In this blog post, I will cover the hot tub wiring. Specifically, I am talking about how we can connect the various components to the Spa Pack. If you are looking for information on the Hot Tub Electric Requirements, then I have separate blog post on that.
The Spa Pack is the Central Control
The Spa Pack is the central control unit of your Hot Tub. It is the Spa Pack that controls the temperature. It is also the Spa Pack that controls your pumps and your blower. Whilst the spa packs may look different depending on the manufacturer, their role is the same; control all the electrical parts in your Hot Tub.
In its most basic form, a Spa Pack is a set of fancy relays; the control hub of your hot tub wiring. When you want to turn on your heat, a relay connects and sends power to the heating element. When you want to turn on your jets, a relay connects and sends power to your pump.
Why is this important? In short, it is your Spa Pack that is distributing the electricity to the various pumps and blowers that you have connected. Therefore, the first thing to note is that your Spa Pack should be connected to your mains supply directly. This is normally through 8-10mm2 cables as you will invariably be supplying the pack with 40+ Amps of current.
Hot Tub Wiring – The Electrical Block
Depending on the pack that you have, the main electrical block will look a little different. Below are two examples. The one of the left is my favourite pack from the USA from manufacturer ACC and on the right, there is an example from Balboa. Please note, if you are in the USA, then you will be using your split system to power the Spa Pack with 230V – 110V is not going to work for you if you have build a tub from brick or concrete, invariably they will be too large and too much water volume for 1.4KW of heat which is the maximum you can get on a 110V supply.
Connecting the Pump
Some pumps come with a cable already attached, others, will not. Again, depends on the brands that you have selected or have been supplied. There are two types of pump regardless of size for hot tubs. Circulation pumps and Jet Pumps.
Circulation Pump Vs Jet Pumps
A circulation pump is designed to move the water through the heater and the filter at low speed drawing low amounts of current from the electrical supply. The circulation pumps tend to be single speed and smaller and quieter than jet pumps.
Jet Pumps can either be single or dual speed but they are much larger and send more volume of water through the jets a lot quicker.
Single Speed Pumps Vs Dual Speed Pumps
For this article, we are concerned with how we are going to connect everything together. Therefore, what is important for us to know is that a single speed pump will have a 3 core cable whereas as dual speed pump will have a 4 core cable.
This is important to know because when you are plugging in your pump to the pack, you need to know which pins are for which connectors. If for example, you get the high and the low speed the wrong way around, you are going to have problems.
Example of a 3 Pin Connector (single speed pump)
Example of a 4 Pin Connector (dual speed pump)
What are the different colours on a Hot tub Pump Cable?
Hot tub pump cables as we have mentioned, have either 3 or 4 cores depending on whether they are single or dual speed. There is in fact a colour code system for the cables. Just to make things a little different, the colour codes are different if you are located in the USA or In Europe.
Below you can see the colour codes for the Hot Tub pump cable from each of the different regions.
USA Spec Cable (Typical, Colors may vary)
European Spec Cable (Typical, Colors may vary)
When Wiring a Pump, Match the PIN OUT from the Spa Pack to the Pump Terminals NOT the Colors
I can’t stress this enough. Please do not rely on matching the colors of wires together. Manufacturers change things all the times. Cables that are made may not have the colors in the right order. Pumps can change too.
You need to be looking at the PIN Out diagrams like shown below and then trace these over to the pump so you can connect the right cable to the right terminal on the pump.
You can clearly see that the PIN out between Balboa and ACC is different and are in a different order.
What about the pin out diagrams for the Spa Pack?
Depending on the brand of Spa pack, you will need to check the pin out diagrams with the manufacturer. In the USA, I like to use the ACC Spa Pack and you can see the pin out diagram below. This will show which is high speed and which is a low speed. In Europe and the rest of the World, I like to use the Balboa or Vian power (Balboa OEM) and you can see the pin out diagrams below.
ACC Pin Out Diagram
Balboa Pin Out Diagram
Connecting Accessories like a Blower.
Typically, accessories like a blower will connect using a 3 core cable. They will use just one of the output voltages and this does differ from Spa Pack to Spa Pack. For example, you can see above on the ACC pack that the pin out combinations are totally different for an Air blower than on a pump. For a Balboa pack, they generally use the Line voltage plus the neutral and the ground. You should definitely check the wiring diagram of the specific pack that you have purchased if you are not sure. The good thing is that with an accessory, you are unlikely to damage it if you get the pin out wrong. It will just not work.
Hot Tub Wiring – Configuring a Balboa Spa Pack
If you are using a basic setup, and by basic I mean a regular dual speed hot tub pump with a single speed blower, out of the box, your Balboa pack is likely to work without any additional configuration. However, if you are not using a separate circulation pump, the chances are you will need to “configure” the pack using the details below.
On the underside of the Spa Pack covers, you will see a circuit diagram that looks something like this.
Firstly, you need to work through the setup table at the bottom on the left hand side and work out which setup number you need. For example, a 2 speed pump and a single speed blower will need setup #12.
Next, you need to change the DIP switch settings to match your setup. Once you have the right combination of DIP switches, using the topside control you should do the following to change the pack’s setup mode to #12.
To go into the low levels follow the following steps please.
- Turn tub off.
- DIP switch 1 move to ON.
- Turn tub on
- On the top side control, Press “WARM” twice
- Press “LIGHT”
- Press “WARM”
- Then use “WARM” to move down to the low levels until you get on the set up number you need.
- Turn off tub
- DIP switch one back to OFF
- Turn on tub
Getting the right setup and config is important for the pack to function correctly and the buttons on the top side to do what you expect them to.[/fusion_text][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hue=”” saturation=”” lightness=”” alpha=”” content_alignment_medium=”” content_alignment_small=”” content_alignment=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” class=”” id=”” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” fusion_font_family_text_font=”” fusion_font_variant_text_font=”” font_size=”” line_height=”” letter_spacing=”” text_transform=”none” text_color=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]
Balboa DIP Switches Explained
Most of the Balboa Spa Packs have a set of DIP switches that can seem a little confusing in the setup. In the most basic form, you are telling the Spa Pack how many pumps or blowers you have connected and how many it should allow to run before it turns off the heater (or let them all run at once). The reason for this is if you are limiting the amount of current the pack can draw. You are also telling the pack wither you need additional cool down times if you are using an gas/propane/ASHP additional heater. This to stop the kettling effect you can get in the heaters.
Check the circuit diagram that is on the inside of your Balboa pack and do not just copy the settings I explain below as they may be in a different order. The “logic” behind them is the same so just check what each of the DIP switches says it does.
Fixed-fuction DIP Switches
A1 Test Mode (normally Off).
A2 In “ON” position, add one high-speed pump (or blower) with Heater. (If you have 1 pump and NO blower use this)
A3 In “ON” position, add two high-speed pumps (or 1 HS Pump and Blower) with Heater. (If you have a pump and a blower use this)
A4 In “ON” position, add four high-speed pumps (or 3 HS Pumps and Blower) with Heater. (If you have two or three pumps and a blower use this)
You should only enable one of the A2, A3 or A4. You can use them in combinations, but it is easier just to use one.
A5 In “ON” position, enables Special Amperage Rule B. In “OFF” position, enables Special Amperage Rule A.
Special Amperage Rule A No Limitation (if you are not sure, set it to this. Worst case, your electric will trip if you don’t have enough current available)
Special Amperage Rule B 2 High Speed Pump Maximum, in Setups 1 – 9 1 High Speed Pump Maximum, and also Blower turns off with 1 High Speed Pump, in Setups 10 – 18 (avoid this if you can)
A6 Persistent memory reset (Used when the spa is powering up to restore factory settings as determined by software configuration).
A2, A3, and A4 work in combination to determine the number of high-speed devices and blowers that can run before the heat is disabled. i.e. A2 and A3 in the ON position and A4 in the OFF position will allow the heater to operate with up to 3 high‑speed pumps (or two HS Pumps and Blower) running at the same time. Heat is disabled when the fourth high-speed pump or blower is turned on.
Note: A2/A3/A4 all off = No heat with any high-speed pump or blower.
Assignable DIP Switches
A7 In “ON” position, enables a 5-minute cooldown for some gas heaters (Cooling Time B). In “OFF” position, enables a 1-minute cooldown for electric heaters (Cooling Time A).[/fusion_text][fusion_text rule_style=”default” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” text_transform=”none” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]
Hot Tub Wiring – Configuring an ACC Spa Pack
These instructions on wiring and installation are provided as a guideline to assist you. Some experience of electrical wiring and do-it-yourself is required to install the light. If at any time you are unsure of how to proceed, you must consult a qualified electrician.
The parts supplied by www.buildahottub.com are designed around a 4-wire 240V system. We do not supply parts in our configurations for 110V systems as they tend to be underpowered.
Therefore, you need to make sure you configure your system for 240V.
The system is 240V, 41A @ 60HZ
Please use #6 AWG Copper Conductors
Neutral in the middle.
Line 1 to the left.
Line 2 to the right.
Should look something like this when connected.
As we are using 240V you also need to move two cables over. The Blue Cable (which is the pump) and the Red & White Stripe Cable (which is the blower) need to move from the neutral connector, over to the Line 2 as shown in the photograph below. (Solid White cable stays where it is)
When you have moved the cables, it should look something like this.
The pump cables that are supplied with the ACC Smart Touch have the following colours.
Black Wire is the High Speed.
Red Wire is the Low Speed
Green goes to Green on the Pump
White goes to White on the Pump
Generally, the systems supplied by www.buildahottub.com involve dual speed pumps and a blower.
The blower will plug into “Air Blower” and the pump will plug into “Primary Pump”
Depending on the model of pump supplied, you will need to check the wiring diagram to see which is high and which is low speed terminals.
Do not connect the Pool Light supplied by www.buildahottub.com to the control unit. It is not compatible.
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Thanks - Andi