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Thread: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

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    Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    I've been searching here and on the net to see what would be involved in adding an underwater light to my 40 year old vinyl liner pool. I can't find any articles or any show and tell on it.

    Has anyone done it or seen an article on it with photos ?? Wondering what would be the best way to cut a hole in the wall and if there is anything to watch out for.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Did some more looking tonight and tons of info on replacing the light but still noting on installing one from scratch on an existing vinyl.

    But I did come across a nifty 1.5 inch LED that fits into a return housing and I just happen to have one of those that's independent of the other returns, separate line and not being used. Think it was for use with the former LP heater but it's been capped as long as I've been around.

    Any one using 1.5" color LED that can recommend a brand they have and like ??

    Something like this: Brilliant Wonders® Brilliant Color 1.5 Cord | 25503-520-025H
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiss4aFrog View Post
    Did some more looking tonight and tons of info on replacing the light but still noting on installing one from scratch on an existing vinyl.

    But I did come across a nifty 1.5 inch LED that fits into a return housing and I just happen to have one of those that's independent of the other returns, separate line and not being used. Think it was for use with the former LP heater but it's been capped as long as I've been around.

    Any one using 1.5" color LED that can recommend a brand they have and like ??

    Something like this: Brilliant Wonders® Brilliant Color 1.5 Cord | 25503-520-025H
    how is that getting power? It looks to me it still requires conduit.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    To install a light after the fact, you would have to dig out behind the wall supports, drill a hole through the wall, mount the light fixture, run wire in conduit back to a source and switch.

    Why worry about it? Lights in pools attract bugs.

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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    It uses a 12 volt transformer. Should be safe to run the cord in the 1.5" unused PVC return line.
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiss4aFrog View Post
    It uses a 12 volt transformer. Should be safe to run the cord in the 1.5" unused PVC return line.
    it should be safe- as long as you ground / GFI the 110V side of the transformer. Most likely against any code but then you should be able to remove it if you decide to sell the house. Would it provide enough light? My color pool light is 26W and it's not overly bright, just barely enough. This one is at least 3 times less and your pool is only about 15% smaller in linear dimensions.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Quote Originally Posted by camueller View Post
    Why worry about it? Lights in pools attract bugs.
    I understand the steps of how to. I'd just like to see someone else having done it and maybe learn from their experience. This isn't the type of project where I'd have time on my side and should anything go wrong I'd never hear the end of it. Pretty hard to hide a half empty pool with the liner down when it's only 10' from the house.

    I'm out in the country on 5 acres and other than the moon there isn't much light. We rarely swim in the late evening but I think it would be a nice addition. We have an elevated deck attached to the second story adjacent to the pool with lights on it to illuminate the deck apron on one side but they shine in your eyes when you're in the pool.
    Since I'd be doing most of the work it's just the cost of the equipment and for the effect I think it'd be worth it. Would also be nice to be able to see into the pool in the evening as we do have critters, especially snakes that like to share the pool with us.


    Not sure how much light that 11 watt will put out. Would like to have two but for right now I have that individual 1.5" fitting in the wall and the plumbing to the equipment pad just sitting there. The fitting is about mid way for the deep end. Likely wouldn't get much light in the shallow end. Would like to actually see one in a pool to get an idea. It would still be better than nothing and so much easier than having to tunnel under the apron and cut into the wall.

    Hadn't thought about code but like you said it would be easy enough to remove the light and cord and the PVC pipe should give the wiring more protection than conduit. Would use conduit from the PVC at the pad up to the housing for the transformer on the house, about 5'. GFI, oh ya.
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    it should work and it should help- I have some 'light pollution' from surrounding properties so your place might be darker and I understand what you say about completely dark pool at night with lights on the deck.
    did you consider something like this: Pentair nicheless pool light I'd prefer LED any day except their reliability and reading reviews on the type you'd like to install got me concerned. This light is old tech and will consume a lot more power for the same output but it will be still about 2.5 times brighter than your selected LED. Customers seem to be happy with it.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    That light is designed to be a replacement for a nicheless light. Nicheless lights are becoming popular now. Pentair and Jandy also have models. This one is interesting because it does not seem to have the requirement of a foot of straight pipe.

    This may work in your unused return. You would have to cap the water out and connect with NM conduit the water pipe to a UL listed Pool Junction Box. There is only a 25 foot cord for the run to the junction box so you need to see if it works and plan carefully. All the wiring must be in conduit.

    You also need a pool rated transformer. They sell them (and the Pool Junction Box) at Inyo and Sunplay and online at HD and Lowes.

    It does not need to be on a GFCI protected circuit but it doesn't hurt. You just have to understand that there is no GFCI protection downstream of the transformer.

    This is swimming pool electrical so the rules are different and can be counter intuitive. Be sure you understand what you are doing before you do it and plan ahead. If you have questions come back and ask ether here or in a PM.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    no GFI after transformer is understandable as there's no alternative return path to the transformer's secondary winding. The GFI on primary is a must IMO- in case of primary-secondary leak it better trip. I understand pool rated and all but why take chances?
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    The NEC does not require a GFCI on a low voltage pool light. The belief is that the pool rated transformer handles the situation.

    Pool rated transformers are either an isolated winding-type transformer with an ungrounded secondary that has a grounded metal barrier between the primary and secondary windings or one that incorporates an approved system of double insulation between the primary and secondary windings. The primary is rated at 120V with the maximum secondary rating of 15V and an overall rating of 1,000 VA.

    So there isn't much that could actually trip a GFCI (unless there are other items on the circuit) and if the transformer fails the grounded metal plate between the primary and secondary windings would take the current back to the source and the breaker should trip from overcurrent. Additionally some transformers under some conditions may trip a GFCI without an actual fault.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    The NEC does not require a GFCI on a low voltage pool light. The belief is that the pool rated transformer handles the situation.

    Pool rated transformers are either an isolated winding-type transformer with an ungrounded secondary that has a grounded metal barrier between the primary and secondary windings or one that incorporates an approved system of double insulation between the primary and secondary windings. The primary is rated at 120V with the maximum secondary rating of 15V and an overall rating of 1,000 VA.

    So there isn't much that could actually trip a GFCI (unless there are other items on the circuit) and if the transformer fails the grounded metal plate between the primary and secondary windings would take the current back to the source and the breaker should trip from overcurrent. Additionally some transformers under some conditions may trip a GFCI without an actual fault.
    my understanding of GFI and its role: it senses disbalance between currents in 2 power wires in fraction of mA range, like 0.0005 A. This means that fraction of the current in 'live' wire found its way to the ground besides normal path back through 'ground' wire. As you see this is useful only when one of the wires somehow is tied up to the actual ground potential so the alternative path can exist in the first place. That's why secondary is not protected by GFI. The primary is a different story as transformer can leak (due to moisture, etc) from primary to secondary despite all the ratings. At that time the secondary load will get under primary voltage between any secondary wire and the actual ground (water in the pool). You need only about 500 kOhm leak to 'feel' this. Fairly easy in wet environment with dissolved salt and other ions.

    That's why I'd always put GFI on wires going from main breaker panel to any pool equipment. If the wiring is different and this the transformer is in some pool pad subpanel which is fed by GFI protected wires then all is already well, there's no point to protect transformer individually.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    I can see where a GFCI would be unnecessary being it's low voltage at the pool but I just stick anything outside on a protected circuit.

    Appreciate the info. Not sure if that model LED I have a link for is what I'll order it's just the first one I came across. The nice thing is dropping one in the unused fitting is easy and then we'd get to see how much or little light we get and maybe down the road install a pair fully code compliant next time we're due for a new liner.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    If you take a look at my avatar you will see what my pool looks like at night. All I did was drop a pond light onto the seating area of my pool. Maybe something like that would work for you. It came with different colored filters and the crazy color is because of how the light spreads out from the edges.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Pond Lights specifically state they are not to be used in swimming pools. Pond lights don't have the safety features that pool lights contain and are not built to operate in a pool environment.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    I was just surprised anyone made a 1.5" light. It's just something I wasn't aware of. I haven't done any more research on it yet but I'd look into how efficient and how many lumens I get for that power before I let go of any $$ and placed an order.

    I just like that 1.5" idea because I have an unused fitting already in the wall and a pipe to run the cable in. I love easy. Might not be code but I don't see a safety issue if it's just the two of us using it and likely would be used for mood lighting when we aren't swimming.
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
    Solar Blanket, Well Water, Borax Added, TF-100 tester. ?° too cold
    1979, 275gal Conway Emerald Spa P-100-2, ES-2 Spa Pack, bromine floater, indoor
    TF-100, Best test kit - TFTestkits.net
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiss4aFrog View Post
    I was just surprised anyone made a 1.5" light. It's just something I wasn't aware of. I haven't done any more research on it yet but I'd look into how efficient and how many lumens I get for that power before I let go of any $$ and placed an order.

    I just like that 1.5" idea because I have an unused fitting already in the wall and a pipe to run the cable in. I love easy. Might not be code but I don't see a safety issue if it's just the two of us using it and likely would be used for mood lighting when we aren't swimming.
    IMO- worth a try, I don't see any safety issues if the light transformer primary side is properly grounded and GFI-ed. Secondary 12V is not an issue at all. You can also remove it fairly easy later.
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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    there is a light that is powered by the return flow. Maybe that would work for you?
    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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    Re: Information on how to add an in wall light to existing vinyl pool

    Pool light manufacturers are very very reluctant to disclose lumens.
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