Monday, October 14, 2013

Pentair IntelliBrite 5G Spa Light

Pentair IntelliBrite 5G by Wine Country Pools & Supplies
This is a short review and walkthrough of the installation of a Pentair IntelliBrite 5G underwater color changing LED light for spas (Part number 640233) by

Light information:
The IntelliBrite 5G is a multicolored light. Turning the light on and off will change the color and/or mode.
For greater control, an IntelliBrite controller (Part number 600054) can be purchased separately and installed to directly control the light modes.

The IntelliBrite Spa LED light uses just 18 watts (but lists a possible maximum of 40 watts) compared to the non-LED 60-250 watt Spa lights. The LED version costs about 3 times as much as the standard version.

The light fixtures come in both 12V and, more commonly, 120V wattage versions. Each version also has 3 available cord lengths- 50ft, 100ft, and 150ft.

The installation
This will cover the installation of our Pentair IntelliBrite 5G underwater spa light. Certain installation steps may vary. For full instructions on installing this light, see the manual that accompanies it.

Tools Used:
Wire cutters/strippers
Phillips head screwdriver
Electrical tape

The LED light will replace an existing Pentair SpaBrite light so the existing housing will fit the new LED light fixture without any modification.

Disconnect the power: First, turn off the power for all pool and spa lights at the breaker box.

Locate and open the junction box for the lights. It is usually around the pool/spa area but may be near the pool/spa equipment.

Before proceeding any further, make a note (and possibly a picture) of how all the wires in this are connected. After the installation, everything will need to be connected in the same way.

Just the spa light that will be replaced needs to be disconnected. To find the correct set of wires, disconnect all but one set and then turn back on the breakers for the lights. Now the lights are turned on to see which light has powered on.

Drain the Spa: For this specific installation, the spa sits 3 feet above the pool water line. The spa was drained in to the pool by changing a valve position and turning on the pool pump.

Remove the old light while pulling the new light through:
There is a single screw holding the old spa light in place. Remove it with a Phillips head screwdriver.

The light can now be pulled out.

The cord was cut near the end of the old light fixture.

4 inches of the black rubber casing was cut and removed from the wires.

The new wire will be attached to the end of the old wire and then pulled though the existing line, running underground from the fixture housing to the junction box.

The end of the old wire needs to be attached to the end of the new wire using the electrical tape. The connection between them needs to be strong but also thin enough to fit through the conduit pipe underground.

The new wire is stretched out. It will then be easier to guide while pushing it though the existing pipe.

It helps to have two people-one to pull the wire at the junction box and the other at the fixture housing to guide the wire though and tell the other person to stop when enough wire has been pulled though.

Note: Do not try to splice the new light fixture directly in to the old wire. This wire needs to be water and weather-proof.

The length of the wire from the light to the fixture should be long enough so the new light can be placed out of the water on the side of the spa in case it needs to be opened for maintenance.

Wire the new light:
Cut or remove the tape connecting the new and old wires at the junction box.

The new cable needs to be cut and spliced with enough length to connect the new wires to the wires going to the power box but short enough to fit under the lid of the junction box.

On the new cable, there will be 3 wires-Hot (black or red), neutral (white) and ground (green). These need to be connected exactly the way the wires from the previous light were connected.

Note: Usually, wires that are the same color will be connected but this is not always the case.

Placing the new light:

The new LED light will be placed into the old fixture housing. Wrap the cord around the light fixture and push it into the housing, making a note of the top of the fixture (with the screw hole).

The spa can now be refilled with water to its original level.

Final thoughts
Installation was easy since the IntelliBrite 5g Spa light fit in to the older Pentair SpaBrite fixture housing.  
At night, the LED lights are bright but not as bright as the incandescent version it replaced.

I couldn’t find any information on how long these lights last, but LED lights generally last longer than incandescent ones. However, Pentair makes no claims in the documentation of length of life on these. At a cost of 3 times as much for the LED version, it doesn’t seem like a good way to go to save money over the lifetime of the light.

The multicolored lights are definitely a great way to add some character to your spa so if price is not an issue, try the IntelliBrite 5G Spa light.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Intermatic Actuator Review

Intermatic Actuator Review
This will be a review of the 24volt Intermatic Actuator (Manufacturer part number PE24VA) by
Swimming pool automation systems use actuators to change valve positions from the main controller. The most commonly found brand is the Jandy JVA actuators followed by Compool, Hayward and then Intermatic but all models are universally compatible with the others. Each actuator does vary in price and they are cosmetically slightly different looking.
(Click on any picture to see a larger version)

Intermatic actuators generally cost less than the other brands. This makes them an attractive choice.

What is included?
The actuator comes in a box containing the actuator, 4 long screws and instructions for the install.

The install
The new actuator will be installed the exact same way the previous actuator was placed except using the new actuator and screws (always use the new screws since they could be different lengths from what was originally used).

Issues with the install
Sometimes after years of regular use an actuator can move out of alignment. When they are new and just out of the box they are supposed to be preconfigured, but this one was not.
After the installation was complete the actuator did not stop in the correct positions.

Since the valve stopped after it turned too far, water was draining backwards through the pipes (gravity was pushing the water from the spa down into the pool)

To adjust the actuator the top lid needs to be pulled off by first removing the smaller screws around the lid with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Remove the single plastic screw holding the valve handle onto the actuator, then pull the handle off.

Inside is a single thin metal nut holding the two larger blue plastic nuts down.

Loosen the metal nut.

The two blue plastic nuts’ positions determine when the actuator will stop once it has been activated.
Notice the two switches on the side of the actuator.

These are triggered when the stopper on each of the plastic nuts turns around and pushes the switch in.
If these are not in the correct position the valve will either turn too far or not far enough.

Place the handle back on top of the actuator post, it will be needed to adjust the actuator position.

Adjust the bottom blue nut position first. Then being careful not to move the bottom, adjust the top blue nut. This is a lot of trial and error, so after each adjustment flip the switch on the actuator to see where the new stopping position is.

Note: These blue nuts have marks on them consisting of 0 and 180 to show a 0 position and then 180 degrees from that 0 position. However, just by lining these up, it will not always be the correct stop positions for the actuator.

After both directions have been calibrated, tighten the small thin metal nut.

Place the top lid back onto the actuator and secure it with the 4 small screws.

Final thoughts
The Intermatic Actuator works well and cost less than similar alternatives, the down side is that this one (and the last 2 out of 3) needed to be calibrated after it was installed. If I was going to do the install this is a minor inconvenience since it is something I have done before. If a home owner was going to try and do it themselves this could be a problem. I would recommend the Intermatic Actuator to anyone already familiar with adjusting these and for everyone else to get one of the other brands.

For reference I have included a few pictures doing the same alignment procedure on a Jandy and then with a Pentair actuator. These below are all weathered actuators that after years of use moved out of alignment.
Jandy JVA2440

Pentair Compool CVA-24