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SAVING POWER::Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa

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SAVING POWER::Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa

Postby Harry » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:27 am

The purpose of this post is to document my efforts of conserving as much energy as possible when not using my spa.

I am troubleshooting my control system to determine if it is functioing correctly in ECON mode.

Currently, the control system appears to be working properly as all the controls are working and the heater maintains the proper temperature.

Since I like to use my spa during the winter, I have a rather expensive electric bill. My goal is to reduce the electric bill whenever possible. My local dealer told me that to save power, I should NOT use the ECON mode. He claims that the spa would use more power because the air injector would reduce the temperature of the water resulting in wasted heat and put more load on the heating system.

He claims this was a feature intended for warmer climates. I think otherwise. I think the dealer is clueless about the feature and perhaps the owners manual is lacking good information. My spa is used (came with the house) and was lacking any documentation.

One thing is for sure, in STANDARD mode, the heater runs constantly to maintain the proper temperature against the freezing weather. When the air injector is turned on, it does force cold air into the water and certainly reduces the water temperature.

I will now explore the ECON mode.
I have these questions that need to be answered and are not covered by the owners manual.

1. What is the lowest temperature that the user can select? Currently, I can only set it to a low of 80°F (not specified in the manual).

2. How accurate is the control board clock? I have noticed that the FIL cycles do not start exactly when I expect them to.

Twice now, I have discovered the pump and heater to be running when I expected them to be off. I had set the cycle duration to be FIL 1, for a one hour duration. Every 12 hours, I expect to see the pump and heater running for 1 hour then shut down. So, I may or may not have a problem. If the clock is losing time, the FIL cycles may be pushing ahead by as much as an hour a day.

3. If the clock is loosing time, can it be corrected?

Any feedback from other users would be appreciated. Thanks.
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY

Postby Harry » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:03 am

This morning, I expected the FIL time to start at 6 AM. It actually started around 5 AM.

The temperature was set at the lowest of 80°F. The air temp was 15°F. The water temp. was reading 76°F, which tells me the water temp dropped as expected. I want the water temp. to drop when I'm not using the spa.

I can save more power by shutting down the spa but there is a danger of water freezing in the pipes. The manual says the heater should turn on when the temp. drops to 20°F lower than the set point, regardless of the FIL cycle settings.

The spa is outside and is somewhat sheltered from the wind.
Also, The interior of the spa has poorly sprayed insulating foam. I may be able to save some heat by adding foam to those areas where it looks too thin.

If my clock is running (too fast?), then my cycle times are occuring too soon and I'm wasting energy. My 12 hour cycle would be too short and may actually be an 11 hour cycle. It may seem trivial, but again, I'm looking to save power. I my open the control box tonight and see if there is any way to slow the clock down. There may be an adjustable pot. I sure wish there was a schematic so I could verify this.
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY

Postby Harry » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:04 pm

Another dealer was kind enough to reply to an email answering the question about the lowest heat setting on my spa.

80°F is the lowest allowable user setting.
This means that 60°F is the lowest allowed water temp. before the heater kicks on to get out of COOL mode.

This is making more sense now.
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY

Postby Harry » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:14 pm

I found this info on another spa forum about insulation...

"...Look for hot tubs that are fully insulated and not fully foamed. A fully foamed hot tub is not, by any stretch of science, the most energy efficient hot tub. Spas that capture the heat from the equipment and keep cold air off the components and plumbing are efficient. A fully insulated hot tub has foam on the shell, warm air chamber, and the walls of the cabinet have foam boards. The cabinet is closed with no vents that allow cold air to enter the cabinet except by vacuum..."

When I look at my tub, it looks like it could use some improvement on the removable sides that are hard plastic. Instead of filling the air spaces with more foam, I can add insulation to the sides. That should help in keeping warm air trapped inside. If the wind is blowing strongly, as it does in my area, I may be able to reduce heat loss where the sides meet. The corners have gaps where air can leak.
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY

Postby Harry » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:52 am

Found some new problems.

1. The primary pump is failing and needs to be replaced.
2. The base is sagging making it difficult to remove side panels.

I have removed the primary pump (circ pump, I guess) after shutting all the valves.
I pulled the secondary pump and swapped it into the primary pump position. The pumps are identical and this will work until I can find a replacement. The water will stay warm and filter. This will buy me some time till a new pump can be ordered. Bummer.

When I get the base back to level, I can work on insulating the side panels. If I try to do it now, I may damage them as they have to be twisted and flexed to get them out.

The good news is that the control board is working correctly. I more accurately recorded the start and stop times for the FIL cycles and they appear to be correct. I believe the ECON mode is working as designed so I'll stop worring about that. The water temp has dropped, so I know it's not wasting power during those times I'm not using the spa.

Oh, the joys of home ownership.
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY

Postby Harry » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:58 pm

Ok, this is the pump thingy I need to replace the one that's bad...

FloMaster HP
02115289-1
230V
RPM 3450/1725
HP 2.0 -.25 SPL
Magnetek

I bet this will cost me an arm and a leg.

It's the wet end that's bad, but should I replace both the pump and motor?
It's been in use since 1999, I believe...

Time to start looking for parts. :shock:
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY

Postby Harry » Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:42 pm

Well, not quite an arm and a leg, maybe just an arm.

I got the new motor with pump. Got it in and it works great.
The last couple of months show a lower electric bill thanks to just a minor adjustment with the filter cycles.

Everything is back to normal and with a reduced electric bill.
Harry
Coleman Spectrum 200 Series Spa
Casper, WY
Harry
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:46 am
Location: Casper, WY


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