Pool light: 9" light in an 8" niche


We are trying to replace the light in our late-60s era swimming pool. Our electrician told us in advance that new 8" lights were no longer available so he was going to have to use an adapter. That was the plan, but now when he is trying to install it things don't match up the way he assumed they wood.
Here is a photo of the new light and adapter:
http://www.efsowell.us/pool/NineInchAdaptor.JPG
and the niche in the wall of the pool:
http://www.efsowell.us/pool/niche.JPG
The electrician thinks the ears on the back of the adapter are supposed to slip INSIDE the niche, but they won't. That is, the inside diameter of the niche is smaller than the diameter formed by the mounting ears on the adapter.
I told him it looked like the ears were supposed to fit on the OUTSIDE of the niche. That would require chiseling out notches in the concrete that the adapter ears would slip into, and drilling through the niche wall from the inside to screw into the threaded holes in the adapter.
I know for sure his method won't work, but I'm not sure mine will either.
Any thoughts on how to proceed?
Or, does anyone know where to get the old 8" lights?
TIA
Ed
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What I gather is that it looks like the tabs SHOULD fit into the opening then the new light fixture should attach to the new bezel. But what would hold the tabs in place? Is the hole too small for the tabs, if so by how much?
Searcher
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Searcher,
That's what the electrician thinks too, but the diameter of the niche is quite a bit too small to accept the OD of the mounting tabs. However, when I hold the adaptor up to the niche it looks like the ID of the tabs might fit the OD of the niche.
Let me explain that a little better. I'm handicapped by not being able to make accurate measurements without tumbling into the pool.
The niche is kind of like a can made of stainless steel or brass or something. The wall looks to be about 1/16" or 0.090" or so. Lets say the ID of the can is 8", so the OD is about 8.2". The adaptor tabs are equally spaced around the circumference and are about 1/4" thick. It looks like the circle defined by the inside of the tabs is about 8 1/4", i.e., about the same as the OD of the can. The circle defined by the outside of the tabs is about 8 3/4".
The electrician thinks the adapter is held in place by screws that go radially outward, biting into the inner wall of the niche can much like a set screw. The holes in the tabs are threaded, so that would work if the ID of the niche can was large enough, but there is no way that can happen.
My theory is the tabs are supposed to fit OVER the niche can rather than into it. The screws would then go through holes drilled through the can. As I said, this would require breaking concrete at 3 places around the niche can to accept the tabs.
Ed

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Ed writes:

Is it possible the adapter fits over the old niche like you suspect, and you're supposed to plaster over the edges? Not clear how you're getting a larger size fitted to something smaller otherwise.

What was wrong with the old ones that couldn't be repaired?
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Richard,
Thanks for the reply.
To answer your questions, the adaptor is designed to position the light outward an inch or so from the wall of the pool. Since the back of the light is tapered, its diameter at the entrance to the niche is smaller. You are right, the cavities that are chiseled out of the concrete (plaster?) to accept the adaptor mounting tabs would have to be filled in afterwards.
The lights are made with a long cord to reach to a junction box. Originally, our junction box was flush with the deck about 12' back. Newer electric codes don't allow a junction box to be mounted flush with the deck, so we now have to put the junction box at the cabana 40' away. So, we needed a new light. Also, ours had been in service for at least 15 years.
Ed

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Ed writes:

I have those same old lights. They just have a tube going through the niche for the cord, which tube is caulked with (these days) 3M 5200 polyurethane to make it watertight. I know this because it was the source of a pesky leak for years until I discovered it (see http://www.truetex.com/pool.htm near the end). So you could certainly run new wire if that is all you need, and retrofit it into the old niches and lights. They seem to be bulletproof stainless construction; a shame to waste them.
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Richard,
Thanks for the replies.
So you're saying one can fit a new cord to the light? I was under the impression that the light assembly had the cord attached and bonded to the SS cone at the factory, making it all water tight. The cord on the old light is too short for the new location of the junction box.
But you raise a point that has been bothering me. The picture I have of these things is there is a red brass conduit attached to the back side of the niche "can," and the cord of the light assembly feeds through it to the junction box. I've also read that the light assembly is totally surrounded by water all the time, and depends on that for cooling. So, I have been wondering what prevented pool water from leaking like crazy through the conduit and into the junction box. But perhaps that's where the polyurethane sealant is used?
An interesting side light (no pun intended) is our old light didn't even have a junction box. Apparently, when the light was replaced 10-15 years ago the electrician ripped out the original deck-level box, wired the new light cord to the wires going on to the service, and filled the hole with concrete! So when we broke the old deck out instead of finding a junction box between the red brass and the steel conduit to the service we found this blob of concrete.
That pool project of yours is an impressive piece of work.
Ed

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Ed writes:

Yes, that's called a "wet niche" design. There are also "dry niche" types.

Right. No reason you can rewire it and recaulk it.
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Sounds like you need a pool guy instead of an electrician.

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Yeah, I guess so. The electrician is a friend of one of our members, and did claim to have a lot of pool experience. He came in at $1200 for the work, and the company that replaced the skimmers wanted $1500. If I could roll back the clock....
Ed

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I'm thinking:: What about the tabs, will they fit around the can like receptacle? On the outside? What if you notch out where the tabs go and epoxy the mounting plate to the wall? The tabs will still give support and the epoxy will hold the plate as well as seal out water.
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Searcher,
That's what I'm thinking... tabs fitting around the outside of the can. If the concrete/plaster were notched out enough to get an Allen wrench in there we might even be able to lock it to the can with set screws.
I'm also searching for someone who still sells lights that fit the older niches.
Ed

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Ed writes:

See http://www.grainger.com/ and search for keyword "pool light" and then select "lights, swimming pool" for a half dozen fixtures that might fit.
The old ones show up on eBay now and then.
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