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Thread: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

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    New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Hi Everyone,
    My first pool, we just bought a house and the pool light wasn't working. I replaced the bulb, but there is still no power going to the light. I found a junction box right opposite the light (In ground pool, btw). There are no switches 'outside' and I have tried all the inside switches. There is a fuse for the pool/pump (as marked by previous owner) and none of the breakers are tripped. There is a box marked timer near the pump that is not the timer for the pump (that is a different one I know works with pump). But, the box is fairly solid (ie, doesn't swing open). It does open from the bottom and I saw wires that were connected (blue, black and white). Is there an easy way to trace where that wire is going? I am guessing not and frustrated because can't get the light to come on.

    Thanks
    Mike

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Welcome to TFP!

    Pictures might help us make suggestions. Generally it is possible to figure out what is what by a process of elimination.

    A pool light should have a GFCI somewhere, either a GFCI breaker, or a GFCI outlet, or a standalone GFCI. Depending on what kind of light it is there may also be a transformer.
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    I will get some pics out when I can. I know the previous light/one I replaced was a 100 watt. I also have a pool heater, that isn't working and not wired.

    Thanks...

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Here are some pics.. Thanks in advance

    all.jpg

    heater_power.jpg

    unk_timer_1_sm.jpg

    unk_timer_2_sm.jpg

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    The "Unknown Timer" is actually the pool light transformer. It turns the 120 volts AC to something like 6 volts DC which is safer to have around the water. Check inside where all the wiring is. There should be an old school fuse inside. See if that's blown. If not, you really need a multimeter to diagnose the problem, and if I'm having to tell you this you should probably have an electrician do it. You don't need to get hurt or killed over a pool light.

    Ultimately you need to see if you are getting 120 volts AC into the box. Then you need to see if you are getting 6 (12?) something DC volts out the other side. If that's all good then the problem is between the box and the light bulb. If you are getting 120 volts in and nothing out the problem is in the transformer. It could be just a loose wire or the whole thing could be shot.
    22,000 gallon in-ground kidney-ish shape: 1 HP pump and Triton TR60 sand filter. NEW: Dolphin Nautilus robot! :)

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Thanks.. I called it 'unknown timer' because the sticker on it was calling it a timer. I do have a multimeter. There is definitely no power going at the light junction box. I will check to see if there is any power going into the transformer. I am betting it is shot.

    Learning new pool stuff every day..

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Don't know why it is called a timer. Maybe someone just didn't know.

    It is getting power from that Square-D breaker box immediately to its right. If that breaker box does, in fact, turn the pump on and off it is getting power. It's possible the wires for the light transformer were disconnected inside that box, behind the panel.

    You'd be surprised how tough they are. Mine is exactly like that and was rusty and in direct rain for 40+ years and it still works fine. Just needed some paint. Check for 115-120 VAC at the wires on the right side and some amount of DC on the left. If that's all good then your problem lies between there and the light bulb.

    Don't forget to check that old screw-in fuse. That could have blown sometime and is a real easy fix.
    22,000 gallon in-ground kidney-ish shape: 1 HP pump and Triton TR60 sand filter. NEW: Dolphin Nautilus robot! :)

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Ok, There was no power on either side of the light transformer and I didn't see any fuse underneath with those wires. I would have expected power going into the light transformer? Yes, the breaker box was on.

    If I need a new transformer, any recommendations?

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    If you didn't see power on the side coming from the breaker box (the 120 V line) then you just have to keep tracing the wires back to see where the problem is. Open up the "pump shut off" box (carefully!) and see if those wires are connected to anything. If they are, is there 120V where they are connected?

    The transformer is really just some coils of metal. There's not much to "break" in them so it's likely still good. Yours must be a slightly different model than mine if it doesn't have a fuse. Sure looks identical, though.
    Last edited by chjade84; 05-15-2014 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Typo
    22,000 gallon in-ground kidney-ish shape: 1 HP pump and Triton TR60 sand filter. NEW: Dolphin Nautilus robot! :)

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Sigh.. Opened up the shut off box and the wires are going directly into the house, bypassing the shut off. Not sure how to trace wires in the wall. I tried all the switches. I do have a few more switches to check to see if there are any wires disconnected.

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Yea that could be exactly how they wired it - to a wall switch or something in the house. Trying to find where wires go is usually not fun. I've been there on more than one occasion.

    Keep at it, you'll find it eventually. You could also disconnect those and put a weatherproof box with a switch in it right next to the transformer and the other boxes out there. You can get 120VAC from that pump shut-off box. Just be careful and know what you are doing! (or hire a professional)
    22,000 gallon in-ground kidney-ish shape: 1 HP pump and Triton TR60 sand filter. NEW: Dolphin Nautilus robot! :)

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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Well, I went over at lunchtime to the house. Wired the transformer directly, it still didn't come on. I looked harder for a fuse and didn't see one. I knew the power was off, so I jammed my hand up there and lo and behold, a fuse. Replaced fuse and light came on!!!!.

    Now the decision, try and trace the wires or just put in a new one outside.

    Also, there is a 100w bulb I replaced, because it had a 100 w blown out. How do I know if I can put a 300W in there ? If I wanted to do LED down the road, what would I need to do? Any suggestions on LED ?

    Thanks for all the help. I feel better. Now need to read the forums on chemicals and other good stuff. Been going to leslies in the short term.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    On the issue of tracing the wires, you can get a cheap signal injector and tracer from Harbor freight which will inject a radio signal onto the open ended wire and let you trace it in the wall. Just don't flip the switch when you get there with the end still disconnected and the tracer injector on it.

    Ike

    ps one of these: http://www.harborfreight.com/cable-tracker-94181.html
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    1 other thing to add when the wires are not connected to the light transformer cap and wrap them with wire nuts and electrical tape. The last thing you want is for someone to accidentally flip a switch or the unknown timer hidden somewhere in the house sends power to those wires, causing a fire.
    Also never trust a breaker panel label you didn't do yourself or trace out. I had a 220 breaker in my new house labeled dishwasher, that actually feed a hidden sub panel the previous owner failed to tell us about and that wasn't discovered on the home inspection.
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikelisa0212 View Post
    Well, I went over at lunchtime to the house. Wired the transformer directly, it still didn't come on. I looked harder for a fuse and didn't see one. I knew the power was off, so I jammed my hand up there and lo and behold, a fuse. Replaced fuse and light came on!!!!.

    Now the decision, try and trace the wires or just put in a new one outside.

    Also, there is a 100w bulb I replaced, because it had a 100 w blown out. How do I know if I can put a 300W in there ? If I wanted to do LED down the road, what would I need to do? Any suggestions on LED ?

    Thanks for all the help. I feel better. Now need to read the forums on chemicals and other good stuff. Been going to leslies in the short term.
    It should say somewhere on the housing what wattage it is rated for, if I recall correctly. I don't know anything about the LED vs Incandescent thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    On the issue of tracing the wires, you can get a cheap signal injector and tracer from Harbor freight which will inject a radio signal onto the open ended wire and let you trace it in the wall. Just don't flip the switch when you get there with the end still disconnected and the tracer injector on it.

    Ike

    ps one of these: http://www.harborfreight.com/cable-tracker-94181.html
    Those are awesome! We have one at work but I never thought about checking HF for one.
    22,000 gallon in-ground kidney-ish shape: 1 HP pump and Triton TR60 sand filter. NEW: Dolphin Nautilus robot! :)

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    The HF tracker works, but is not nearly as fancy or as well built as the more professional models.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: New pool guy, can't get power to pool light

    I got this one at Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Too...T300/202330830 Has worked very well so far. You have to get a wire and light socket adapter set to make it more versatile http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Too...9411/202266613
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