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Thread: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

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    Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Hi,

    I would like to upgrade to a Pentair LED 120V light in a Pentair wet niche in a pool which was installed around 2005.

    There is a gray plastic junction box from/to the light. It rises from my lawn about 4 feet behind the light, just off my concrete deck.

    I keep hitting the junction box with my mower. The box is is ugly and insects love it (especially fire ants).

    So... I'd like to buy a light with a 100ft cable and run it directly back to the light switch over by my pumps, filter, etc. I can then remove the offending junction box.

    Here are my questions....


    1. How do I join the conduit from the back of the niche to the conduit that goes to the light switch? Are there approved products that will connect the conduits underground?

    2. Would it be better to move the junction box to a better location back towards the switch where I won't hit it with a mower?

    3. I am moderately technical, very safety minded and can dig holes. Should I use a qualified electrician for this work?

    4. Am I mis-guided in considering removing the junction box?



    Many thanks,

    ft.






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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    This is very possible to do but not without a good amount of effort. You will also have to run a new bond wire from the niche to the junction box and reapply the potting compound over the terminal in the light niche.

    Have you looked into covering the current junction box to hide it aesthetically?
    -Brian-
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    A specific type of pool light junction box is required by the electrical code. The part between the pool and the junction box is normally full of water. Depending on the age of the pool, the conduit from the pool light niche to the junction box may be rigid brass. It would probably be easier to have an qualified electrician move the box because you won't have the tools to bend and thread conduit. You could do all the trenching to expose the existent conduits in advance to save on the costs. I'd probably just take out the grass and put in a small flower/shrub area around the junction box so I wouldn't have to mow near it.
    8.5k gallon IG pebble sheen play pool with Intellitouch control, Intellifo VF, IC 20, Rainbow tab feeder (not currently in use), Pentaire mystery cartridge filter with labels faded to the point I have no idea on the model, Intellibrite 5g LED light, Hayward Navigator. Adding IntelliPh and Crestron control next.

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    2005 probably means you don't have the brass conduit. Red brass conduit hasn't been used (at least in my area) for ~30 years. Mainly due to cost. Lowering the j-box to anything lower than 18" isn't going to be possible due to local codes, and the fact that anything lower than that and you run the risk of it leaking pool water (this is what the codes are for). Your best bet is to relocate the j-box to an area that won't interfere with your lawn mowing antics. There must be a junction between the light and the switch/power. There must be NO raceway between your light fixture and your power source (water).

    Maintaining the bonding will pose a significant challenge. Present day light niche bonding with plastic niches now require (again, in my area) that the bond wire is insulated and inside the conduit. Code also requires that since the insulated bond wire is now inside the conduit, that it must be a continuous wire. In your case would require a new (longer) wire. Since it cannot be spliced, it would have to be re potted, as previously stated. This will require that the pool be partially or fully drained, since potting needs a dry environment to set up in.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Thanks for the replies.

    The 2 conduits rising to the existing junction box are plastic, not brass.

    The niche is stainless steel. I do not see any potting compound in the niche. There is no bonding wire coming inside the niche, only the cable to the light.

    I don't see any bonding wire in the junction box. Only the live, neutral and ground from the light cable connecting to the power cable are the the junction box.

    Perhaps I am not currently to code?

    ft.
    ~22,000 gallons, freeform, Pebbletec, beach entry AquaRite SWCG v1.33 Hayward Tristar SP325EE pump for main draw & skimmer Hayward sand filter S310S 1.5 hp booster pump Paramount PCC2000 in-floor cleaner, skimmer, debris containment canister Waterfall Pentair Intellibrite 5g LED light in Pentair stainless wet niche Jandy Lite2 heater: removed Auto-fill: deactivated

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Below is a diagram of what your set up should look like post about 2005.

    pool light.JPG


    That was stolen from Mike Holt, he gets the credit. The diagram is the 2014 NEC. California requires the potting compound over the ground termination. Note the diagram generally shows ground and bond wire detail, it shows the power and the neutral lines but not in detail.

    There is no bonding wire in the conduit. That is a ground wire. In pools ground wire is always insulated and bond wire is always bare. Bond wire is never in conduit. The bond wire in the wet niche bonds the water usually not the light fixture. Generally light fixtures are not bonded they are only grounded.

    I would suggest an electrician move the j box. You can do it yourself. It must be 4 inches above the ground (min), 8 inches above the waterline (min) and at least 5 feet from the pool. Most pool electricians double or triple those requirements. The box must be listed as a pool junction box.

    Post some pictures and we can help.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Thanks for the reply.

    I do not have an 8 AWG insulated copper bonding conductor connceted to the wet niche.

    Here are a couple pics showing the location and style of the junction box (pls excuse my recent weed/overseed project which did not work as expected)

    The pool equipment is located in the background by the fence. There is a light switch over there for the pool.

    Ideally I want to purchase a light with a 100ft cable to run directly to the light switch over by the fence. If not, I could relocate the jb on a 4x4 into those rose bushes

    Thanks, ft.

    IMG_1587.jpg
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    ~22,000 gallons, freeform, Pebbletec, beach entry AquaRite SWCG v1.33 Hayward Tristar SP325EE pump for main draw & skimmer Hayward sand filter S310S 1.5 hp booster pump Paramount PCC2000 in-floor cleaner, skimmer, debris containment canister Waterfall Pentair Intellibrite 5g LED light in Pentair stainless wet niche Jandy Lite2 heater: removed Auto-fill: deactivated

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    That's not a correct junction box for a pool anyway.

    Look for an Intermatic JB.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Thanks for the advice this far. Bearing the above in mind I think the following will be my plan of action and I would appreciate any additional comment:


    1. Check the conduit paths are fully accessible using a fish tape before removing existing cables.


    2. Remove existing cables and plug hole at back of wet niche.

    3. Remove junction box and splice the existing conduits together, buried where the j-box was.

    4. Add a new, pool-rated junction box in a better location, probably back at the pad.

    5. Drain pool 18 inches or so.

    6. Add an 8 AWG copper bonding cable from the lug in the wet niche to the j-box.

    7. Apply potting compound to the lug in the niche where the bonding cable connects.

    8. Bond the j-box.

    9. When potting compound has cured, add the new light.

    10. Refill pool.



    I think the electrical is more than I was hoping. For steps 4-8 I will need to either (a) call in a pro or (b) call the inspector and see if he'll point me in the right direction.

    Thanks,

    ft.
    ~22,000 gallons, freeform, Pebbletec, beach entry AquaRite SWCG v1.33 Hayward Tristar SP325EE pump for main draw & skimmer Hayward sand filter S310S 1.5 hp booster pump Paramount PCC2000 in-floor cleaner, skimmer, debris containment canister Waterfall Pentair Intellibrite 5g LED light in Pentair stainless wet niche Jandy Lite2 heater: removed Auto-fill: deactivated

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    It look's like there was some kind of damage to the light conduit underground at some point, someone swinging a pick, etc. never thinking about the possibility of there actually being anything pool related in there way as they pick away, until they hit whatever was there (usually just pvc pipe) who knows, is the light mounted on the pool wall directly across from the gray box ? my guess would be yes, and maybe they had enough of the conduit to bend up to get above the water line, and this is the location where it was then possible to reconnect pool light via j-box, there's nothing about that grey box that looks like it belongs in that location, this was obviously a more reasonable alternative, for whoever did this, compared to what would be involved to restore the original configuration, i would get some opinions on what a qualified electrician suggests you should do, it is not code compliant, and i just don't see that being overlooked by a home inspector if you ever try to sell home, it just stick's out as not right.

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Quote Originally Posted by pool&spatech View Post
    It look's like there was some kind of damage to the light conduit underground at some point... they hit whatever was there (usually just pvc pipe)...
    Hmmm... I can say for sure nothing happened to it in the last 10 years while I have owned it. The pool was built 11 years ago so maybe something happened during first year of ownership by original owner?

    There is definitely no pool-rated junction box anywhere. So even in your scenario, as originally built, there would have been a raceway to the lightswitch which is not to code, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by pool&spatech View Post
    is the light mounted on the pool wall directly across from the gray box ?
    To estimate the location of the niche, imagine a straight line to the water, then come 3 feet back towards where the photo is taken from.



    Quote Originally Posted by pool&spatech View Post
    there's nothing about that grey box that looks like it belongs in that location... i would get some opinions on what a qualified electrician suggests you should do, it is not code compliant
    I agree. I had no idea it was not to code until I started this project.


    Quote Originally Posted by pool&spatech View Post
    , and i just don't see that being overlooked by a home inspector if you ever try to sell home, it just stick's out as not right.
    Hmmm... my home inspector did not mention it when I purchased the house. I also paid a local pool shop (no relationship to installer) to come inspect all the pool equipment for me before purchasing the house - they said it looked great.

    But the important thing now is to bring it to code for safety and peace-of-mind.

    Thanks,

    ft.
    ~22,000 gallons, freeform, Pebbletec, beach entry AquaRite SWCG v1.33 Hayward Tristar SP325EE pump for main draw & skimmer Hayward sand filter S310S 1.5 hp booster pump Paramount PCC2000 in-floor cleaner, skimmer, debris containment canister Waterfall Pentair Intellibrite 5g LED light in Pentair stainless wet niche Jandy Lite2 heater: removed Auto-fill: deactivated

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    I like you plan. I probably would put new conduit to your new J Box rather than splice them together. That is a recipe for trouble in my book. That way you control the bends.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    I like you plan. I probably would put new conduit to your new J Box rather than splice them together. That is a recipe for trouble in my book. That way you control the bends.


    Thanks for the advice. The conduit to the niche goes under the concrete deck, so I think I will have to splice into that since I won't be able to access the back of the niche.

    In any case I think I'm going to need to dig a new trench from the pad to the current jbox and lay new conduit. I spent an hour yesterday trying to get the fish tape through from the lightswitch to the existing jbox. Could not make it.

    Thanks,

    ft.
    ~22,000 gallons, freeform, Pebbletec, beach entry AquaRite SWCG v1.33 Hayward Tristar SP325EE pump for main draw & skimmer Hayward sand filter S310S 1.5 hp booster pump Paramount PCC2000 in-floor cleaner, skimmer, debris containment canister Waterfall Pentair Intellibrite 5g LED light in Pentair stainless wet niche Jandy Lite2 heater: removed Auto-fill: deactivated

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    With the existing cord in the conduit?
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    YEs... someone suggested I should try that first before removing the cables.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here is the revised plan:


    • GET PRO ELECTRICIAN TO COME ADVISE BEFORE STARTING

    If existing conduit from switch to jbox is inaccessible, dig new 18" trench from pad to current junction box for new 1" conduit.

    • Remove existing junction box.

    • Connect the new 1" conduit onto existing
    conduit from niche to complete conduit from niche to pad.

    • At the pad, connect new conduit to a new, pool-rated junction box.

    • Drain pool 18 inches or so.

    • Remove existing lamp.

    • Add an 8 AWG insulated copper ground cable from the lug in the wet niche to run to the new j-box.

    • Apply potting compound to the lug in the niche where the bonding cable connects.

    • When potting compound has cured, pull light and ground cable through to the junction box

    • Connect wires at the j-box.

    • Connect junction box to light switch to panel.

    • GET CHECK BY A PRO ELECTRICIAN

    • Refill pool.



    Thanks

    ft.
    ~22,000 gallons, freeform, Pebbletec, beach entry AquaRite SWCG v1.33 Hayward Tristar SP325EE pump for main draw & skimmer Hayward sand filter S310S 1.5 hp booster pump Paramount PCC2000 in-floor cleaner, skimmer, debris containment canister Waterfall Pentair Intellibrite 5g LED light in Pentair stainless wet niche Jandy Lite2 heater: removed Auto-fill: deactivated

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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Yea doubtful it will work that way. I would put a new J box by the bush and run a line to where the existing J box is. Connect the conduit. Remember Oversized conduit 1 inch preferably and big sweeping turns.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 12.03.36 PM.jpgSo I did a little digging today.Found that the existing cable from the jbox back to the light switch does not seem to be in conduit after the first foot. It just disappears into the earth under the concrete deck as shown in the pics.So, the plan is definitely to trench a new conduit to the pad, and connect to the conduit coming from the wet niche. Woud appreciate any comments taking into account the new info.Many thanks,ft.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    That cable back to the light switch looks to be UF cable which is rated for direct burial. Not the best way to have done it but not the worst either. I suspect that it was never buried deep enough to pass code based on what I see in that picture.
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    Re: Relamping - use long light cable instead of junction box

    First, lets all agree that's not a listed junction box. The NEC requires a listed junction box.

    Second, use of UF cable rated for direct burial is not permitted in this application or in any pool related application. NEC 680.23(F)(1) specifically requires conduit be used in the run from the listed jbox to the panel, switch, transformer or control system. Its not just best practices to use conduit here, its required.

    Third, its not deep enough. Direct burial cable must be a minimum of 18 inches below grade even when covered with concrete.

    Fourth, good practice dictates not using direct burial cable anywhere in residential backyards, its just too dangerous.
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