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How to Troubleshoot a Hayward AquaRite Salt System

Hayward is known for producing top-of-the-line pool equipment, and the Hayward AquaRite salt system is no exception. The number one selling salt system in the world (really!), Hayward AquaRite efficiently sanitizes your pool water by transforming sodium chloride — salt — into free chlorine. Once bacteria and algae have been eliminated, the chlorine reverts back into salt. The intuitive and user-friendly AquaRite controller allows you to easily manage the output of chlorine. Below is a step-by-step guide detailing how to recalibrate and troubleshoot your AquaRite salt system, should problems arise.

Diagnostic Display Order: 

troubleshooting hayward aquarite salt system

Continuously pressing the diagnostic button on the AquaRite control panel will display the following information. In order of appearance:

  1. Pool Temperature (xx degrees F or C)
  2. Cell Voltage (xx.x Volts)
  3. Cell Current (x.xx amps)
  4. Desired Output % (“0P”–”100P” depending on knob position)
  5. Instant Salinity (-xxxx ppm or -x.xx grams/Liter)
  6. Product Name Sent to the Control Automation Display (AL-0 signifies “AquaRite”)
  7. Software Revision Level (r1.xx)
  8. Chlorinator Cell Type (T-3, T-9, T-15)

Recalibrating Your AquaRite Salt System

There are two reasons you might need to recalibrate your Hayward AquaRite salt system. The first is if salinity levels aren't displaying correctly. The second is if you change which cell type you're using with your controller.

How to Calibrate Salt Reading on Hayward AquaRite

To see if your salt system displays accurate salinity levels, use salt water test strips or a salinity tester to measure the actual salt content of your pool. For the most accurate measurement, bring a water sample to your local Leslie's for a free AccuBlue® water analysis. If the salt level displayed on your AquaRite control doesn't match the actual salt levels in your pool, you may need to calibrate your system. Here's how.

recalibrating aquarite salt system

  1. First, make sure your salt cell is clean. A dirty cell can give a false salinity reading.
  2. While the pump is running, slide the main switch from "Auto" to "Off," and then switch back to "Auto." Wait until you hear the relay click, which will take approximately 5–10 seconds.
  3. When you hear the click, press the diagnostics button five times to display instant salinity. This will begin the calibration process.
  4. The number on the display will start high, and begin to go down. When the number on the display matches the actual salt level in your pool, slide the main switch up to "Super Chlorinate," then back down to "Auto."
  5. Your Hayward AquaRite is now calibrated!

How to Change Chlorinator Salt Type for Hayward AquaRite

When your salt cell wears out and reduces (or halts) chlorine output, it's time to replace the salt cell in your AquaRite system. If you're curious about changing the cell type from what you have currently, you must first verify the new cell you install is compatible with your control box. T-Cell-15 cells are compatible with all versions or revision levels of AquaRite. However, the T-Cell-3, T-Cell-5, and T-Cell-9 are only compatible with software revision level 1.5 or above. To check which level you have, refer to the diagnostic display order above — the software revision level is number 7 on the list, so press the diagnostic button 7 times.

If you decide to change your cell type, you'll also need to change the cell type displayed in the control box. Pairing a new salt cell with the incorrect "cell type" setting will disrupt cell function. You'll get inaccurate salt level readings, and the cell won't produce any chlorine. In order for the cell to work correctly, you'll need to recalibrate your Hayward AquaRite for the correct cell type/size. Follow the steps below to calibrate and reset your AquaRite Salt System.

  1. To change the cell type, first flip the mode switch to "Auto."
  2. Press the diagnostic button 8 times to get to the cell type menu.
  3. Flip the switch back and forth between "Super Chlorinate" and "Auto" until you see the correct T-Cell number displayed, and return the switch back to "Auto."
  4. Your Hayward AquaRite control unit is now calibrated for use with your new salt cell!

Which Hayward Salt Cell Type Should You Buy?

Before you choose your new cell, make sure you pick one that can accommodate your pool size. A salt cell that's undersized either won't produce enough chlorine, or it will wear out quickly due to overwork. It's always better to purchase a salt cell too large than to purchase one too small.

  • T-Cell-15 is for pools up to 40,000 gallons.
  • T-Cell-9 is for pools up to 25,000 gallons.
  • T-Cell-5 is for pools up to 20,000 gallons.
  • T-Cell-3 is for pools up to 15,000 gallons.

Troubleshooting Your AquaRite Salt System

hayward aquarite control display

Every piece of pool equipment needs occasional tune-ups and adjustments. Troubleshooting your Hayward AquaRite salt system might sound daunting, but it is a very straightforward process. If you're experiencing any problems with your system, refer to the list below for help in resolving the issue.

1. "Power" Light Not On

If the Power LED does not illuminate, make sure the voltage is correct. The screw terminals at the control require either 120VAC or 240VAC input power. Verify the voltage with a voltmeter. If there is input power, but the Power LED still isn't lighting up, it may have blown a fuse.

2. "Generating" Light Flashing

A flashing "Generating" light indicates the pool water temperature is too high or too low. Extreme water temperature will prevent chlorine production. Override this by sliding the main switch to the "Super Chlorinate" position. This will allow the salt cell to produce at its maximum output for the remainder of the scheduled run time.

3. "No Flow" Light On

The "No Flow" LED light indicates the salt cell has stopped generating chlorine due to lack of water flow. Check that the flow switch is properly connected to the control box and is not cut or damaged.

NOTE: Ensure there is a minimum 12” of straight pipe before the flow switch. If the system still doesn't detect flow, check the arrows on the flow switch to ensure they are pointing in the correct direction.

4. "Check Salt" Light On or Flashing

Test the water for an accurate salt reading, and add more salt according to your owner's manual recommendation of 2,700–3,400 ppm (parts per million). 3,200 ppm salinity is ideal for Hayward AquaRite salt systems.

5. "High Salt" Light On

The only way to lower the salt level is by partially draining and refilling the pool. Check with your local pool professionals before attempting to dilute the salt water in your pool.

6. "Inspect Cell" Light On or Flashing

Remove and inspect the salt cell for signs of scaling. If the cell is dirty, follow the cleaning procedures outlined in our Salt Cell FAQ post. Replace the cell if the light is still lit after cleaning.

7. All Four Red and Yellow Lights On

This indicates a possible circuit board fault. Call the Hayward service department at (908) 355-7995 for assistance.

Don't be frustrated by a problem or malfunction with your Hayward AquaRite salt system. Remember, your pool should be salty, not you! If a problem arises, follow this step-by-step guide to get your AquaRite back in the game. And if you have any questions, stop by your local Leslie's to speak to one of our pool professionals.

Recommended Products

Hayward - Control Unit Aqua Rite

AquaRite Parts

Leslie's - Pool Salt

Pool Salt

Hayward T-Cell-15

Salt Cell

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