Pentair Color Sync Controller installation question

Jumana

Member
Feb 1, 2022
8
Texas
Hello,

I am trying to replace a regular wall switch with the Pentair Color Sync Controller.

My current setup is:
1 x 120 v light & 1 x 12v light > Transformer > Breaker panel > Wall switch

The wall switch has 3 wires going in
Hot | Neutral | Ground

I tried the following wiring on the Pentair Color Sync Controller :
Hot wire to Line
Neutral Wire to Neutral
Ground wire I left connected to the wall switch housing.

The controller is lighting up and connecting to wifi but it's not sending any signals to my lights.
Both lights are off.

I also tried the following wiring:
Hot wire to Line
Neutral Wire to Load
Ground wire I left connected to the wall switch housing.

Still didnt work.

Pentair support line was no help and kept telling me to get a licensed electrician to install it.

If anyone is familiar with this, I'd really appreciate the help.
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,985
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

What you think is the neutral in your switch box may not be.

Do you have a pic of the way your toggle switch was wired?

Post pics of the wiring in the box.
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,985
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Your wall switch 3 wires is likely…

- Hot line in
- Load out to light
- Ground wire

With no neutral.

If you had a neutral you would have four wires in the box, not three.

That is typical 120V light switch wiring.
 
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4xWTub

Active member
Dec 6, 2021
40
East Tennessee
I agree with the comment by ajw22. The Controller that you want to wire in needs a neutral connection to function, and that neutral wire is not present in the switch box. Under older versions of the NEC (National Electrical Code) that was acceptable, but in more recent versions of the NEC a neutral wire is required in every box*.

*Clarification: In NEC 404.2(C) there are certain exceptions to a neutral required in every box. One exception is that "Where conductors enter the box enclosing the switch through a raceway, provided that the raceway is large enough for all contained conductors, including a grounded conductor." So in the photo below we can see the box is fed through a conduit, and if that conduit was sized properly, a neutral would not be required, but could be pulled later, as needed.

 
Last edited:

Jumana

Member
Feb 1, 2022
8
Texas
Thank you both!
Here is a photo of the wiring inside the switch.
Black to Green is measuring 120v
Yellow to Green is measuring 0V

It's strange that the pool builder's electrician did not install this up to code (with neutral wire). The rest of my house definitely has neutral wires everywhere since we got all new electrical installed last year.

All I need is to have the lights on a timer to turn on at dusk and run only for 4 hours.
I don't really care to have control over the color programming.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can achieve this? is it easy to run a neutral wire from the transformer > breaker box > switch?
Or is there a different smart switch? any other device I can use?
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
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Jul 21, 2013
38,985
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
This is a common problem with retrofitting smart switches. All the switches need a neutral so the WiFi side can be powered.

You need a neutral run from wherever the GFCI is for the light to the switch box. I don’t know how difficult that would be with your setup. Someone with knowledge of electrical wiring needs to look at it.
 

4xWTub

Active member
Dec 6, 2021
40
East Tennessee
is it easy to run a neutral wire from the transformer > breaker box > switch
Your photo shows the wires get to the switch box inside a conduit. I personally would follow the conduit back to the box that it comes from. Making sure the power is off, open that box and examine the wiring inside. It may be that there is a neutral wire in that [source] box. And if so, it may be possible to fish a [new] neutral wire from that [source] box to the switch box where you want to install the controller. Alternatively, it may be possible to abandon the switch box location and instead install the controller close to the [source] box. Its likely that an electrician could install one of those alternatives. Whether that is something you could do yourself partly depends on what the [source] box looks like (inside and outside), and your experience / comfort level.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,985
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Your photo shows the wires get to the switch box inside a conduit. I personally would follow the conduit back to the box that it comes from. Making sure the power is off, open that box and examine the wiring inside. It may be that there is a neutral wire in that [source] box. And if so, it may be possible to fish a [new] neutral wire from that [source] box to the switch box where you want to install the controller. Alternatively, it may be possible to abandon the switch box location and instead install the controller close to the [source] box. Its likely that an electrician could install one of those alternatives. Whether that is something you could do yourself partly depends on what the [source] box looks like (inside and outside), and your experience / comfort level.
The neutral MUST be connected to the GFCI. You cannot pickup any neutral you find or the GFCI will trip.
 

4xWTub

Active member
Dec 6, 2021
40
East Tennessee
You cannot pickup any neutral you find or the GFCI will trip.
I agree that IF the hot wire is coming from a GFCI then the neutral must go back to that GFCI. But the [source] box that the conduit goes to clearly has the hot wire that goes to the existing switch. So odds are good that if the [source] box does have a neutral wire [assuming the hot wire does come from a GFCI] then its likely that the neutral wire in that box goes back to the same GFCI. But a careful examination of the [source] box and confirming whether the breaker is indeed a GFCI is needed to determine what the situation really is.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,985
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I think we can assume all pool lights are GFCI protected. It has been a requirement for over 20 years.
 

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Jumana

Member
Feb 1, 2022
8
Texas
I have been waiting for the electrician for 2 weeks to come but I guess it's too small of a job for him.

The breaker is not a GFCI breaker.

There is a GFCI outlet next to the switch that is on the same circuit same breaker.

I drew up a diagram of the current wiring. If I'm understanding correctly, the easiest way would be to run a new neutral line from the GFCI outlet to the switch? (Not from the neutral bus to switch) please correct me if I'm wrong.

Here are also some photos of the setup.
 

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4xWTub

Active member
Dec 6, 2021
40
East Tennessee
I drew up a diagram of the current wiring.
The diagram that you drew does not seem to match exactly what I see in the photo. Note the GFCI photo shows a pair of wires at the Line terminals and another pair at the Load terminals. The Line terminals are the source for the GFCI, and connections there are not protected by the GFCI. However, the Load terminals are protected by the GFCI. It appears to me that the switch hot wire goes back to the Load side of the GFCI, and after you confirm that, then the proposed neutral to the switch box should come from the Load neutral of the GFCI. (The photo of the GFCI that is 'marked up' appears to show your proposed neutral connection to the Line terminal of the GFCI.)

Here is a general GFCI line/load diagram, although you have a transformer as part of the light/load but the concept is similar.
 

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Jumana

Member
Feb 1, 2022
8
Texas
It worked!!!
Thank y'all so much.
I ran a neutral wire from the LOAD side at the GFCI Outlet to the Neutral input at the Pentair Color Sync
Then I connected the old hot wire from Light switch to the Line input at the Pentair Color Sync
And the 'yellow' load wire from the light switch to the Load input at Pentair Color Sync

I have one last question...
I noticed when choosing a color setting at the color sync there is a buzzing sound at the transformer. This is only when changing the color setting (no sound for on/off)
I'm not sure if this existed before I made the change from regular switch to the color sync controller.
is this normal? The buzzing sound lasts only for 2-3 seconds until the signal is done. (I understand the color changing signal is a series of on/off commands)
 
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