny connection in the center of it, when energized it is basically two magnets and it causes the impeller to rotate just by magnetic force, so yes, even something tiny could stop it from turning. I've seen small particles of lime and calcium stop those pumps. The heater got very hot because watkins spas don't use a flow switch like all the other spas out there to shut them down when there's no water flow, so they just come on as soon as you power up the spa, whether there's water flowing or not. At that point it then triggers the hi limit sensor and shuts the spa down. Not a design I've ever approved of. Give it a spin and see how it goes, but if that pump is more than five years old, it's going to be due up for replacement soon anyway.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.

Attachment: 2011-12-08_012915_522952000lewiringdiagram.pdf

sorry, disregard this, i sent it to the wrong person! Embarassed
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the explanation. The pump is more than five years old because I have been here since August of 2006 and I have never replaced it.
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
ok, if it's not pumping it will quickly overheat the heater and trip out the hi limit sensor, so if you're running and pumping now, you should be good. Just let it ride and keep an eye on it, if it quits, you'll know for sure it's the circ pump. have a great nite and just yell if you need me! Jeff
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Jeff,

The motor and heater have been working fine since Wednesday night. I have another problem that will require some help. I have a leak(s) somewhere within or under the spa. The two drains are closed and it is not visible in the open area where we have tested the motor, heater, etc.. This could be something loose or possibly a freeze break from not being used last winter. Our weather is mild here, but we will sometimes get a broken pipe outside from the weather. I have never removed anything except the cover to get to the controls, motor, heater, etc.. How do you suggest that I procede?

Thanks,
Brent
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Jeff,

I took a blower and cleared the water, leaves, etc.. from around the spa. As you are facing the control panel end, the drip is under the right corner. The drip is visible on the outside and appears to be under the lip in the middle of the curved corner.

Thanks,
Brent
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
Well, not to discourage you, but when someone calls me with a leak on a hot springs spa, I never take the job, I always refer them back to a hot springs dealer, and here's why. Hot springs are great spas, very well insulated, meaning they're completely foam filled from wall to wall, so locating a leak on one is a nightmare and impossible to bid for a customer as you start out with no idea where the leak is and even less of an idea on how long it's going to take to dig all the foam out around the leak even trying ot find it. Now this is by no means easy, but this is how those spa leaks are normally located since you can't take the sides off without destroying them as they're connected to the foam. But generally we have to jack the spa up about two feet off the ground, block it up with wood and cinder blocks perfectly level, then refill the spa and hopefully the leak will come out directly under the spa where the leak is, but it has to be level to do this and it's not always foolproof. Once you have an idea where it is, you start digging the foam out from underneath until you locate the leak. One other option is, if you can find a pool company with any, they make a purple dye you can add to the spa water and as it leaks, it will leave a purple trail through the foam that you can follow from the bottom up into the spa foam. The most simple option that I always try first is a product called Fix a Leak, you can buy it at most pool and spa stores, you just add it to the spa water while it's running without the filters in the spa, and on probably 9 out of 10 jobs we use it on, it seals the leak up pretty well, so it's always worth a try.j
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Jeff,

I was afraid that this could be a difficult problem. Based on what you said I figure that I could have much potential work ahead so I tried something. Where I can see the water dripping is app. 1/2 gallon per hour based on my measurement. I removed the vertical panels on the right side and you were right about the foam. Upon looking further and removing more foam, a 3" dia. hose drops down to a vent under the bottom lip. The water is dripping through this vent which is covered in hardware cloth. Another hose T's into this fitting horizontally at the bottom. I cannot find moisture around the hoses so it must be running inside of one of the hoses.

Thanks,
Brent
Expert:  poolguy810 replied 3 years ago.
yeah, most of the time it's a fitting, the fix a leak may be your best bet at this point

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