electrical question


Can someone help me w/ an electrical question.
I want to make sure this doesn't violate electrical code.
I have a water feature with water lights that can only be turned on when the water is on or they will overheat. So I'm thinking I'll use a relay that will take the 220VAC line to the water feature pump as an input and then switch the 12VDC line to the lights at the output. I can use a relay like the Crouzet DC60SA7, but its not water resistant. If I mounted the relay in a small water tight box, would it be OK to put it in the same sprinkler box that contains the 220VAC connections for the pump? I'm just worried because if the box fills with water (which it does if the water feature gets clogged), I would have a potential short from the 220VAC to the 12VDC line - but then I guess it would also throw the breaker for the 220 line?
Thanks much in advance
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On 8/20/2008 8:53 PM snipped-for-privacy@swensenscientific.com spake thus:

Well, aside from that hazard, which is significant, I can see at least one other potential problem here: what happens when there's no water (for whatever reason) but the pump turns on which turns the lights on, thinking they'll be underwater?
Is it possible to set up a float-operated switch somewhere that'll sense when there's actually water in the system? You could use a low-voltage microswitch connected to a relay as you proposed.
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Or how about just getting lights that won't overheat without water cooling? I've seen lots of light installations, but never one where the lights required water cooling. Another point. The statement that the circuit breaker will trip if the 240V box fills with water is probably true if it's a GFCI, which it should be. If it's a regular breaker, it likely won't trip. Personally, there is no way I'd rig up something with a 240V system and a 12V system in the same box in an outdoor water area subject to flooding. If you have to rig up something, I'd do something along the lines of what David suggested, by getting a detector to switch on the 12V system when it detects water has risen to a certain level, water starts flowing, etc.

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On Aug 21, 10:10 am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Agree. If the 12 volt lights get that hot that water has to present to cool them!!!!! Something that senses that water has risen to suitable level and or at least that water is flowing would seem to be required? The thought of water belated flowing onto an overheated light (crack/ smash/tingle of breaking glass) and shorting, even 12 volts to the water, does not sound safe! Also the thought of a bodged up arrangement in an electrical box, that 'might' get wet with 220 volts (or even 110 volts!) present doesn't sound safe either. Might be OK, sort of, initially but what about 3 years down the road when things are getting a little loose, gaskets have deteriorated a little and so on? And surely the 220 supply needs a GFCI/RCD style breaker for feeding a water (outdoor also?) feature, for safety? However the OP should be congratulated for asking the question; well done.
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On 8/21/2008 5:34 AM terry spake thus:
[snip]

Yes; we should give credit where it's due. Good to ask about such things before plunging in head-first.
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I would avoid interconnecting the lights to the pump. Get some sort of float switch or a water sensor and connect it to a relay to control the lights. I used to service a fountain years ago and they had underwater lights that needed to be immersed for operation. I know there was a safety device on the circuit, but I can't remember what it was that protected the lights from being on without water. I'm thinking maybe there was a flow switch on the water return line.
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If you go to a hardware store and look at sump pumps, you will often see a black "can" attached to the cord. It is a water sensing switch. Perhaps you could using something similar.
Another idea: at radio shack they sell a power strip that has one "sensing outlet" and several "controlled outlets". When something is plugged into the sensing outlet and turned on, then the controlled outlets are also turned on. It is for 120V operation. Maybe you could find something for 220V.
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