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Old 09-03-2021, 13:58   #1
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ElectroScan low amps warning

I installed a new ElectroScan in July 2020, and it ran great until early November when it started displaying a "low amps" warning. I went through the recommended cleaning procedure with muriatic acid, no improvement. I started adding salt with every flush, no improvement. I checked the salinity of the water in the marina, it was within expected range. I contacted Raritan, and after some additional troubleshooting they sent me a replacement electrode pack under warranty. I installed it into my unit, and everything was back to normal, no warnings, all was good. Now, just 3-4 months later, I'm seeing the same warnings start to show up.

For some context, we live aboard full time, in a marina in South Florida. Where we are in not significantly affected by fresh water run-off, and regardless it's the dry season in Florida right now, not much rain. I have a sizeable battery bank, voltage is typically around 13.2VDC, and have only once ever seen a low-voltage warning after I had intentionally turned off the battery charger for a test.

Any ideas why I'm seeing such short lifespans on the electrode? They are not cheap to replace, and should last much longer, even with daily use. What else could be causing this issue to reoccur so soon after replacing the electrode? Any help would be appreciated.

Regards,
David
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Old 09-03-2021, 14:51   #2
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

David - I have no direct experience with these other than the PO of my Catalina 470 used to have two installed and removed them. Maybe he did so because they didn't last. I still have the two units in my stern locker (unpplumbed of course). Is it possible there is some electrolysis going on? Did the new electrodes look appreciably different physically than the old?
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Old 09-03-2021, 15:04   #3
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

Possibly the wiring supplying power to this unit is the problem.

It could be corroded or the connections not working well.

Check those.
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Old 09-03-2021, 15:10   #4
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

How many electrode amps did you see with the new electrodes?

Is it possible your marina is brackish?
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Old 09-03-2021, 16:42   #5
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

Wiring is brand new, voltage is good, amps were 15+ when the electrodes were new, marina water is not brackish. These were some of the first things I checked...
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Old 09-03-2021, 16:44   #6
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenWave View Post
David - I have no direct experience with these other than the PO of my Catalina 470 used to have two installed and removed them. Maybe he did so because they didn't last. I still have the two units in my stern locker (unpplumbed of course). Is it possible there is some electrolysis going on? Did the new electrodes look appreciably different physically than the old?
When I removed the first one it looked fairly normal, no obvious signs of damage. I sent it back to Raritan, but never heard if they tested it or what they found if they did. When this thing works, it's fantastic. But the electrodes should last more than just a few months...
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Old 09-03-2021, 20:16   #7
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

Without knowing who you talked with at Raritan tech support, I suggest you give Mac McCoy a call. He's actually based in Ft. Lauderdale, and has been my "go to" since Vic Willman, who was with Raritan for 40+ years and my guru for nearly 20, retired.

800 352-5630...his extension is 306.

--Peggie
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Old 10-03-2021, 04:38   #8
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Without knowing who you talked with at Raritan tech support, I suggest you give Mac McCoy a call. He's actually based in Ft. Lauderdale, and has been my "go to" since Vic Willman, who was with Raritan for 40+ years and my guru for nearly 20, retired.
Hi Peggie, I've emailed with Mac, both when this problem originally happened last November, and again now. Last time we never figured out what caused it, but, after troubleshooting, he sent me a new electrode under warranty. Now that its happening again I'm more concerned. Mac has been away for a bit, so is still catching up and has not been as available as normal.

Question for you? Last time I ran a cleaning cycle using muriatic acid, to no avail. I've seen some of your previous post recommending Raritan's CH product, which is not particularly cheap. Would that do a significantly better job than muriatic acid? I'd really like to avoid having to replace the electrode again...

Regards,
David
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:06   #9
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

I have had electro scans for years. They are finicky. My boat is is in Florida and we cruise the Bahamas. Where I keep my boatin Florida, the water is somewhat brackish, not enough to require salt additions, but on the low side of the acceptable working range. After a few months at the dock, the low amps warning would activate, same as your experience. The recommended cleaning method, I found is generally ineffective for two reasons. First, its hard to get the cleaning solution in the tank as opposed to the pipes. Second, the recommended solution isn't strong enough. So, what I do, your experience may vary, is to remove the center cap from the tank. All Lectra Scan related sea valves must be closed when doing this. Pump the tank reasonably dry. Then add one cup per gallon of muriatic acid to fill the tank and put the cap back on. Let it sit for 45 minutes. Then open the sea valves and thoroughly rinse. The plates will be absolutely clean after this. The plates themselves are incredibly acid resistant.

In the Bahamas, the plates will go for much longer before needing cleaning as the salinity is higher. One additional note. After many years of operation, the fins on the plates start to get pushed apart, so instead of being parallel, the top fin is up, and the bottom fin is down. This appears to be caused by mineral build up pushing on the fins. When this happens, no amount of cleaning will help. But, the fins can be carefully bent back to parallel, restoring normal operation. Once again, the plates are robust and well built.

None of this is in any manual, its my experience in living with two Lectro Scans for 10 years.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:20   #10
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

IMO, you need to actually TALK with Mac instead of relying on email...'cuz if he's been away, he's too busy taking calls to catch up on a backlog of emails. So I'd call him if I were you.



These may be the same questions Mac has already asked you...
Are you making sure to use the muriatic according to directions--prep, dilution, length of time in the "tank" (last time I looked it's at least 45 minutes)? Most importantly... How often have you been cleaning it? You're in south FL where waters are warm, and the mineral content in warm waters is a LOT higher than it is in cooler waters, requiring much more frequent cleaning--as often as every month or two. If you were further north in cooler waters, every 4-6 months might be often enough.



As for Raritan's CH product...it's actually just Raritan's private label brand name on a product from Trac Ecological called Sew Clean Sew Clean , which ain't cheap but considerably less than CH. Main advantage over muriatic acid: a "greener" product that's doesn't require as much safe handling care.


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Old 10-03-2021, 09:44   #11
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
IMO, you need to actually TALK with Mac instead of relying on email...'cuz if he's been away, he's too busy taking calls to catch up on a backlog of emails. So I'd call him if I were you.
Thanks again, Peggie! Let me do the cleanout procedure as suggested before bothering him again. Last time I did it right away, but it had no appreciable effect. Back then Mac said not to do it twice in a row, and after a bit of additional troubleshooting he sent me a new electrode pack.

What do you think of Pitchondesign's suggestion of pouring the cleaning solution into the top cap of the unit rather than through the bowl? I wonder if last time I effectively flushed out most of the useful solution by flushing the bowl and hose, before it even had a chance to do its thing? Pouring into the top cap would ensure that the solution is exactly where it needs to be. Might have to pump out any liquid still in the treatment unit first. Fortunately I have relatively easy and unencumbered access, no boat yoga required to get to it :-).

Regards,
David
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Old 10-03-2021, 10:23   #12
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

Have any of you used the "Acid Majic" brand of muriatic acid? It is muriatic acid with LITTLE or NO odor. I get it at my local True Value hardware store. It REALLY works! Absolutely a must when working down below to clean the head. JMHO
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Old 10-03-2021, 10:31   #13
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

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Originally Posted by Scrimshaw4 View Post
Have any of you used the "Acid Majic" brand of muriatic acid? It is muriatic acid with LITTLE or NO odor. I get it at my local True Value hardware store. It REALLY works! Absolutely a must when working down below to clean the head. JMHO
Yeah, the fumes from regular muriatic acid are quite intense, especially in an enclosed space like a boat head. I usually take a deep breath outside, hold my breath going into the head and pouring the acid, the get out and close the door before breathing again. My local Ace Hardware carries it, $10/gal. I may have to try that.

-David
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Old 10-03-2021, 10:35   #14
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

It’s not necessarily the newness of the wiring but the way it was wired. I have an earlier version of on of these and they take some very large power and ground wires. I don’t have the specs in front of me now but depending on how far the unit is from the batteries you could very well need battery sized cables suitable for an outboard. Maybe 1/0 Definitely not something like 10 to 8 that is often used for many power hungry things. Check the manual and conservatively measure the distance to the batteries.
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Old 10-03-2021, 11:01   #15
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Re: ElectroScan low amps warning

Hi! We had an ElectroScan on our boat. We loved it, but it was definitely "finicky," as @Pitchondesign mentioned. We sailed in the Chesapeake, and along the East Coast and FL Keys... and unless we were offshore, we always had a "low amp" warning on the ElectroScan (more or less). We always kept a big box of salt in the head, and added more than we thought we needed every time we used it. That was the way we kept the "low amp" warning off. We never had to clean the plates.... just add LOTS of salt. The higher the amps, the less corrosion on the plates.

As a side note, you REALLY need to invest in this stuff called C.H. (link below), not to clean plates, but to keep the hoses clean. We didn't know about it... and learned the hard way. We came back to our boat one night after drinking and partying at the Miami Boat Show, and our head backed up. We spent half the night clearing the hoses manually. It's expensive, but TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!!

https://www.raritaneng.com/en_US/pro...h-cleans-hoses
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