Will gfi trip when removing pool lights im trying to test them outside the water?

Water got inside my Pentair SAM pool lights and tripped the GFI. When I reset the GFI it trips the breaker, all that is working well so no issues there. The light housing has a bad gasket and the light filled up 1/3 of the way with water. I unscrewed the lights pulled them up to the deck to work on them.
I disassembled the lights; these are some good quality lights the construction and sturdiness struck me. I later found out they are American made, too nice to just trash and they run $550 each for new ones! I know, if they were so well made whay did they leak? Well I got 10 years out of the gasket and gaskets do fail, and it needs to come apart to replace the bulbs.
I tested the halogen bulbs that were in them and they still work! I would like to test the lights outside of the water just to see if they work and to see if the little motor works for the light wheel. All that to ask if the lights need to be installed in the pool, (I noticed the bare ground wire in the light socket in the pool) to keep the breaker from tripping.
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Jeff H
I'm going to answer my own question, yes you can test the lights outside of the pool.My GFI and circuit kept tripping because the circuit board in the one light was fried(due to the water it took in I'm sure). Both lights were hooked together in the junction box so i couldn't test them until i separated the wiring and tested each individually. Once i did that, one light tested fine and one was shot. I was also able to wire up the new light to the wiring junction box outside the pool and test it prior to installation.
I went with the Jandy color LED, I still cant get over the $$$$ but it works fine, I'm a bit bummed that it doesn't work like the SAM where you can pick the color you want from the Jandy AqualinkRS controller in the house but considering how often we actually use the lights I can get over that. i just have to turn the light button on and off to cycle it to te color or show I want. I actually think its a little brighter than the old 150w halogen SAM light, and much more energy efficient. Nightmarish ordeal over. Ps the installation was easy you can do it yourself just remember to TURN OFF THE POWER at the circuit.
Also if you rebuild a SAM light like I did, tighten the adjustable metal ring as tight as you can to get that new silicone ring sealed. Dont be cautious, keep that water out!
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