Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Garden and Outdoor Center > Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs
Reload this Page >

WATCHDOG message, '99 Sundance spa, where to begin?

WATCHDOG message, '99 Sundance spa, where to begin?

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-26-10, 08:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
WATCHDOG message, '99 Sundance spa, where to begin?

Hi,

I bought a house with an old hot tub ('99 Sundance). I had an incredible amount of useful help on the electrical forum previously when I had no clue about NEC, so I thought I'd try again here. I have no clue about spas this time.

The main thing: I can't find any useful repair manuals for Sundance online. All the stuff I'm finding is simple electrical wiring diagrams and 2-page "owner's manual" stuff. What would you recommend to use as reference material for repairs?

If you read this far, here's my storry For 2 years, my newly bought with the house used spa was sitting there collecting snails, and I finally decided to clean and start it up. After draining and cleaning I refilled it with water incorrectly (i.e. not through the filter hole, but directly pouring water into the tub). It turned on and I could run jets, and most of them worked (but seemingly not all). I saw the "FLO" error on the screen, and heard quiet humming when I turned all the spa jets off, but after 1 hour or so FLO seems to have disappeared. FLO means the heater (and maybe the pump) was off, because of water flow or sensor problems. I think maybe there was some air trapped in the pump because I filled it incorrectly.

I turned it off (at the breaker panel, 50A), and after 3 days I drained and cleaned it again. And filled through the filter hole with tap water, maybe 2 inches more water than needed.

When I turn it on now, all jets start for maybe 1 second or less, even the light turns on inside the tub, but then it turns off and "----" message (meaning: WATCHDOG message, unspecified error - call your dealer).

I tried waiting for 1 hour and restarting it a couple of times, but the result is the same.

The previous owners installed it without access to the electrical/service compartment - I need to pull out a piece of my deck to get access. I'm gonna do that when I have some time to put it back together in a way that will allow easy access, but in the meantime - where do I start? I have no repair manual and have little understanding of what could be wrong or what I should test. Should I leave the water inside the tub or do I have to drain it again? I'll try to find some fuses inside the service compartment, but I have no idea how to access any sensors (like temperature sensor) or pumps or plumbing inside the tub; I imagine plumbing runs all around it, and service compartment door gives access only to a small part of it.

What do I do?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-27-10, 09:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 26
For starters, let me get this one out of the way...the previous owner that didn't build a deck to give easy access to the control panel is a BOOB.

For the tub, I would try filling it (and you did), and start it without the filter installed. There is probably air in the pumps anyway and starting it with the filter, which holds a lot of air, would only make it more difficult to push the air through.

The FLO fault is just that. No flow to close the switch, which will allow the heater to come on. Do you have flow from your circ pump? If you have decent flow and you still have a FLO error, then either your flow switch is shot or there's some crap preventing it from closing...or air in the lines.

Not sure what the watchdog error is. Try shutting the thing down, let it sit a few minutes and restart. Do this without the filter in it. If you hear a lot of noise, sounding like someone gargling or mild banging, that's just air and the pump is cavitating. Stick a garden hose in the return hole of the filter housing and force some water into it. It's not uncommon for the tub pumps to cavitate after draining/refilling.
 
  #3  
Old 09-27-10, 03:41 PM
todrut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,212
obergut gave some good starters. If filters are as old as the spa has been sitting I would replace them first thing. If you still have a flo issue, there could be hair or debri in the impellar of pump. I'm assuming there is only one pump???
 
  #4  
Old 09-28-10, 07:35 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
So the FLO error was at the beginning; after I refilled the spa for the 2nd time, I ONLY get WATCHDOG ("----") message. The spa shuts down immediately after turning on.

I did all manipulations without filter; certainly, I removed the old filter but didn't want to install the brand-new one ($50) before I'm sure the water is clear and there is good flow.

I was cautious not to let any debree get into the filter opening, but who knows maybe some did get in and that's the problem... The opening seems to bend just a few inches inside, so I wouldn't see any debree inside; how do I diagnose it?

Any suggestions re: where to get some manuals on spa plumbing and more detailed troubleshooting than the standard owner's manual?

Thanks,
Sergiy
 
  #5  
Old 09-29-10, 05:19 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Euclid, Oh
Posts: 315
Try this link - looks like a temperature problem.


Sorry I cant help you with a manual. The documentation is poor based on my experience so you have to rely of forums like this. I think watchdog means that the sensor is out of range so it wont try to heat. I have a 2002 Sundance/Sweetwater and so far I've been lucky, only a motor seal and a couple of times the flow sensor went bad.
 

Last edited by todrut; 09-29-10 at 05:41 PM. Reason: sorry no url's
  #6  
Old 09-30-10, 01:52 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
[update] There seems to be some info on the web about the topic that I found after some googling. My google-fu is weak, but I'm learning...

Thanks! Is the temperature (and flow) sensor reachable from the service compartment, or somewhere else? How do I find one? I googled it and it looks non-descriptive and looks like it must be in contact with water, therefore it'll be inside the spa will it not?

How do I test if it's bad when I find it? Does it have to have a specific voltage on the 2 legs when it's heated to some specific temperature? Or is my only chance to replace it and hope it'll fix the problem?

I hope it's not as hopeless as it looks now that I'm seeing my own helpless questions :-/ ...

Thanks!
Sergiy
 

Last edited by migdalskiy; 09-30-10 at 04:03 PM. Reason: Found more info
  #7  
Old 10-02-10, 04:45 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 26
The flow switch and wires from the thermocouple will be inside the control/access panel. The thermocouple (temp sensor) would have to be checked with a thermocouple reader as it inputs a mV signal to the control board's eeprom. It's probably a type K t/c which is a "general temp range" t/c. You may be able to check for an open t/c using an ohm meter while the tub is in that watch dog fault. Thermocouples fail upon heating up where they open up and go to the highest range for that type t/c....which will be out of range as programmed on the eeprom and therefore you got your watchdog fault.

So, you need to find the t/c which should be a little white knob possibly inside the filter housing. Unscrew it and pull the 2 wires off the control board. I would bet that you could go to Spa and Pool Source on the net and find one there.

I would also chech the overtemp t/c too/ If it is open (broken wire) it means that the control board is being told that the heater is too hot, and that may give you a watchdog fault. Maybe the 4-wire plug has fallen out of the control board.

It could be that the wire is broke too. Or maybe the plug just needs to be reseated on the control board. Mice love low voltage wiring!

As far as the flow switch goes, you need to find it, and while the circ pump it running you need to see if it's closing. Some switches are inside clear piping. Otherwise, pull the plug off the control board and check for continuity while the circ pump is running. It needs to be a closed switch to get the heater to come on.
 
  #8  
Old 10-02-10, 08:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Thank you so much for the detailed instructions!

Temperature Sensor seems sane, shows 71F on my tester (Ideal 61-310). High-limit sensor resistance is 45 K Ohm. The Temperature Sensor resistance shows 4 K Ohm, although I don't know if the thermocouple's few millivolts throw the ohmmeter off. Are those resistances with reasonable ranges? I read somewhere Temp Sensor should be 65 K Ohm, but I don't know if I trust that source

I also found out I have Sentry 850 control panel, and my spa model name is Altamar if that makes any difference. I have a '99 owner's manual, so it's probably 1999 model.

I don't think I should worry about the flow switch, because the spa turns off within half a second - I don't have a chance of spotting any flow there that fast. Does it make sense? What would you recommend to test / replace next?
 
  #9  
Old 10-03-10, 07:28 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 26
No problem. This is fun, especially when it's someone else's tub that's broken. Ha!

Anyway...after I wrote that last bit on the temp and flo I thought that it was probably something more having to do with the circuit board/transformer/voltage regulator, etc.

Is this board a 6600-028?

If you had an open t/c, you would probably get some find of error such as "open t/c" or something close. The over temp sensor is probably nothing more than a thermal switch that closes at some temperature (110f+) that would burn your skin or wreck the heater. And an open flow switch should give you an error such as, "flow" or something like that. I think you've tested all of that and all is well. That watchdog error probably has something to do with voltages between your incoming and the 5v logic chip (eprom) on the board. Ultimately, the eprom (the actual program) is the one that's monitoring your circuit and sending messages to the display.

Here's what I would check:

Make sure you have 240VAC at the board...where it actually stakes onto the board. That 240 merely supplies power to the heater, pumps, & ozonator (if you have one). Just follow the lines in.

There should be a 240 to 120 transformer. Check that you have 120vac, +/- a couple, across the 2 wires at the load side of the trans. There is usually a diagram or some instruction (red wires 240/primary, yellow 120/secondary). Otherwise, follow the 2 240 lines in and the other 2 will be your 120.

Then there should be a plug on your board the supplies the 120 to a bridge rectifier that makes some 30VDC. There will probably be a couple of filter capacitors that smooth the DC. If any of those caps are bulged (have a rounded end) or have any brown crud seeping through the seems, then your cap is bad and the watchdog error is related to too much a/c or not enough DC. From the bridge/cap there should be a couple of fingernail-sized black chips with 3 legs. Those are your voltage regulators...for 12VDC and 5VDC, both control (relay) and logic (eprom), and other chips such as overtemp, flow inputs, etc.

If you can read the print on those v-regs (LMxxxx) look them up on the net and see which leg does what. One leg will be input (the DC from the bridge), one will be output (12vdc), and one will be ground. The 5 volt regulator will probably have a 12vdc input, 5 out, ground.

If you are able to get a probe in there with power on, you should get some idea of watts going on.You must reference the the rectified ground to get something accurate on the regulators.

My guess is that you may have a bad x-former, bad cap (very common for an outdoor circuit), bad bridge (not uncommon), or v-reg. After that, maybe a bad eprom? I think you can still get the eprom for whatever version they're running. It's actually pretty cheap. Otherwise I would pull the board, and start looking up componants until I found the bad one. The circuit boards aren't cheap,but I think they are available.

Good luck & be careful.
Paul
 
  #10  
Old 10-03-10, 04:47 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,431
We have a Master spa, 11 years old. Recently it tripped the breaker;I re-set at the panel box only to re-trip upon startup. Turns out the "ozonator" was causing a dead short. Bypassed and everything is fine. Make sure you check the simple stuff, and I hope your fix is simple.

I am very impressed with the level of technical knowledge on this thread.
 
  #11  
Old 10-04-10, 11:57 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Oops, might've just been bad contacts..

Yes, thanks a bunch to everyone, esp. Obergut, your help and technical knowledge is very much appreciated!

btw, yes, you're right, the control board is 6600-028. It looks pristine, no black spots or cracks or visibly blown capacitors.

Though I didn't test anything on the board yet (even after tearing apart a piece of my deck the access is bad, I can only open the sentry control panel door by 3 inches which makes everything very slow - ), it may be just the bad contact at J6 connector or the temp sensor after all... Here's the story for those with similar problem.

Today, just as an extra check before going on a wild goose chase, I turned the spa on with J6 connector disconnected. It showed messages "106F, Sn1, ILOC, Sn3" (maybe in different order) and didn't start jets like before. This looked much better than WATCHDOG and weird half-a-second jet action to me, so:

I connected just the Hi-limit sensor and plugged J6 (temp sensor still disconnected). Whoa, the spa started working! The jets went off and the display showed "107F, ICE, Sn3" which is totally accounted for by disconnected temp sensor - I guess the spa went into de-icing mode or something!

The temp sensor tin tips are really tiny, and while trying to prong the little tongues out to re-connect, I noticed one tongue seemed to be jammed inside of the tip. It's so tiny I can't see for sure, I tried to fix it with a needle but I just deformed it further. Do you know the name of the tin tips at the end of sensor wires? I'll try to buy and replace them.

More important question: does polarity matter? I've seen a video where red wires from the sensors go to the top of J6 connector (the side with the key, the small rectangle protrusion at the top of the connector). But on my control board, the black wires went to the top, and red to the bottom. The temp sensor will effectively negate the voltage if I switch the sensor wires. Does it matter to the circuit board? Does it care if it's +7mV or -7mV?

I tested both ways on my tester, and both ways showed the same 71 F, so I conclude it may not matter to the control board as well. Besides, the previous owner probably used this thing and it probably worked.. I hope..

Thanks,
Sergiy
 

Last edited by migdalskiy; 10-04-10 at 12:48 PM.
  #12  
Old 10-05-10, 08:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Nope, it was not a contact - Yes, the issue is found!

So I managed to fix the tin clamps around the sensor wires. I inserted paperclip of a size corresponding to the clamp diameter into the clamp (the same way the motherboard legs insert into it, and then gently squeezed the clamp with needle pliers.

I connected the temp sensor to the J6 connector and the spa went into WATCHDOG mode again! I tried several times, every time it goes into WATCHDOG. Except the very first time it flashed "OH" (overheat condition) for a very brief moment (maybe 0.1-0.2 sec). It happened only the very first time, after that it went into WATCHDOG every time.

I pulled out the temp sensor wires, and viola - the spa worked, albeit with "106F, ICE, Sn3" message meaning temp sensor failure.

So, I'll reiterate - I did check the temp sensor 4 times with my multimeter which can test type K thermocouples. The multimeter showed me "71F" twice and "20C" twice (the same temperature), which is the right temperature. Nevertheless, the spa reacts with a brief one-time almost-invisible "OH"(overheat) and then "WATCHDOG" to the plugged in temp sensor. About the only way to see the problem seems to be to pull the temp sensor out of the motherboard. The temp sensor resistance was 4 KOhm, I'll order another temp sensor and measure its resistance and post it later here. I hope I can't destroy the sensor by measuring its resistance?

Thank you all for help.
I'll post the result when I replace the temp sensor. Hopefully it'll finally fix it.
 
  #13  
Old 10-05-10, 09:08 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Temp sensor testing

I found a chart (here) that shows that the temp sensor must have ~40 K Ohm, and mine was ~4 K Ohm ! If I found the chart earlier, I'd have known my temp sensor is out of whack right away. Google-fu!

I'm ordering Temp Sensor P/N 6600-167 for my '99 Altamar 850, and an O-Ring P/N 6540-228
 
  #14  
Old 10-11-10, 03:24 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 26
Good job!
I wish I would have thought to go out and measure my sensor for ya. I'll bet it's close to the same one.
 
  #15  
Old 10-31-10, 11:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Resolved

I received and replaced the temperature sensor and turned the hot tub this week. It all works, yay!

Replacing the temperature sensor is actually really easy. I watched youtube video ("how to replace sundance temperature sensor"). The only thing was I couldn't hand-screw the sensor, I had to use a wrench.

Thanks you all!
 
  #16  
Old 09-25-11, 07:33 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: usa
Posts: 1
watchdog message

I have the EXACT same issue on my 2000 optima sundance spa..how did everything turn out and where did you buy your temp sensor?
 
  #17  
Old 11-27-11, 10:23 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Great debugging, guys! Hey UtahMark, any luck?

Kudos to migdalskiy and Obergut for your detailed debugging effort.

And UtahMark, did you make any progress on your spa?


I'm brand new here, and I love to debug--my 2002 Sundance Altamar 850 with the Sentry control box has been out of operation for 5 years after a circuit breaker blew and I didn't have the funds to replace it. (And I suspected something serious in the spa caused the breaker to die.)

Finally got the external electrical working, but now I get weird problems--the panel is locked, the icon for pump #1 flashes like it should be working, but no motors turn on.

Codes just repeat:
COOL
TEMP 56F
LOC

Tried to unlock panel:
- the Display-Mode-TempDown
- the Display-Display-Mode-TempDown

The panel responds, but never unlocks.

My circuitboard:
6600-056

I will try the J6 sensor test next. Wish me luck!
__Will in San Jose
 
  #18  
Old 12-11-11, 01:33 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: canada
Posts: 1
sundance spa locked out after changing breaker.

cause incorrect voltage at spa , only getting 110 volts check your breaker installation
 
  #19  
Old 12-28-11, 01:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Post 1998 Tango Sundance Spa

I have a 1998 Sundance Tango spa that after consulting with the
manufacturer, they said that it was the temp sensor and pc board. Here is what was going on... The spa would only heat to 82 and
turn off, as it would for finishing a filter cycle. I would un-plug and replug it in and it would get up to temp (102). When it would reach that temp, the main pump would run fine on low speed but on high it would cycle on and off.

After changing both the temp sensor and PC board now the spa
reads ---- which is the watch dog error message. The spa
deactivates almost immediately. Question I have is should I have
replaced both sensors or is the sensor I replaced bad.
 
  #20  
Old 03-26-12, 04:49 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1
I have a 1999 Altimar (850 Model) and need electronic help

Mice got into the electronics and i need to replace the Control Panel, Temp Sensor, Flo Switch, Air Blower. I bought the parts but looking for any installation instructions that might be out there. Thanks
 
  #21  
Old 04-21-12, 05:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1
Loc

what is the dfinition of LOC?
 
  #22  
Old 12-20-12, 08:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2
ILOC meaning

ILOC means that the doors are not closed all the way, it stands for interlock.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'