The dreaded "- - -" or "- - - -".
You are ready to get into your spa and notice nothing is running. You look on your topside touchpad and see --- or ----. Your spa has gone into the dreaded "watchdog" OR... if you have never replaced the temperature sensor, do so now. For a few dollars you can save a lot of money in the future.
What the "watchdog" mode officially means is the board has seen a failure and its doesn't know what. In theory it was to occur when the board itself has failed and that can be the case.
Most common cause is your temperature sensor. Field experience has taught techs to start with the temp sensor. We are guessing failing sensors just confuse the board. Sometimes we get reports of random temp readouts, or rapid temp readout changes, or OH errors, and THEN "- - - -".
So we recommend you replace your temperature sensor if you have not done so. See at >Sensors
You can do this before ordering the sensor(s). If you have an ozonator, turn main power off and disconnect the ozonator. In the past ozonators when failing could cause board issues. Its not likely the cause but why not try? Depending on the model, your ozonator either plugs directly into the board OR has a socket on the side of the control box. Whichever you have, try unplugging.
Next, another test that helps but not always, but free to try. Turn off power. Identify the harness/socket the temp sensor plugs into the board. (will be bunched with other wires). Unplug the harness/plug and leave unplugged. Power up. Do you get the - - - issue? If it now goes to FL errors or sensor errors instead of the - - - error, then its likely one of the sensors. Replace. IF it STILL goes to the - - - error, then its likely the board, transformer, or topside.
After doing that what is likely the cause???? The fault has been caused by the transformer, topside, and most commonly the pcboard. Some have even reported the OH sensor cause the error although we have not seen that in the field.
What to do?
Many replace the TEMP sensor AND the OH sensor as a first step to remove any chance it's one of them. USUALLY that solves. But if not, next is to check the transformer. You must know how to use a voltmeter and be comfortable doing so. See Here.
So if its not the sensors OR the transformer, it gets expensive.
MOST likely its the board. After doing all of the above, replacing the board almost always repairs the spa. On rare occasions it has been the topside.
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