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Thread: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

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    Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Recently, my pool light had a leak, I thought it shorted out the housing but when I went to replace the housing I discovered that the old one still works, the issue is with electrical. I'm hoping that the short didn't break the circuit in the middle of the conduit.

    From outlet box where the pool light was tied to, there are the following cables and respectively this is what I believe they're for and I'll name them this way...

    R1 -red - Pool light switch
    B1 - black - Deck power outlet switch
    W1 - white - common
    G1 -green - ground

    On the breaker box side there's similar color wires coming out and we'll call it R2, B2, W2 but the ground wire coming out of the breaker is bare copper, I'm not sure if the installer stripped the wire for this.

    Here's what I observed when I tested with a Multimeter

    B1 + Hot on the breaker = 120v
    W1 + Hot on the breaker = 120v
    B1 + Hot on breaker = 120v

    In test #3 when I disconnected the CFGI breaker completely I'm still getting a 120v reading. I'm not getting why there are 2 separate hot wires a black and white coming from 2 different locations. I don't have any other outlet outside that area for it to come from. It goes from the mains to the pool equipment and all the breakers are there.
    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Base on what you wrote, I can not understand the layout you are describing. A drawing would help or maybe pictures.

    I am not clear where the pool light wires tie into all this. So at the deck outlet, you have 3 sets of wires entering?

    Are the wires still connected how you found them?
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Photos would help a great deal.

    Also, when measuring voltages, you need to tell us both points where the meter is connected, not just one side.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Test from hot to ground. White should not have voltage.
    If you tested each wire to the breaker which is on you are reading the breakers voltage. Likely b1 is switched and not on. If it is hot and you are reading 120v between to hot wires it means they are on the same phase.
    Again test to ground.

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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Sorry for the oversized photo, purposely made them larger so you can see the details. Hopefully this will make some sense. When I test the R1 and R2 cotinuity I'm not getting anything. This wire used to be connected to the pool light and the switch. The outlet box never work since I moved in but testing B1 and B2 it's actually despite having the breaker completely off. This is telling me the black wire is connected somewhere else perhaps to the house which isn't making any sense.



    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    I can not see the pictures here at work, but it sounds similar to my setup. I have a deck box (no outlet) that has 3 sets of wires coming in: BWG from breaker, BWG from pool light, BWG from a switch (I think you have an added red here).

    On mine the B from the breaker goes to the B from the switch, then the W from the switch is returning the power from the switch when turned on. This W from switch is attached to the B from the light (to give it power). The W from the light and the W from the breaker are attached together. And all the G are attached.

    If you have an outlet at the deck box, then I am guessing the extra wire from the switches is supposed to allow the 2nd switch to turn on the power to the outlet itself. So one of the BWR is taking the power from the breaker to the switches and is attached to both switches, then the other 2 would be returning power back to the box ... one for the light and one for the outlet. The W from the breaker would have to be attached to the W from the light and the W on the outlet.

    Maybe that helps ... maybe the not I did my best without seeing the picture.

    EDIT: BTW, my breaker was not a GFCI, so in reality my breaker is feeding a GFCI outlet near the equipment and then the wire from that outlet is what goes to the deckbox and is what I was calling the "breaker" wires.

    EDIT2: If your breaker is not GFCI, then you should change it or make sure a GFCI outlet is supplying the power. If the outlet you mentioned with all the wires is supposed to be the GFCI for the pool light, then what I wrote above is not correct ... and I am not sure you can make use of 2 switches either.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    What's throwing me off is if the Black @ the breaker B2 as well as the deck box B1 both have a reading of 120 even with everything that runs to the ground at the breaker that I thought feeds to the deck box is disconnected.

    ALso the white wire at the breaker W2 and the deck box w1 is confirmed to be the same wire (reads continuity when everything is disconnected). W2 is connected to the back of the breaker (the pig tail that comes from factory) and when I put it on the grid, ithe black wire B1 and B2 end up sharing the same circuit because I get continuity at both side of the black and white wire
    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    I can't quite sort everything out. The wire counts/colors at each end of my presumed conduit ends don't quite match up for me.

    Anyway, from what I can see, I believe that supply at the breaker box for the deck outlet is connected and hot in the pictures, while most of the rest are disconnected. Could there be a short from that wire to some of the other wires inside conduit?
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    I know, I can't get there either.

    The white pigtail is the gfci neutral.

    B1 goes down the conduit and comes up into the switch box as B2 and it is the same wire and it is hot? Measured to the ground wire?
    What a brain teaser.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    It looks to me like the breaker that is hanging down with W2 connected to it is the pool light CGFI breaker. That makes the red wire be hot for the pool light. That red wire comes down into the switch box and is not connected to anything.

    There is a black and another white coming down from the breaker box into the switch box, which are presumably for the deck outlet. I believe that black is hot right now. I also believe that white passes straight through the switch box.

    So the first confusion is where the white wire for the pool light, which is currently disconnected, would go when it was connected? I don't see a second white leaving the bottom of the switch box for it to connect to. There is no way the CGFI breaker can work unless the white wires from the two circuits are kept separate.

    Then I believe that black, red, purple(gray?), and white head out the bottom of the switch box and go to the outlet box below the deck box. That is enough wires for a second white, so all is not lost. However the colors really don't seem to match up. The red going out the switch box is much more red than the pink appearing in the outlet box.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    There is something missing in the middle. R1 is not R2 and B1 is not B2
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    There is something missing in the middle. R1 is not R2 and B1 is not B2
    This is where it's really weird,
    R2 is wired to a switch which is used to turn on R1 (pool light) This is where I'm most concern, since it's on a CFGI breaker, why did't my breaker trip when my light housing has a leak. Water didn't fill into the housing but there was enough condensation in there with a little water enough to short out my LED bulb.

    B2 is wired to a separate switch, not sure where it goes, but it should be to B1 which turns on the outlet on the patio. This has never worked for me since moving it though cause when the lights did work and i turn on the switch that B2 is wired to it would trip the CFGI breaker which also shuts off my light.

    Here's an updated photo of how they're wired before I took them apart. Basically the unlabeled wires is nothing but a jumper that leads it from the lower gang to the top gang where you see the wires from the pool light is.

    Also, the ground wire at the patio is not grounded to where the breaker is. It would be strange to have multiple conduit splitting down there



    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    It seems to me that this is going to require sorting out with a continuity tester.

    The wire colors don't match correctly, there is evidence that the two circuits are cross wired (tripping CGFI), and hints that there may be cross wire shorts inside the conduit (hot wires when disconnected).

    jblizzle, R1 and R2 are certainly not the same wire. B1 and B2 might be a result of black and purple/gray being mislabeled at one end. I am also now thinking I had the two whites in the switch box backwards, and it is the pool light that passes straight through.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    I'm having an electrician visiting tomorrow morning. Reality hope he has an answer. It might be cheaper to run new conduits and new wires only 15 ft worth and can go along the side of the fence.
    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Good thinking and good luck! I'm sure he will be able to get it all figured out.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    The electrician gave up. My worst fear is now reality. The previous owner built a concrete deck over a box where there are splits underneath. He suspect that there's water below which shorted out the connections. He said the only way is to break the concrete area to fix it or run a new line....

    I think what I'm going to do is run a new conduit under the walkway and route it back up and along the back edge of the deck against the wooden fence and tap back into the existing gang box.
    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Bummer ... I discovered some of that "creative wiring" in my current house. They installed tile backsplash in the kitchen right over some junction boxes. Luckily I was able to cut the drywall on the back side in the bedroom, pull the wires out and put them in new boxes facing the bedroom with a blank plate over it now. Does not sound like your path forward is quite as easy.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    I can live w/o a pool light but I just spent hundreds on buying new bulbs and even purchase brand new housing thinking that the issue was with the housing. Since I'm half way there, I'm just going to move forward and get some lights to the pool. Maybe all this pain would go away when I'm hanging out around the pool on the hot summer night with some lights in the pool.

    The absolute cheap solution is to add a connector to the pool light and go ghetto with an extension cord to a GFCI outlet. LOL
    SF Bay

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    Dangit! WTH is wrong with people???

    The hot summer nights will be here very soon! All the pain will go away. If not, more beverages will do the trick.
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    Re: Please help me identify my electrical issue before I call in an electrician

    I'm thinking about using 1/2 PVC conduits to run a 14-3 wire to the gang, this way I can keep the patio outlet separate from the pool lights.

    The only elbow I'm seeing in the grey electrical are the long arch ones. Is it ok if I used the white elbows you find in irrigation? They're both schedule 40.
    SF Bay

    ********20,000 gallon IG Fiberglass, DE Filter, Hayward Max-Flo VS, Taylor TF-100 Test, Circupool RJ-45********

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