Rob is a pool-service industry professional with over 20 years of experience.
Step 1: Adjusting Salinity (Salt) level
Before the chlorine generator can be calibrated correctly, the salinity—or salt level in the pool water—will need to be at the correct level. For these systems, it should ideally be between 3200-3600 ppm (parts per million). This can be tested using a salt test meter or salt test strips. I personally use the Solaxx MET01A Digital Test Meter by SafeDip. This meter is very accurate and also measures pH and chlorine levels.
If the salt level is low, or no salt has ever been added to the pool, you'll need to increase the salinity level and allow it to circulate for 24 hours before starting the calibration process. It is also important for any salt chlorination system that the stabilizer level in the pool water is between 50-70 ppm.
Step 2: Locating the Calibration Screen
Once the salinity is adjusted to optimal level, the calibration process can begin. With the pump running and unit set to "Auto" position, press the "Diagnostics" button five times. The screen should display "- 0".
Step 3: Setting the Salinity Level
This step can get tricky and may need to be repeated. While on the calibration screen and with the pool pump still running, push the "Auto" switch down to the "Off" position for two seconds.
Now push the switch back up to the "Auto" position again. Wait approximately 10 seconds (you will hear the relay kick on). The calibration screen will start counting down from a higher salt reading than what the actual level in the pool water is.
Once you see your salinity level, push the switch up to "super chlorinate" and then immediately back down to the "Auto" position.
It is now calibrated. Press the diagnostics button several times until you see your salinity level displayed.
More About the Calibration Process
Step 3 takes some practice as it counts down VERY quickly. For example, if the salinity level in the pool water is 3300 ppm, when the switch is pushed from the "Off" position up to the "Auto" position, after 10 seconds, it will display a set of numbers that start going down immediately. It might start at, say, 4800 (could be higher or lower). Push the switch to "super-chlorinate" when it hits 3300 ppm. Then quickly push back down to "Auto."
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: My control board shows 3,500, but two independent tests say 2,700 and zero chlorine, and cell tests say it’s good. Which one is correct?
Answer: Chlorine readings and salt readings are two different things. A lot of people think if the salt reading is high, then the chlorine is high. I usually tell people to go to an ocean that's full of salt and test the chlorine level there; it's of course zero.
If your salinity level is 2,700, add 80 pounds of salt. This should bring it closer to 3,300-3,400. The problem you have is with an un-calibrated system. You should believe the actual test readings, not what the system says. It just needs to be recalibrated.
Question: How do I find T-cell on the screen of a chlorine generator when I go through the process but the T-cell never shows up?
Answer: When scrolling through the screens using the diagnostics button, the T-cell will show up on the very last screen (right before the salinity level reading.)
Question: The control board of my chlorine generator shows no lights, even though I get different numbers when I push the key. What do you think the problem could be?
Answer: This usually indicates a bad circuit board. It may still work and generate chlorine even if the lights do not work.
© 2018 Rob Hampton
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on July 07, 2019:
Hi Tammie. The old cell may have been ok. I can't say with 100% certainty, but it sounds like the unit itself could be bad. Turn the power off for a few minutes and try again. Keep in mind that 2700 is still low, but if it's working correctly it should still recognize and display that. It should also show the t-cell size. My guess would be a bad main board (not the LCD display circuit board) I suggest adding more salt to bring the level up to at least 3300. Many times it will still generate chlorine even with a bad board. I would advise getting a digital salt meter as well.
Tammie R on July 06, 2019:
Just got a new salt cell. Display is showing 1400 for salt. Took a sample to the pool store and salt is actually 2700. I tried to recalibrate it, but it will not count down. Display -1500 and stays there. Also, I cannot display the t cell size. It skips that display.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on July 01, 2019:
Joel. Bad board. It may still be generating just fine. Keep an eye on both salinity and chlorine level.
Joel Farnum on July 01, 2019:
My board currently reads "Hot" on the display screen.
Also, the Power and Generating lights are green.
And the Inspect Cell and No Salt lights are flashing Red.
Steven McCullough on June 22, 2019:
my hayward gold line pro. says the chlorinator is off, I have set to auto
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on June 17, 2019:
Frank H. Thanks for reading, sorry you're having issues. Have not ran into this issue very often. But...IF the water salinity level is where it should be, then my guess would be the cell itself causing false readings. Try cleaning the cell with muriatic acid and try it again..
Frank H on June 17, 2019:
i have a Hayward plus and I followed the instructions to calibrate salt level but I missed the number the first time and now it starts to low???
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on June 12, 2019:
Hi Frank. Yes, it's a bad circuit board. In many cases it will still generate chlorine if the salt level is maintained, just can't see the LED's
Frank on June 12, 2019:
I have a Haywood SwimPure Plus Salt system. My read out numbers show in the display and I can cycle through them but none of the LED Lights are working, they are all off. I disconnected the power supply by pulling the fuse above the cord & and plugging it back in thinking this would reset it but the lights came back on momentarily & went back off. Any Ideas??
Terry Buckle Oshawa Ontario on May 31, 2019:
I trird to calibrate my salt content and i know the procedure but the numbef only drops to 3300.My salt content is 3000.Would love to match the 3000 number.I did it correctly several times but the number go up over 4800 and than just droo to 3300 and no more.Do anybody know this issue?
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on May 24, 2019:
Low Salt... Is it generating? Meaning is it chlorinating the pool? Or does the system just say "low salt"? If your test is reading 4000 for salinity, and system says 1700, my guess would be a bad circuit board since the cell has been replaced. I have a few on my route that are screwed up like that but it still generates chlorine.
lou sall on May 24, 2019:
I followed your instructions and my system won't read above 1700 salt. I've got 4000 in the pool, tested by 2 different methods. The salt cell is new, replaced by the manufacturer, but having the same issues as the one we replaced. Losing my mind over this. Any suggestions?
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on April 15, 2019:
James, only thing that comes to mind is a bad circuit board (or no salt in the water, but it would still show a reading of at least 100)
James Volinski on April 14, 2019:
Mine will not give me an actual read. Just reads zero. Cell is clean no lights flashing. Flow switch checks okay and they tell me cell checks okay. But I cannot get anything orher than 0 on the actual screen.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on November 24, 2018:
Hi, thanks for reading. This means 1 of 2 things. Check the salt level, it could be low. The other reason is that the cell may need cleaning. When the cell has scaling or build-up it can cause errors on the system.