Hot Tub Controls

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Topside Control Replacement

Topside controls usually have a template that affixes to the spa. When replacing a topside control you will need to consider the gasket that fixes the control to the actual spa, plus the overlay which is a sticker that is affixed to the topside control for button layout and graphics.

Each spa manufacturer has different custom graphics on the control, but there is also a generic Balboa overlay graphic with the Balboa logo.

In any case, the control itself is what gives the signal to the circuit board in the spa pack to carry out the desired action such as turning on a pump, light, blower etc..

Some controls have LCD screens that can be tempermental, or unreadable in bright sunlight. There is a certain angle where they are best read. If water has gotten in to the screen, it is best to replace the control.

When ordering a replacement topside control, ask about the mounting gasket, compatibility of the replacement topside control with your system and the overlay sticker that has the graphics for the button symbols.

Balboa Controls

The replacement control then just plugs in to the spa pack where the old control was plugged in to. When replacing topside controls, be sure that the power to the spa is off and the circuit breaker is also off to prevent shock.

Spa Controls

Hot tub pump partsSpa Controls come in many different shapes, brands and sizes.

Balboa Spa Controls

Balboa spa controls are one of the most common and highest quality spa controls used among hot tub manufacturers.

These topside controls are made with a special sealant so that water cannot get into the control. Most of the actual electricity is passed on the circuit board and not in the topside control, so the control acts more as a logic controller rather than changing the actual functions. This means that when you touch the spa control touchpad, it sends a very low voltage signal to the circuit board.

Hot Tub Pump ImpellerControl Panel Gaskets

The control panel gasket makes sure the replacement control panel will fit inside the opening designed for the topside control.

The gasket is basically 2-sided tape that sticks the topside control to the spa surface. The actual topside control also has a design overlay with pictures/graphics and layout of the symbols as the spa manufacturer has had Balboa program the circuit board.

Usually, when replacing a topside control, the old gasket will no longer have enough adhesion to properly mount the new one, so request a replacement control panel gasket.


Hot Tubs CanadaFind out where in Canada to find spa parts or any hot tub part or accessory.

Topside Control Types

The very old systems had topside controls where the buttons actually sent little puffs of air down clear tubing that then forced an action in the spa pack. These types of controls are almost obsolete now with advanced digital control systems taking over.

Electrical Repairs Warning

WARNING: Electrical repairs should be made by qualified personel such as electricians or hot tub spa service technicians.



Hot Tub Spa Topside Control Problems

As with any troubleshooting steps, first the problem component needs to be isolated. Topside control problems are tricky, because sometimes the problem is on the circuit board or elsewhere. Many times, system errors show up on the display alerting hot tub owners of problems that can be anywhere in the hot tub.

Questions to ask when troubleshooting a topside control include:

Can I see anything at all on the display or is it blank?
Does anything on the spa work?
Is there an error message on the display?
Does only one button or function not work, or is it the entire panel?
If none of the buttons work, maybe you just have the panel lock engaged? Operator error is always the first thing to look for. In this case, you just need to learn your particular button push sequence for unlocking the topside control. Note that there is also a feature on may topside controls called Temperature lock. This feature just locks the temperature while allowing the rest of the controls to function. This one can be especially difficult because you may not be aware the Temp. Lock is engaged. A small lock symbol should appear on any LCD display when the display is locked.

Replacing a Topside Control Panel

First you turn off all power to the spa and also power at the breaker to make sure there is no electricity to the spa. Then you can slide a plastic knife or tool that will not scratch the acrylic surface to help dislodge the control panel. If you need to move up to a flat head screwdriver, be careful not to scratch the acrylic when trying to unwedge the panel. The old gasket with the sticky surface on both sides is what is holding the panel down. Very few spa manufacturers actually screw the panel in place.
As the power is off, unplug the old panel and remove it from the spa. Take note of which jack the control was unplugged from. Remove the remains of the old gasket and put the new gasket in its place. Then route the wire of the new replacement topside control through the gasket and hole to the jack on the spa circuit board or control pack depending on where you unplugged the old control. If you are not absolutely sure that the control will fit and work, it is best to just plug it in to the spa pack without actually mounting it to the gasket first to test operation. When testing operation, be sure not to get close to any part of the spa pack or electronics while there is electricity to it. If in doubt, contact a qualified spa repair person.

Your online hot tub parts supply company will help further with tips on replacing the topside control.

In Canada, Find Hot Tub Controls at:
or contact us.