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all ferris
08-15-2011, 11:07 PM
Guys, I need some help choosing a pool and spa rated transformer. I always use Kichler transformers but they do not offer a pool and spa rating on any of their transformers. In the past I have always stayed well clear of pools due to the NEC rules but now I have a customer that is insistent on placing lights closer to the pool. What companies make a pool and spa transformer. I know Vista has them but who else makes them? This is an small LED job so it could be done with a 100w transformer (200w would be better for future expansion). I need the transformer to have a photocell and timer. Stainless would be good too. Since the job is so small, I don't need to spend a fortune on one either.

Thanks,
Rod

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-15-2011, 11:20 PM
I would stick with the Vista MT-300. It is a decent performer, is reasonably priced, and you can option it up as you wish with accessory timers and photocells. Instead of using the old-school photocell & timer combo, why not consider using a digital astro timer instead? Look at Aube (Honeywell) or Leviton for a couple of great astronomical timers that your clients will appreciate.

Richie@
08-16-2011, 12:40 AM
Guys, I need some help choosing a pool and spa rated transformer. I always use Kichler transformers but they do not offer a pool and spa rating on any of their transformers. In the past I have always stayed well clear of pools due to the NEC rules but now I have a customer that is insistent on placing lights closer to the pool. What companies make a pool and spa transformer. I know Vista has them but who else makes them? This is an small LED job so it could be done with a 100w transformer (200w would be better for future expansion). I need the transformer to have a photocell and timer. Stainless would be good too. Since the job is so small, I don't need to spend a fortune on one either.

Thanks,
Rod

Take a look at this one it's a 100 watt , they also have 300-600 watt.

http://www.inyopools.com/Products/02400015000948.htm

Richie@
08-16-2011, 01:02 AM
Sorry that one has no set up for photo-timer control so as James said the Vista would be the choice.

all ferris
08-16-2011, 07:36 AM
I would stick with the Vista MT-300. It is a decent performer, is reasonably priced, and you can option it up as you wish with accessory timers and photocells. Instead of using the old-school photocell & timer combo, why not consider using a digital astro timer instead? Look at Aube (Honeywell) or Leviton for a couple of great astronomical timers that your clients will appreciate.

Thank you for the advice. I am not familiar with Vista transformers. I like your idea of the astro timer. Would any timer or photocell work with the Vista transformer? Reason I ask is because I keep Kichler timers and photocells on hand.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-16-2011, 09:30 AM
Thank you for the advice. I am not familiar with Vista transformers. I like your idea of the astro timer. Would any timer or photocell work with the Vista transformer? Reason I ask is because I keep Kichler timers and photocells on hand.

The Vista will accept most plug in style of timers and allows for the use of a photocell simply by wiring it in to the terminals on the transformer. Full instructions are included.

steveparrott
08-16-2011, 10:06 AM
Guys, I need some help choosing a pool and spa rated transformer. I always use Kichler transformers but they do not offer a pool and spa rating on any of their transformers. In the past I have always stayed well clear of pools due to the NEC rules but now I have a customer that is insistent on placing lights closer to the pool. What companies make a pool and spa transformer. I know Vista has them but who else makes them? This is an small LED job so it could be done with a 100w transformer (200w would be better for future expansion). I need the transformer to have a photocell and timer. Stainless would be good too. Since the job is so small, I don't need to spend a fortune on one either.

Thanks,
Rod

A pool and spa rated transformer isn't needed for non-submersible fixtures. Unfortunately, fixtures closer than 10 ft. from a pool violate NEC, regardless of the transformer type. Why are you using a pool and spa transformer?

BrandonV
08-16-2011, 12:33 PM
Unique has that fiber system that you should look into. That or walk away- liability my friend.
Posted via Mobile Device

klkanders
08-16-2011, 02:16 PM
Rod,
Gerry at TerraDek carries Stainless Steel Case Acme transformers that have the rating you are looking for in 100W, 300W and 500W. Not a fancy unit but does the job and probably within the budget you are wanting. You would however have to add an external timer/photocell. No big deal.
I have accumulated quite a few used ones when updating lighting systems. They are good for small systems or for the purpose you are looking for.
Good Luck!

all ferris
08-16-2011, 09:14 PM
Section 680.22(B)(4) permits luminaires to be installed within 5 to 10 feet horizontally of the pool’s edge only where a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects the luminaires. Since low-voltage landscape luminaires are supplied by a low-voltage power supply, such as a transformer, providing GFCI protection on the primary side of an isolation transformer will not provide GFCI protection on the secondary side. GFCI devices will not operate at the 15-volts or less supplied by the secondary of the power supply. This leaves only two options: one is to locate all low-voltage landscape lighting at least 10 feet from the pool or fountain edge; or, two, to use a special power supply.
There are low-voltage lighting power units that are marked “For Use with Submersible Fixtures or Submersible Pumps.” In this case, a special transformer is used that complies with the requirements in 680.23 for underwater luminaires installed below the normal water level of the pool. This transformer is specifically listed for this use and is an isolated winding type transformer with an ungrounded secondary similar to the low-voltage landscape lighting transformer, as required by 411.5(B). The low-voltage pool lighting transformer has one additional feature in its design. It has a grounded metal barrier or shield between the primary and the secondary. This metal barrier or shield prevents a direct internal short between the primary and the secondary of the transformer. If a short does occur on the primary side, it will short to the metal shield and the primary overcurrent protective device will operate. If a short develops on the secondary side to the shield, the secondary overcurrent protective device, if provided, will operate. If there isn’t a secondary overcurrent protective device and the primary is providing protection through the transformer, the primary device should operate.


I copied and pasted this from another thread. It was posted by Richie@. The way I read this is that if I use a pool and spa rated transformer I can place lights in the 5'-10' range. Maybe I am wrong but it make sense that if a transformer can power a light in the pool it could power a light 5' away from the pool??? :wall

irrig8r
08-16-2011, 09:51 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to just use fiber optic fixtures? I mean, as far as not having to worry about distance from water...

Richie@
08-16-2011, 10:01 PM
Section 680.22(B)(4) permits luminaires to be installed within 5 to 10 feet horizontally of the pool’s edge only where a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects the luminaires. Since low-voltage landscape luminaires are supplied by a low-voltage power supply, such as a transformer, providing GFCI protection on the primary side of an isolation transformer will not provide GFCI protection on the secondary side. GFCI devices will not operate at the 15-volts or less supplied by the secondary of the power supply. This leaves only two options: one is to locate all low-voltage landscape lighting at least 10 feet from the pool or fountain edge; or, two, to use a special power supply.
There are low-voltage lighting power units that are marked “For Use with Submersible Fixtures or Submersible Pumps.” In this case, a special transformer is used that complies with the requirements in 680.23 for underwater luminaires installed below the normal water level of the pool. This transformer is specifically listed for this use and is an isolated winding type transformer with an ungrounded secondary similar to the low-voltage landscape lighting transformer, as required by 411.5(B). The low-voltage pool lighting transformer has one additional feature in its design. It has a grounded metal barrier or shield between the primary and the secondary. This metal barrier or shield prevents a direct internal short between the primary and the secondary of the transformer. If a short does occur on the primary side, it will short to the metal shield and the primary overcurrent protective device will operate. If a short develops on the secondary side to the shield, the secondary overcurrent protective device, if provided, will operate. If there isn’t a secondary overcurrent protective device and the primary is providing protection through the transformer, the primary device should operate.


I copied and pasted this from another thread. It was posted by Richie@. The way I read this is that if I use a pool and spa rated transformer I can place lights in the 5'-10' range. Maybe I am wrong but it make sense that if a transformer can power a light in the pool it could power a light 5' away from the pool??? :wall

The article posted above is NOT from the NEC CODE BOOK , it was written by a lighting designer an I can not remember his name.

The 10 ft rule applies in our area even though we know the post above would work , best check with your AHJ maybe he can clarify it for you.

Richie@
08-16-2011, 10:14 PM
Mark C Ode was his name an the article is listed in link below.

http://www.iaei.org/magazine/2004/11/low-voltage-lighting-systems-operating-at-30-volts-or-less/

all ferris
08-16-2011, 11:09 PM
Mark C Ode was his name an the article is listed in link below.

http://www.iaei.org/magazine/2004/11/low-voltage-lighting-systems-operating-at-30-volts-or-less/

I look at this article and think this is a way to get around the 10' rule. The guy who wrote the article has credentials out the wing wang

About Mark C. Ode: Mark C. Ode, staff engineering associate at the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina Regulatory Services Department, was a senior electrical specialist for the National Fire Protection Association. He is a former staff liaison and secretary to the NFPA Electrical Equipment in Chemical Atmospheres Committee. He was the executive secretary for the NFPA Electrical Section and editor of the Electrical Section news bulletin, Current Flashes. He has taught the National Electrical Code throughout the United States. He is certified as an electrical instructor for the States of Wyoming, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, and Massachusetts, as well as others. He is an electrical code columnist for Electrical Contractor magazine. He was a principle member of CMP-20 for the 1990 NEC and an alternate member of CMP-3 for the 2002 NEC. He is a principle member of CMP-4, an alternate member of CMP-3, and an alternate on the NEC Technical Correlating Committee for the 2005 NEC. He has been a member of IAEI since September 15, 1975.

Terradek
08-18-2011, 11:10 AM
The Ode article has been the single source reference that has been used for years in this industry.

A couple of years ago I came across a publication by Mike Holt:

http://www.mikeholt.com/newsletters.php?action=display&letterID=802 .

This two part article covers all things related to electrical installations in and around pools, spas, and fountains. Mike Holt in a nationally recognized expert on NEC code. In Part 1 page 8 paragraph 4, Mike makes a blanket statement that "Low-Voltage lighting systems must not be located within 10ft of a pool, spa, or hot tub even if GFCI protected (NEC 411.4)" He does not though address the issue of using a "Pool and Spa" UL rated transformer in this situation.

As you can tell we have a conflict in our understanding of this important installation scenario. For that reason the Conference Committee of the AOLP is in the early stages of putting a seminar together for the 2012 Conference on this topic. It would be great if we could come to a conclusion one way or the other about this critical question.

Classic Lighting
08-18-2011, 12:22 PM
As you can tell we have a conflict in our understanding of this important installation scenario. For that reason the Conference Committee of the AOLP is in the early stages of putting a seminar together for the 2012 Conference on this topic. It would be great if we could come to a conclusion one way or the other about this critical question.

I couldn't agree more. I must admit that I can't figure out what is right and wrong regarding pool/spa areas. Just utter confusion.

Richie@
08-18-2011, 02:45 PM
You should see what we go through RE: electrical wiring for pools-spas-fountains-hot tubs, it will have your head spinning with the codes and rulings , then add into the mix Installing Low Voltage Lighting around these areas , it leaves you scratching your head what you cant do or might be able to do.

steveparrott
08-18-2011, 03:29 PM
For that reason the Conference Committee of the AOLP is in the early stages of putting a seminar together for the 2012 Conference on this topic. It would be great if we could come to a conclusion one way or the other about this critical question.

As you say, many have confused ideas about the use of lv lighting near water features and pools. Code experts assure me there is no ambiguity in the code - no lv lighting fixtures within 10 ft. of a pool or spa (unless mounted at least 12 ft. above the water). Period.

It's spelled out in NEC Articles 411 and 680.

On the other hand, submersible, wet niche, and dry niche fixtures are allowed in their appropriate locations in or attached to the pool. These are the only lights allowed within 10 ft. and they are the only lights that require a swimming pool and spa listed transformer.

I like the idea of AOLP putting together a seminar on the topic. I suggest they commission Mike Holt to update the lighting section of his excellent book, Low Voltage and Limited Energy (published several years ago) (free download (http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/lowvoltage/pdf/LowVoltBook.pdf)).

I don't know anyone else qualified to put the info together. Mark Ode and other UL experts are certainly knowledgable about NEC, but it is not their primary job to interpret the code. That's what Mike Holt does.

One final comment, electrical inspectors differ greatly in their interpretation of NEC. Many let common sense prevail over strict code adherence. Many allow lv fixtures to be installed within 10 ft. It is, after all, a non-sensical rule.

It would good if the AOLP doesn't just regurgitate the code, but actually forms it own consensus opinion of how the code might be improved. Research has firmly established the safety of LV lighting even when handled in wet conditions. Why not reduce the distance to 3 ft. This would give the designer a great deal more flexibility; it would be a step to support better landscape lighting.

bcg
08-18-2011, 03:42 PM
It's never made sense to me that LV has to be 10' from water but it's OK to put a 120V pool light in a pool or a 120V pump in a fountain. Why is 120V OK but 12V not? It seems that if we can safely put 120V stuff into water, and human use water like pools at that, we should be able to safely do the same with 12V fixtures.

steveparrott
08-18-2011, 03:51 PM
It's never made sense to me that LV has to be 10' from water but it's OK to put a 120V pool light in a pool or a 120V pump in a fountain. Why is 120V OK but 12V not? It seems that if we can safely put 120V stuff into water, and human use water like pools at that, we should be able to safely do the same with 12V fixtures.

It is OK to put 12v lights in pools and fountains if they have the right UL listing. To be clear, the 10 ft. exclusion applies to both 120V and 12V lights. I say, keep the 120V fixture 10 ft. away but let the lv designer play!

Richie@
08-18-2011, 05:02 PM
It is a section of the NEC that needs worked on along with a few other code sections.

steveparrott
08-18-2011, 05:25 PM
It is a section of the NEC that needs worked on along with a few other code sections.

NFPA has a system and guidelines for proposing changes to the NEC. I don't know the behind-the-scenes process, but a group like the AOLP could put together a formal proposal for changes - might be difficult but not impossible.

BrandonV
08-18-2011, 09:17 PM
I say, keep the 120V fixture 10 ft. away but let the lv designer play!

i'm with you not like any real harm could be done.

all ferris
08-18-2011, 11:01 PM
Ok...Just to update how I am going to handle this job where the customer want the lights closer to the pool. Its only 1 light that will be in question and I am going to use a "pool and spa" transformer. I will install the light 10' away from the pool but with plenty of slack in the wire. What the customer does after I leave is his deal. Then I can :sleeping: