Pool light fixture giving mild shock to swimmers in close proximity. Bonding issue? See photos.

cerF

New member
Jul 25, 2019
4
Nicaragua
I'm a new partial owner of a hostel in Nicaragua. Having swam in the pool prior to purchasing the property, I noticed that when very near to the pool light (6 inches to a foot), a mild and constant electrical shock could be felt. I only felt this at night when the light was powered on, but neglected to check and see if the same thing occurred with the light off during the day (I wont be back to the property until next year). Photos of the pool can be seen below. There is only 1 light installed. The photos I have attached are the only photos I could get showing the construction of the pool, and I'm not sure if it was properly bonded (I would assume it is not, since a mild continuous shock can be felt.....and it was constructed on the cheap in Nicaragua). I also do not see any rebar in the photo before the deck was installed. The people I purchased from couldn't answer many questions, as they aren't entirely sure about the specifics of the construction methods and are not knowledgeable with regards to pool bonding/pool electrical issues.

My question is, If I were to replace the light with a plastic ringed LED (rather than the present metal ringed one) would that alleviate the problem? Testing for proper bonding in Nicaragua will be a daunting task and parts are hard to come by there, so I would purchase a new light in the states and fly it down there with me on my next trip and install it myself. Would eliminating the light fixture all together be a better idea? E.g. cement plug and tile over the current light housing area? How unsafe would the pool be if proper bonding is not done?

Also, is there any way to ensure the pool is properly bonded without tearing up the entire deck surrounding the pool? I fear I may need to fly an electrician friend down to inspect everything before proceeding, but figured I would inquire here with you guys first, as there seems to be quite a few very knowledgeable people on this forum.

Thanks in advance for the help and my apologies for the low resolution photos, but they were all that was available.

cerF
 

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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,779
Houston, Texas
Hi, welcome to TFP! I would eliminate the light if you do not have access to electrical experts to do the repair work. A plastic ring would not prevent electrocution should conditions continue to deteriorate. I'm going to ask some construction experts to advise you further. It looks like cinderblock construction, and I don't see any signs of rebar. The pool should be closed until the problem is resolved.
@bdavis466 @jimmythegreek @JamesW @danpik
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
12,825
Northern NJ
Do you have other lights around the pool that you can see a body in the deep end of the pool at night? The light is a safety feature at night.
 

cerF

New member
Jul 25, 2019
4
Nicaragua
Do you have other lights around the pool that you can see a body in the deep end of the pool at night? The light is a safety feature at night.
yes, there are other lights, and I'm also looking into battery powered submersible LED pool lights as an alternative.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,650
Morris Cnty NJ
Switch to a 12v unit led and you wont have the current problem. Bonding would help the situation currently bit there is probably an electrical issue going on. I assume the local power is 220v not 110standard like we have here? You would need a 220 adapter for the low voltage if so otherwise a unit from states would work. Changing bulb wont fix the issue the current path would still be the same. I wouldnt use the light ay all for time being this is a big risk issue right now
 

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
2,022
Silicon Valley, CA
Start with a new fixture. If 220V, likely it is with two 110 legs just like here and in Europe. Don't believe an adapter is necessary, just use one of the legs. Issue may be if there is no Neutral to the light (or at all). If existing fixture is 110V and the hook up is line to one leg, and neutral (white) with the green is connected to ground, that may be where you are getting the stray or "nuisance" voltage from. Or there is something going on with that fixture that replacing may fix. Investigate for steel in the structure, and try to connect to it, and then the rest of the metal in the system, pumps. heater, filter, LIGHT, handrails, etc.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,650
Morris Cnty NJ
usually when switching to 110 from 220 there is no nuetral just 2 hots and a ground. the adapters I have seen basically jump a nuetral wire to the ground and you use one of the hot wires and cap the 2nd hot line. the nuetral and ground become shared and end up together in the panel anyway
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
12,825
Northern NJ
usually when switching to 110 from 220 there is no nuetral just 2 hots and a ground. the adapters I have seen basically jump a nuetral wire to the ground and you use one of the hot wires and cap the 2nd hot line. the nuetral and ground become shared and end up together in the panel anyway
Neutral and ground end up together only in the main panel not in any subpanels.

Sharing a neutral and ground can cause problems with GFCI trips. It is not to code and not recommended. Although in @cerF location anything goes. .