pool light GFCI

I have an in ground pool approximately 30 years old. After 7 years, the underground circuit from the house to the pump shed failed. An electrician updated the wiring and added a GFCI to the pool light.
I had changed the pool light switch (between the pump shed and the pool light) to a dimmer unit in an outdoor enclosure. After the GCFI was installed, it would trip whenever I turned up the dimmer. Low light worked well, but anything approaching half-bright would trip the GFCI.
The light is a wet niche unit whose cord emerges from conduit into an above ground junction box. The hot and neutral are spliced there, and the green ground is shaved and looped around a terminal on the above ground junction box housing.
I removed the dimmer and just wired together the hot/neutral, but the GFCI still trips.
I disconnected the hot/neutral at the above ground junction box. No trip.
This indicates to me that a ground fault exists between the above ground junction box and the light bulb inside the luminaire. It is a small current leak, because the light will work at low dimmer settings.
SHould I just replace the fixture? They are not cheap, about $160.
Can pool light fixtures develop small current leakages that can be fixed by cleaning and drying the fixture? As far as I can tell, no water has leaked into the light chamber.
Is pulling the new wire back from the wet niche through to the junction box a do-it-yourself task?
Does pulling through a new continuous wire require draining the pool down below entry point for the wire? I presume that the wire is manufactured integrally with the fixture.
For 7 years, we swam with this light and no GFCI. I briefly considered tossing the GFCI, but decided further flirtation with electrocution.
The electrician who installed the GFCI did shoddy work and charged me $700. That experience has shifted my thinking toward considering doing this myself. I'm a professional engineer, but not an electrician. I understand the principles and the Code requirements, but I don't have a lot of experience with this. That's sufficient for rewiring outlets, but a pool light seems fraught with potential disaster. Should I be talked out of DIY and just fork up another $1000 to have a licensed electrician come do it right?
Thanks,
Stuart
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Sorry,, Not usually in my experence.

No, unless your pulling a new fixture cord.

No, a wet niche should float to the top of the water and be able to be set on the deck.

Do you have an ohm meter? Disconnect the wiring to the light and ohm it out. Expecially to ground ( the conduit ). If it passes ohming then there could be another issue.
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SQLit wrote:

An ohmmeter is not the tool that is needed for this but rather a insulation tester. The difference is that the so called megger, which is what most of us call an insulation tester, subjects the wiring to a specific voltage and actually measures any leakage current. A megger will find faults that an ohmmeter will mis. Insulation testers can be rented at larger tool rental outlets. -- Tom Horne
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
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yes moisture/dirt in the fixture could cause leakage to ground that trips a GFI.
A 1/4 inch piece of bare wire stuck into damp earth will trip a GFI.
I would suggest you retain the GFI and repair the ground fault, it could save your life.
Mark
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On 27 Jul 2005 12:44:27 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Pulling the light is within the capabilities of a "handy" homeowner. Be sure to pull a strong cord in while you are pulling the light cord out. (to pull the new one back in with) The first thing I would do is to simply pull the light out onto the deck and look it over. If there is any sign of water in there that is probably your problem. Order a new gasket and open it up. Dry it out and reassemble. Most light manufacturers recomend a new gasket any time you open one up so you might as well throw a new bulb at it while it is open.. Everything inside is going to be "potted" so the whole light/cord is the next step.
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wrote:

You might as well try to fix the light. If it doesn't work, you can always call an electrician. The GFCI is tripping because more than 5 milliamps is leaking out of the circuit. That says faulty insulation someplace and direct leakage or leakage through water to ground. You are wise not to try to use the light without the GFCI.
If you know the make/model of the pool fixture, you might try the manufacturer's web site to see if they supply cable and replacement seals or perhaps a repair kit.
TKM
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The only replacable parts in the light will be the bulb, lens and gasket. The cord/socket is a potted assembly, all in a big block of epoxy. There is no way to splice a new cord in.
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