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I am the original owner of a Blue Ridge / Gatsby portable spa that I purchased from Lowes in 2000. Until recently, no real problems. I came home the other day and noticed a PS1 indication on the display and also noticed that the water temp was hanging near the air temp, IOW no heat. Just as a test, I pushed the Jets button and to my surprise the water came surging out of the jets in the normal fashion. This particular model uses a single speed pump for jets and a separate small circulation / filter pump.
According to the manual, the PS1 code indicates a general switch closure problem with the circulation pump energized. Of course, this could be a symptom of a few different things. I checked the filters, they were fine. I pulled the filters out and tried a panel reset, and still had the same result.
Next I opened the breaker, popped the cover off of the side of the spa, and then opened the control board box. I closed the breaker again and noticed that there was a buzzing noise coming from the board. I started poking around and found that the buzzing was coming from the contactor for the circulation pump. It would buzz for 20 – 30 seconds, pause, and then buzz again.
Time to call for help. I called and spoke to one of the guys at Gatsby. He had me check the basics, filter removal etc… and then pronounced that I had a bad circulation pump. He recommended that I check the line from the filter compartment after draining the spa to remove the pump, but he said that if I do not see any debris there, then it is a bad pump and I am looking at almost $200.00 .
So, I drained the spa, removed the pump, checked the line, and all is clear. I pulled the wet end off of the pump assembly and did not see any noticeable damage or debris, and the impeller seemed to be fine. That is when I noticed that this is a magnetic drive type of pump unit. Aren’t these things supposed to be VERY reliable?
Curiosity got the better of me. I opened the motor housing and put a meter on the starter capacitor and it appeared to be OK. I put the motor cover back on and mounted the pump assembly to a block of wood. Then I fed the pump 240V for about one second and surprisingly it spun right up.
Pressure switch? I put a meter across the pressure switch and stuck a small screwdriver in the gap to toggle the switch on and off. It tested fine. So, I put the pump back in, filled the spa, closed the breaker… And I was back where I started with a buzzing contactor and no heat. I put a meter across the wires running to the circulation pump and there was 240V while the contactor was buzzing, and about ~5V when it was not. I also checked the wires for the heater and there was no voltage at all. While the power was on, I tried manually toggling the pressure switch. When I did this, the panel indication changed to PS2 and the contactor stopped buzzing. According to the manual, the PS2 code indicates a general switch open problem with the circulation pump and heater de-energized. I am assuming that this means that the logic related to the pressure switch is working OK. Of course, I may be assuming too much !
It seems like the circulation pump is the problem, but my simple test outside of the spa makes me wonder, since it did spin up. I would hate to spend almost $200.00 on a new motor and then still have a problem. I have seen some messages regarding failures of these circulation pumps. Mine is a Laing that others have had problems with, so it is a possible “candidate”.
What have I missed in troubleshooting this problem that would give a more definite answer? All help appreciated.
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