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Thread: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

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    New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    I am putting a 27' above ground salt water pool in this spring. I was looking at installing led lights. Has anyone installed or tried installing LED light strips that they have for sale on ebay/amazon etc. You can get custom length waterproof LED strips. I was thinking of installing these under the cap of the pool illuminate the perimeter of the pool. They run off 12v DC. I would definitely make sure the power feeding it would be ground fault protected so electrically I believe I'm alright. Anyone try using these yet?

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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Welcome to the forum!

    This topic comes up from time to time. The end result of the conversation is invariably that it's a bad idea. Only electrical products specifically designed to be in or near a pool should be in or near a pool for safety reasons. Anyone who advocates otherwise is taking on much more risk than they should. The difference between something being waterproof (i.e. - can be used outside) and something being used in or near a pool is that people are in the body of water and subject to electrocution. I would stick strictly with LED lights designed for above ground pools.
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Thank you for your response, I'm a power systems technician and was just wondering where this concern for electrocution comes from? Is it mostly based on opinion or is it based on actual facts? I would like to hear from anyone that can elaborate on the subject because I do not see where the risk of electrocution comes from. With LED lighting the voltage is typically 5v-12v DC which is very small and is limited in current. As long as the stepdown transformer supplying the power is ground fault protected then there is no reason why a led light strip cannot be used safely like any other lighting which is doing the same thing. The LED strip I was looking at is IP68 rated.

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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    In my mind, bottom line is that it is not designed for in-pool use and involves electricity, so not a wise idea. Often times it is money savings that initiates using products outside of their normal realm. My career has no electrical related concepts in it though so I'll be interested to hear from others as well.
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Do a little search around our site and you will find many folks that have done it. I would, but I don't have any coping to hide it under.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    twinkiesmommy2009's Avatar
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    New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    So my comment is not related to the electrical aspect but... A lot of products are marked up when advertised for a niche market (pools) but may have an almost identical product not being marketed as such and it will cost less. I've run into that a lot, especially when you add baby, or wedding to the product name - bam, price hike.

    My Uncle is an electrician and says he'd have to see it himself before saying it's okay but he suspects it is.


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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by D0T-C0M View Post
    I'm a power systems technician and was just wondering where this concern for electrocution comes from? Is it mostly based on opinion or is it based on actual facts?
    It is based on the fact that in the U.S., any electrical device installed in/around a pool must be listed for that service according to the National Electrical Code.

    Many things MAY be safe to do, but unless the manufacturer pays for the requisite testing and certification then the device should not be used in/around the pool.
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    It is based on the fact that in the U.S., any electrical device installed in/around a pool must be listed for that service according to the National Electrical Code.

    Many things MAY be safe to do, but unless the manufacturer pays for the requisite testing and certification then the device should not be used in/around the pool.
    I appreciate your opinion and concern and I would agree that the general public probably should not undertake such a project. I work in the electrical field and have talked to 2 electrical engineers to make double sure I'm not overlooking something obvious. This is a DIY project of sorts, so of course I do not expect it to be CSA or ASA "approved" but that doesn't mean it cannot be made safe using the proper electrical standards. The LED strip is IP68 rated so that part of it is waterproof rated. The electrical side can be easily protected using ground fault protection in case of LED strip seal failure.

    The reason LED lighting is so expensive is because it cost lots on money to get the proper approvals. Using the proper methods for installation and adding the proper protective circuits should make this adequately safe I should be good to go.

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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    I love the idea...but, I did this in my kitchen under the cabinets and it wasn't long before a short segment stopped working and it annoyed the heck out of me. Basically had to replace the entire run...so I just pulled them and gave up on it.
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Pools are different.

    They are an environment where the person is especially vulnerable to electrical shock. Therefore the electrical code sets special rules that often seem counterintuitive or even wacky.

    So as of today the 2014 version of the NEC bans any light from a pool unless it is listed for that use.

    You point out a GFCI will protect you. Not really. First, you are on the secondary side of a transformer and there is no real GFCI protection there even with a swim rated transformer. Second, you don't create situations where you are relying on the GFCI, that's just bad practice.

    It does cost lots of money for them to get the proper approvals. And one they didn't get was listing for use in pools.

    It may be as relatively safe as listed lights, but as of now there is no engineering support for that posit
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Pools are different.

    They are an environment where the person is especially vulnerable to electrical shock. Therefore the electrical code sets special rules that often seem counterintuitive or even wacky.

    So as of today the 2014 version of the NEC bans any light from a pool unless it is listed for that use.

    You point out a GFCI will protect you. Not really. First, you are on the secondary side of a transformer and there is no real GFCI protection there even with a swim rated transformer. Second, you don't create situations where you are relying on the GFCI, that's just bad practice.

    It does cost lots of money for them to get the proper approvals. And one they didn't get was listing for use in pools.

    It may be as relatively safe as listed lights, but as of now there is no engineering support for that posit
    You need to have ground fault protection on the 120v side of the transformer for sure but while 12v dc poses minimal risk for electrocution there is also ground fault protection available for DC systems on ungrounded circuits which I am considering. Also I am not relying on the GFI protection directly but rather as that is merely a backup in case the insulation of the LED light strip were ever to fail. The LED light strips are IP68 certified and are marketed for pool installation, that is my main isolation from ground.

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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    It's not really what you're looking for, but I've had one of these for about 5 years now and it works really well. For that size pool, you might want 2 or 3 of them, but that's still under $150 and totally safe. Plus no special installation required.



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    D'oh! Just realized, you're probably putting in a metal pool, in which case these won't work. Oh well, sorry...
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Thx for posting. Mine is a salt water metal pool. The LED strips come in custom lengths so I can order the exact length so no splices to worry about.

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Here's a post that I loved the use of LEDs. It's an IG pool but you get the idea. Some detail in later posts about types of lights I think... Making an old pool NEW again
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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    Great that was exactly what I was looking to do. Thanks

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    Re: New pool build: Anyone using waterproof LED light strips?

    You could also use side loss fiber. No code problems, no questions. Much like all other products surplus fiber from telecoms is cheap, fiber "designed for pool applications" is $$$.

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