Today we cover, in detail – how to replace your spa or hot tub “Spa Pack”, the combination Controller, Heater and Pump system that connects to the Top Side panel and controls all of the functions for filtering, heating, lighting and purifying your spa; automatically.
The controller and heater of a Spa Pack (without the pump) can be installed separately; but if you want a complete upgrade, install the Balboa VS Spa Pack with 1 or 2 pumps, which will include the new digital Topside Panel, LED spa light and all new wiring. Blower is optional.
REMOVING THE OLD SPA PACK
1. DRAIN THE SPA
Unless you have valving on either side of your existing spa pack, you’ll need to have the water removed to replace your spa pack.
2. SHUT OFF ALL POWER
Disconnect completely at the circuit breaker in the panel or breaker box, and also at any secondary cut-off boxes that may be located nearby the spa or hot tub. Lock the boxes or place tape over the breaker to keep anyone from turning it on again, while you are working. Use a voltmeter to be sure that power is completely Off.
3. UN-PLUG THE PACK
Start by disconnecting the incoming electrical wiring (checking first with a voltmeter to be sure power is Off). Remove the front panel and simply unscrew the nuts or disconnect the wiring from the main terminal block, inside your existing spa pak control.
Next you can remove the accessory items that are plugged into the spa pack. Pump(s), blower, lights, panel, ozone, stereo, sensors. Fold over a piece of masking tape on each wire and write the port code, or write a color – code legend on paper, so you remember which wire goes where.
Look for a bare copper bonding wire that connects to the bar outside the control box. Remove or clip off with wire cutters.
4. UN-PLUMB THE PACK
Disconnect the plumbing unions that connect in and out of the heater, and the spa pack should slide out, mounted on a small skid made of plastic or plywood. Disconnect the unions on the pool pump or blower if necessary.
Inspect the floor beneath the old spa pack for rots and damage which is not uncommon, if the floor is not bare concrete, but a frame.Sweep up around the area, removing any dust or leaves, or excessive water loss.
INSTALLING THE NEW SPA PACK
1. ASSEMBLE THE PAK
There’s some minor assembly required to connect the controller to the pump, via the double-90 fitting arrangement. The heater connection is made with the white gasket and the pump union is sealed up with the black gasket. Be sure that the o-ring and gasket is sitting in place properly and don’t overtighten the union nut on the pump or the split nut union on the heater.
2. PLUMB THE PACK
Connecting the plumbing in and out should be pretty fast, just position the new spa pack in place so that the plumbing lines up, the connection into the heater and the connection out of the pump.
For the return line, coming out of the top of the pump, this is a standard 2″ threaded pvc fitting or union, often a 90° fitting is used. Put Teflon tape or RTV silicone (or both) on the threads before hand tightening, very snug, and lined up with the pipe.
Use the same fitting from the old pump, if possible. If you cannot loosen the fitting in the old pump by hand, use very large channel lock type pliers to remove, or use a strap wrench. Or you can gently tap the ridges counter clockwise, with a small screwdriver and hammer.
Once your plumbing is connected, check that the skid is level using a small carpenter’s level. Shim the pack if necessary, with steel or plastic, and secure it the floor by running a screw through the corners of the mounting base, into a wood frame or directly into the concrete.
3. WIRING THE PACK
All wiring is done with the power still Off. Double check with a voltmeter to be certain that power has not been mistakenly turned back on again while your plumbed the new spa pack in place.
Open the front cover of the Spa Control by loosening the top two cover screws, the bottom of the panel is hinged, swing the door down and open from the top. On the inside of the panel door or cover you will see the wiring diagram for the receptacles, switches and components. Main power wires enter through the upper left side access hole, below which is the grounding and bonding bar on the left side, outside the cabinet.
New power cords are included for the various components, it’s best to replace the cords rather than use the old ones, even if they look intact. Plug in the cord to all the electrical loads like secondary pumps, blower, ozonator, lights, topside panel and the other end into the labeled slot on the motherboard. For single pump spas, or twin spas without a blower, the VS501 circuit board below is used.
Wire the panel by bringing the wires inside on the upper left and connecting the power and the ground wires. Pumps, blowers and ozonators should also be bonded in accordance with your local codes. This is essentially connecting any metal component within 5 ft of the spa to the bonding grid or buss bar. Make sure that ground connections are solid. Torque to 27-30 lbs, which is pretty tight!
TEST DRIVING YOUR NEW SPA PACK
Fill the spa to normal level and check underneath the new spa pak for any leakage around the new plumbing connections. Turn on power to the spa pak and follow the quick start guide included with your spa controller.
That’s it; 1001 words about how to replace your spa pack. We’ve just got a truckload of new Balboa spa packs and spa controllers in, and can have a new one shipped to you this week for the swap!
If you have any questions about replacing your old worn out spa controller pump and heater with a brand spanking new spa pack, you can order online, or give us a call to ask any questions about ordering or installing.
Happy Hot Tubbin’
Hot Tub Works