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Thread: GFI tripping

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    GFI tripping

    I hadnt used my pool light in forever so I tried it the other night and it wouldnt turn on, the GFI tripped as soon as I flipped the switch. Today I pulled the sealed unit (It was wet inside, so the seal was not working too well) from the pool wall and unsealed it. I dried it out, resealed it and thought I was back in business.
    I turned the switch on and the GFI tripped again. So I reset the GFI and tried a couple more times with the same result. I then made a deliberate effort to jam the reset button on the GFI because it felt like because of grit in the device it was not completely re-seating. This time the light stayed on, wooohoooo success. I remounted the light in the pool and I'm back to where I was, the GFI trips when I turn the light on.

    I know that circuit breakers have a tendency to trip easier if they've tripped before, sorta like it becomes esaier for the thing to trip once it has. I'm wondering if that is what is going on here. Anybody have experience with this?

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    Re: GFI tripping

    The light is not resealed. It is still getting water in it. I had the same issue with my Hayward. What brand of light is it? From My experience, once the seal is broken, a new light is the fix.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: GFI tripping

    Welcome to TFP!

    There are two possibilities. Either you didn't get all of the water out of the light, or the GFI has failed. I suppose it could even be both of the above. GFIs do fail, and even tiny amounts of water in the light will trigger the CGI. It is difficult to say which is more likely at this point, though replacing the CGI is probably easier to try than having to open up the light and replace the gasket again.

    Any time you open the light, you have to replace the gasket. If you do that, it will generally be fine for years.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: GFI tripping

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion


    Any time you open the light, you have to replace the gasket. If you do that, it will generally be fine for years.
    I'm going to respectfully disagree just bit. While a properly seated new gasket may work, its not something I would feel comfortable with doing. Once that original seal has broken, my advice would be to replace the light. The GFI is designed to keep you safe, but once that seal has failed, my experience tells me you can never get it sealed up enough again. You said you sealed it and its good to go. But, its still tripping so I would say its not sealed up at all. Like Jason said, even a tiny bit of water will trip the GFI. I'm 99.9999% sure your GFI is fine. It just doing its job. Yuo can replace the GFI and try it, but my bet is that it's fine.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  5. Back To Top    #5
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    Re: GFI tripping

    Where is the GFCI located? Is a sprinkler hitting it and getting it wet?

    It does sound like the light is the culprit, based on your description, but I have seen many GFCI's that get hit with the sprinkler and trip, and folks have no idea that it is occurring. Might just be one more area to check.

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    Re: GFI tripping

    Pull light out, Dry it or disconnect from JB and turn on GFCI.. if it still trips, replace it.. If it stays on, its the light. Simple troubleshooting that I do..
    17000 Gallons (16x32) Vinyl In Ground Pool
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    Propane heater installed.. Used for 1 day.
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    Re: GFI tripping

    It will probably be a while before I can get to this honey do because they are stacking up.
    But lets say its the light. I'm a do it yourself kinda guy but have zero experience at this topic. The light is a sealed unit that screws into a recessed area at the end of the pool. Strangely only one screw at the top with a slot and tab sorta situation to keep the bottom of the light flange in place. There is about 6-8' of electrical line that comes from the recessed area to the light. I see that with new lights the electric line comes in various lengths, so apparently it connects on the pool end, or through a conduit to back at the pumping area electrical?

    It appears to me that the light unit and electrical line are all one, factory sealed, which makes sense because there is water in the recessed area where the light mounts, so where does it tie in?

    Also I'm looking for recommendations on maybe something more colorful than just a white light if I'm going to have to replace it.

    Thanks in advance

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: GFI tripping

    You don't want to get involved in replacing the light fixture unless it is really broken in some way. If you haven't already tried replacing the gasket, you should try that before you get involved in replacing the entire fixture. Those gaskets are designed to be sealed up only once. As soon as the fixture is opened up the gasket needs to be replaced.

    If you do have to replace the fixture, you need to find the junction box that the fixture cord runs to, disconnect the cord at that end, attach a rope to the cord, pull it back into the pool, attach the new cord to the rope and pull that back to the junction box. That is merely annoying when everything goes well, but there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Sometimes the cord has been epoxied to the back of the light niche or the conduit has crushed and getting the old cord out and the new cord in becomes a major pain.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: GFI tripping

    There should be a deck box around the pool someplace in the back of the pool. It will be black, probably, and have 2 conduits running into it. The cord on the light goes through the back of the light niche (the plastic thing the light fits into) though some conduit, and up to the little black box. From there, it connects to the electric line that runs back to the breaker box. Its set up this way to keep water out of the main conduit that runs back to the main panel. Only the conduit that runs from the niche to the deck box has water in it. Thats why the deck box is away from, and above the water line of the pool. To replace the light, you disconnect the light cord from the main line in the deck box, and pull the light out of the niche. To put a new light in, run a fish back through the wet conduit into the niche, and pull the new cord through and reconnect. You will need a new light. Once the factory seal is broken, you cant re-seal them. I was not sure what you meant in your original post that you resealed the light.

    Edit: Jason and i posted at the same time. Depending on the light, you may or my not be able to reseal it with a new gasket. A lot of the newer ones are not designed to be opened. Once the seal is broken, thats it. And yes, it is a pain. As jason said, sometimes there is a rubber gromet that has been put in to seal the conduit coming out of the niche. You can DYI it, but it might be a job for a pool company to do.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  10. Back To Top    #10
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    Re: GFI tripping

    Just to clarify on the J-Box: It should be away from the pool and at least 8" higher than the water in the body that the light is in. There are old pools with J-Boxes in the deck, and they are very dangerous. If you have the old style deck J-Box, please hire a licensed electrician to handle this for you, and bring it up to code!

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    Re: GFI tripping

    I'm not sure what "gasket" everybody is referring to. Would that be the rubber part that fits over the light housing and lens that gets tightened into place with a wire and clamp arrangement?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: GFI tripping

    Yes, the "rubber part" is the gasket. It seals the connection between the lens and the body of the light.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: GFI tripping

    Alright, clearly not the GFI.

    Pulled the light, moisture inside.
    Cant figure exactly what light it is.
    The following information appears on the light housing: 500 Watt, 120 Volt, R-40. Serial # 7885xx, 7845xx, 7895xx. There is a silver sticker with the number
    N-652659. There is also an address of "American Products 10951 W. Los Angeles Ave. Moorpark... which brought me around to Pentair. I went to their site and it appears to be an "Amerlite" though there is no definitive way to tell it just appears the same by comparing to the owners manual I found on their site.

    They have a 1-800 number listed on the light housing sticker but it must have been reappropriated and redistributed by the telephone company because when I call 1-800-848-8042 I get a message that tells me to call another number if I want to talk to some fun people?! what the...

    I went to Poolcenter.com and found what I think it is: http://www.poolcenter.com/parts_pool_lights_pentair.htm

    Any thoughts?

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: GFI tripping

    I finally dried everything out and used clear silicone to seal everything. Working fine. It will be a hassle when the bulb goes out but it's new and I dont use the light very often so I'm good for quite a while.

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