I just got a used hot tub which was not working.

Ok I have the Balboa Heat Jacket system from 2004 similar to (Balboa Heat Jacket System 120V Advantage Heat Jacket System 52973-04) which you can google to see a pic

How can the system heat the hot tub with such small wires coming from the heating plug/element vs and inline pipe type element/ heater I have see on every other tub we have owned? Ah ha Found it - Featuring the latest innovation in efficient spa heating. No heat is wasted with this spa, a heat recovery transfer system capturing the pump motor heat and using it to heat the water. Combined with heat stick technology your spa will warm up to a steamy 105 degrees. No energy is wasted with this state-of-the-art technology. Not only will this save a tremendous amount of energy it will also save you money. State-of-the-art heat recovery/transfer system combined with heat stick technology - Energy-efficiency is a design hallmark.

The topside console is beat to heck and I don't want to plug it in. How can I test the balboa board to make sure it will work? I'd prefer to just spend $90 on a topside, but what if the board is toast. Seems like it might be worth moving to a heater system. I have made some spade connectors jumped to the pump and it works and is running fine for the past two hours.

Should I look at buying a better system or just piece this one into working order. I'd prefer 110 v for how mobile and simple this small tub is. I also do not want to run a new breaker, conduit, wire and junction/ cutoff box vs plugging it in. Since we are in Florida it will also only be used a couple months a year

My experience.
I built houses and I'm fine with electrical, and work on cars a lot so a volt/ohm meter is no problem.

I have rebuilt a spa before. 5 years ago a cousin gave me his dead hot tub. I just installed a new universal heater/board/topside kit/ refit the larger piping needed and remade the wood side panels. The system ran off mechanical relays which I could not find anywhere, added some newer jets and lighting. I'm hoping to avoid a $600 bill vs just buying a $90 topside (Balboa 53280)

Where do I start with looking at the board. All of the fuses look good, I'll ohm them out to make sure