How To Know When a Salt Cell is Bad - General

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You can expect a Salt Chlorine Generator (SCG) cell to last 5 or more years if the pool and cell are maintained properly. Knowing when a Cell has gone bad and needs to be replaced is not always obvious. Before you replace the Cell, you will want to check several possible issues that can cause a good Cell to shut down or perform poorly. This guide reviews these issues at a general level since each SCG has unique functions. See your owner's manual for more specific troubleshooting instructions.

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Step by Step

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Step 1

MAINTAIN CHEMICAL LEVELS - To maximize the life of your pool Cell, make sure that you maintain the balance of your pool chemical within their operational ranges. Operating outside these ranges for any length of time will rapidly deteriorate the plates inside the SCG Cell. If your Stabilizer is too low, the pool water will not be able to hold the chlorine being produced and it will appear that your SCG cell is not producing adequately. Likewise, a low pH level will oxidize chlorine faster, making it difficult to maintain the right level of chlorine.

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Step 2

"INSPECT CELL" LED - You may think something is wrong with your cell because the "Inspect Cell" LED suddenly came on. For most SCG systems, this light is a maintenance reminder to periodically check your CSG cell. This LED is generally programmed to come on every 500 hours or so. Look at the cell and clean if necessary, Then press the diagnostic button for 3 seconds to turn the Inspect Cell LED off.

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Step 3

CHECK SCG IS ON - This may seem obvious, but it's easy to check that the system is switched to "AUTO" or equivalent to generate chlorine.

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Step 4

CHECK % OUTPUT - Warm water and heavy bather load increase chlorine use. One way to increase chlorine production is by increasing the % OUTPUT.  See if increasing the % OUTPUT by 20% or 30% increases the amount of chlorine generated. This may take 24 hours to verify.

Step 5

CHECK SALT LEVEL - Many SCGs shut off if the pool's salt level is too high or too low.  2700 to 3500 is a typical range of operation, but this will vary across the different SCGs. Use salt strips to measure your pool's salt level. Have a pool store check your salt level periodically to verify your measured values. Also, SCG readings are not always accurate, so only use them as a general indication of where your pool's salt level is.

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Step 6

CHECK POOL TEMPERATURE - If the pool water is too cold (below 50F) the "GENERATING" LED will start flashing and the SCG will stop generating chlorine. Your pool does not need much chlorine at these temperatures. If required you can manually shock your pool with liquid chlorine or granular shock.

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Step 7

CHECK FLOW LEVEL - When "NO FLOW" LED is illuminated, the flow switch has detected no water flow and the SCG is NOT generating chlorine. A flashing LED indicates that the flow is restored, but there will be a 60 second delay before generation is re-established. In this case either the Flow Switch is defective of you have a restriction in the pool system.

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Step 8

CHECK SCG CONNECTIONS [1] - Check all the connections between the Cell and the SCG Control Box to make sure they are tight. If your SCG has a separate water flow monitor make sure its connections are tight .Check that the control wires are not cut.

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Step 9

CHECK SCG CONNECTIONS [2] - On some Cells there may also be a removable connection at the Cell itself. Make sure these connections are tight. If they are loose, your SCG control will get inaccurate readings which will affect the Cell's performance.

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Step 10

CHECK FOR CORRODED PLATES - Most SCGs have an internal timer that turns on an "INSPECT CELL" LED after something like 500 operational hours. If this light comes on or you think your cell is not producing chlorine, remove the cell and inspect it. If your Cell is transparent, you will be able to see a white metallic buildup on the plates of a corroded Cell. If you see signs of corrosion, remove and clean the plates of the Cell. See our guide on "How To Clean a Compupool Salt Generator Cell" or "How To Clean a Hayward AquaRite Turbo Cell". Note: if you have an opaque Cell, like an AquaRite Turbo Cell, you will have to remove the Cell and look inside both ends to check for any corrosion. If the cleaned Cell still does not produce sufficient chlorine, you should replace it.

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Step 11

CHECK FOR DISCONNECTED PLATES - While the; cell is out, look for heavily corrosion and disconnected plates. If a Cell is not cleaned periodically and is allow to become heavily corroded, the plate welds will deteriorate and eventually separate. At this point the Cell will have to be replaced.

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Step 12

CHECK POLARITIES - Some SCGs reverse the polarity of the current flowing through the Cell to extend the life of the Cell. If the two polarity LEDs do not alternate over time, the productivity of the Cell will be reduced. Check that the connections between the Cell and the SCG control box are tight. If that does not correct the issue, you may have to replace a PCB for the display but not the Cell itself.

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Comments

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(1 to 40 of 132)

 Posted: 7/31/2021 

My board registered 1400 salt level so I added salt. No change on the board. I had water tested and it registered 4000, which is too high. But chlorine level is low so now algae is growing. Is cell bad or board bad? How would I know which it is?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/3/2021 

First, I would need to know the make and model of the salt chlorine generator. Each system has a different way of troubleshooting it.
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 Posted: 6/28/2021 

Everything on my aqua trol is running fine good numbers etc...yet my pool is green This has never been a issue before What is going on?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/1/2021 

That is an excellent question. Unfortunately, you will not find an answer until you test your water to see chemistry levels. You have to know what is out of whack before you can try correcting it. It may be a cell, or your pH and alkalinity could be imbalanced.
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 Posted: 5/23/2021 

My board display is not showing the usual numbers. To ve honest, I do not know how to read it. How do I correct that? Secondly, generating cycles off after I hear a click and the the red no flow, high salt, low salt, and check cell lights come on...anything to do with the board? Could the cell itself cause all those lights to come on? My father passed away, so I am new to this. Do not wanna take out cell, if the panel board is the problem.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/4/2021 

What is the make and model of your chlorinator? Do you see any information on the control panel like logos or model info tags.
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Anonymous  Posted: 5/18/2021 

The check cell light is on (not flashing) I had the cell checked and it’s good. What’s the reason for the light? I tried the 3 second thing still the same. Any ideas that can help me?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/21/2021 

What are the cell's voltage and amperage readings on the diagnostics menu? Do you have the correct cell type selected in the diagnostics menu? 
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 Posted: 4/11/2021 

I'll admit my T-15 cell is 14 years old. When I started it this season, I noticed an abnormally low salt reading when the polarity is positive. It also was a small current draw at 1amp. When the polarity is negative it seems normal with about a 5amp draw and associated salt value around 2900. Do you think it is the salt cell or PCB causing this?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/16/2021 

What is the actual number for the "low amp draw"?  A TCELL15 should have an amp draw between 3.1 - 8.0. If the amps show a reading that isn’t within range, then you should replace your cell.
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 Posted: 3/22/2021 

Hayward Aqua Rite SCG. Power and generating lights keep cycling on/off about every 25 seconds. All of the Diagnostic numbers are within range except the Cell Voltage. When not generating, it seems to max out around 23.5. When generating it climbs to about 18.5, I hear a click, it decreases back to 0, before clicking and rising again. This rising to 18.5 range and falling back to 0 continues until I shut it off. Any ideas? Time to replace??
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 Posted: 5/23/2021 

I am having the same problem. I hear a clicking noise and within a few seconds, the generating button goes off, snd the red lights for no flow, high salt, low salt, and check cell all come on. Ive tried resetting cell with the 3 second button...does nothing now. What is the problem?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/4/2021 

First, what is the make and model of your chlorinator?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/23/2021 

Which T-CELL model do you have? Also, what is the percentage the output is set to? Salt chlorine generators cycle on and off at varying speeds depending on the output. For example in an hour, if the output is set for 50%, the cell will only be generating chlorine for 30 of those minutes.Are there any other fault codes flashing on the Aquarite's display?
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 Posted: 3/23/2021 

T-15 and the percentage is showing 52p. I understand it’s not truly generating 100% of the time, but the power light and the generating light normally stay lit. Mine are going if after less than a minute, going out as soon as the Cell Voltage gets to about 18.5.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/24/2021 

What is the amperage? If it is 0, then you need to replace the Main PCB. For a TCELL15, if the amperage is outside of the 3.1 - 8.0 range then you should replace the cell.
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 Posted: 3/24/2021 

The amperage is 0.00, so I guess I’ll be getting a new Main PCB. Thank you for the assistance.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/26/2021 

You're welcome. When you get and install the board, let us know how it works out for you.
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 Posted: 11/8/2020 

I have a Hayward Aqua Trol system with a T-Cell-5 SCG. The unit suddenly quit producing chlorine. 0 avg salt level. 78F, 24 vdc, 0.0 A, -0.0 insta., AL-07, r 1.45. Is the cell or the motherboard likely bad. After checking at pool store salt level was low all other levels ok, added 120 lbs salt to 10k pool. no change in cell operation, dead in the water, as it were.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/9/2020 

Are the Check Salt or Inspect cell lit or flashing?
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 Posted: 11/11/2020 

No none of the lights are on
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/12/2020 

You will need to replace your AquaTrol's main PCB. Do you have the RJ or HP model?
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 Posted: 11/9/2020 

No, the "no flow" light comes on and cycles off. The generating light never comes on any more. if I switch to Super Chlorinate it and the power light come on for maybe 15-20 seconds then both go out.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/16/2020 

Have you tried cleaning your filter or replacing the flow sensor?
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 Posted: 11/4/2020 

My board is saying "cell temp sensor short circuit" and "chlorinator off sensor fault." Do I have to replace the cell, or can I replace the sensor, and where is the sensor?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/4/2020 

What is the model number or the make and model of your salt system? We need the model info to figure out what kind of diagnostic process to follow.
 Reply

 Posted: 11/5/2020 

And I have T15 Simple Cell from Optimum Pool Technologies. I believe the sensor is inaccessible in the cell.
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 Posted: 11/5/2020 

I have a Hayward Aqua Logic. The only model number I could find is AQL-XX-XX.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/10/2020 

The part you need is the Goldline / AquaLogic Temperature Sensor Kit w/ 15ft Leads - GLXPC12KIT; it is replaceable. You should be able to follow the sensor cord from the control box to where the sensor is installed.
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 Posted: 10/12/2020 

Will the cell have current if salt levels are low ? I have voltage but no amps but it is disabled for low salt.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/19/2020 

If you know you have low salt, use a salt test kit or have it tested at a pool store, then add the salt if needed. Your low salt light being on could be a symptom of other problems.
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 Posted: 9/27/2020 

Hi, i have this Hayward salt display for 4 yrs. now. I cant keep the salt ppm up for some reason. I added salt a few days ago and it stated 3100 ppm. A week later its showing 2700ppm. What could be wrong?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/27/2020 

Have you been backwashing more than usual, or has there been heavy rain recently?
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 Posted: 9/7/2020 

We have a Hayward Aquarite - replaced the front board bc it was poor display. Cell is clean. It won’t show any lights except the power light. It won’t trigger generate or super chlorinate. Display shows 0.00/28/32.2/0.00/16P/-0.00/AL-1/R1.59/t-5. I can change the t-cell to a t15 on the display. Can someone tell me if the problem is the main board or the T cell? It won’t let me recalibrate salt level. It doesn’t recognize even that there is no flow.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/8/2020 

If I am reading the jumble of numbers correctly, 32.2 is the cell voltage, and 0.00 is the amperage. Am I correct?What cell do you have, the TCELL5 or the TCELL15? And you need to make sure whichever cell you have is selected in the settings menu. If the correct cell is not chosen, switch it to the proper cell, then give me the cell voltage and cell amperage.
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 Posted: 9/13/2020 

We have a T15 Cell. Those are the numbers with the correct cell inputted. There is zero amperage, you are correct
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/23/2020 

If the amps on either reading show zero (0), then you should replace your PC Board.
 Reply

 Posted: 9/4/2020 

Hope That you at least give me a clue. Have a Pentair IntelliChlor IC20 and is not lighting at all. I gave it a clean with the right Acid proportion but notice the fuse was blown. I replace the fuse again and it blow on more time. What would be the issue or solution. This Unit is 8n years old.. If I where to replace it bdo I have to replace the unit on the wall also. or just the Intell. Please advise me. Yhank You So Much.
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/8/2020 

The first place I would check is the circuit providing power to the power supply. That fuse is popping because there is too much current at the panel. Have you checked the voltage and amp of the lines feeding the Intellichlor's power supply?
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 Posted: 9/1/2020 

I have a swim pure plus that is acting strange. The only light that is on is the power light, continuously, and the salt reading is stuck at 3200. It will not do anything else. No diagnostics, just 3200. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you
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