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watts up? 11-10-2011 07:26 PM

Installing a different SWITCH on a whirlpool tub
6 Attachment(s)
So let me begin with the 6 graphics I've painstakingly assembled so you all can see what I'm looking at: that "bluish" picture is the problem. We got a (not inexpensive) whirlpool tub and it came with this thing called a "Switch Mount." This is a cheap plastic "pressure activated" on/off switch that the mfgr (Mansfield Plumbing) wants us to stick somewhere with double-sided foam tape. Two grand; poster tape; Jesus wept.

Can we safely purchase a decent toggle switch for this whirlpool tub, or does the adapter (note pictures of me holding it) condemn us to forever operating a two-thousand-dollar whirlpool tub . . . with adhesive tape?

I've collected every piece of technical data I could cull from the respective motor housings — note, there are two motors involved here, a PUMP and a HEATER — and if you look at the white papers I've made into graphics hopefully you can tell what kind of voltage etc. is involved.

We really, really do not want something this crappy affixed to our wall. I suppose it's acceptable for some people, but I just see the thing getting yellowed and cracking and . . . it just sucks lol.

Help? Thanks guys.


Speedy Petey 11-10-2011 07:35 PM

That is not at all atypical for an install like this. It lets you control the tub from within the tub. What you are suggesting MUST be outside the tub area.
That low-voltage switch controls a relay of some sort, so making a regular switch would be makeshift at best and more than likely void any warranty the electric might have.

If it were me I'd use the switch that came with it.

kbsparky 11-10-2011 07:37 PM

Looks like an electronic low-voltage connection. That "switch" probably controls a relay with a possible time-out feature.

I'd need to see more information like a schematic diagram to be able to tell if you could utilize a standard toggle-type switch on such equipment.

Billy_Bob 11-10-2011 07:46 PM

How do the instructions say the switch operates?

Just on/off? (Heat and pump)

Or press it once for water, again for heat also, then again for off?

Does this need to be where you can reach it from the tub?

Billy_Bob 11-10-2011 07:57 PM

See page 7 at the following link. The manufacturer has a more attractive panel with remote control which may work for your unit called

Their contact information...

frenchelectrican 11-11-2011 12:17 AM

First of all the odd conductor or " cable " you are holding that is for air switch.

Second thing I do not know if you are aware with the circuit set up you have now if you have pump running and the heater running now you will trip the 20 amp breaker no question asked due the motour is pretty good size that is 1.5 HP they draw about 8 to 12 amp { that part you will have to verify at the nameplate for current drawage }( A true 1.5 HP motour @ 120 volts will draw right on 20 amp range )

Second thing the heater is at 12 amp @ 120 volts which it is about 1440 watts add that to the motour load you will pass the 2400 watt level.

So that one thing I will give you a head up with that.


watts up? 11-11-2011 12:59 PM

Wow, I'm pleased I got so many responses! :thumbsup:

To clarify: The tub HEATER comes with its own thermostat; thus the switch is controlling the pump only, and shuts off in any event after 20 minutes). When all else fails, RTFI eh? :laughing: Yes, well . . .

Marc, Merci. And forgive me but I don't have a clue about what you posted friend.

Billy . . . That remote control option is just way too much drama for us. We wanted a fixed (and preferably under a waterproof switch cover of some sort) ON/OFF switch, nothing else. No variable speed, none of that stuff. When we want a jet, we want it on at full speed.

Petey's correct: The switch mount is designed to be drilled directly into the tub at some point. We specifically instructed Mansfield to not drill that hole, intending (as you pointed out) to place the switch outside of the tub area on the wall just past the shower-enclosure this tub (which will be an ALCOVE tub in our particular case) is being installed to. It's hard to see with my crappy camera but there are threads on the bushing just behind the plastic switch, the idea being that you drill the hole, shove the thing in, and screw in that flange (that you see I unscrewed) to tighten the mount. That bushing is actually the only decent aspect of the thing imho phllltttt.

Okay, now Petey and sparky . . . I think what I'm culling between both your comments is that this isn't as simple as just replacing switches (?) but correct me if any of the following is wrong: That adapter is what's problematic, isn't it? otherwise this would be a straight substitution of operating devices (eg. push button, toggle etc.) wired identical to the original setup? I want to make sure I appreciate why I shouldn't change the switching device before we shove this plastic garbage into the wall.


Billy_Bob 11-11-2011 01:21 PM


Originally Posted by watts up? (Post 768616)
...That adapter is what's problematic, isn't it? otherwise this would be a straight substitution of operating devices (eg. push button, toggle etc.) wired identical to the original setup? I want to make sure I appreciate why I shouldn't change the switching device before we shove this plastic garbage into the wall.

What concerns me is that there looks to be 3 electrical connections on that plug for the on/off switch.

Also that there is an optional switch with multiple functions which I am guessing would connect to that same connection?

It is possible that a "digital signal" is being sent from whatever switch is connected? Or various resistances used for different switches on the "wiz bang" model?

Anyway best to find out exactly how that switch operates. I would call the company and ask to speak to engineering. Ask how the switch operates and if they can send you a wiring diagram.

Ask if there is a "microcontroller" in the switch sending a signal?

Or various resistances for different functions?

Or just an on/off connection?

Or a momentary "on" connection when button pressed?

And which specific wires / connections are used for what???

mpoulton 11-11-2011 02:20 PM

It seems that this is probably not really a SWITCH, but is actually a CONTROLLER. The 3-wire connection and availability of optional advanced controls indicates that the device probably sends a digital signal to the tub instructing it what to do. If that's the case, you can't easily replace it with anything other than what the manufacturer provides. Unless you enjoy taking on serious electronics hacking projects, you won't want to mess with it.

watts up? 11-11-2011 04:47 PM

Billy, mpoulton . . . yeah it's looking scarier by the minute heh heh. Controller indeed. Could it be that they designed this precisely so people like me don't fiddle with it? Naaaah! :icon_cheesygrin:


Billy_Bob 11-11-2011 06:27 PM

Well you should call the company anyway. Maybe it is something simple (to us that is :) ).

Also some companies are interested to get feedback from customers. They want happy customers. In some cases they might even work with you to design something which would do what you want.

Never hurts to ask...

watts up? 11-12-2011 12:35 PM

Meh. We'll suffer with it. If it becomes decrepit we'll have Mansfield send us a new one. At least they didn't drill our tub to put this in tsk!


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