Pro Pool Maintenance Tip: Using Clamp On Meters on Generator Cells

In Blog, Maintenance Tips by Ed Miller

It is important to understand how and when to clean your chlorine generator cell and having the correct tools to do the job helps. The number 1 tool I use is a voltage meter that reads dc Amps and dc voltage, called a clamp on. Most clamp on voltage meters that are available at your local hardware store only read AC amps. The best place to start in locating a meter is through anyone of the numerous online electrical supply stores where prices can vary from as little as $100 to several hundreds of dollars. Omega, Fluke, and others make several fairly inexpensive model that sell for under $150.   Start with a Baseline The best time to obtain dc amp and voltage at readings from your chlorine generator cell is when it is new and salinity is in the recommended range. This will be considered your baseline readings.  It is also recommended that you document that date of your readings.  If your generator has an hour meter, also notate the hours in your logs.  After you have your baseline readings, all future readings can be compared against the baseline.   Causes of low production As a cell ages the ruthenium oxide layer will wear away from its titanium plates. The titanium plates can also get caked with calcium. Having low salinity can also cause low production. When these types of events happen your dc voltage reading will generally always rise and your amperage reading will lower.  For instance, if your cell voltage reading was 20vdc when it was new and 4 months later it is now at 25vdc there is good chance your cell has calcium buildup or your salinity has fallen well below its recommended range. Now, if you have on a regular basis been servicing your cell properly (as per factory recommendations) and you have also been checking your voltage/amperage readings on a bi-weekly or monthly basis and have several years of operation on the cell; these same readings could indicate the cell is nearing the end of its life expectancy. Poor water quality, high phosphates, underestimated bather loads can dramatically shorten the life of a cell as your generator will be working overtime to overcome these obstacles. Last Thoughts I also recommend taking voltage and amperage readings after a power outage or brown out to verify your output is still within factory specifications. Being proactive is always better than being reactive when it comes to getting the best possible performance out of your chlorine generator system.