Author Archives: Josh Ulfers

AutoPilot Pool Pilot “Low Cell Volts” Error Message Troubleshooting

From time to time we hear from AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt pool chlorine generator owners who are seeing a “low cell volts” error message on their Pool Pilot Digital Nano or Pool Pilot Digital Nano Plus systems. If you’re one of them then you’re in the right place. We’re here to help.

If you’re seeing an error message other than “low cell volts” we can help with that as well. Please head over to AutoPilot Pool Pilot troubleshooting section for assistance for other error messages or general technical support.

The most important thing for us when a pool owner is seeing a “low cell volts” message is that we get diagnostic data from the Pool Pilot system when it is in the “low cell volts” error message mode. Once we get the diagnostics then we can proceed with diagnosing the issue.

Pool Pilot Digital Nano & Pool Pilot Digital Nano Plus “Low Cell Volts” Error Message Diagnostics Steps:

STEP 1: Activate BOOST mode if it is not already active. In order for us to know that we’re seeing accurate readings while in test mode we’ll need to ensure that the Pool Pilot is in the boost mode.

STEP 2: When a “low cell volts” message appears it sometimes will be active most or all of the time. In most cases however, it will only show periodically.

 

 

 

 

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Info Guide

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital DIG-220 Control Panel

Extra bright vacuum fluorescent display (VPD) microprocessor technology

Optional relay provides time clock control of pool pump and freeze protection

Patneted temperature compensastion

24 & 72 hour boost cycles

Operates at salt levels up to 35,000 ppm

Soft reverse cell cleaning

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt System Cell & Plumbing Manifold

Patented bypass manifold

Controllered flow rate for optimum chlorine production

Variable speed pump friendly

 

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Chlorine Generator System Installation

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Salt Cells

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Cell

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital DIG-220 control units are designed to work with 4 different AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt cells.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Reviews

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Salt Pool System Reviews

“I did my research and found that only a handful of the salt water pool systems on the market could handle my 40,000 gallon pool properly. I looked at the Hayward Aqua Rite which is rated at 40,000 gallons but the manufacturer told me not to use it on a 40,000 gallon pool as it would not likely keep up properly. I narrowed my search down to the Pentair Intellichlor, Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital and a unit from Calimar.

The replacement cells for the Pentair are twice the cost of the Autopilot cells and didn’t seem to last as long according to online reviews. I also considered a unit sold under the Circupool name. It appeared to be sold just by one company and they didn’t have multiple dealers like the other companies. I didn’t like the idea of possibly not finding support or replacement parts in the future since it doesn’t seem to be a big company.

Autopilot had a very good reputation in the reviews I searched. During my research, I found that two other people had referenced Saltpoolguys.com as being the go to source for Autopilot products. I traded e-mails back and forth with one of the Saltpoolguys.com reps and made my purchase.

My father in law was able to install the unit for us and I called back to Saltpoolguys.com and spoke to Josh who helped walk me through how to properly operate the Autopilot equipment. I later found out that Josh is the owner. I was so impressed with his service and follow up to my questions that I promised to write him and his company a well deserved and detailed review.” – Alice from Bay Shore, New York

“If you do your research as a consumer you’ll find that Pool Pilot salt systems are great machines. I love tinkering with home tech gadgets and thoroughly over research any purchase that I make. I compared Autopilot to every major brand and a few of the no-name import units from China. The chlorine output and feature set offered with the Pool Pilot DIG-220 unit cannot be matched by any other unit.

I have a Hayward pump and filter which are both good but their salt chlorine generators seem to have a lot of design flaws. Many people report inaccurate salt readings years down the road and it comes down to a self-admitted design flaw in how they engineered their equipment. Autopilot, on the other hand, has two salt sensors to constantly and properly monitor the salt reading. We have gone through 4 swim seasons with the Pool Pilot Digital and I am confident that we’ll go through many more with it.” – Jonathan from Virginia Beach, Virginia 

“My 10 year old Pool Pilot Digital is still running great. About 7 years in I had to purchase a new cell. My pool builder supplied the original equipment but I have since used Salt Pool Guys for my replacement cell and just recently some advice on how to optimize my water chemistry parameters. For the first 9 years of owning my system, I worked full time and truly left it on “auto pilot”.  I am retired now and just invested in refinishing my pool so pool chemistry is on the top of my list of things to learn more about. The folks at Salt Pool Guys have been great with this.

As for the Pool Pilot Digital, this machine is a great investment. I have several friends who own different brands of salt pool systems and at least one of them is buying a Pool Pilot after having many issues with the brand he owns. I really like the feature that automatically adjusts chlorine output when my water temperature changes. This was particularly useful when I was traveling for 10-15 days at a time. I am also very impressed that I was able to get 7 years of life out of my cell even when I greatly neglected my pool chemistry many times over that period.” – Johnny from Dallas, Texas

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Troubleshooting & Tech Support

The AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital salt system features a full diagnostics mode which allows our factory trained technicians to assist in troubleshooting and technical support. Common error messages include “Low Amps – Cell?”, “Check/Clean Cell” and “Purifier Off – Check Flow”. These messages can show for a variety of reasons. If you need assistance please see our AutoPilot Pool Pilot tech support page.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Owner’s Manual

You can download a free digital copy of the owner’s manual from our AutoPilot Pool Pilot owners manual page.

 

AutoPilot LS Command Center Salt Chlorine Generators – LS1000, LS1500 & LS2000

AutoPilot Pool Pilot LS Command CenterThe AutoPilot LS Pool Command Center (LS1000, LS1500 & LS2000) series was one of the first mainstream salt chlorine generators to hit the market primarily using AutoPilot RC-7 & RC-15 salt cells. We still have many customers using these older generation systems. While some parts are no longer made we do stock the parts that are still manufactured by AutoPilot. We can also assist with upgrading to the latest technology that AutoPilot offers if the need arises. For more information contact our tech staff at support@saltpoolguys.com.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Purifier % & Boost Mode Explained

This article applies to the vast majority of AutoPilot Pool Pilot installations. It will not apply if ORP automation is being used to control the chlorine production of the AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt system. 

SaltPoolGuys.com is an authorized dealer of AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt systems. We offer a full selection of AutoPilot Pool Pilot parts & cells along with complete systems. 

Adjusting the Purifier Percentage
Use the “UP” and “DOWN” arrows to adjust the purifier output percentage (can be adjusted from 0-100%). Once you’ve reached your desired purifier percentage setting you then press the “SELECT” button to lock the reading in. Once you have set the desired purifier level the temperature compensation feature will take over until the purifier is adjusted manually once again (see “Temperature Compensation” below for more details.)

How to Adjust AutoPilot Pool Pilot Purifier

What is the purifier percentage?
When you are adjusting the purifier percentage of your AutoPilot Pool Pilot you are setting how often the cell is powered to produce chlorine. The cell has active and inactive or idle periods of time.

Examples based on an 8-hour pump run time:

  • @ 25% purifier chlorine will be produced for 2 hours and the cell will idle for 6 hours
  • @ 50% purifier chlorine will be produced for 4 hours and the cell will idle for 4 hours
  • @ 100% purifier chlorine will be produced for 8 hours and the cell will idle for 0 hours

As you can see the higher the purifier percentage setting the more chlorine will be produced. It is important to remember that pump run time also affects the amount of chlorine being produced. In the above example, we used an 8-hour pump run time.

Using the 50% purifier example see the list below for examples of how pump run time will affect chlorine production:

  • @ 50% purifier and an 8-hour pump run time chlorine will be produced for 4 hours and the cell will idle for 4 hours
  • @ 50% purifier and a 12-hour pump run time chlorine will be produced for 6 hours and the cell will idle for 6 hours
  • @ 50% purifier and a 24-hour pump run time chlorine will be produced for 24 hours and the cell will idle for 0 hours

As you can see in the above examples it is extremely important to take pump run time into consideration when choosing the ideal starting purifier percentage as increases or decreases in the pump run time provides more or less of a chance for the unit to produce chlorine within the same purifier percentage setting.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Purifier

Ideal Purifier Percentage
With a properly balanced pool and at least an 8-hour per day pump run time, the manufacturer recommends starting the purifier percentage at 50%. If your pump run time greatly exceeds 8 hours per day you’ll want to curb down the 50% level to prevent overwearing of the cell. When learning your ideal purifier % level you should regularly check the chlorine level and adjust as need be. With that said your proper output setting will vary based upon several factors including time of year, stabilizer level, pool size, location, exposure to sunlight, number of users, vegetation around the pool, water balance conditions and pump run time.

Temperature Compensation
AutoPilot Pool Pilot controllers feature a temperature compensation system. This technology allows the Pool Pilot to automatically make fine output adjustments as the water temperature changes.

The tri-sensor works in conjunction with the chlorine % feature to automatically adjust chlorine output based upon changes in water temperature. The idea behind this feature is that less chlorine is needed in cooler water conditions and as the water warms more chlorine is needed to properly maintain the pool.

This unique and exclusive feature really sets AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt chlorine generators apart from the rest of the industry. It helps to conserve the life of the cell in cooler conditions and keep your pool sparkling and safe in warmer conditions.

Cold Water Lockout: As the water temperature drops below 65F, the AutoPilot Pool Pilot controller will activate a high chlorine percent lockout, and may not allow chlorine adjustments up to 100%. The feature prevents the AutoPilot Pool Pilot controller from over-driving the salt cell under colder temperatures, thus preventing premature salt cell wear. At 55F or colder water temperatures, the controller will adjust to a fixed 1% output, this preventing over-chlorination and premature salt cell failure.

Cold Water Conditions
When the water temperature drops below 65°F, the Pool Pilot controller will activate a high purifier lockout. With the water temperature at these levels, you may not be able to adjust the purifier level up to 100%. At 55°F or colder water temperatures, the controller will adjust to a fixed 1% output and will not allow for the purifier level to be raised manually. This helpful feature prevents the controller from overworking the cell under colder temperatures, preventing premature cell wear.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Boost Mode

Boost Mode
Boost mode sets the purifier level to 100% for a specified period of time. Standard boost mode runs for a 24-hour duration while super boost mode runs for 72 hours. Note: If boost mode is activated on a Pool Pilot Digital DIG-220 controller which is configured to control a one-speed pump the pump will continue to run past the its standard shut off time until the boost cycle duration is complete.

  • To activate boost: Press “BOOST” button once.
  • To activate super boost: Press & hold “BOOST” button for 8 seconds.
  • To deactivate boost: Press “BOOST” a second time.

Product Spotlight: AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional Commercial Salt Chlorine GeneratorThe AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional is the leading commercial salt chlorine generator manufactured by AutoPilot of St. Petersburg, Florida. SaltPoolGuys.com is an authorized distributor of AutoPilot Pool Pilot products throughout the United States. We offer complete systems, replacement parts, and cells. For assistance with your commercial salt chlorine generator needs call us at (888) 725-8766 or send an e-mail to support@saltpoolguys.com.

Each AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional unit can support 2 – 6 commercial chlorine generator cells each rated with up to 2.5 lbs. of chlorine production capacity per 24-hour day. Multiple AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional units can be installed in a system for a virtually endless amount of configurations.

Key Features & Details: 

  • Industry leading commercial cells
  • Self-cleaning “soft reverse” cell technology
  • In-line or convection cell configurations
  • One control unit can support up to 6 cells for a much cleaner/streamlined installation
  • Digital panel displays independently monitored cell performance
  • Compatible with ORP controllers
  • NSF approved
  • Made in USA

Replacement Parts & Cells:

In addition to assisting customers with complete AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional systems we also stock and offer the complete line of replacement parts and cells including PPC5 (formerly CC-15) cells. We have the largest stock of commercial AutoPilot Pool Pilot parts and cells in the United States for quick and fast delivery.

Sizing & Specifying:

Commercial salt chlorine generators require special sizing as compared to residential pools which are typically sized based off of gallons of the pool alone. Our AutoPilot Pool Pilot factory authorized product experts can assist in properly sizing and specifying the AutoPilot Pool Pilot Professional specifically for your application. To learn more call (888) 725-8766 or e-mail support@saltpoolguys.com.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Freeze Protection Feature

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Freeze ProtectionFreeze protection is a feature included with AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital DIG-220 and AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital 75003 control units. The feature will turn the pool pump on when water drops below 40°F if the Pool Pilot control is properly configured to control the pool pump. This feature is for one-speed pool pumps and does not apply to two-speed or variable speed pool pumps.

This feature can reduce the possibility of freeze damage to the pump, filter, and pipes in milder climates where freezing weather is not typically expected. There is no warranty or guarantee of this feature. It is still always very important to take any and all precautions to ensure that freeze damage does not occur.

The Pool Pilot freeze protection feature will NOT work properly unless all of the following conditions are met:

  • The Pool Pilot must be powered continuously. An external switch or timer should not be used to turn off the Pool Pilot power during the freezing weather.
  • The Pool Pilot must control the power to the circulation pump.
  • DIG-220 Models: The Pool Pilot “Pump Control” must be programmed for one-speed pump. When the tri-sensor indicates that the water temperature is below 38°F, the control unit will override the normal timed program cycle and run the pump 30 minutes minimum or continuously while the water temperature is below 38°F.
  • 75003 Models: The Pool Pilot “Set Relay 1” must be programmed for one-speed pump and the circulation pump must be wired to relay 1.
  • When the Tri-sensor indicates that water temperature is below 38°F, the control unit will override the normal timed program cycle and run the pump 30 minutes minimum or continuously while the water temperature is below 38°F.
  • The Pool Pilot uses a temperature sensor located in the AutoPilot Pool Pilot tri-sensor assembly to determine water temperature. If the AutoPilot Pool Pilot tri-sensor is located so that it cannot accurately detect the cold water, then the freeze protection becomes ineffective. (For example, if the AutoPilot Pool Pilot tri-sensor is located inside a protected or warm location and the other pool components are located in an unprotected area, the other pool components could freeze before the tri-sensor detects the cold water.)

What is an AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt system? What does it do?

AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt systems are electronic chlorine generators for pools and spas. The systems use a low concentration of salt (usually around 3000 parts per million). Salt is added directly to the pool water with no special holding or mixing tanks needed. The AutoPilot Pool Pilot system then automatically converts the salt into chlorine which is required to properly maintain pools and spas. The process is extremely efficient and the chlorine even reverts back to salt after the process is complete reducing the need to replenish the salt.

AutoPilot is the exclusive manufacturer of the Pool Pilot series of salt chlorine generators. The company is based in St. Petersburg, Florida and is proud to be a US-based manufacturer in an industry that is seeing more and more products being made outside of the US. AutoPilot is actually the oldest US manufacturer of salt chlorine generators entering the industry in 1976. SaltPoolGuys.com is an authorized dealer of AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt chlorine generator systems, replacement parts, and cells. We are known nationwide as the premier experts of AutoPilot Pool Pilot products. 

The main components of an AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt chlorine generator system include the control box unit (power supply), salt cell and sensor. There are several models and variations of AutoPilot Pool Pilot systems however these are the main components used in all systems.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital

AutoPilot’s Pool Pilot control box unit is the brains of the operation. This unit houses the control board functions and power supply unit. There are several variations with different features ranging from a basic LED blinking light interface to industry-leading fully digital control interfaces. The most popular control box units are the AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Nano series and AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digitial DIG-220 units.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Cell

If the control box unit is the brain of the operation then the AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt cell is the mini on-site chlorine factory. Inside of the cell, you’ll find specially coated titanium blades. This is where the process of chlorine generation actually occurs. A small amount of energy is applied to the cell blades from the control box and chlorine is produced through the process of electrolysis.

AutoPilot offers a wide range of salt cells for pools and applications of all sizes for both residential and commercial use. The current generation of cells include PPC1, PPC2, PPC3, PPC4 and PPC5 cells. The ideal salt cell configuration will vary from application to application. Some of the factors to consider are the model of the control box, pool size in gallons and chlorine demand.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Sensor

Now that we know where the brains and factory are that leaves us with one last main component. There are two different variations of main sensors used with most AutoPilot Pool Pilot systems. The first and less common is the standalone flow sensor. The flow sensor simply detects that there is enough water flowing to the salt cell in order to properly produce chlorine. The more common version of the sensor is the exclusive AutoPilot Pool Pilot tri-sensor assembly (pictured above). This three-way sensor detects water flow, salt content, and water temperature.

SaltPoolGuys.com offers the full product line of AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt chlorine generators along with AutoPilot Pool Pilot replacement cells & parts. If you have any questions you can e-mail our AutoPilot Pool Pilot experts at support@saltpoolguys.com.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Cell Buyers Guide

Hello, my name is Josh Ulfers. I am the owner / operator of SaltPoolGuys.com. We are an authorized AutoPilot Pool Pilot dealer. In fact, AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt systems are our specialty. For over 10 years we have helped more AutoPilot Pool Pilot owners than any other dealer in the world. This has made us the go-to authority in the industry for AutoPilot Pool Pilot systems, parts and cells. In this guide, I will personally tell you everything you need to know when buying a replacement cell for your AutoPilot Pool Pilot system.

If you have any questions please reach out to our factory trained experts at support@saltpoolguys.com

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Cells

New Part Numbers & Translucent Cell Body

What needs to be replaced along with the cell?
One of the most common questions that we’re asked by customers pertains to replacing the cell power cord when installing a new AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt cell. AutoPilot’s warranty policy states that the cell cord should be replaced whenever the cell is replaced. This is because cell cords can become fatigued over time and the terminals within the cord head that plugs into the cell can become weak or corroded. When a cell cord has issues at the terminals it can quickly damage a perfectly good cell. For this reason, you should always replace the cell cord when replacing the cell.

Melted AutoPilot Pool Pilot Cell Cord

Which cell cord is compatible with my cell?
This is, of course, the next question that we’re asked. The cell cord part number is not determined by the cell part number. Instead the cell cord part number is determined by the model number of the AutoPilot Pool Pilot control box panel.

AutoPilot Pool Pilot Cell Cords

  • AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital DIG-220 uses cord # 952-ST/DIG
  • AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital 75003 uses cord # 952
  • AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Nano 75040, 75041 & 75041A use cord # 952
  • AutoPilot Pool Pilot Digital Nano Plus 75042, 75043 & 75043A use cord # 952
  • AutoPilot Pool Pilot Soft Touch uses cord # 952-ST/DIG
  • AutoPilot Pool Pilot Cubby Digital uses # 952
  • This covers most of the models. If your model is not listed or you still are unsure of which cord is needed please send us an e-mail at: support@saltpoolguys.com.

Generic Cell Cords vs. Genuine Cell Cords
Unfourtantley we’ve recently seen a handful of sellers offering generic cell cords. This means that AutoPilot didn’t actually manufacture them. Sometimes these sellers are less than upfront about the fact that the cell cord isn’t made by AutoPilot. We hear from customers on a regular basis who have damaged cells or circuit boards caused by generic cell cords. Using a generic cell cord will void the warranty of your cell and/or system. Genuine AutoPilot Pool Pilot cell cords have the “AutoPilot” stamped in the cord head as shown in the photo below.

Generic Cells?
Most of us as consumers are familiar with purchasing generics in some shape or form. We’ve all probably experienced some generics as being as good as the originals and some are just poor quality when compared to the original.

Generic AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Cells

Did I answer all of your quesitons? I sure hope so. You can always e-mail me at josh@saltpoolguys.com with your questions!

How Long Does an AutoPilot Pool Pilot Salt Cell Last?

This is a question that we’re asked quite often. It is also a question that most industry professionals don’t quite have an accurate answer to. We’ll help clear it up in this article.

  1. There is no shelf life to salt cells. Most of us are familiar the term shelf life when it comes to the milk in our refrigerator or spare batteries in our junk drawer. The good news about salt cells is that there is no shelf life. You could place a new salt cell in your garage today and it will be just as good 10 years later.
  2. There is no set amount of time a cell will last. This is a common misconception even among pool service techs. A cell doesn’t last a set amount of hours. Sure you may be to find an average amount of time that a cell lasts but factors can alter this average greatly.
  3. Is it an OEM or generic cell? An OEM cell means that the original equipment manufacturer made the cell. In this case, the cell would be manufactured by AutoPilot Pool Pilot. While a generic cell is made by a 3rd party company not affiliated with AutoPilot Pool Pilot. A recent industry study showed that an OEM cell outlasted a generic cell by 120% life! That’s right, the OEM cell outperformed a generic cell lifespan by 120%. So for the sake of this article, we’re strictly talking about cells manufactured directly by AutoPilot Pool Pilot and not any sort of generic product.

Alright, so we’ve learned that we don’t measure cell life in time. So just how do we measure the life of an AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt cell? Cell life is measured in the amount of chlorine the cell can produce over the life of the cell.

100 lbs. of pure gas chlorine equals:

  • 100 gallons of liquid chlorine
  • 112 lbs. of trichlor chlorine tablets
  • 150 lbs. of cal hypo chlorine   

So what affects how long a cell will last? Take a look at our “What affects the life of my AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt cell?” article for more details on this.

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About AutoPilot Pool Pilot Chlorine Generators

SaltPoolGuys.com is proud to be the leading dealer of AutoPilot Pool Pilot salt chlorine generators for both residential and commercial swimming pools. While most of our blog articles deal with technical questions this article looks more at AutoPilot as a company.

    1. Oldest US Manufacturer of Salt Chlorine Generators: Many people don’t realize how long salt chlorine generator technology has been around for. AutoPilot actually pioneered the technology in the United States starting in 1976. The name in the 70’s through the mid 90’s was Lectrantor. To this day we still have customers contacting us for replacement cells for their decades-old Lectrantor units, a true testament to the quality and engineering of the product.
    2. Hotels, Resorts & Beyond: AutoPilot salt chlorine generators have been in wide use across the commercial side of the swimming pool industry. Pool Pilot units are used by Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Four Seasons Resorts, YMCA and many others.
    3. Made In The USA: The AutoPilot factory is located in St. Petersburg, Florida and is an employee-owned business. The management team and employees at the Florida facility pride themselves on making quality products in the United States.
    4. Sister Company of AquaCal Swimming Pool Heat Pumps:  Just across the street from the AutoPilot factory is AquaCal, the world’s largest manufacturer of swimming pool heat pumps. AutoPilot & AquaCal are sister companies under the Team Horner banner. In addition to specializing in the AutoPilot Pool Pilot product line, we also offer AquaCal heat pumps. Visit our heat pump division at: www.poolheatpumpsusa.com.