Most hot tub owners would probably agree on what it is the most depressing sound in the world. To be more specific, it is the lack of sound. Silence. After a long day at work, the owner comes home only to find that their beloved hot tub has broken down. They try re-setting the breaker, checking the connections, and yet nothing happens. Deep in their mind, they know exactly what it is. The circuit board is shot.
Hot tubs circuit boards are the “brains” of the spa controller, the device that controls the main functions of the unit, such as the pump or heating element. Unfortunately, when these devices burn out, it is usually more economical to replace the entire controller, rather than just the circuit board itself. Units these days can quickly be custom-made to fit particular applications, with little effort. Attempting to replace the circuit board itself is also often futile, as manufacturers seldom retain older units and technology. It just usually makes more sense to replace the entire control unit.
When it comes to replacement units, the consumer has basically two types to choose from: the electronic spa controller or the pneumatic spa controller. An electronic controller provides nice aesthetics; the LED displays are usually impressive to look at while relaxing. The operator can set the temperature display board for a specific temperature, for example, and be able to confirm that temperature via the readout. The drawback with these units, however, is that they rely on electrical connections to function, and can be damaged or short out quickly when exposed to dampness, from whatever the source. For a majority of people, the pneumatic controller makes more sense.
A pneumatic controller uses vacuum pressure to open and close connections without any electrical components. Without the digital control, the owner usually has to access the heater settings via an access panel on the side of the hot tub itself, requiring the user to exit the unit to adjust temperature. For most, this inconvenience is offset by the fact that the units tend to last longer than their electronic counterparts.