Identify Pool Electrical Equipment Help

jklocke

Member
May 12, 2020
12
St. Louis, MO
I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out what the heck the previous owners were doing when they were wiring things up at my house.

The horizontal jbox is the junction box for wires from your pool lights, which then go to your switch for the pool lights.

You don't have any pictures of your circuit box that feeds all of this. Are those lights on a GFCI breaker?
 

Cwiggs

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
118
Phoenix, AZ
The horizontal jbox is the junction box for wires from your pool lights, which then go to your switch for the pool lights.
The item marked unknown above the pool light switch is probably a light junction box.

Ah hah, thank you, I'll update the label!

You don't have any pictures of your circuit box that feeds all of this. Are those lights on a GFCI breaker?
I can take a picture of the main circuit box for the house, I believe that is the only circuit box for the pool equipment, there isn't a separate circuit box anywhere.

Yes the lights are attached to the GFCI outlet that is below it, If it trip that GFCI breaker the pool light no longer turns on.
 

Cwiggs

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
118
Phoenix, AZ
You don't have any pictures of your circuit box that feeds all of this. Are those lights on a GFCI breaker?
I can take a picture of the main circuit box for the house, I believe that is the only circuit box for the pool equipment, there isn't a separate circuit box anywhere.
Attached is the main breaker box if that helps. I haven't verified if all the labeling is correct.
 

Attachments

Cwiggs

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
118
Phoenix, AZ
If it is a six point pattern it is likely a Torx screw. You just need the right size Torx screwdriver to remove it.
It is 6 point but it has a dot in the middle so I think a normal Torx bit will not work. Not 100% sure but I have a friend coming over later who I think has the correct bit, I'll post back once I get the box open.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,466
Northern NJ

jklocke

Member
May 12, 2020
12
St. Louis, MO
Yes the lights are attached to the GFCI outlet that is below it, If it trip that GFCI breaker the pool light no longer turns on.
I'm not an electrician and I know very little about the electrical code, but I think that a pool light is supposed to run off of a gfci breaker, not just behind a gfci outlet. One of the experts around here might be able to verify that for us. It's good that there is gfci protection, but it's something you probably want to check into while you're cleaning everything up.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,466
Northern NJ
I'm not an electrician and I know very little about the electrical code, but I think that a pool light is supposed to run off of a gfci breaker, not just behind a gfci outlet. One of the experts around here might be able to verify that for us. It's good that there is gfci protection, but it's something you probably want to check into while you're cleaning everything up.
It is common for pool lights to be attached to the LOAD side of a GFCI outlet. It provides the same GFCI protection as a GFCI breaker.
 

Cwiggs

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
118
Phoenix, AZ
Searching more online it looks like this device is a Intermatic ML300RTW Malibu 300RTW, amazon link. It looks like it's used to control lights, it converts 120V to 12V. Interesting. I do have an old fiber optic rope light around the pool but it doesn't work. The fiber optic box does have a switch near the pool, separate from this and it turns on, just doesn't seem to actually send any light to the cable.

I suppose this could be for that, OR there is also a bunch of lights that are all around the backyard that do not turn on either, maybe that's what this is for? I wouldn't think those lights were 12V though, so it's possible that this is just old and whatever it used to control is no longer around.

With that last bit of forensic evidence out of the way I think I have everything accounted for except for one switch which doesn't seem to go to anything. I think I have what I need though.

I'm not comfortable messing with a lot of this stuff as I don't want to mess up and shock myself, or someone in the pool, or break something important. For now it's good to know what is what, but I'll talk to an electrician to make sure everything is safe.

This was pretty fun going through all this, I hope it helps someone else down the line. Thanks for everyone who helped identify things.
 

jklocke

Member
May 12, 2020
12
St. Louis, MO
Okay so I got the metal box on the bottom right open and also found out that the top opens without having to unscrew the Torx bolts. Here are the pics, looks like a timer to me.
Looks like a timer and wiring for landscape lighting to me. I'm guessing the previous owner bypassed the timer and was using the X10 to control the lights - that's what the cord running to the box above it.

I suppose this could be for that, OR there is also a bunch of lights that are all around the backyard that do not turn on either, maybe that's what this is for? I wouldn't think those lights were 12V though, so it's possible that this is just old and whatever it used to control is no longer around.
I would unplug the cable from the X10 outlet and plug it into the outlet that comes from the pool light switch and see if that turns on your landscape lights.

I do have an old fiber optic rope light around the pool but it doesn't work. The fiber optic box does have a switch near the pool, separate from this and it turns on, just doesn't seem to actually send any light to the cable.
I have an old fiber optic rope light around my pool too. Unfortunately, you need more than just power to light the cables. At some point, there was a light source that was turned on by the switch near your pool that sent light through the fiber optics. I have been trying to find an inexpensive replacement for the rope lighting but have not had any success.
 

Cwiggs

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
118
Phoenix, AZ
Looks like a timer and wiring for landscape lighting to me. I'm guessing the previous owner bypassed the timer and was using the X10 to control the lights - that's what the cord running to the box above it.



I would unplug the cable from the X10 outlet and plug it into the outlet that comes from the pool light switch and see if that turns on your landscape lights.



I have an old fiber optic rope light around my pool too. Unfortunately, you need more than just power to light the cables. At some point, there was a light source that was turned on by the switch near your pool that sent light through the fiber optics. I have been trying to find an inexpensive replacement for the rope lighting but have not had any success.
When I bought the house the pool inspector did say the bulb in the fiber optic device was out and he could replace the bulb for around $300. I just removed the fiber optic line from the pool though, it was held on with some gross glue and not very well at that. Plus the pool inspector gave me a bunch of other info that didn't match up. He told me the fountain didn't work, not sure why he thought that because I just flicked the switch and waiting a few seconds and it worked.

Anyway let me go and plug that cable and plug it into the outlet by the pool light switch and see what happens.
 

Cwiggs

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
118
Phoenix, AZ
Looks like a timer and wiring for landscape lighting to me. I'm guessing the previous owner bypassed the timer and was using the X10 to control the lights - that's what the cord running to the box above it.

I would unplug the cable from the X10 outlet and plug it into the outlet that comes from the pool light switch and see if that turns on your landscape lights.
Well I plugged in the ML300RTW into the outlet by the pool light switch and it still doesn't seem to do anything; landscape lights are off. I also don't hear anything from the box but that doesn't mean it isn't working? Sounds like another piece of electrical I can remove.

I'd like to remove a lot of this and replace it with something simple. I'd prefer something that is a bit more friendly and open. By that I mean it will work with more than 1 brand, but from reading that seems kinda of difficult in the pool world. If anyone has any suggestions let me know.

Thanks.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,208
Central California
I love the idea of rope lighting around the pool, but there's a lot to getting that to happen, and to keeping them safe. I spent my money on garden lights, which I really enjoy and are so far maintenance free. I have two different types, and they each use only about 50W. Plus, because they light up the entire yard, not just the pool, I can enjoy them from more windows while I'm inside than I would be able to with just pool lights.