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Genesis Aqua Pure Bromine Generator
[ THOUGHTS & OPINIONS ]
I thought it might be useful to start a thread primarily for users of the genesis system. To group under one post, common thoughts, problems and solutions people may have while using it. But beware it is quite a wordy post. There is some technical info online at spa purification and pioneer H2O. PAUL Birkbeck for pioneer H2O is very knowledgeable on the system as he was quite involved in the development of it. I've been using the system since may 2004. It is tied to my circ. pump and runs 24/7.I will list my water parameters as I believe different water types can cause different results.
Initial fill. TA 40, PH 6.8, TH 50 ppm, TDS 200 ppm., no metals. My balance water is typically, TA 80-90, PH 7.9-8.2, TH 100-125. please remember I am not endorsing the way I balance my water but rather sharing what seems to work for me with this system.
TA is very stable and remains wherever you put it, I keep it on the low side to counteract my higher then normal PH.
My PH is high by most standards. Contrary to what the manufacturer says that the Bromine produced is PH neutral. I find that it pushes it up to 7.9-8.2 and is very stable in this range. I believe this is quite typical of all Bromine/chlorine generators. I'm not a chemist but from what I gather is on paper it does seem PH neutral. In reality though some of the gas produced [hydrogen] is not used and is passed into the atmosphere creating an imbalance to the equation causing the water to become more basic [higher PH].I have experimented with different TA levels with no success. the PH will always push to the high end. I have found that if the system is off for a couple of days the PH will drop down to the opposite end. For the first 5 months I was constantly trying to keep the PH down, after using 2 bottles of ph down I decided to use what is called the Hamilton index method. This can be found at http://www.rhtubs.com/hamilton-index.htm. In a nut shell you test your total hardness, put your TA where the chart tells you and keep your PH at 7.8-8.2 and never below 7.6.although the higher PH hinders Bromine production then at 7.5 I have not notice any dramatic difference between the two which is about 10%. for the first year I kept my TA at 110 ,but now run it a little lower. I've never had any issues with water quality normally associated with high PH. Each year I check my plumbing, heater and probe with no indication of scaling. pitting or corrosion
There is conflicting opinions on this subject. I tend to err on the side of caution .I keep it on the low side to minimize scaling and high enough to minimize foaming. Water has an aggressive nature and can leach out certain minerals from stuff it is in contact with. Before I bought my tub I remember a dealer showing me a jet cover .it looked brand new except it was half the thickness of a brand new one. He said it was because of improper water balance. He didn't elaborate on it any more but I keep some hardness in the water just in case.
High initial TDS of 500 ppm. or more in your water will need to be reduced before using your system. Your initial fill will bring your TDS up approx. 2050-2250 ppm of Sodium Bromide. Plus the TDS of your water. Water change should occur by the time total TDS hits 3500 ppm. max. Your TDS buildup will primarily be from any chemical additions to the tub, very little is from tub usage.
Metals can be removed using special filters and or spa metal removal products.
Phosphates in your water of more then 125 ppb can inhibit Bromine production you can get a test kit or have it tested. You can use a phosphate reducer such as "starver". Phosphates can be in your water initially or added into your water by soap residues in swimming suits.
There has been several posts dealing with this issue. A search on this forum under these headings will bring up this topic and other issues. [ Bromine generation, Bromine generator black dust, re:aruba spas, Bromine generator [use?].] This is a serious and annoying issue. In the severe cases something was causing the electrode to break down leaving a awful mess in the tub which requires some rubbing to get off the surface. Do not confuse this with the light gray on your filter. I believe this from normal wear from the electrode and rinses off easily with a hose. I don't believe there has been any definitive answer why this has happen to some people. It may be that the water had high initial TDS or very hard water. Hopefully some dialog on this may come up with some answers. It should be noted that there are two types of electrodes for the genesis system. One is made exclusively for Cal spas and the carbon base probe is laced or doped with copper. All others are without the copper doping. The worst case of electrode breakdown that I know of was with the copper one and it happen twice to the same person. I my self have had only a slight issue with black dust about 4 mths after I started using the tub. It lasted about a month and went away about the same time I started running at a lower TA using less PH down and strapping some heavy duty magnets to my plumbing.
UNUSUAL SMELL WHEN LIFTING LID
I have had this occasionally I don't think it has to do with having excess Bromine in the water as I have been at both ends of the spectrum and haven't smelt anything. What I have notice is that it will usually happen if the tub was used by 2-3 people the night or day before. The smell is only momentary and quickly dissipate. It may be a byproduct of the sanitation going on. Because there is no need to shock the tub the lid is always on and it may just be a build up from the sanitation process. Or it may happen if you haven't showered as you enter the tub. It may be my imagination but since I strapped on the magnets on my plumbing I really have not a issue with the smell whereas I did before.
I've done some testing on the unit, this is what I found. The unit puts out approx. 3 vdc & 80 milliamps at # 1 setting to 6 vdc &500 milliamps at # 10 . v & a start off low at a polarity shift and will slowly increase to the above values. PAUL Birkbeck has explained to me that it's not so much the voltage increase but the % of time that power is applied to the probe. # 10 being 100 % . I have found that the TDS decimal light will flash during a polarity shift [more so at lower Settings] but will fade out within 20 seconds. I don't think this is a concern unless it stays on . If this is the case you need to deal with it by lowering your TDS and or ensuring nothing has bridged the two electrodes. The max. power consumption of the unit is 28 watts.
As mention earlier there are two types, made up of some porous carbon life form [for you trekie fans]. I am on my second electrode. The first one I changed after 1 ½ years running on a circ pump 24/7.I changed it because I found when I was in there that about 1" of the tip of the upper electrode had broken off and lying on top of the other electrode looked very close to bridging the two. It has a 5 year replacement warranty and was very easy to replace although a bit messy. I noticed that when I was threading the new one on every 180 degrees it would tend to load up a bit I think that the tip of the old one was loaded up against the tube which eventually cracked off after a year. The new one I installed unloaded and with the plates vertical for ease of checking for wear. Initially I wasn't too impressed with the Bromine production of the system with my first electrode. I had to keep my setting at 7 to maintain the minimum Bromine at an avg. use of twice a day. I was constantly using MPS to bring up the br.levels when more then 2 people were in the tub. Also about 3 times during that period it stop producing Bromine[ this was before the tip had broke off]. I would go in there and do some checks, the controller always checked out . Then mysteriously it would start gassing up again. Well I was blown away when I installed the new probe and at #7 expecting the Br to be on the low end of 2 found it higher then my test kit showed at 6.5. I run it now at 3. When it gets high usage I just crank it up and it has no problem making Bromine and has always worked. Periodically I will crank it up to ten for a couple of hours if its been at 3 for a long time. This seems to help maintain the Br production at that setting as it seems to drop off a bit if constantly at 3.
I have found the greatest wear to take place at the base of the probe, not from water erosion but from the electrolysis action during Bromine production. This wear gradually gets less as you move to the tip and occurs between the plates. A new electrode is approx. 9/16" thick, 1 1/8" wide and 7 1/4" long. My electrode had worn to about 1/4" thick at the base. My system ran 24/7 for 1 ½ years. Is this normal wear and tear or possibly excessive due to the way I balance my water? I hope maybe other users might be able to shed some light on what they've experienced. It has a 5 yr. Replacement warranty . I think I would be lucky if I get 2 ½-3 yrs. Only one break was in it at the plastic bridge support at the end , the rest broke at removal. I have posted a picture of my first electrode with this post. I have a few others which may be viewed here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ just enter genesiselectrode in the tag search. They should be available to view once flickr goes thru their approval process in about 2-4 days
My system is tied to a circ pump and is on 24/7. The only thing I need to do is to increase my setting to increase Bromine output. If it is tied to your main system you will have to juggle between higher settings on your genesis and increase filtration times to get your desired Bromine production rate. Don't be afraid to add a non chlorine shock [MPS] if you are anticipating a lot of use. Add some before or after as required, this will help take the strain off the system and ensure proper sanitation levels thru out its use. Rememeber if using MPS unless it is buffered, will push your PH down. It is important to pay closer attention to your Br. And PH during heavy usage.
this is not something you want to ignore with any hot tub maintenance program. There are so many different configurations but bottom line keep them clean. I have one 50 sq. ft. filter tied into my circ. Pump. I recommend hosing off your filter every 1 or 2 weeks and 1 or 2 days after heavy usage. A proper clean every 1-1.5 mths. your program will vary depending on your set up and type of usage. A proper clean is to rid your filter of any lotions or oil that may be trapped in the filter over time. Having a spare clean filter works well . I have found My filter will pick up a light greyish colour as it is filtering. I believe this is a result of the normal wear of the electrode thru its use. This rinses off quite easily with a hose. Do not confuse this with the black dust issue which is apparent in the tub. My tub is a light blue pearl finish with white swirls, any issues with clarity or stuff in the tub is easily seen.
I'm sure this will stir some debate. The manufacturer has originally stated that water changes every 12 mths, or when Total TDS nears 3500 p.m. I was a bit skeptical of this and for the first year kept records of all my tests, usage and chemicals added. I used a lot of MPS and PH down, after 13 mths I tested my TDS at the spa store at 3300 p.m. This year at ten months, with the new electrode, using very little MPS and PH down my TDS is under 2500 ppm My initial start TDS was approx. 2200 ppm, I have never had any issues with water clarity, foaming or scum build up. I was expecting to feel a dramatic change in the feel of the water when I changed it , but to be totally honest there wasn't.
I haven't seen any real issues with corrosion due to the higher salt content in the water. I look every water change at my heater and also changed my circ pump seal after a year. It was leaking ever so slightly when I first got the tub. I thought it might seat itself but it didn't. Neither the springs in the seal or the heater look bad at all. The jet bearings are stainless and aren't a issue. Any hardware that's not stainless out side your tub should get changed. The amount of salt added is about 2100 ppm., water starts to taste salty at about 5000 ppm, and the ocean has a salt content of any where from 30 to 40,000 ppm. Your not even close to the corrosion ability of the ocean. If you look at all the chemicals being used to balance and sanitize hot tub water almost all of them begin with sodium.
Here's where I might lose some credibility. I installed some heavy duty magnets I had onto my spa plumbing because I was a bit concern with my high PH and possible scaling issues . I haven't had any scaling issues and I suspect it help me get rid of my black dust and funny smell issue. If you offered me 500 bucks I wouldn't sell them to you. Aw maybe I would but then I'd go an buy two sets from Robert's hot tubs.
PROS AND CONS
-Water is very easy to maintain. Its almost like someone else is looking after it for you
-shocking not normally reqd. as the system destroys Brominenes as it is working
-water feels great, always clear, no real foaming or scum line issues, tub always has a squeaky clean feel to it
-water change typically one year
-system pushes PH constantly to high end with upper limit 8.2. may be an issue with those with very hard water.
-some issues with black dust in tub
-non stainless hardware outside the tub will corrode due to splash out
-on sunny days drying water spots will leave a white residue. It will easily wipe clean
-electrode may need to be replaced 2 ½ -3 yrs. Warranted for 5
I am curious to know if any one using the system has managed to get their PH to hold at 7.5-7.6 without continually adding PH down . If so how much pH down did you require and what's your initial water type?
I would be interested in any black dust issues , on going or past and what has worked in resolving it other then disconnecting it.
I would be interested if my wear rate on my electrodes is in the norm. or excessive. There might be a difference depending if is on 24/7 as opposed to being tied with the filtration cycle . Also could running at a higher PH hasten its wear?
I hope this post might help other users of the system in dealing with some issues they might of come up against and open up some dialog on what works for you and help answer any questions people may have. I believe that different water types may have different approaches and solutions.
PLEASE NOTE: We are Roberts Hot Tubs Inc. (manufacturers of traditional wooden hot tubs)! If you found this webpage through a search engine while searching for a different brand of spa, we are not them! We simply appeared in your search due to that name being talked about on this particular web page. The phone number below will reach Roberts Hot Tubs, not the manufacturer of the brand of spa you're searching for. This is a public forum and you're more than welcome to post a question asking for contact or other information for a particular brand of spa. Almost certainly someone will be able to assist you.