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Thread: Light fixture hack

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    Light fixture hack

    Preface: Yes, I know what I'm asking isn't recommended by anyone, anywhere. I indemnify and hold harmless anyone who makes suggestions regarding this light. That said...

    My light fixture leaked a few years ago and my base corroded a little bit, most notably the tab that touches the center contact on the bulb. After awhile it apparently suffered stress cracks at the bend point and lost its spring tension. I tried to use a dental pick to pull it out a hair and it snapped off, leaving only the rivet. If this were a traditional light fixture, I'd be out $1.29 for a socket. Unfortunately, it's embedded in epoxy and can't be replaced.

    So here we are, a dead light for want of a 1/4 in piece of brass. And I seriously do not like the idea of spending $200 to replace a $1.29 part. So, I'm on a quest for a hack.

    My current thoughts are to get a 3/8in brass rod and cut a 1/16" thick disc. Then glue that into the center of a rubber disc with a 3/8" hole. This would be placed in the bottom of the socket, causing it to be pinched between the bulb center contact and the rivet.

    Thoughts? Concerns? Alternatives?
    My Pool: 18'x36' Grecian. Vinyl Liner, 500# sand filter, SWG.

    My hobbies: Brewing beer and flying rockets.

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    TFP Guide

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    Your problem is the heat generated from the bulb could set that rubber on fire. You might get lucky with that kind of fix if you can find an LED replacement bulb for your light it will use far less power and make a lot less heat. It's a tough position to be in but there aren't a lot of ways to fix that kind of issue that don't leave you with an uneasy feeling when you walk away.
    Chuck-
    15x30 Above ground, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    I also think the heat would cause problems. LEDs generate a lot less heat. However it sounds like the fixture is old. It should be replaced. I know that's not cheap but its probably the best answer.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    If the heat were that significant the epoxy would not survive. Nor would the PVC coated wires inside the epoxy. And when a fixture gets water in it it would boil and blow the seals out, if not the glass itself.

    But let's assume for argument's sake that it does burn. There's a very limited amount of air inside a sealed container 3 feet under water. I think our worst-case scenario is smoked up glass and a ruined fixture. And the future is ruined as is.
    My Pool: 18'x36' Grecian. Vinyl Liner, 500# sand filter, SWG.

    My hobbies: Brewing beer and flying rockets.

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    In the Industry

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    Modifying an electrical fixture that is submerged in your pool is a bad idea.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    Replace the light.

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman View Post
    Modifying an electrical fixture that is submerged in your pool is a bad idea.
    Please explain how the described modification makes the fixture more dangerous than an unmodified fixture.
    My Pool: 18'x36' Grecian. Vinyl Liner, 500# sand filter, SWG.

    My hobbies: Brewing beer and flying rockets.

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    The light fixture is tested and certified in the condition it was in as purchased. If it's corroded or will no longer operate properly then it is not in a known condition and could fail.

    Its a pool light. Pool light failures can create dangerous voltage gradients in a pool which may injure swimmers.

    Some pool lights operate at 500 watts which generate a significant amount of heat. The effect of this heat on your fix is not clear.

    Moreover pool light fixtures are designed to be replaced when they fail, not repaired. While they have some replaceable parts, the fixture housing itself, which includes the socket is not field serviceable or repairable.

    Moreover pool light fixtures
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    Deadaquarite, I get trying to repair things where possible and for the most part, I would agree on fixing most things. However, a pool light, especially in the condition that you describe, is not the time or place.

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    Not to beat a dead horse but you asked just how hot could it possibly be. SO here an answer. The filament of a halogen bulb gets to be some where in the range of 1000F nope not a typo I meant 1000. A standard incandescent bulb ( the ole 60 watt guy in a house lamp) the filament burns at around 500F. How you say can they be so hot, its because they burn in a vacuum or in the case of a halogen bulb in a blanket of inert gas (hence why they are called halogen). The glass temperatures of a halogen bulb can be upwards of 500F and the glass temps of standard bulbs are around 300F. Halogen burn so hot in fact that oil left on the glass from a finger print can cause the glass to break from the thermal stress between where the oil is and isn't (that's why they always say never to touch the glass with your fingers). Now you say why aren't these totally enclosed pool lights bursting into flames left and right. The answer is simple if you read the fine print in the instructions. The lights must be under water when in use so that the housing can transfer the heat into the pool, if you use the light out of the water the warranty is void and you risk a fire / property damage .... ect.

    In your case you want to put a rubber insulator under the bulb with a puck of metal to be the electrical contact between the bulb and the base of the socket. Most off the shelf plastics and rubbers lose their ability to hold a shape around 2-300F, and a lot of them will outgas volatile organic compounds in the temp range meaning they will never go back to the way they were before they were heated. So that lil puck of metal is now only held in place by the bulb because even if the rubber doesn't burn it will loose its shape. That bulb shrinks and expands every time it is used by a lot more than you would expect (this is the reason for the spring tab at the bottom of the socket it holds tight to the bulb as it shrinks and grows). So every time that bulb cycles the connection between the bulb the puck and the socket base will get just a lil bit looser. Worst case here that puck get so loose it will fall out of place enough to contact the side of the socket and create a dead short to the housing putting line voltage in the water. Second worst case that puck stays in place enough to become a resistor due to the loose connection and destroys the ceramics in the bulb socket or gets hot enough on the exterior casing to damage your pool even though its still under water.

    Your average everyday light fixture is actually a small technical marvel that has been carefully designed to withstand significant thermal stress and millions of cycles. Just because it is cheap and every where doesn't mean it didn't take many people a long time to perfect it into the design it is today.

    You may get lucky with your hack and not have a problem but the over all odds say your plan is not going to work long term and that leaves you wondering every time you turn on the light and get in the pool is that light safe to use this time. It sounds harsh and expensive to say replace the light and don't modify it but by far that is really safe option there is. Pools are a massive liability risk and if anything were to go wrong because of your light hack to save 200 dollars you could find yourself on the hook for a whole lot more when the insurance company denies you claim because you modified an underwater electrical device.

    This forum is one of the few open forums on the internet where the people truly seem to care about keeping you and anyone else happy and safe the opinions are honest and almost always have some sort of technical or scientific backing to them.
    Chuck-
    15x30 Above ground, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

    Photos of 2016 Build, Inside Your Breaker Panel, Free Copy of 2017 NEC code
    TFP is funded by member support click here to help

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    Re: Light fixture hack

    I do believe that this thread has come to it's final conclusion. It has been shown that the practice being asked about is not advised or recommended due to the fact that it may be dangerous.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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