Stu's picture
Pentair Intelliph problems: 1) hangs at "checking cell" 2) dumps entire tank of acid
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Stu's picture
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Experiencing two problems with newly-installed system consisting of a Pentair EasyTouch Controller, Intellichlor-20, and Intelliph.

I've spent an enormous amount of time troubleshooting this issue and am near my wits end. I've replaced the Intelliph controller and the problems remain. I've contacted Pentair and local pool contractors and have found no solution. In fact, neither Pentair nor 2 contractors claim they have ever seen this problem in spite of both of them being reported by others here on poolfyi.

1) When it is time for a dispense to occur, the Intelliph Controller will "hang" with the message "Checking Cell" and no dispense will occur. To clear the problem, power to the Intelliph Controller must be cycled. I have monitored and logged the RS-485 traffic between the Intelliph controller and the Intellichlor and see the same request/response messages between the two if the dispense happens properly or if it hangs. I have operated the Intelliph and Intellichlor independently from the rest of the EasyTouch system and the same thing happens. The hangs will usually happen one or more times a day, but sometimes it will work flawlessly for 3 days. This has happened since day 1 of the installation in August 2018 and continues to happen now in December 2018. (I've done a lot of work to collect data on this problem and a number of thing in an attempt to fix it without success - much more than I could discuss in a single post.) The problem does not appear to be correlated with temperature or exposure to direct sunlight on either the Acid Controller or the Intellichlor. In all cases the Intelliph Controller status LED remains green and there are no error conditions indicated on the Intellichor LEDs. Salt levels are normal (3000 to 3500 ppm), water flow is 45 gpm, and water temperature has always been greater than 63 degrees (I'm located in central Florida). Chlorine generation has been set to various values, all greater than 6%. Acid dispense is set to 17%.

2) On a much more infrequent basis - about once per month - the Intelliph Controller will turn on power to the acid pump at the correct time, but does not turn it off. This results in dumping the entire contents of the acid tank into pool. This too requires a power cycle to clear the problem. Also, the same "Checking Cell" message appears on the Intelliph Controller when this happens.

I've implemented a monitoring system that sets off an alarm if either of these conditions occur. I'm about to implement a watchdog circuit...but really, this system should just work. A neighbor has an Intellichlor and I'm planning on asking to borrow it to see if that has any effect on the problem.

Any help, suggestions, or input from your own similar experiences would be appreciated.

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Richard's picture
Tech, Pentair
My suggestion is to try the
Richard's picture
Tech, Pentair
Posted

My suggestion is to try the cell replacement and see if this corrects the issue, if it does not you will need to contact one of our technical support agents at 1-800-831-7133 for further assistance.

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Sounds like you have had the
Posted

Sounds like you have had the exact same issues that I had. With both Checking Cell, having to reset everything, and also the dumping of the entire acid tank. I replaced the controller for the intelliph, and many other things. I found no fix at all. No one had any answers. But, like you I found others on here with the same problems. My only fix was moving into the intellichem, and a retrofit pump with the existing acid pump/tank.

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Stu's picture
Thanks for responding,
Stu's picture
Posted

Thanks for responding, Richard. I have had a long discussion with Pentair techs recently and they stated there was no record of this problem ever being reported and had no other recommendations other than replacing the intellichlor and the intelliph - both of which I did without solving the problem. A web search will reveal that customers have seen this problem going back many years.

I have reached the point where I strongly suspect that this is a design problem (hardware and/or software) in the intelliph controller whose effect is not noticed by most customers because the intelliph gets power cycled daily and the unit resets. The only way to detect the hangup is to notice the absence of hourly acid dispenses or to notice the message on the intelliph display - neither of which a customer is likely to do. Or, at the extreme, if the intelliph hangs at its first dispense of the day, the customer will see that the pH is not lowering as it should, regardless of the %dispense setting. I suspect the the acid dump problem is intimately related and may only happen with a small number of units. In other words, if the hangup problem can be resolved, the acid dump problem will be resolved as well.

Thanks for the feedback, Brian. Misery loves company!

I did swap out the intellichlor with my neighbor. With his unit in my system, my intelliph exhibited the same lockup phenomenon at the same frequency of occurrence. (My neighbor does not have an intelliph, so I could not look for the problem in his system.)

One thing I noticed some time ago is that during the chlorine generation phase, the common mode voltage on the intellichlor RS485 lines go to about -10 volts. I had previously replaced the RS485 transceiver in the intelliph (using the same chip manf. and part) as part of a 'shotgun' approach at fixing the problem, but that did not help.

I recently found that the lockups occur when the intelliph queries the intellichlor (this happens at the beginning of the acid dispense sequence) whenever it is near the beginning or end of the chlorine generation phase. So, as a last ditch effort, I found another part with a much higher common mode voltage range. It should arrive in a couple days and we'll see if that helps.

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