Digital filter timer goes crazy/resets on weekly basis?

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mdspiller
Pool Newbie
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Posts: 2
Joined: Fri 02 Sep, 2011 13:53

Digital filter timer goes crazy/resets on weekly basis?

Postby mdspiller » Fri 02 Sep, 2011 14:03

Hi Folk,

I'm trying to help a neighbor debug some issues with her pool timers. The pool has been installed for roughly 10 years, and this is the 3rd set of timers. Initially it used intermatic timers, but those died ~3 years in; pool installers recommended switching to digital timers. For the past 7 years it was using Innovative Pool Products ET-1 digital timers, with no problems. Earlier this year, both of those somehow got fried (all LCD segments lit up, will not reset/run) - IPP customer support said this happens sometimes due to voltage surges.

So, we got some of their newer ET-2 digitial timers, which I installed. However, in the ~2 months we've had them, there have been ongoing problems. Every week or so, the timer in the filter position goes crazy, and resets itself (loses time/settings, and sometimes has all LCD segments lit). When we reset it, and re-enter all of the settings, it will run again, usually for another week or so.

I thought initially that it was just a defective timer, so I switched the two (the cleaner timer is slaved to the filter timer). Unfortunately, the problem seems to be associated with the filter circuit, not the timer - the timer from the cleaner position exhibits the same problem when put in the filter position, while the timer previously in the filter position no longer exhibits that issue when in the cleaner position...

Trying to figure out what this might be, and how to proceed - no longer seems to be purely a timer issue, something else must be going on? Hope that someone may have encountered this before, and have some tips...

Thanks,
Mark


TSH Tech

Digital filter timer goes crazy/resets on weekly basis?

Postby TSH Tech » Sun 04 Sep, 2011 03:20

I'm trying to find the best way to express the overall defining stamp of opinion without conveying a poor negative flair in my comment post. There's just no other way to say it; Innovative Pool Products digital timers are crap. Oh sure, there's some examples out there that are more than likely still going strong, as in your case, 7 years of use. But in my line of work, I seem to have replaced many of them.

The early generation of these timers were a miserable attempt at electronics. I speculate a wet under the ears DeVry college graduate decided to design a cheap timer that utilized a small NiCad battery to keep the time. The battery would be recharged with the connected AC power line going "in" to the timer. Additionally, this NiCad battery would also power the relays that switch the equipment on and off. What the engineer didn't know is that in a short amount of time, NiCad batteries die rather rapidly under strenuous discharge and charge conditions. And thus began an entire lot of failed timers. I still have one on my desk using a modified AA battery connection just as a time clock. I'm serious on that.

The next generation after that corrected the battery problem. "Hey, maybe it wasn't a good idea to use the battery to switch relays on and off." However, still utilized a fair quality electronics timer build, which, under daily timer usage of switching on high powered pool equipment, takes its tool on the electronics crammed into that little timer box case. Power surge damage? You betcha! There's no efficiently designed surge protection within the timer unit itself and therefore they die under the stress.

To answer your specific timer problem is not entirely an easy one over the internet. Your problem would require some hands-on trouble shooting, where, for example, if I were hired to troubleshoot, I would bring my electronic multi-meters, jumper wires and a spare timer to determine the cause of your problem. I can tell you in my 'best guess', those timers are the issue.
mdspiller
Pool Newbie
Pool Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri 02 Sep, 2011 13:53

Digital filter timer goes crazy/resets on weekly basis?

Postby mdspiller » Fri 07 Oct, 2011 17:42

Thanks for the reply/input - and apologies for the delay in getting back to you...

I contacted Innovative and several local pool supply/service stores during the debug process, to try and get their input. The local service folks said that there might be related issues with the relays, and that they usually put in a new the relay as well whenever replacing any failed innovative timer.

Innovative Tech Support was really open to trying to help - they hadn't seen that before, but thought that it might be an issue with issues in the filter system putting too much load on the timer. They were just in the process of releasing a new/redesigned version (ET-3) of their timer, and were willing to send me an eval unit to see if that helped. It will have been installed for 3 weeks tomorrow, and hasn't had any of those problems, so I'm hoping that that's it for the problem, whatever it was!

Thanks again,
Mark

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