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Thread: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

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    Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Anyone who owns an Above Ground pool with the Aqualuminator light will know that the bulbs tend to blow up quite regularly and are about 40-50 shipped to replace each time - sometimes yearly. Although the design of the light is very good and is likely the best AG pool light available, this can become relatively frustrating and costly. Pentair has made a new light using LEDs that also allow you to choose a spectrum of colors or light shows, however, this light is really expensive and the upgrade kit from your regular aqualuminator to the LED version is also very costly at about 200 dollars shipped.
    My Aqualuminator bulb (regular halogen) finally bit the dust, so I spent the last weekend doing a simple and more cost effective conversion - anyone with basic handyman/woman skills can undertake this project and have their Light converted to a multicolored LED bulb in a matter of about 1 hour. (remember - use at own risk!)

    The first thing you must do is find out whether your aqualuminator model is 12V AC or 12V DC - the newer models are all AC.
    The way to do this is to look at the transformer with the on/off switch - this will have the specs printed right on it.

    If you just envisioned a bunch of "???'s" after reading the word transformer", let go of the mouse and back away slowly...I mean it - what are you still doing reading this....STOP!!! - do not read further....

    Ok, for those of you who made it this far, let's continue....

    If your unit is DC, you are in and out of luck since your conversion will end up being cheaper due to a lesser cost involved with the replacement light assembly. (DC bulbs come in a variety from white to any other common color to a multi color bulb. However, most likely, the end result will not have as much WOW factor as the AC version.
    12V DC MR16 LED bulbs can be ordered from: (choose whichever 12V DC MR16 you like - read up on the color changing models)
    http://www.superbrightleds.com/bi-pin.html

    If your unit is 12V AC (likely) your choices are more limited, I have only been able to source one manufacturer for the multi colored type of bulb, however, it will allow you to use the ON/OFF switch as your controller to cycle through individual colors or color wheel selections.
    12V AC MR16 LED bulbs can be ordered from:
    http://www.bestnest.com/bestnest/RTProd ... LIG-566224
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... atid=16859

    The AC powered MR16 type multi colored bulb can be purchased for 80 shipped (in US) and has built in circuitry that works from the on/off switching to cycle the patterns.


    OK, if you saw a bunch of "???'s" after reading "MR16" or somehow are thinking "GUNS" - once again, back away from the computer, get a coffee, and read up on "Chlorinating the gene pool" or something instead.....


    On to the retrofitting instructions (AC Instructions - DC Changes will be noted as DC at each step) (once again and for the last time - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK):


    1. Remove your Aqualuminator bulb from your return jet and temporarily block the opening with a stopper or a terrycloth towel stuffed through the hole.

    2. Boil a pot of water.

    3. Submerge the dead bulb assembly in pot for about 3-5 minutes, this will soften the cream colored glue you see at the perimeter of the lens (a type of Acrylic caulk or mastic).

    4. using a towel to protect your hand from the hot plastic, it should just unscrew relatively easy with a 3/4" twist and then pull off.

    5. The goop can be scraped off with a knife and/or a small flathead screwdriver.

    6. Gut the assembly by removing the old bulb, leaving the wire that is in there intact. (if you've gone this far and decide this conversion is NOT for you, tough - you're up "you know what without a paddle" now!)

    7. My unit barely had enough wire for me to attach extensions by soldering on lengths of wire to each of the two leads and sealing the solder joints with shrink tubing but I managed to do it - if you do not have shrink tubing, I recommend purchasing some or performing step 7a instead.

    7a. If you are unable to do step 7 due to lack of soldering skill or your wires are too short, you can drill a 1/4" (or bigger) hole through the resin seal from the rear of the assembly and feed 2 new, longer wires (crimp proper ends on them after) - cut off the old wires to avoid space constraints or confusion later.

    8. Retrofit your NEW bulb into the chassis, dry fit it first before making permanent connections to make sure it will sit properly in the housing - I had to break off some of the white plastic housing on my bulb, but this does not matter to the end product - MR16's (DC) will go in easier with less manipulation.

    9. Once you are happy with the way the bulb sits and you have verified that your lens will go on without obstruction, you can attach the wires to the bulb - once again, I did this using solder.

    9 (DC) - you have to pay attention to the positive and negative wire connections and trace them through the housing to the rear connectors since LED's will only work if connected to the right polarity unlike incadescent bulbs.

    10. Test by connecting to the power supply and turning on - the AC bulb listed above will change through 7 colors with each on/off/on cycle (signal) it receives and a multi color and 3 speeds of a color wheel.
    DC bulbs will vary depending on the type you purchase from just the single color bulb to whatever features were supplied in the multi color bulb.

    10a. If you performed step 7a, now is the time to seal the 1/4" or larger hole you drilled using 2 part epoxy - try and get the epoxy to seal as deep as possible - preferably the same depth as the original epoxy.

    11. Use epoxy to glue the bulb into the housing so it sits square to the front of the fixture.

    12. Reseal the lens in place using acrylic caulk or silicone - since LEDs last forever (pretty much) you will never have to get inside again so choice of product is up to you as long as it will be waterproof. Make sure you give it enough time for the caulk to set up before submerging in water.

    13. Reinstall in pool, reconnect your wires and enjoy for a lifetime.



    Ha - fooled ya - here's the long version of USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!

    Because I can not be there to hold your hand, I shall not be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described or contained herein and assume no responsibility for anyone’s use of any of that information. In no event shall I be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, or profits; or business/pool interruption) however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of these instructions or its links, even if advised of the possibility of such damage. The user specifically acknowledges that I am not liable for defamatory, offensive or illegal conduct of other users, links or third parties and that the risk of injury from the aforementioned rests entirely with the user. This disclaimer of liability also applies to any damages or injury, including but not limited to those caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communication line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, alteration of, or use of record, whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, or negligence or under any other theory or cause of action.

    In other words - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! ELECTRICITY AND WATER MAKE A DEADLY COMBINATION - if you question the above modifications in ANY way, be smart and DO NOT attempt them!!!!

    On a brighter note :
    I'm loving this AC bulb, it is SO worth the cost, really, it's only the cost of 2 plain white replacement bulbs which can be incurred in less than 2 years depending on your luck.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Well it has come time that I need to do this, but first a few questions forMatt 4x4 and anyone else who has done it.
    Does your light still work?
    I have seen several other MR16 12v LED bulbs,but alot of them say AC/DC will these work?
    They dont seem to differentiate what it is.
    When you cycle your light does it change colors everytime you push the on/off switch or does it turn off then on with a differant color each time. guess the question is will i have to push the button twelve time to get it to plain old white?
    Thank you for such a well taken care of forum. I have lurked on this and PF for years in fact Matt helped me with information on installing my AG five years ago.
    Thank you all.
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    LED's don't burn out very often so, yes - it still works and will probably work well beyond the life of the pool - possibly even my lifetime!

    I believe those MR16 have rectifiers and voltage regulators built in that will convert ac/dc to whatever is required - you just need to have your power source output voltage be what is required specified on the bulb.... but I can't be sure of that unless I read up on that particular model more. However, if a product states 12v ac/dc, it usually means it can be hooked to either source. Things have changed quite a bit since I wrote that conversion doc, and although the basics of the conversion hold true, you have a much greater choice in MR16 color LED bulbs now including ones with remote controls that make your life very simple - do an ebay search and you'll see what I mean. I actually commented on a recent AG light question in this forum and re-iterated my instructions and added in the availability of the newer smarter bulbs.

    Yes, mine being the older style (without remote), I have to hit the on/off button to cycle through the different choices and yes, it turns off in between, but best that I can tell, it's a cycle/time related function since it will cycle color if turned off, then immediately back on, but leaving it off for a minute will NOT cycle color - that is just how the simple logic circuit inside the MR16 is designed, that said, if I have it on white, turn it off and come back tomorrow to turn it on, it comes on as white again, so your last setting is remembered, you would not need to cycle it x amount of times if all you mostly want day to day is white.

    By the way - bulbs are down to 25 to 50 with a remote in some instances - a far cry from the 80 2 years ago, so test your power supply and see if you're pushing ac or dc and shop based on that.

    Good to hear from you graciesdad!

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Now I just need to find a used Aqualuminator to buy so I can modify it. Hmmm..time to head to Craigslist....
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Had my aqualuminator for at least 3 to 4 years, never had to change the bulb yet. But when I do will try this.
    steve

    Above Ground / 18' Round / Vinyl Liner / Sand Filter / 100K Gas Heater / Salt Added / No Nature2

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Well mine didnt go as smoothly as Matt said it would, but I knew better going into it. Seems one hour of boiling water wouldnt loosen the mastic holding the lens on. I couldnt get it to spin off without damaging the housing,so I finally popped it off with a screwdriver. Fortunately it didnt damage the threads that pull the lens tight to the housing. I had to file the light frame around the terminals also so it would sit inside the housing far enough to put the lens back on. I used a two part epoxy for the lens to housing part and regular RTV silicone for the wires. I purchased a warm white 12v ac led bulb for $20 online.
    All in all I give it a 8 beer rating (but I think I have a sipping problem) on the toughness scale, but it looks great and hopefully it lasts a long time.
    Thank you Matt for giving it a go and posting it here for others to try.
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Glad it worked for you - wonder how old your light was - mine was 2 years old with winters spent indoors - I know that mastic gets real hard with time - mine was still somewhat pliable and I had remembered the hot water trick from a set of headlights I modified a few years prior - thaks for pointing out that there is another way to open it up.

    I think you would have given it a 10 beer rating had you gone with color changing MR16!!!
    How did your MR16 look since you needed to chop some of the housing away?
    Like one of these?




    There are many more, but styles like the first one listed are the easiest to work with.
    Also - don't confuse an MR16 with a GU10 - the GU10 has a much larger housing to deal with.

    BTW - you can now use your transformer to power even more of these lights all around your pool and deck if you like since the draw on your transformer just got reduced to 1/10 or less than what it was using prior...

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Wow, thanks for pointing that out. I wont mention it to my wife, but extra light around my deck would be great. It was a MR-16 3w with three diodes and it did look very nice when I was done forming it to the housing. I took my time and made it work without too much trouble. As far as the rating, that was how many beers I had while doing it.
    It looked great until someone threw two quarts of motor oil and a quart of brake fluid into my pool. Its cleaned up now, but is still seeping from the return. I guess from the ridged hoses. I will be replacing them very soon. Any suggestions on a good degreaser? I have torn down my EC50 (brand new) three times and soaked in a degreaser, but it still could be cleaner.
    Thanks again.
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Wow - what jerks would do something like that - people just never cease to amaze me.

    http://naturalchemistry.com/pool-and-sp ... ts/show/10

    http://www.spillresponse.com/zorbie_watter_bobble.htm

    I think the 3W 3 light LED MR16 has a heavier body compared to a regular MR16 - am I correct?

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    I would say it is a bit heavier. It looks like the same body as the ones pictured in your post, but it might be a bit deceiving. Luckily the housing seemed to be of a hard plastic, not glass.
    Thanks you for the links, I did get some enzyme stuff similar to the pool first aid for Leslies, and also got a skimmer thing too, very similar to a mr clean eraser. I need to sit down and figure out how to post pictures as took my telescopic pole and tied a bunch of pig matts to it to skimm the surface of the oil. I have some pics that may help someone else someday. Most of the oil is gone, it just has residue on the fingers and some of the return hoses...oh and my newly repaired bulb!
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    to post pics - go to www.photobucket.com, open a free account and upload to it from the page (space) you get for your pictures, then once you have one or more pictures up, hover over the pic you want to post here, you will see a list drop down under the pic - copy what is in the box beside IMG Code and paste it here, the text you paste begins with
    [img - which is code for it to automatically display the picture it's referring to.
    Always paste one pic per line with NO text before it or you'll create a really wide forum page

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Old thread but, curious how the retrofitted LED lights have lasted? My aqualuminator light just went out and ive barely used it 100 hours. Looking to switch to LED if they last longer.
    12X20x54" Saltwater 8000 semi-inground, Waterway 1.5hp 2speed 22" Pump Sand Filter, Hayward Goldline Aquatrol HP SWG, TF100

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    I know its been a while, but I'm retro fitting an LED to my light and I'm running into the same problem as you (Graciesdad) with the glue. How did you pry the lens off with screwdrivers??

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    I am in a different boat - I have a still working bulb (I assume) but a dead power supply. I have have two other dead bulbs I keep around.

    The power supply will have to visit the healing bench before any sort of LED modifications go on.


    -dave
    27' Round ABG (17,000 gal) - +/- 11 hours of full sun per day
    Hard plumbed Hayward Perflex EC-40 DE filter w/ 1 HP pump (Got a new one June 2015)
    Filered 4 hours per day (on a timer)
    Pentair Aqualuminator - now working - and now dead once again, this time for good.
    Zodiac Wahoo

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Thanks for the post. I just repaired my light thanks to your instructions. However I was not able to remove the glue by boiling the light. Mine probably has a new type of glue that needs more heat to be removed. So I had to place the light in the oven for 20min at 250F. Then I was able to remove the lens.

    I did a quick video if this can help somebody...

    https://youtu.be/kVV1ptml8yM

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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Just wondering if anyone has done this if it holds up? I know its 12v but what would an issue be if you did not get the lens sealed perfectly or after time it would start to take on water?Don't feel like getting zapped .I would you epoxy and not so much silicone since that stuff gets undermined and eventually separates.
    Doughboy AG 16' x 32' oval, 13,700 gal.
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    Re: Fix your Aqualuminator once and for all!!! (use at own risk)

    Just wanted to chime in and thank the OP for this post and atcaron for the video. I just completed this repair, waiting for the silicone to dry. The bulb housing came apart just like in the video. My pins were broken off the lamp, but pulled with a needle nose pliers. The 50W Feit LED lamp (GU5.3 base) I picked up at Menards fit the housing perfectly. Tested before sealing with clear silicone. Will be reinstalling next week, then bringing pool level up.

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