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How To Troubleshoot Problems with Your Salt Cell

By Laci. Initially published 03/06/2019

The most common concern we get for salt system owners is that the the salt cell is not producing chlorine. However, very often this concern is only triggered because the pool turned green or the water test shows zero free chlorine. More often, if the salt system is fairly new (only a few years old) we find that there's nothing actually wrong with the system. The pump just isn't being ran long enough or the chlorine output is too low, or the pool is not being shocked as needed. Oh yeah, salt pools still need to be shocked. However, if your salt system has a light on or flashing we have additional resources for you. While the examples to follow specifically showcase Hayward Salt Systems, the resources are applicable to other brands. 

Below we will cover what to do if, 

  • "Check Salt" & "Inspect Cell" light is flashing or ON
  • Just the "Inspect Cell" light is ON
  • "High Salt" light is ON
  • "No Flow" light is flashing

We'll also cover some How-To's you'll need for the above processes, such as 

  • How to Reset Average Salt Levels
  • Salt Reading from Independent Testing 
  • Verify salt level is 2700 - 3400ppm (For "High Salt)
  • How to Calculate How Much Water Will Need to be Removed from a Pool with
    Too Much Salt (for "High Salt")
  • A Salt Ratio Chart 
  • How to Add Salt 

"Check Salt" & "Inspect Cell" light is flashing or ON

Check Salt & Inspect Cell LED flashing or ON

Just the "Inspect Cell" light is ON

INSPECT CELL LED FLASHING OR ON (2)
"High Salt" light is ON

HIGH SALT LED ON (2)
"No Flow" light is flashing

NO FLOW LED FLASHING (2)

How to Reset Average Salt Levels

The Average Salt level needs to be reset for start up, when a board is replaced, when major adjustments are made to the pool water, and when a cell is replaced. Note: new boards will display a factory default of 2800ppm.
 
step 1 How to reset Average Salt Levels
Step 1: 
To reset, move the switch to ‘Off’ and then back to ‘Auto’. Wait for the relay to click (5 to 10 seconds).
 

 

Step 2:step 2 How to reset average salt levels

Press Diagnostics button 5 times to display the Instant Salt level. Wait for the number to
stabilize.

 

Step 3: step 3 page 6

When the instant salt level is stable (and the negative sign still present), cycle slide switch to ‘Super Chlorinate’ and back to ‘Auto’

 

 

 

Salt Reading from Independent Testing 

The ‘Check Salt’ & ‘Inspect Cell’ LEDs will flash when the cell reports the salt level is between 2400
- 2700ppm. In this condition chlorine is still being produced. The ‘Check Salt’ & ‘Inspect Cell’ LEDs will be ON when the cell reports the salt level is 2300ppm or less. In this condition, chlorine
production is interrupted.

NOTE: ‘Check Salt’ & ‘Inspect Cell’ LED’s may also be ON if the control is set for the wrong Cell
type or the cell is unplugged. 

STEP 1A: Step 1A Salt System Royal Swimming Pools
Test the salt level in the pool using an independent testing method. If the salt level is between 2700 - 3400ppm, go to step 1B. If salt level is below the recommended range, add enough salt to achieve a salt level of 3200ppm. (Refer to the Salt Chart at the bottom of this article).
 
 
STEP 1B: Step 1B Salt System
Inspect the turbo cell. If cell looks like 4A, go to step C. If cell looks like 4B, clean cell. (Refer to Pages 17 through 19). After the cell is clean go to step 1C to reset
 
 
Note: Resetting the average salt must be done within 60 seconds after starting the process. To ensure both polarities are reading salt accurately within 500ppm of the independent test), conduct this reset two times consecutively.
 
STEP 1C: step 1c Salt Systems Help
Starting with the average salt reading. Turn the switch to ‘Off’, then back to ‘Auto’. Wait for the relay to click (about 5 to 10 seconds).
 
STEP 2: Step 2 Salty Systems Troubleshooting
Press the ‘Diagnostics’ button 5 times, this will bring up the instant salt reading. The instant salt reading will start as - 0. It will then fluctuate. Wait for the number to stabilize.
 
STEP 3: Step 3-1
With the number stable (and the negative sign still present) move the switch to ‘Super Chlorinate’ then back to ‘Auto’.
 
STEP 4: 
When the negative sign disappears, this number will step 4reflect the new average salt reading. If value is not reading within 500ppm of independent test, then replace cell. If number is reading within 500ppm of the independent test and the ‘Inspect Cell’ LED is flashing, add salt until level is above 2700ppm.

How to Verify salt level is 2700 - 3400ppm

The ‘High Salt’ LED will be ON when the cell amperage is above the maximum limit. The ‘High Salt’ LED may also be ON if the wrong Turbo Cell is being used. The Aqua Trol systems are designed to only work with the t-5 model. The LCD display will read ‘HI’ when the amperage is above 6.40.
 
Verify salt level is 2700 - 3400ppm and check with independent test to ensure accuracy.
Unlike low salt the system does not shut the chlorinator down when a specific salt level is reached. Instead the unit will suspend chlorination when the cell’s amperage draw exceeds a certain value. 
 
If salt level is above the range, partially drain the pool Royal Swimming Pools Salt System verifyand/or spa and refill with fresh water to achieve a salt level of 3200ppm, refer to page 9, Step D. If the salt level is not high, verify the  correct cell is being used then reset (follow steps for How to Reset Average Salt Levels above)
 
Maximum Current (Amps) before shutdown: T-CELL-5:  6.40

How to Calculate How Much Water Will Need to be Removed from a Pool with Too Much Salt

To calculate how much water will need to be removed from a pool with too much salt, follow the formula provided below:

PART 1: How much water to add when pool has too much salt
Take the average depth of the pool in inches and multiply that by 3200. Then divide that number by the actual salt level in the pool (based on the independent test).
 
PART 2: 
Subtract the Ave. Pool Depth by the answer from part 1. This will give you the total number of  inches to drain and replenish with fresh water to achieve a salt level of 3200.
How much water to add when pool has too much salt 2
 
Example: a pool has an average depth of 54” and the salt level is 4500ppm
Calculation for Water Adds
 
Note: It is recommended to reduce the water level no more than six inches at a time before replenishing with fresh water. Failure to due so may result in damage to the pool structure or surface.
 

SALT CHART 

Salt Chart Calculator by Pool Gallons
 

HOW TO ADD SALT

Note: Salt Brushing the salt around will speed up the dissolving process. Do not allow the salt to sit in a pile at the bottom of the pool. Salt water is heavier than fresh water so the salt water will tend to accumulate at the deepest part of the pool. Run the filter system with the suction coming from the main drain for 24 hours to evenly distribute the salt throughout the pool.

Allow 10-14 days for the plaster on new pools to cure before adding salt. 
 

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