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Pentair Amerilite Leaking


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#1 dbeaty

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 12:41 PM

I installed a replacement Amerilite assembly two years ago and it worked great. The bulb died and I removed the light assembly and purchased a new O-Ring and bulb, which began leaking within a week. I took it out again assuming I did something wrong.

Now, it's made very clear that you never re-assemble an Amerilite with a used O-ring. so I purchased another $25 ring. I though that because the instructions say to tighten the bolts to within 1/4 inch of each other, perhaps mine was a bit too loose.

Now these O-rings have a bunch of points of failure in the design. The glass fits inside the O-ring, which has a goove molded inside for this. Then the glass with O-ring attached is pushed against the housing with a metal ring that tightens down, pushing the O-ring against the housing.

I cleaned everything very good, and reassembled with the new O-ring. Yep, with in two weeks it's failed again, this time the bulb blew when the water intruded. So now it's been out for a month, while I get over being PO'd about the wasted $50 in O-rings. I tried bringing it back to Pinch a Penny but they said a used O-ring can not be returned.

What would you do? Just give up or try again?

Daveb

#2 Pool Clown

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 04:45 PM

It is possible that the lens gasket is sealing fine. The problem may be where the light cord enters the fixture. I have read, on this forum, that some lights had begun to leak without being that old. I have not experienced this first hand. That however does not mean that it can't or won't happen. I have seen it in older units though.

The "use a new oring every time" tip is mainly for gaskets that have been "squished" for quite some time, and that a gasket less than +/- a month can usually be re-used with no problem (I realize this does you no good).

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#3 quantumchromodynamics

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 07:11 PM

Lights are difficult to seal properly. You should use a thin layer of silicone-based lubricant to help the O-ring set properly.


You can't manage what you don't measure. Get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or the Taylor K-2106 for bromine.

#4 dbeaty

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 05:38 AM

Thanks, I don't think there's a magic bullet for fixing this. The slightest defect in the seal will leak over time. That's what I've found out. Next time I will also tighten that sucker all the way down till there are no more threads with the same O-ring. Do you think silicone would help?

You may be right about a leak where the cord enters, but these units also have a huge chunk of epoxy in the cable end sealing the whole thing.

Perhaps I'll see if Pentair has any comments.

Daveb

#5 Pool Clown

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 03:50 PM

The epoxy on the inside wont do any sealing if the grommet in the light cord swells and starts to leak.

I have never had to put any kind of lubricant on the gasket. I would have to think that may make matters worse as the lube would allow the gasket to move, and perhaps even get squished out of place. Others may have tried this and have luck with it, but it is not how the manufacturer recommends for assembly. Otherwise, they would come like that from the factory.

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#6 dbeaty

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:09 AM

I think I'll just try really cleaning the lens and gasket and resealing it as tight as I can. Maybe I'll get lucky and third try will be a charm and it's just the seal.

Is there a better replacement niche light you'd reccomend if I need to pull the whole thing out after only two years? It was a real bitch getting the cable pulled through to the power supply.

Thanks

#7 Pool Clown

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE (dbeaty @ Dec 15 2009, 10:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think I'll just try really cleaning the lens and gasket and resealing it as tight as I can. Maybe I'll get lucky and third try will be a charm and it's just the seal.

Is there a better replacement niche light you'd reccomend if I need to pull the whole thing out after only two years? It was a real bitch getting the cable pulled through to the power supply.

Thanks


Now the light cord, I'll agree to lubing the cord with wire pulling lube to help with pulling it thru the conduit.

What you have is the majority of what i see out there. Maybe someone else knows of a different incandescent type light fixture that will fit in that niche.

I guessing you don't want to put a different "type" of light (LED, halogen,etc.) in there as those fixtures are 2 to 3 to sometimes 4 times as expensive as the one you currently have.

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#8 LostinCypress

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 06:40 AM

I cannot get a good seal on mine either. I've spent app. five hours on this problem. I have repaired pool pumps, Automobiles, computers, was trained as a Medical/Dental Equipment Repair Specialist in the Air Force and maintained two dental clinics and a HOSPITAL for 3 years. This is the most ridiculous design I have ever seen!

#9 LostinCypress

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 06:44 AM

I am having the same problem. Pool Light tripping the GFI because of water in the unit. Took out, dried, put normal flood light in socket while above ground and it works just fine. Spa light not tripping GFI. New gasket, cleaned thoroughly, and have attempted to eliminate leaking at least six times in the past 24 hours. Do not want to put silicone etc. This is a VERY primitive design for sealing a unit. It's crazy.

#10 Pool Clown

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 06:56 AM

Many times, the gasket is not the leak, but rather where the cord enters the fixture. After assembly, submerge the light by hand and have someone else turn the light on. position the fixture so you can see the cord where it enters the fixture. As the light begins to heat up, the air in the fixture will expand, generating a little pressure. If you have a leak at the cord entry, you will begin to see bubbles coming out from between the cord and the grommet. This can take a few minutes to present itself. Once the light is turned off, the air inside cools, and will begin to draw water inside the light fixture.

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#11 LostinCypress

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 07:36 AM

Many times, the gasket is not leak, but rather where the cord enters the fixture. After assembly, submerge the light by hand and have someone else turn the light on. position the fixture so you can see the cord where it enters the fixture. As the light begins to heat up, the air in the fixture will expand, generating a little pressure. If you have a leak at the cord entry, you will begin to see bubbles coming out from between the cord and the grommet. This can take a few minutes to present itself. Once the light is turned off, the air inside cools, and will begin to draw water inside the light fixture.



I submerge the light and without fail find the leak ...no matter how small...to be coming from around the gasket. It's frustrating. I have reinstalled the light, turned off the power at the breaker and will research some other alternative to my problem. I should have titled my post "tiny bubbles". I don't usually give up on a problem, but disassembling and reassembling this many times has left me TIRED! Thanks for your reply. I'm not a design engineer, but I think I could develop a sealing solution that would be almost foolproof. It might require something more sophisticated than the clamping ring currently used by Pentaire. It might be easier if I understood what they were thinking when they designed the unit. The pressure exerted by the ring is applied somewhat randomly, especially for the bottom portion of the seal. Again, thank you very much. Maybe I should pay a POOL LIGHT EXPERT to install and WATCH THEM DO IT. Always best to learn from a pro.

#12 Pool Clown

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 09:39 AM

I don't suppose you can take a picture of your fixture assembled (and post) so we can confirm that it is assembled correctly, (no offense) and tightened enough.

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#13 LostinCypress

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:00 AM

I don't suppose you can take a picture of your fixture assembled (and post) so we can confirm that it is assembled correctly, (no offense) and tightened enough.



I tightened it all the way. I reinserted into niche just to keep up appearances. Only had a tiny smile...at the bottom. I guess my last attempt was 99.9% effective. GFCI must be ultra sensitive to any moisture in unit.

#14 txpoolguy

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:10 AM

Unfortunately, many pool "professionals" have the same problem. Many of the pool lights are very hard to reassemble without leaks. Pentair isn't as hard as some others... As mentioned before, a lubricant or sealant can allow the gasket to slide out of position, so a clean, dry gasket is best, but still not easy. Yes, GFCI breakers are very sensitive, but only to a short to ground or voltage loss - 1/1000 volt, I think. Without this sensitivity, people/family could get hurt.

#15 pawsrb

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:03 AM

I cannot get a good seal on mine either. I've spent app. five hours on this problem. I have repaired pool pumps, Automobiles, computers, was trained as a Medical/Dental Equipment Repair Specialist in the Air Force and maintained two dental clinics and a HOSPITAL for 3 years. This is the most ridiculous design I have ever seen!


Me too! However, not mentioned here is the outer ring that the other side of the gasket fits into. I have noticed on ours that there is no way the groove on the gasket will fit into the groove on the ring as though it has bent over past bulb changes. The next one I do we will try replacing the ring itself and see if a new one will solve that issue.

#16 brettnolan

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 06:24 PM

Okay, I hate lights...they always seem to give me some sort of a problem. But I have yet to have an Amerlite that I could not get the gasket to seal correctly.

Lens goes into the gasket, gasket goes onto light housing, outer ring on top of that, and clamp (making sure that it goes thru all the hooks) tightened down almost as far as you can get it.

I can think of a few things that may be awry:

1) as poolclown said, water can come in from the back, where the light cord enters the can. According to one of my colleagues, this problem was known to Pentair for lights manufactured in either 04 or 05, can't remember which.

2) the rim around the light housing, where the gasket seals against, is somehow bent (doesn't have to be bent much)

3) clamp is not secure around all the hooks

4) one or more of the hooks are missing

5) outer ring is bent


These are just guesses. But as I said, I've had just about every other problem possible with pool lights, and some that probably are NOT possible, but this isn't one. So naturally, the next time I change a bulb, the damn light will leak. Thanks guys!

#17 Pool man P

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 10:43 AM

I know this is more of a retro fit problem, but we installed a new type of pool light called Dekko. It was made in Florida by a company called Splash Light. The design of it means it does not have any of the problems we all have with pool lights. Once the light is installed in the wall, all the accessing is done from the pool deck.
We've installed about 10 of these now and the bulbs literally take 2 minutes to replace. They have an LED coming out soon. Upgrading to their LED takes about a minute as you just swap out the umbilical assembly from the pool deck. Neat product, we're only using these on all new construction from now on, and even refurbs I'm trying to sell them because they mean no service calls or headaches for me and less cost for the pool owner.

#18 Beelzy

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 01:07 PM

The new Pentair lights are flawed by design, and should be replaced as a unit when the bulbs go bad.

For the record, I have seen Brand New Pentair lights with fouled up lens gaskets, so even they can't do it right.

#19 PoolSpaGuy30

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 01:47 PM

The new Pentair lights are flawed by design, and should be replaced as a unit when the bulbs go bad.

For the record, I have seen Brand New Pentair lights with fouled up lens gaskets, so even they can't do it right.




so many true statements in this thread...I've gotten to the point of offering nice discounts on a new light as opposed to sealing up an old unit many times, hayward, pentair, w/e it doesn't matter they all seemed to be flawed as far as replacing a bulb and getting the glass to seal to the light can, and as far as new lights failing hands down the worst is Pentairs SAM light, I cannot even count how many brand new SAM lights have failed on me in the last 2 years, it is extremely ridiculous especially considering their price
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#20 Pool Clown

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 05:52 AM

Has anyone tried the "test" described in post #10 in this thread? It may not be the lens gasket that is leaking. Also, the gasket should not be attached to the fixture in any way, other than just sitting on the fixture before being clamped. I have seen lights assembled this way before, with the lens set on the fixture then the gasket wrapped around the lens, plus the lip of the fixture. This way will leak.

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#21 Stretch_pool

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 05:22 PM

Here are a few tips I've used after breaking down these lights (yes, the design is dreadful):
* Pentair's manual is actually helpful to orient the face ring and pilot hole: http://www.pentairpo.../AmerliteOM.pdf See section III 7 b - stainless steel face ring with unitension clamp.
* The retaining capscrew is 1/4" - 20 thread per inch, 2" in length. Add a stainless steel washer under the cap, and under the nut.
* Contrary to pentair's opinion, I used a small amount of teflon based lube (Magic lube) on the new gasket, and on the unitension clamb, cap screw, nut, and washers to aid in seating and distribute the force from locking levers evenly.
* Clean all mating surfaces completely, and remove any scale deposits, especially in hard water regions.
* Tighten the unitension clamp all the way down until the two looped ends touch each other or you run out of threads on the cap screw. Dont worry, there's plenty of rubber in the gasket to take the force.
* I used a 3/8 " socket on a cordless drill to tighten the unitension clamp quickly, and it worked well.

Good luck! If the light leaks where the cord enters the back of the lightl, replace the light. There aren't a whole lot of great alternatives that will fit in the wet niche without tearing both out.

#22 usbrowns

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 06:20 AM

This thread was extremely helpful to me as I had a Pentair light that was leaking from the cord. I found the leak by submerging the light with the bulb on and have been able to stop the leak with marine epoxy. I cleaned the niche (cable hole plug) and cable after sanding the surfaces to roughen them. Then I mostly submerged the light and turned it on to expand the air in the compartment. After about 3 minutes I turned off the light and applied the epoxy liberally. Since marine epoxy is not fast setting the vacuum created by the heat in the light compartment should have drawn in some epoxy at the point of the leak as the light cooled. After allowing the epoxy 24 hours to harden I tested the light again and the leak is sealed. I used Loctite Marine Epoxy which is available at the Home Depot.

#23 Pool Clown

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:10 AM

While there is a thermal cutoff in the light fixture, it is not advised to run the light out of the water. Once in a while we get a call from someone needing their light replaced because it was on a timer, and the owner forgot that when he drained his pool. The light can explode with the broken lens being the projectile. The cord leaks because it shrinks and the grommet doesn't shrink with it. I would not want to do this for customers as it cannot warranty that kind of repair, and can not recommend to DIYers due to the hazard. Good theory though for repair. If there were just a way to do that repair without that liability.

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#24 moda

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:45 PM

same issues with my pool light worked fine for 3 years then I tried replacing the light.. and put it back.. water leaked in .... ..... then got a new gasket/ring.... and I have tightened the clamp... once in the water the light will work for little time until water leaks in and light shuts off.... I shut the swith off , mins later I turn the pool light on again... it lights and then shuts off.....frustrating to say the least. I tried sealing the cord as well attached to the casing with aquarium seal ... but no luck.... now I will maybe try to seal it all with SEAL LEAK... has anyone tried this product? seal leak is the spray on seal... if u have seen the infomercials.. he sealed gutters... he sealed screens and no water came tru... worth a try ???
any thoughts .. I hate the damn thing....




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