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Thread: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

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    jdomke1's Avatar
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    Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Sorry for lumping this all into one question but it all pertains to each other. First, I currently have a Pentair EasyTouch 4 panel with 12V LED pool lights and a 110V LED spa light. Each of the lights are controlled by their own relay and coupled with the pump relay and blower relay, that taps me out. So, I'm upgrading my panel to a EasyTouch 8. I was able to find a controller on eBay that is new and will be putting that in this week. In order to control my Intellibrite landscape lights, I am adding an additional relay to the panel. So far it seems fairly simply with just swapping wire for wire between the two panels. I'll take a photo first but all the plugs are exactly the same so perhaps about 1/2 hr job for someone like me who has some decent electrical wiring experience from household repairs and remodels. Since my spa light is 120v it's just wired directly to the relay and GFCI. With the 12v pool lights, they are wired from the relay to a Intermatic PX100 transformer and then on to the j-box where it's wired to the two pool lights. Each light is 35watt for those who want to know. I originally tried just jumpering my 110v feed from the one relay to the other for both lights relays but everytime I turned on the pool lights, the GFCI blew. After many wasted hours talking with Pentair I decided it was just an issue with the GFCI seeing draw but no return because the 12v side wasn't part of the complete circuit. Instead I used a lead from the power supply/transformer straight to the relay and that solved the issue. Now, I'm making the leap of upgrading me panel all so I can control my landscape lights too. Here is my question, after doing the upgrade and installing the extra relay, can I just use a jumper from the 12v pool relay to my new relay which will be powering a separate Intermatic PX100 that will supply power to my Intellibrite landscape lights? From what I'm reading these transformers are only drawing 1 amp so the two combined are pulling 2 amps off a 20 amp circuit breaker that is also supply power to the panel itself. I'm interested in your thoughts. I have room on the breaker box to add another breaker if you think I'll need a separate circuit. Or perhaps I need one anyhow and to stop using the power from the transformer. Please give what advice you can and ask questions if need be. Thanks.

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    When you say 12 volt relay are you saying that you have low voltage wire hooked to one of the relays inside the panel? If that's the case you don't want to have low voltage wire in the high voltage side of the panel and use the relays due to a large amount of voltage drop when transferring low voltage power.

    All of your lights should be GFCI protected so for that to happen you should have a breaker that goes to the line side of a GFCI outlet (or use a GFCI breaker) and then run a wire to the line side of a relay from the load side of the GFCI outlet. From that really you can run a jumper to each additional relay that you want to run your lights off of. The neutral from the GFCI needs to tie into the neutrals from each one of the lights, if it doesn't then the GFCI is going to detect the change in voltage and will cause will cause it to trip. I'm kind of thinking that's what you were experiencing before.

    Its not uncommon to power all of the pool and landscape lights off one breaker. You'd have to have a pretty impressive setup to max out a 20A circuit. I have 6 pool lights, 2 PX300 transformers and 52 landscape lights running on a 15A breaker...All of that pulls less than 6 amps.

    Any way you can post a picture of the panel?
    -Brian-
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    I'm talking about the standard relays that are used in the panels. They are 110/220 relays and I want to add an additional one for my landscape lights. GFCI should not be used for 12V LED Pentairs lights per their installation instructions (unless you live in Canada). You only use GFCI for 110v. I'll post a pic later not that it will matter, it hasn't been installed yet, at least not the landscape light, relay or easytouch 8 panel.

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    It would be like this then. I guess I didn't understand your question

    -Brian-
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    GFI's have three connections. One is for the 110, one is for the neutral TO THE APPLIANCE, and the third is neutral that connects to the neutral buss in the panel. Note: The third connection may be a wire that comes off the breaker instead of a connection on the breaker. That helps with "which neutral goes where", the wired neutral goes to the panels' neutral buss.

    Each appliance that is to be protected by the GFI must have their neutral go directly back to the GFI breaker neutral, and not to the neutral buss. Otherwise you will be tripping the GFI all day long.

    If you didn't already know that...

    Does that make sense?
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Clown View Post
    GFI's have three connections. One is for the 110, one is for the neutral TO THE APPLIANCE, and the third is neutral that connects to the neutral buss in the panel. Note: The third connection may be a wire that comes off the breaker instead of a connection on the breaker. That helps with "which neutral goes where", the wired neutral goes to the panels' neutral buss.

    Each appliance that is to be protected by the GFI must have their neutral go directly back to the GFI breaker neutral, and not to the neutral buss. Otherwise you will be tripping the GFI all day long.

    If you didn't already know that...

    Does that make sense?
    Yes, that is probably it. The neutral was going to the neutral bus but the 110 was going back to the breaker, I thought, but was actually going to the GFCI. Once I ran a separate 110 to the breaker, via a wire nut for the transformer, the tripping stopped. It's very convoluted because the original pool automation that went bad is still there because that's where the power comes up from the ground. The installers then ran conduit over to the Pentair box to supply whatever lines were needed. The GFCI sits in the old box so it's slightly a spaghetti factory in there with wires running all over the place. I've tried my best to get them sorted out but somehow missed that 110 from the GFCI and thought it went to the breaker. Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it. I know the 12v can work with the GFCI if I wired it back, knowing now what I do, but Pentair says it doesn't need to in the US according to our electrical code. The PX100 is an isolated box that will shut down if something goes wrong anyhow.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    It would be like this then. I guess I didn't understand your question

    Yes, that is pretty much it except its a PX100. I just wanted to know if I could take a jumper from that Aux relay feed over to my new Aux relay that will power my landscape lights. And, that it wasn't too much draw from my 20amp circuit that also powers the pentair panel transformer. I guess I can sit down and draw something out to better explain but it won't look anywhere a nice as yours unless something out there is free and easy to use.

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    That would be perfectly fine. The draw is minimal
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
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    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Well I got it all installed and everything seems to be working correctly except the intake and discharge valves are not automatically switching over when I activate the spa. In a search I read something about this and found the motherboard I bought is an 8P. I have no idea what this means and had no idea there were more than one easytouch 8. The article I read didn't explain what that meant so I'm reaching out to you. How do I get these valves to automate?


    28,000 in ground gunite pool and spa
    Pentair EasyTouch 8
    Pentair Salt Water Generator
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    Max Therm Heater 400,000 btu

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Are they getting power? Can you manually toggle them?
    -Brian-
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Yes. I can toggle. The P model doesn't actuate the intake and discharge unfortunately. Ordered the non P model and will put this one up for sale along with my 4.


    28,000 in ground gunite pool and spa
    Pentair EasyTouch 8
    Pentair Salt Water Generator
    System 3 Filter
    Max Therm Heater 400,000 btu

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Hey just chiming in on the wiring. The way you have it set up will work but there is a way to be easier on the transformer and also making it gfci protected as well.The way to wire the system would be...

    15a breaker to line hot side of gfci

    Gfci line neutral gets tied in with the other neutrals

    The gfci load neutral goes to Transformer neutral on 120 wiring

    The gfci load hot goes to transformer hot on 120 wiring

    Then you take the low voltage side of the transformer and tie it to the line side of the light relay ( you can use jumpers to power other relays for other low voltage lights)

    And you should know about making sure the gfci is grounded and connecting the transformer to ground as well.

    Then you wire the low voltage lights to the load of the relays

    The way the ez touch changes the colors on the lights is by turning them on and off a set amount of times to get to the desired color.

    Having the transformer on the load side of the relay would have the power cut and turned on to the transformer a lot of times in rapid session. Which would wear down your transformer and reduce its life span significantly.

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    That is not the correct way to wire the EasyTouch. The way that you are stating to do it would mean that low voltage wires would be on the high-voltage side of the panel. Also, Pentair has said many times that the relays are not to be used for switching power on to low voltage circuits. There is far too much voltage drop in each relay and it would greatly reduce the voltage, especially on longer lighting runs.

    Providing GFCI protection for the transformers only provides protection for the line that serves the Transformer itself any further protection is lost once it switches to low voltage.

    I do agree that rapidly switching the power on and off to the transformer is not good for it but I've yet to hear of an issue on the higher quality Intermatic units. Additionally, the color modes of the lights aren't something that gets changed all that frequently which lessens the potential for damage even further.
    -Brian-
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    So the final solution I came up with was this. For the pool 12v LED lights and the 12v LED landscape lights they are all on a brand new 15 amp CAFCI breaker I installed in the main box. From there it goes to the pool lights relay with jumper over to landscape relay and then on to separate PX100 transformers. Both share the same neutral that returns back to the CAFCI. My 120v LED spa light is the now the only thing attached to the pre-existing GFCI outlet that goes to its own relay with neutral that returns back to the GFCI. I also have a 300 watt 12V transformer for all my LED malibu lights that go along the perimeter of my entire backyard and pool. The transformer is plugged into the GFCI outlet shared with the spa light. 300 watts was overkill considering my 50+ malibu lights each only take up .75 to 1 watt each. I just couldn't resist the upgrade considering it was only like $10 more to go from 100 to 300 watts. The transformer for the malibu lights is a Moonrays model #95433. I'm really liking Moonrays for what appears to be a good product line. I have their solar deck lights installed on all my stair edges and one inside my pool equipment area so I don't kill myself if I ever need to check something at night. If you or anyone would like photos let me know.

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Why use the pool relay? The lights are only on when the pump is on???
    -Brian-
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    sorry for the confusion... the pool lights relay... they have their own separate relay

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    That is not the correct way to wire the EasyTouch. The way that you are stating to do it would mean that low voltage wires would be on the high-voltage side of the panel. Also, Pentair has said many times that the relays are not to be used for switching power on to low voltage circuits. There is far too much voltage drop in each relay and it would greatly reduce the voltage, especially on longer lighting runs.

    Providing GFCI protection for the transformers only provides protection for the line that serves the Transformer itself any further protection is lost once it switches to low voltage.

    I do agree that rapidly switching the power on and off to the transformer is not good for it but I've yet to hear of an issue on the higher quality Intermatic units. Additionally, the color modes of the lights aren't something that gets changed all that frequently which lessens the potential for damage even further.
    Also, i would not want to wire the 12V Xformer to be energized all the time. That would probably cause more life expectancy issues than rapid switching would. And the primary side of the X-former would be the only thing protected by the GFI. The secondary, or service end, would be un-protected.
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    It seems Pentair has modified how they suggest wiring the LED pool lights. Before, the only showed using a GFCI for the 120v models and for all models in Canada only. Now it appears they want all wired through a GFCI no matter which or where. Thankfully mine are all done right. My 12V goes from a CAFCI breaker to relay to a PX100 then on to the lights. The 120V goes from GFCI outlet mounted on side of panel to relay then straight to the light.
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Does anyone have a source for getting the correct label for the control panel door? Mine says it's specifically for the 4 and does not contain all the additional wiring diagrams for the added relays along with other options. I'm having no luck with Pentair who claims the label is the same for 4 and 8 which we all know isn't true. It might be the same door, but the labels are distinctly different.

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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    Why do you care what the label says? I believe they are the same between the 4 and 8
    -Brian-
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    Re: Pentair EasyTouch Panel Upgrade and Lighting/Relay Question

    I think the two [I]are[I] the same for the exception of:

    The addition of extra relay sockets in the case of an E/T 8.

    AND

    Depending on whether or not you have a single or dual body of water, and/or single or dual equipment. Single body would have some sockets for valves and i think a "spa" relay socket omitted.

    Why don't you post a pic of your E/T 4 door sticker. I think i have a E/T 8 door around here somewhere to compare.
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