Programming the self clean cycle on your Watermaid chlorinator

I get a few calls every year from people with erosion on the two legs of the centre tube of their Watermaid cell. This was an issue with a production run in 2007/2008. The problem was with the self clean cycle and arcing in some of these early self clean units. The Watermaid cell doesn’t do a hard reversal of current when it self cleans. It can pull up to 30 amps when generation and it can generate a lot of chlorine. About 25% more than other brands on the market. When it goes into self clean, the current flow is chopped to about 100 mili amps. This ensures that the cell is not attracting calcium and metals any more and it is gently pushing back on anything stuck to the plates. This ensures that the cell doesn’t push off its precious metals when it self cleans. It makes it one of the poorest units for self cleaning but at the same time it also tends to last significantly longer than cells with plates that do hard reversals. The fix was a modification to the circuit board that clipped voltage and eliminated the problem. For the units that were built during this time that have this cathode erosion problem, there are two solutions,

  1. Replace the circuit board (the expensive option)
  2. Shut off the self clean cycle. This fixes the problem without the cost.

For those of you that have this problem, I am including the procedure to shut down the self clean cycle. For those of you that don’t have a cathode erosion issue, the procedure will allow you to set the time that the unit self cleans every hour.

Please keep in mind that when the unit is self cleaning it isn’t producing chlorine. Increasing the self clean time doesn’t necessarily mean that the unit will be able to keep up with deposits. You will still need to check the cell and clean it when the calcium deposits on the cathode build up.

To change the program for the self clean,

  1. With the unit powered up, push the + and the – keys and hold them until the blue light plus another light comes on
  2. The blue light indicates that you are programming the self clean.  The other led indicates how long the unit will self clean every hour.  The first light (red) indicates that the self clean is off.  If the 2nd led is on it indicates that the unit will self clean for 2.5 minutes every hour.  Every led above that is an additional 2.5 minutes of self cleaning. (e.g.. third light on would indicate 2.5 x 3= 7.5 minutes every hour.)
  3. To advance the led to the next setting, push the + button.  If you miss the desired setting, select the + key until the setting goes to the last led and then it will wrap and start over again.
  4. When the desired self clean time is reached, push the – button to set the program.

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