How to change a hot tub panel

The following is a simple guide to changing hot tub panels.

Hot tub control panel - Hot Tub DIY

Why change the panel?

There are many reasons to change a hot tub control panel, they range from a faulty panel to cosmetic reason to upgrades and finally repairs, the main reason for this guide is to show what it looks like and how simple it is to do. (also tools required).

Hot tub panels are often called 'topside panels' and 'touch panels' if you have one of these it is the same, its also good to note this guide will help with auxiliary panels.


Image shows the old panel we want to replace, it all works but the tub is going to be sold and this panel isn't going to help sell it, its damaged in may ways, not just cosmetically so a new overlay isn't enough to make it good.

Balboa control panel showing make and model - Hot Tub DIY

How to get the right panel

Many brands of hot tub use the same panels, these are usually Balboa or Gecko or similar brands, and they all put a sticker on the bottom or the side to identify them and the codes to replace them. If your lucky the code is easily visible on the underside and you could easily take a photo with a smartphone and get a replacement, however you maybe unlucky and might have sunk your hot tub into decking and have to be a contortionist to see it and or the sticker is on the side of the panel which means it will have to be removed to read it. Either way you will need a make, model and maybe send a photo to get the correct overlay configuration correct.

Image shows - Balboa control panel make and model sticker.


Best way to buy a new panel

Send an email with the make model and photo to your favorite supply that communicates well and gives good warranty - simply put it's not all about price if it goes wrong or you need help fitting it or fault finding.

Here's a link to the panels we sell - New hot tub panels


First switch the hot tub off!!

Switch of the tub before you do anything electrical, it's just good practice, then disconnect the control panel cable from control box or circuit board inside the hot tub (Note you will almost certainly have to remove a side panel from your hot tub to access the Hot Tub control box) , do not remove the cable at this point as you may need to use it as a guide.


How to check if a hot tub panel is screwed down - Hot Tub DIY

Lifting up a hot tub panel - Hot Tub DIY

Look underneath the panel

Lift the panel with a screw driver at the edge, if its not lifting easy it maybe attached down, (check that the panel isn't held down with screws, clips or brackets) most are simply held on with 3M double sided glue. However some of the larger panels can be held on with clips that have to be accessed by taking of the sticker (overlay) on top of the control panel. Its good to point out no Balboa touch panel uses anything other than 3M tape or silicon to be held down.

Images showing lifting a control panel with a screw driver, no screws here, but we knew that already from the photo taken of the underside.

Top Cable Tip - before you remove the cable read this.

"If the panel cable goes through a difficult to access route, through a tube (in the case of some aux panels) or is simply long then remember it would probably make sense to use the original cable as a guide. If your cable route is short then ignore this part. to do this grab some electrical tape and consider cutting the cable of your old panel and taping the new cable to it's last 6 inches and gently pulling the new cable through the tube, gap or hole. Don't pull to hard and tape it well."

Time for action - test the new panel first.

OK STOP! so you now have the cable route considered any you can remove the panel from the spa, have you tested the new panel? Presuming you are just changing the panel you will probably have the water still in the tub, we would always recommend to try the new panel before you remove the old and and make sure it works, and by this i mean proper test, so, without fitting the new panel or removing its overlay protector simply plug it in and switch the hot tub on, run the hot tub for an hour or 2 and make sure it all works.


Removed Old Panel - Hot Tub DIY

Found the sticker - Hot Tub DIY

Preping hole - Hot Tub DIY

Ok now time to replace the panel!

So the new panel works its now time to take of the old, if its held on with 3M tape or silicon you will need to clean this up, the bast way to do this is with a knife, a kitchen scrub and a little solvent. Pay attention not to scratch the top of the hot tub and make the area immaculately clean so the seal for the new hot tub panel lets no water inside your hot tub cabinet.

The following images show what you will find under most hot tub control panels, and consists of some 3M tape and silicon that will need removing.


Tips of the trade

If the 3M tape doesn't stick properly, the surface is uneven, you have no 3M on your panel or you need to stick it down for any other reason, we use clear exterior grade cheap silicon, the reason for saying cheap is simply because the expensive types of silicon are no better when it comes to hot tubs, you want something that sets solid and clear.

Fitting overlays

Sometimes you have to change the overlay, to do this remember that the buttons are always protected by a clear screen to stop water ingress, be really careful not to damage this as it cant be replaced.

Balboa panel with led protector still fitted - Hot Tub DIY

Overlay fitting tip

Balboa panels come from the factory with a LED screen protector which needs to be removed before fitting the button overlay otherwise it will cause button faults in the not so distant future.


This image shows the LED protector still fitted, if your new panels comes with a seperate overlay and a LED protector, make sure you remove it first.

And finally

Old Balboa Control Panel - Hot Tub DIYImage showing old panel - tired and ready for replacement

New Balboa Control Panel - Hot Tub DIY

Wow the new Balboa control panel is ready to go, all stuck down and ready to have its overlay protector taken of before using the tub.



Great hopefully you have now changed your control panel, congratulations :) - If not, why not get in touch : [email protected]

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Please note all Hot tub Parts sold are UK Spec, which means designed for 230 V at 50Hz