Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spa 2 Go Repair II - 2 of 7

The first year I quit my job to be a full time ski bum, I moved into a house with a great hot tub. It was located (both house and hot tub) in Tabernash, a small town just outside of Winter Park Colorado. I'd spend many hours sitting looking at the western slope of the Continental Divide.

When we moved to Tahoe and were looking for our first place to rent, a house with a hot tub was selected. A year later when the landlord wanted to turn his rental into a vacation rental, we found another house with a hot tub. By this time we had become seriously addicted to our daily soaks.


This most recent (year and a half) move, found us in a house without a tub. OMG!! We thought we could get by without one, but who were we kidding, we were junkies by now. The thing with hot tubs are they are rather permanent installations. With my rate of moving every year or two, this fix was not going to be easy to come by.

Enter the Spa 2 Go. Made by Comfort Line Products (CLP), the inflatable hot tub holds 250 gallons of hot water, seats four, sets up and take down in minutes, and cost about $700. PERFECT!! http://www.clpusa.com/spa2gochecklist.html I did question the durability of the tub, but my sore muscles silenced my doubt.

The tub arrived, and as promised, 250 gallons of hot water was soon produced. But it is not without it share of problems. So here goes my list of issues:
-weak heater, will take about 2 days to get 40 degree tap water hot, about a degree an hour
-in cold weather, while in use with cover off, it drops about a degree every 15 minutes
-the inflatable tub developed a "bulge"
-pump unit clogs and stops spinning, needs clearing
-connector fitting breaks and requires some rigging
-cover not UV resistant and tears
-can not keep temp when snow accumulated on it or cold rain
-jets are worthless. Pump cold air into water dropping tub temp even faster
-temperature sensor corrodes and sends an OVERHEAT warning, and shuts system down

This last issue was terminal. I contacted CLP, if under warranty (12months) they could send me another power pack (heater/pump unit) for $89 shipping and handling. Mine was past due (15 months). A refurbished unit was about $300 with no warranties, and a new unit was $400. I ask for a schematic, and was denied. So I took the thing apart to see what was wrong.

The power pack comes as a sealed unit. It looks rather intimidating but it is not. If you have found this blog and are reading this to look for repair help, keep reading. First off, before you start to take things apart, most issue arise because of low or no flow. Check CPL's website and customer service contact for a list of trouble shooting techniques. The pumps impeller can easily jam, and a simple push with a wire can get it going again. Back flowing with a garden hose can also help clear things up.
Enough with the salad greens, now let's get to the meat and potatoes of this article. If you do not have a broken power pack, NO NEED TO READ ANY FURTHER. The details might bore you.If you flip the power pack over you will notice the barrage of screws. To access the components you need to remove the cover. You do not need to remove all of the screws. Though I do not have a picture of the underside I can talk you through it. I did not know what was what so I removed and took apart everything. There are four screws holding the water pump unit, the pump unit is the one with the cable and small ridged hose going to it. This does not need to be removed, you can see it at the very far left of the picture. There are two screws holding the filter tank in place. These can be recognized by the two large bosses the screws sit on. These do not need to be removed either. The pump and the filter tank is held together by a black plastic pin spanned nut accessed from the inside of the filter tank. Several small screws, which sit flush to the bottom of the case hold the air pump to the case. The air pump and screws do not need to be removed. In the picture the air pump is removed and is sitting inside the cover, out of view. The screws holding the cover in place are the ones that are sitting on the small raised plastic bosses. The cover should wiggle free, the two air pipes have snug fitting rubber fittings. The only thing that connect the cover to the rest of the unit is the white ribbon cable seen connected to the control circuit board.
I added two more pictures of the power pack with its cover off. These two pictures show the air pump and the curicut box in place. This would be how the pack looks with just the cover removed.


The water flow path is as follows. Water enters from the white fitting on the left/top. The white garden hose fitting is a repaired item. Traveling across the hose the water enters the filter tank outside of the filter (not shown), goes across the membrane to the center, down into the pump, across the ridge pipe seen from the outside bottom of the power pack and up. This is where the water encounters the first temperature sensor, of the two sensor system. What is strange about this system however is that both sensors are right next to each other with no component in between them. Usually a dual temp sensor straddles a heater element to inform the controller if the heater is working or not. The sensor is what is known as a temp/limit sensor, meaning that is design to give an error message if its output is outside a preset working range. The sensor is a ceramic shielded thermocouple. Taking a resistance reading across the connections showed that the two sensors recorded different results; I would assume they need to be the same. Also one sensor's resistance jumped a magnitude of 100x when submerged in water, and the other didn't. I suspect that the water in the tub was too acidic, and eroded the sensor's shielding element, exposing the inner thermo couple unit. It then gave an erroneous temperature reading. When the reading became too high it shut itself down. The day prior to the "OH" error code the tub temp read 106 but couldn't have been more than 96. Before I continue with the sensor, let me finish the travel path of the water. The water then touches the 2nd temperature sensor. I believe that this sensor monitors the condition of the heater element due to it proximity but is a little redundant. The piping then goes down, and turns into a stainless steel tube. Housed in this tube is heater element. It has three wires connected to it and lies horizontally. The final component in the control system is pressure sensor. I assume it monitors the effective of the water pump, and shuts the system down if the flow rate drops below a certain pressure reading.

CPL use to sell parts to outside vendors. But now they do not. All service is done through their partner company/shop http://www.oceantis.biz/services.html. This is a good site with many trouble shooting info. The customer service rep, Candy, would not sell me a temperature sensor. I finally found a company that use to service CPL products. They however stopped since they can not get parts anymore. I did however find that they had a few sensors in their back stock. You might want to check with http://www.novacompanies.com/. They provided me with a part number: stg-1120, $26.50, I ordered two. The part that came however did not look like my original. It even came with it's own fittings. The electrical plug on one of them did not fit my control circuit board either. But I cut and soldered the old one in place. This makes me think that any two wire temperature senor will work. As long as you figure out how to make a water tight mount. http://spapartsnet.com/Electronic-Temp-Sensors/32016_1424_1_1.html



I installed the temp sensors and tested the unit in my tub. Everything seemed to work. I then proceeded to replace all the parts. I however was not able to fit the cover back on properly. The final 1.5 inches or so is blocked. I just left it as with the cover sitting. I do have a wooden box I built around the power pack to protect it from the elements, so I am not too concerned. I can not however use the air jets (which i don't use anyways) with the cover half on. Oh well. At least I got my tub of hot water again.



47 comments:

  1. Hey, good job done. There's so much we should all do to cut down on being shafted by such companies. Not forgetting the plumbers, carpenters and electricians to name a few.

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  2. I do think that repair services are very valuable. And if you worked in such a feild would be sure to think that you were not ripping people off. After all one needs to make a living, and pay their bills. However companies that attempt to make money by seller a poor product, then gouge their customers because they have no other option. That is is jsut plain wronge. Spa 2 Go's inintal investment is large enough that paying 400 dollars is acceptable solution for a broken power pack. It's either that or you are out $700. If the compnay need to increase their revenue to maintain the company, they should do so, by increasing product quality, marketing, and good customer service, to insure returning business, and word of mouth reccomendation.

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  3. Single sensor failure temporary fix: The Sensor numbers are marked on the circuit board where each sensor plugs in to circuit board. SN1 controls water temp, SN2 is the overtemp monitoring circuit.En1 error means sensor 1 failed. En2 means sensor 2 failed. They are both actually 10Kohm thermistors. Thermisters are a resister that change value dependant on temperature. I had my control sensor (SN1) fail so, I moved the overtemp sensor (SN2) and it's plug over to SN1 on the circuit board & piping, so the working sensor could control water temp. I left the dead sensor in the SN2's pipe to plug the hole, and snipped off the connector.Then I put a 10 Kohm adjustable Potentiometer on the connector in place of the overtemp sensor. Once running, Adjust the pot until the overtemp error on the digital screen goes away. This effectiveliy bypasses the safety sensor, so you safety net is gone. But you can use your tub while your new sensor is enroute from NovaCompanies (they can still get the sensors brand new)...just put your hand in the water first (in case your control sensor goes out of cAalibration. Now YOU might not KNOW IT.)

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  4. I also had several major problems with the spa 2go power pack...after 2 replacements I decided to take it apart..it's a nightmare..spent hours on it ordering parts which were the wrong ones..so frustrating..have a new replacement pack..it died after 2 wks.now I'm stuck again..it just died & I'm stuck with yet another $4oo.oo investmemt or no hot tub!!!

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  5. $400 power pack should have a warrant. Sucks you are going to have to pay that shipping/handling fee. CLPs great product and service once again!!

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  6. One day my unit sam oh, and stop heating after reading this, i tore into mine. i took out the two sensors. the were dirty. i took some fime grit sand paper to it. and tested it but hooking up a hose right to the inlet and outlet the the drain. with the water on low tested the unit. purged warm water. seams the cleaning of the sensors did the trick now have the pupm all set up and running great. So dont go out and spent 400-700 on new stuff just clean them up and replace. Oh ya when reinstalling the sen, the base is weak had to make minor adjustments

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  7. Thank you for posting this!

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  8. al fletcher, hinkley CAOctober 21, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    i have been going through the same with my spa..had it apart for the same troubles...thanks for the info...its great to see other do it yourself repair folks in here, thanks again

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  9. After much research here is your magic part. Cheers. I think the soluble film covered sensors are a scam. Fix it yourself for 30$

    http://www.spadepot.com/shop/Hi-LimitTemp-Sensor-Assembly-for-Balboa-M-7-Systems-32016-P9700C704.aspx

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  10. Nice link. Have you confirmed this part works?

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  11. Hi,
    Does anyone have any pictures on how to remove these censors, clean and replace them ?

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  12. I did it !!!
    Followed instruction above, took the two censors out, they will filthy , cleaned them up, put them back and all works fine ....for info I had the OH problem :o)

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  13. I have one of these nightmares also. Throwing an EL1 code and nothing works. Took it apart like above (used vasoline around the large verticle tubes to make removal easier). Removed both sensors. One reads about 2K ohms and the other about 10-11K. I suspect a bad sensor. Has anyone found a replacement that works? This the forth powerpac in 2 years. CL refused to honor the warranty because they said the error code indicated hard water! They have no idea if hard water was the issue or their bad parts. They just don't want to deal with a bad design. I saw that the flow switch is on ebay but no sensors. The M7 sensors are expensive but certainly less than CL's poor service. Please, if you know of a sensor that will work let me know. I talked with the Balboa tech and learned that the M7 is a low resistance unit around 17 ohms at 100 degrees. Measuring the Spa2go sensors, they were much higher as listed above.

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  14. Thank you for this, great info. Had various issues with the Spa2Go and took it apart a few times, ordered a second one to use the first for spare parts. I feel that overall it's a product that works well with some care but not for the general public. Price vs. quality and service... well, when it works, I do enjoy this tub very much, and most of the time it does :-) Greetings from Canada.

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  15. You just need to wrestle with the lid to get it on. I used the potentiometer trick, it worked great!!!!!

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  16. i see an old set of darts in the picture.. wanna sell them?

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  17. my pump motor quit. Does anyone have any idea wehre to buy a replacement pump. Seems to look like it should be in a fish tank, and not a hot tub!!

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  18. oceanic DOES sell the heat sensors. They just aren't listed online. You have to call them. There are two kinds, so you have to know which kind you have. (no return on electrical parts) They are reasonably priced at 19.95 plus shipping, and that is the price for BOTH sensors, not EACH. Nova companies will probably tell you the sensors are not available and you have to buy the whole new power pack at over $400. (They also lied to me when I needed the small pump (for heat/filter) and said Oceanic does not sell those. I'm glad I called them anyway and found out that they DO.

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  19. I got the new sensors and installed them but still no heat. Water flow is great but no heat. I trked stopping water flow for 20 seconds____still no good. Any othrt ideas or tricks to try. Reset button didnt even seem to do anything. What else can i try.
    Bill in NY

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  20. Can it be possible that the heater itself is broken? Test to see if the heater is getting power when you think it should.

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  21. If the water flow is good, but no heat, the heat element could be bad, but most likely it is the reset switch itself. I had to replace mine before the heat sensors went out. (This only applies if you have the older style model, digital yes, but with a overheat reset button underneath. Feel under the unit for it, if it is popped out it needs to be pushed back in. (The replacements don't pop out, they just reset when things cool down.) The newest models don't have this button, it's function is integrated in the digital board.

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  22. how is everyone going with their repairs???? Oceanits does have quite a few parts available, if you contact them directly. (by telephone). I've had the spa2go for many years and although I have had my share of troubles, they have all been a fairly inexpensive fix, just the labor of doing the job for the first is frustrating. The first time you remove the top, or some of the internal parts, it's a real pain.. but if you have to do it again it becomes fast and easy. The oceantis people were always helpful, sending me pictures of the underneath with the screws I needed to take out clearly marked.

    I did have to replace the bladder (twice). I bought my spa2go used so the first time I chalked it up to abuse by the previous owner, but the second time it split a seam and water got into the bladder I realized it was MY fault. I overinflated the bladder. You will be surprised how much letting some air out before you fill it will help. You can always add more later, but as water heats up, the air in the bladder also heats up AND EXPANDS. A couple 2 or 3 water changes will allow you to get it just right, and VOILA... no more split seams. In fact, the inflatable cover will not fit right if it is blown up really tight.

    There are lots of epoxy goops out there and silcone etc to repair small leaks. Replacing the heat sensors and overheat breaker(looking back on it) really wasn't that hard. It may seem cumbersome, but it DOES get easier each time you go it. Moreover, because it is the cheapest hot tub out there with decent water movement..... and being inflatable it fits inside a small bedroom in my house and is great to use morning or night. (No neighbors watching me in my tub!!!!) If any one else has questions about repairs, I would be glad to offer my experience. For what it was designed to be (the lowest end of real hot tubs) it does a pretty decent job. Quality control is probably better now that the Chinese have had some time to make a lot of them and get better at it. I suppose some time I might have to buy a new whole power pack. But for now I am keeping mine running, even it takes duct tape and super glue. (One last thing, you don't need to put all of the rubber bushingsd back in if they are too damaged or lost, it will still work just fine, you can even leave out the 5 screws holding the top on, and just sit it on there....a real time saving when trying to track down pesky leaks. Good Night & Good Luck.

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  23. I have it apart. Was told try removing pressure switch and blow thru it
    Be sure no obstructions. Not sure how to unscrew it . Its in like a plastic molded well
    Also thqt reset on bottom i push that but get nothing not sure if its good or bad. Oceantis sais the htr element rarely is the problem

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  24. To Billyny, the reset switch 11-12 dollars, pressure switch 30 dollars. Both can be tested with jumper wire. I haven't done it, because I could tell the reset button was the problem as it was popping out too soon before it heated up all the way. There is also a reset button on the top of the digital panel, did you try pushing that? It's small and easy to miss. But if you have already done that then it seems like it has to be either the heater, reset, or pressure switch. The pictures I've seen of the pressure switch shows an adjustment wheel, you might try adjusting that, but I would test it first with the jumper wire. Good luck.

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  25. btw, after you replaced the sensors did the error codes go away and the actual temperature begin to show? Also, can you adjust the temperature setting up and down, getting a flashing temperature reading for a few seconds? If not maybe the problem is elsewhere, in the digital panel or connections.

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  26. I too am receiving the dreaded "En1" error. I replaced both sensors and the error code is still there?? Any suggestions or direction would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

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  27. I tried to post a lengthy cheer session and cyber appreciation celebration because your post was the ONLY thing helpful I found to date, and now I just have to figure out how to get access to the heating element I need to replace... anyway, thanks again...I got cyber bullied by google to create a blog I probably don't need and the message I wrote to thank you went MIA... tra la la... thank you.

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  28. The big bulky hard headed black box is open, at last, after days of puzzle palace prying and wanting to be crying... B-) the heating element cylinder is in hand, but how do I safely open it to replace the $19.00 heating element vs. the $600.00 power pack? Instructions anyone?!

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  29. Thanks Zahava. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy. I thought it was the tea I was drinking but alas, it was the appreciation I was feeling. Thanks.
    It has been a while since I messed with my spa 2 go. Send me a picture. Maybe I can remember something, though I never took it apart. I am sure it involves much swearing and beer!

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  30. Well I too had the dreaded OH problem. Checked for leaks etc and everything is fine. I've took the power pack apart and cleaned the sensors put it back together and still getting the OH code. I've called oceanis directly and they will NOT sale me any parts. I called the spa depot and they informed me the parts come from china and ONLY comfortline can get them. So I'm back to square one but a swear I'm not sending the power pack back to CL. Does anyone know if there is a sensor that will work if I solder it to the board.

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  31. I'm also looking for the STG1120's(heating sensors). Will post if I have any success.

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  32. I posted on 10/26 looking for 2 STG1120. Read the post on 7/7.
    "how is everyone going with their repairs???? Oceanits does have quite a few parts available, if you contact them directly. by telephone".
    I tried E-mail without success. Was in Fort Myers yesterday and stopped in. I had brought the part with me to show them. The first person acted like they didn't know what it was. Then another person came and told her to get part from the storeroom. She explained they don't like to have customer take it apart(warranty), but I had the part so I must have. Wanted to know my knowledge on repairing it so it was safe. So calling and talking is important. Explain it's already apart(warranty voided) and you have some electrical or mechanical back ground and can put it in safely. Good luck :)

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  33. I got my sensors from Oceantis a few months ago by calling them. I am in Alaska and they mailed them to me. They were not really very expensive and are working fine.

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  34. How did you fix your broken connector fittings?

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    Replies
    1. I just saw this thread now, and I was wondering if you ever found out how to fix your broken connector fittings. I have the same problem with the large connector, where the water gets drained out.
      Thanks for any help, JIM
      jnandidl@sbcglobal.net

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  35. Interesting thread. I have had so many problems with mine that each time I am tempted to toss it - then give it one more try. Now I'm the second powerpack after numerous probs with the first one, and just fired it up for the second season (use it about 3 mo out of the year only) Now the temp sensors corroded and the coating broke off the tip of one, and it rapidly goes to OH. (the pump ALWAYS needs probing with a stick to start, then flow is normal. Comfort Zone FL said it will take 2-3 months to get new sensors - right through winter. Tried to swap with my old power pack sensors and did, even though the threading is totally different. But it didn't work. Time to scrap it, even with a one season powerpack I guess!

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  36. I too have had the filter reading OH. I order the temp switch for $11.95 from novacompanies, but it did not come with any instructions. I took everything apart, but could not find anything that looked remotely like the part. Any idea where it goes, and does it have to be soldered on? Here is a link to what it looks like:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/220437445157?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2648

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  37. Fitting repair, you mean this one?
    http://mrpulldown.blogspot.com/2009/02/spa-2-go-fitting-repair.html

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  38. Have you ever attempted the remove and replace the lower air blower check valve?

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  39. Love this blog. I have been trying to get inside of my power pack to find out where it was leaking for a year. I was just about to break down and get a replacement pack for $300-$400. I was able to find the crack and patch it and while I was in there tightened everything up. I bought my spa in the box on craigslist about 2 years ago for $100. So far I only have had to change the GFCI cord. The crack was my fault for having it outside not running and ice expanded and cracked some of the plastic. I have read many terrible reviews but it was the best $100 I think I ever spent. Thank you so much for the help.

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  40. Hello.
    I´m an owner of a spa2go.
    The bubbles work well, 15 minutes and stop. But not filtered nor heats the water. I've tried to clean the filter and i have checked with a hose that the water flows from the spa filter tank. When the bubbles work seems that circulates water through the filter circuit.
    Have any idea?
    When they are functioning correctly, turn on the bubbles that works each time the filter?.
    How often should the filter be running
    Thanks from Madrid-Spain












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  41. Pankaj International is committed developing, manufacturing, delivering and servicing quality products. Our goal is to continuously improve our products and services in order to satisfy the needs of our customers before, during and after sales. In each of our products category our quality is amongst the best. We use the best quality of raw materials that are and subjected to stringent standards as per required specification.

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  42. This is really awesome blog. If you ever need service on your water heater repair please visit us at rheemteamcomfort.com

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  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  44. the coleman spas are selling for only 300 and have a power pack wonder how hard it would be to adapt theirs to the spa 2 go fittings?

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  45. Your blog is great!
    My spa's "bubbles" will work (the blower is fine), but water won't heat past 74/75 degrees and the water is not filtering. Any ideas???
    Since it has been a few years since the original post, my powerpack may be a slightly different model than yours. Even though I've removed all the bottom screws, something is still holding the lid on. Argh!!!! Am I missing something?
    Thanks a bunch!

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  46. NEVER EVER EVERY BUY A SPA 2 GO HOT TUB!!!!! They are complete junk. Mine worked great until the heater went. By that time of course the warranty had just ended. Of course the company wouldn't do anything to help other than charge me the 400$ for a new one. Sooo, I went to home Depot, swapped mine for a new one, told them it was damaged, & figured I'd have a new hot tub good for awhile before it to would die out. NOPE , not even 2 weeks before it had the same problem as the old one. A brand new tub complete is available at Walmart for 300$. Bought one of those without any problems so far but at least Walmart will return anything

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