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Thread: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

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    How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Pentair's website states that "120V SAms have an integral 12V transformer. All SAms use 12V lamp." Am I correct to assume that this means that supply voltage of 120V is transformed to an actual voltage of 12V at the light itself? Just saw an article about a Florida boy being electrocuted in his pool, allegedly by a SAm light. Apparently faulty bonding is also alleged. Just concerned, as I assumed all SAm's - at least those being distributed when my pool was built in 2007 - were low voltage.

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, I know just enough about electrical work to know someone can be seriously hurt if not done correctly. Would greatly appreciate any responses, and thanks.

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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Well, the wiring would go from the light niche to a junction box about 8-10 feet from the pool. Either that junction box is a transformer and supplies 12v to the niche or it is just a junction and 120v goes to the pool. If you know where this box it (it should be accessible, not burried by code) any friend who is comfortable with electric and a meter can tell you. Heck, even without a meter most would be able to look at the wire size and identify it.

    By code that circuit should be separate from everything else and be controlled by a GFCI breaker.
    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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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Yeah the box will show you the voltage if you look hard enough. Mine is very old on my pool but was still able to make out the voltage.
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Look at the cord that is attached to the fixture. Weather it be at the junction box where it ties into the supply voltage, or if you take the fixture out of the niche and pull it up to the deck. The cord is black for 120v and bright orange for 12V.
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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Thanks to all! It's 12V. I distinctly recall observing that the cord inside the niche was orange when I replaced the pilot screw a few years ago. When I removed the SAm to expose the niche while slamming the pool to eliminate white mold earlier this week, I saw that it has since faded to a light orange. That is very good to know, and thanks again!

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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Now having said all that it could still be 120V. By-passing the transformer and changing the bulb to a 120v type would do it. I don't know why you ask, but i suppose you should check the voltage at the fixture to confirm. or locate and confirm that the transformer has not been by-passed.

    Edit: Ok, SAm light is different, i dont think those can be changed...
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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    I ask because I want a low voltage light in my pool. I probably shouldn't be concerned, since CPSC reported only 13 death from electrocution by pool lights between 1990-2002, and my EasyTouch has GFCI, as does my sub panel and main panel. Not usually paranoid or irrational, until I look at my kids. I remember our pool electrician telling me it was a low-voltage bulb, but in the back of my mind I've always wondered about it.

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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    Low voltage (12v) does not always mean safer. You can put a GFI on a 120V system and that is the best protection available. I haven't come across a GFI for a 12V system in my travels yet. You can put a gfi on the 120v lead to the transformer, but will not do you any good, short would have to back up all the way through the secondary, then the primary to hit the GFI, if it even got that far. By then it would probably be to late. My guess would be that those 13 deaths didn't have a GFI on the line.
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    Re: How can I determine whether my Pentair SAm light is 12V or 120V?

    I think the same... Happy Father's Day!

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