Replacing an amerilite/pentair pool light, short version.

I had to swap out the pool light at home, the wire runs under ground in a tube. I didn’t take pictures of it unfortunately, mostly because i had to get in the pool to change it.

Remove the old fixture, its usually one screw at the top, the light should have the wire coiled up behind it.

This is an old amerilite, from before when pentair bought them out, they’re still going. Initially i changed out the gasket but even though i found the original OEM part, it was too thick and it leaked even worse, but even though i could have fixed that the rear side was leaking and its filled with an amber epoxy that you could somehow dig out and replace, but i deemed it not worth it. I pulled it apart and scrubbed it clean, replaced the gasket and sank it to the bottom of the pool with a weight, it didn’t leak, as soon as i raised it to the top to check, a stream of bubbles came out the front and back so time to replace it.

The niche is the hole it fits into, luckily for me the amerilite/pentair is the standard fitting so i swapped it out for a hayward which is what the local pool place had, about $290 but it foes come with a 50 foot cable, which if you look at pentair/amerilite how much they charge for a longer cable its ridiculous, the shortest one looked around 15 feet, which is usually enough.

Anyway these are generally installed in an open pipe that runs from the niche up to ground level or higher and a GFCI if you do not have a GFCI, add one or something equivalent for a 120V fitting. 12V is different. The water will sit at the natural level.

I picked up wire lube, instead of electricians grease but don’t get the yellow stuff since it might react, i got http://www.lowes.com/pd_146594-12704-31-388-6_0__?productId=1017915 which is more than enough for this project, and it cleans up well and doesn’t react with most things, the yellow stuff does react to certain plastics etc.

After disconnecting and checking all the power was cut off, I filled up the bottom of the box at the power side of the cable, then pulled the cable back from the light side, added more of the lube pulled it back on the power side, and repeated that a dozen or so times til it moved freely , ours has been in there at least a decade and freed up quickly, its best to go into the pool and have two people, the cable gets snagged if it enters the niche at the top so feeding it by hand makes all the difference.

Once it was moving back and forth freely i took the light to the surface and cut the wire off at the the entry way to the lamp. Then i soldered the new wires to the old wires and covered it with a heat shrink to make it smooth.

Next i pull tested the connection to see if it’d be strong enough, you do no want this to break mid pull.  So don’t be afraid to try to break it during testing, you get one shot.

Next i fed the new cable from the pool while the wife pulled it from the power side into the electrical box, she wore gloves since its goopy and lots of dirt and stuff. After that put the light back up onto the side of the pool so there is enough cable that you can later take the light out and change the bulb if needed, you’ll coil this extra cable around the lamp during install.

I then cut the cable to size and wired it to the GFCI making sure you only test it when its in the water, a very short on/off is ok but these lights are cooled by the water.

Then i coiled the cable around the lamp and reinstalled it into the niche, its tough to get it to sit in place and screw it back in but a pair of swim goggles and someone to hold you in place helps.

I cleaned out all the lube from the electrical box, this stuff is conductive so do that, and check it again in a few days/week to see if any came out of the conduit/pipe.

Incidentally the LED versions of these lamps were on sale at $699 (for the whole unit) this is insanity do not buy them at that price, they are having a laugh, you can find P40 replacement LED lamps on ebay for a lot cheaper. Most of them are made in China anyway.

Maybe  a 12V LED lamp would be better, there’s no GFCI as such since its DC 9the ac/dc convertor will have one), but then there is also no transformer etc inside the LED lamp side in the water and its now lower voltage , but still a decent amount of current, but there should be some protection on the supply side. Also we have a 500W light, so the LED ones are way less, they’ll claim otherwise but the lumens/W tests for lights/ and LEDS are different. A 100W LED lamp equivalent likely does not give off as much as a 100W incandescent lamp especially for distance, and LED’s can get noticeably dimmer over time, also replacement costs, MTBF specs don’t mean your lamp will last that long. But they sure do look purty, and the man at the pool store assures me people swim more with a coloured pool light that is fancy colours and patterns, than a plan old white one.

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