Which Balboa Topside Control Do I need?

Which Balboa Topside Control

Replacing a topside control, or the buttons that control your jets and adjust your temperature is a task that most of us hot tub owners are going to have to do at some point.


In general, this is not a difficult task. You unplug the old one from the tub, and you plug in the new tub. Yes, this part is easy. However, before you get to that stage, you need to make sure that you are buying the correct topside that is going to work with your spa pack.


It is a bit of a mine field so in this blog post, I hope to clear things up for you. This blog post is only applicable to the Balboa range of topside controls.

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Let’s start with the easy one


I think that Balboa realised the minefield that they had created and since about 2015 have made things a lot easier.


Around this time, they launched the “BP” range of Spa packs. BP501, BP601, BP2000, and their latest model the BP7 etc etc – there are quite a few of these. What they did was to somewhat standardize things and made it nice and simple as far as topside controls for these models.


If you have a “BP” spa pack, you will find the name and model on the label, then you can use any of the “TP” range of topside controls, TP400, TP600 etc etc.


You can also use any of the “Spa Touch” graphical controllers on your Spa Pack. Spa Touch comes in versions 1-3 with 4 to be released very soon as well as the new “mini”.


The BP Spa Pack made things nice and easy so when you are replacing your topside control with one of these, it is straight forward enough.


Not so straight forward, the older Spa Packs – VS & GS Spa Packs.


If you have an older hot tub that you are keeping alive with new parts, then the chances are you have an older spa pack in there too. This is where it gets a little more complicated in terms of compatibility.


Two of the popular models are the VS which stands for Value Series and was supplied to a lot of OEMs (manufacturers for hot tubs) to go into their tubs. Likewise, the GS (global series) was the same. Lots of different rebranded options, different names, but at the heart of things are these two packs.


What is key on these two models, is the combination of letters and numbers that make up the model number on the Spa Pack.


The VL range of topside controls was designed for both of these spa pack ranges; however, there are some “rules” we need to abide by in terms of compatibility.


VL Panels ending in D work with VS/GS systems ending in DZ

VL Panels ending in S work with VS/GS systems ending in SZ

The rest of the VL Panels work with VS/GS systems ending in Z (not SZ or DZ)


For example, a Spa Pack model VS501SZ would work nicely with a Topside that is model VL620S. However, that same topside control would not work with a spa pack model VS501Z. The connections are the same, it would plug in, but would not respond at all.


Another example, a Balboa GS500Z spa pack would work with the VL406T or the VL401 but would not work with the VL702S.


You get the patters. Topside ends in S or D, matches to Spa Pack ending in SZ (for S) or DZ (for D).



Balboa EL & GL – Somewhat Standard


Before the birth of the BP range, the EL and GL Spa Packs did have some level of standardisation in terms of the topside controls.


All of the “ML” range of Balboa Topside Controls are designed to work with the EL and GL range of spa packs. They actually look very similar to the TP range, they just have a different type of connection to plug into the Spa Pack.


Can I help you?


If you are not sure about which topside control panel you actually need, then please do get in touch – always happy to help.



Can I Help You?

If I can help you in any way I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch using the form below.

Thanks - Andi


Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.

Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi

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