Should a pool light bulb be touching water only halfway (half in, half out)?

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Should there be water touching the pool light bulb itself halfway?
I have three pool lights, all of which light up, but, after about 5 minutes, the GFCI trips (the circuit breaker does not trip).
I replaced the GFCI and it still trips within a few minutes. I dove into the pool and watched the light go out. I couldn't see anything spectacular happening but I noticed the water level inside the light fixture was half way on one light; in the other three I couldn't tell so it must be 100% full.
I don't want to run the light outside the water because a label says the American Products series 7884xx light (400W, 120v, R-40) needs to be cooled by the water inside the lens.
I'm surprised the bulb doesn't explode with water only half way on it (there's a line of scum half way that I scrubbed off the bulb itself due to the water inside not getting cleaned by the pool cleaner).
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The bulb inside the fixture shouldn't be in any water. If it is, the seal on the fixture is bad, and most likely the entire fixture needs to be replaced. The GFCI is tripping because the bulb is in the water. You can disconnect each fixture individually at it's deck box, so you can keep using the two functioning fixtures

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On Fri, 2 Jul 2010 17:59:35 -0400, RBM wrote:

Now that it is fixed, I finally realize that fact. Water was leaking in, and taking about 5 minutes to flip the GFCI.

That solved the problem. I didn't see anything wrong with the old seal, but, I put it back on twice and water still leaked in, so I replaced the Hayward seal (even though it was an American Products light assembly) and that solved the problem.
One question I have is HOW TIGHT to make the steel band. The tightening screw is about two inches long and I tighted it until it wouldn't go any further but I don't know how tight to make it since it "sealed" in the first quarter inch, but I kept going for about 2 inches.

That's what the pool supply store said but it was the seal.

It's interesting that it was ALWAYS in the water (the leak was always there, not just when I turned the lights on) but that it still took about 5 minutes after resetting the GFCI before the GFCI tripped again. You'd think it would trip right away, not 5 minutes after resetting as the light fixture was half full of water.

I have no idea where or what a "deck box" is ...
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wrote:

I haven't seen a deck box in 30 years. They used to put the junction box right in the deck and pot it solid with some goo. These days you will have a PVC J box somewhere away from the pool and elevated a foot or so higher than the water level. It usually has 3 pipes coming up in the bottom. That is where the power, the cable from the light and the 8 gauge bond wire from the pool shell all get connected.
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On Sun, 04 Jul 2010 02:00:49 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I do have a few pipes popping out of the ground above the pool, one of which is the GFCI for the pool lights so I guess that is the modern replacement for the deck box.
BTW, what is a "bond wire"? Is that a ground wire that grounds the poolitself? I never heard of that but will try to look it up.
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wrote:

The deck box is just a special junction box for connection of under water light fixtures. The cord that's attached to the niche fixture terminates in the deck box. The bonding wire is a solid #8 copper wire which is attached to all things metal associated with the pool. Once you locate the deck box, you will find the cable from the niche fixture, the power wires, and the bond wire inside. Here is a picture of an above ground deck box: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/4RG46?Pid=search
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And, if it is an older pool and you have flush deck boxes, you'll probably see brass cover plates in the pool deck, in line with each fixture. The newer above ground deck boxes will usually be farther away from the fixtures, but generally in line with them.
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On Sun, 4 Jul 2010 09:19:31 -0400, RBM wrote:

I saw the picture kindly provided of the deck box and I don't seem to have them. Also no brass plates. There's concrete for fifteen feet all around the pool so I'd know if something was sticking out of that.
What I do have is the GFCI sticking about a foot and a half out of the ground in the grass outside that concrete perimeter, and a few other plastic pipes sticking up.
Come to think of it, some of those plastic pipes sticking up do have plastic junction boxes, so, probably those are the missing "deck boxes".
I think what you're saying is that the wires from the lights (and the pool #8 ground wire) don't go directly to the electronic controls but meet first at a junction box above ground and probably in the middle between the pool itself and the controls which are about 20 feet from the concrete perimeter outside edge (about 35 feet from the pool edge).
Is that right?
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The #8 Bonding conductor is literally connected to everything metal associated with the pool, including rebar in the concrete, metal fittings that hold ladders, the metal under water niche that holds the fixture, pumps, heaters...
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On Sun, 4 Jul 2010 13:54:09 -0400, RBM wrote:

Is it for lightning?
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No, it's purpose is to assure that everything metal associated with the pool is ultimately connected to the pools grounding system, so no metal part can become electrically live
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On 04/07/10 10:00 AM, Terra Arcane wrote:

When we re-did our pool that's how it was done. Since water fills the niche, it will go up the conduit to the same level as the pool water, do the box needs to be higher than the level of the pool.
The old pool lights were low voltage (12V), and there was a transformer over by the pump. The new pool lights are 120VAC and don't use a transformer. This seemed like a bad idea to me.
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wrote:

Take the one that is half full out and replace the seal. It is held in by one screw in the bezel. There should be enough cable coiled up in the back of the niche to get it up on the deck. Turn off the breaker before you do anything.
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On Sat, 03 Jul 2010 01:19:30 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It was an American Products light which apparently takes a $15 black rubber seal from Hayward which I picked up yesterday.
The pool supply house insisted I needed the entire $250 lamp assembly but I don't see WHERE the water is getting in since only the seal is preventing that.
So, I'll let you know how well the new seal works! Thanks for the advice. I didn't see anything wrong with the old seal, but, it didn't have any more silicone gel on it so maybe it was a tiny leak somewhere.
The cord is just long enough to bring the light up on the deck, so, I can work out of the water. There was only one stainless steel bolt holding the whole thing in the pool (amazingly). And there was just a wire going around teh edges holding the seal and glass light cover in place on the assembly.
Amazingly simple stuff ... nothing fancy it seems. I still don't "see" where the leak is, but, I can certainly put the new seal in and find out if it was the seal or the lamp assembly!
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On Sat, 03 Jul 2010 01:19:30 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I replaced the fifteen dollar seal. I slapped on a ton of the silicone gel and it worked. The light stayed on for more than an hour this time.
My only remaining question is HOW TIGHT to screw the two-inch screw that tightens the steel band which clamps the glass cover onto the fixture sandwiching the gasket in between.
The clamp clamped within a quarter inch or so but I kept turning the bolt until there was no room left to turn it. I kept wondering if the glass plate would shatter but it didn't.
How tight are you supposed to screw down that steel clamp?
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On Sat, 03 Jul 2010 01:19:30 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

This poor guy's video looked a lot more like mine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVEe-KzY13I

His light was also HALF full (I wonder why half); and it contained yucky dirty water that had to be cleaned out.
In addition, he also wondered what that springey steel wire is doing inside the light fixture next to the bulb.
Do you know what that springey coiled u-loop of wire does in a pool light?
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I wouldn't go swimming with anything electrical touching the water and an electric source at the same time unless my life insurance was paid up.
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On Fri, 2 Jul 2010 14:31:56 -0700, Terra Arcane wrote:

Correction: On the other two, it appears they were 100% empty of water.
Now that I replaced the gasket on the light that was (strangely) 1/2 full of water, the GFCI no longer trips because the third light is now also empty of water (kept out by the rubber gasket and tons of silicone goop).
It's weird that it was only 1/2 full (and not 100% full since the whole light assembly is submerged) ... and I wasn't sure how tight to tighten the steel band that holds the glass onto the rubber seal onto the steel light fixture.
I made it VERY TIGHT but I was afraid I would shatter the glass. How do you know when it's enough tightening on the two-inch-long bolt for the steel band?
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On Sat, 3 Jul 2010 22:47:27 -0700, Terra Arcane wrote:

According to this video (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h0BqTSAMO8
) which shows a light exactly like mine (except a lot cleaner), the guy says "in my opinion, you can't tighten the bolt too tight".
So I guess I did the right thing (the glass didn't shatter and it didn't leak.
But I can see why you'd have to replace the $15 gasket each time because that steel band compresses it quite tightly when snug as far as it will turn.
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It was only half full because the leak was on the bottom of the fixture. I generally recommend replacing the entire fixture. In my experience, pool maintenance companies never seem to be able to reseal these things, and invariably they leak again. Possibly they're trying to use the old gasket, so hopefully you'll have better luck
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