by Mark Garcia February 04, 2014
The most common pool timer used for inground pool pumps is the Intermatic time clock. The workhorse of the equipment pad, these timer clocks can outlast some of the equipment that they power - but eventually, the workhorse will tire, and need to be retired to pasture - or maybe you can fix it!
Here's some thoughts on how to troubleshoot your pool time clock problems, and fix or repair an Intermatic pool time clock. I've seen all kinds of failure, sometimes from weather, or insects, or trees.
Other smaller problems are more common, here's a list of some service calls I've gone on over the years.
A: To reset the time clock to the correct time, grasp the outer edges of the large yellow dial, and pull gently outward, towards you. This will disengage the dial and allow you to spin it in either direction. Set the current time to the center time pointer, pointing downward at 6 o'clock.
A: Break out a can of your favorite ant spray, and let 'em have it. They are attracted to the electricity. You may also find other insects, rodents or amphibians attracted to the time clock box.
A: With a small flashlight, look into the Visual Motor Check window, near the top of the timer mechanism. If power is coming to the timer motor, you should be able to clearly see the gears moving through the small window. If not, then check the breaker that the time clock is connected to, turn it off and back on again. If no movement still, the next step would be have a qualified person check the wires coming into the timeclock, to see if power is reaching the time clock from the breaker.
If power is reaching the clock, but the gears aren't turning, that usually means either something is jammed in the gears, or the timer motor has burned out. It could also be loose wires, either on the time clock terminal board, or on the timer motor. With the breakers turned off, it is usually safe to handle and remove the mechanism from the box, but use a power meter set on AC volts to be sure power is off before handling the timer mechansim, or touching wires with a screwdriver.
If power is reaching the clock, and the gears are turning, but the dial is not turning - this could mean that the gear on the back of the dial has not engaged. Grasp the dial, pull out and turn it to the correcf time. Relasing the dial, you should feel the gears engage slightly, so that the dial is fully seated.
A: If you've gone through a full inspection of the mechanism and determined the motor or gears are bad, replacing a timeclock mechanism is an easy repair - for a qualified person. With the power off at the breaker box, and checked with n electric meter, the wires can be removed, 2-in, 2-out, and the ground wire. The mechanism can then be removed by depressing a clip at the top inside of the timer box, just above the mechanism. Pop-in a new timer mechanism, and replace the wires to the previous configuration. It can actually take less than 5 minutes.
Intermatic time clock motors can be replaced, but unless the time clock was fairly new, I'd probably just replace the entire mechanism. But then again, intermatic timer motors can be half the cost of a new mechanism, depending on the model. Here's a real nice pictorial on how to replace an Intermatic timer motor, or mechanism.
A: The center time pointer - the one that says DO NOT UNSCREW? I think you've got a screw loose, and you probably pull the tags off of all your furniture too. Just kidding, it could've vibrated loose, perhaps? Just tighten up the screw. There is a small spring behind the screw that may have rusted or broken.
A: The lever action should be crisp, not like it's full of molasses. You can spray WD-40 behind the dial, on the lever and on the motor gears to lubricate. If it doesn't improve, inspect the contacts behind the time clock for insect infestation.
A: You may need to use small pliers to tighten timer dogs onto the dial. Here's a video of that very thing happening to Rob.
Thanks for Reading!