Pool statuary LVL retrofit

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Viewpoint, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Viewpoint

    Viewpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I have a client I've done work for in the past who is refinishing their pool. The pool has a water feature with a statue of a dolphin in a seperate section, which has 4 PAR-36 fixtures loosely set into formed niches (not bonded). He wants to replace the lights because they're big and ugly, and a maintenance issue (as almost all underwater fixtures are).

    I'm looking for a solution that will give me the optics and punch to highlight the statue, while being low maintenance. The main problem I have is the connection for the lights is underwater. There's no feasible way to run the fixture wire outside the water for the connection, which would be the way I prefer. That is, unless I run it in the grout of the brick coping, and hang the wire down the side of the pool (about 10-12"), which would be ugly, and probably get ripped out.

    I also am unclear (even more so after reading previous posts on the topic) whether or not this could be done to NEC code? The transformer there is a pool and spa rated Vista MT-300 with a digital astro timer.

    My question is not so much the fixture to use, though I'm open to suggestions. The question is how to I make a submersible connection to keep water from being siphoned into the fixture housing and ruining the new fixtures? What would you do in this situation?




  2. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Give your customer and yourself PIECE OF MIND and get a licensed Electrician Involved that is familiar with NEC article 680. Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, Fountains, and similar bodies of water.

    Here is a start from EC&M Magazine.


    Lay the foundation for meeting Art. 680 requirements

    If Art. 680 of the National Electrical Code (NEC) has one overriding concern, it's to keep people and water separated from electricity. Article 680 applies to pools, spas, hot tubs, fountains, and similar bodies of water. Thus, it provides extensive requirements for the installation of electric wiring and equipment for such locations. The wiring also must comply with Chapters 1 through 4 of the Code, except as modified by Art. 680 [680.3].

    Unless you understand the meaning of certain terms used in Art. 680, you run a high risk of misapplying the Code requirements. The first step in avoiding a lethal mistake is to take the time to understand the Art. 680

  3. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

  4. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,320

  5. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187


    After looking at that article again I didn't see a date but NEC 2008 reads pretty much the same , we are still under 2008 code here.
  6. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

  7. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    The only legal way to do that is with line voltage fixtures on a GFI protected circuit. There are a number of different options for making waterproof connections in the pool but I agree with Richie, sub this job to an electrician and let him worry about it.
  8. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Here is a good one that I asked an Electrical Inspector here in Virginia that I have known for 30 years.

    New concrete pool being built an this pool was built 3 foot out of ground an normal depth and nice stone work going on the 3 foot out of ground an copping stone on top all the way around the pool.

    The home owner wanted Low Voltage lighting on the outside walls of pool and of course the standard Lighting within the pool , I think it was 6 fixtures 12v on outside walls and I had printed out the articles in the NEC for home owner an the electrical inspector that it is not aloud , well here in Virginia we have whats called the Virginia State wide Building Code and it supersedes the NEC Code , if you can believe that , any how something I had never read in that book the inspector brought to my attention - under section - less than 50 volts it says there are no permits required for LV circuits or LV Equipment Installs and if no permit required there is no Inspections required and the only thing our Inspector's have anything to say about is the 6 inch cable depth requirement of LV cabling , so he said to me you can Install those 12 v fixtures on the out side wall of the pool , I said but the NEC says no and again he said Virginia State wide Building Code over rules the NEC.

    Article from Virginia State wide Building Code

    Building permits are required when:

    Farther down the exceptions are listed.

    # Exceptions: Installation of wiring and equipment which operates at less than 50 volts, except when the installation is located in a noncombustible plenum or penetrates a fire-resistance rated assembly

    I typed a letter for the home owner to sign releasing us of any liability at all for Installing 12 v cabling and fixtures on the out side wall of the pool and listed both the articles from the NEC and the Virginia State wide Building code and also word for word what the Electrical Inspector pointed out regarding that article and both Husband and Wife signed it.

    We did the Install as they wanted.
  9. Viewpoint

    Viewpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I'm going to hand the project to the pool company's electrician with some recommendation on fixture choice, but remove myself from the project installation. If they were to proceed with retrofitting in a couple of MR-16 sized brass lights, how whould they go about it? Pool guys are not lighting designers and I don't want to leave the homeowner in the dark. Pun intended. What they do with my recommendation is up to them and the homeowner.

    So, assuming this was just a fountain, and the NEC didn't exist, as a purely hypothetical engineering issue, how would you make the connection of a fixture wire to 2 12/2 (daisy chained) low voltage cables underwater so that moisture isn't siphoned into the fixture? I've seen connection vaults but the ones I've seen are too bulky. Is there something out there that will keep all the water out of a connection for another 25 years?
  10. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187


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