Changing X-10 switch to regular switch for pool light

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  #1  
Old 06-05-12, 01:26 PM
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Changing X-10 switch to regular switch for pool light

I have an X-10 switch for a pool light, what to change it to a regular heavy duty switch, when I pulled the X-10, I found that it is ungrounded - the pool is only 10 years old so I am sure it is (or was at the time) up to code, the X-10 does not have a ground connection.
The junction box for the actual pool light is made of copper (I guess) with a plastic lid, it has 4 grounding points in it, one is empty. Can I just run a ground wire from the switch to this junction box?
There is also another x-10 for a waterfall motor, the pump is long gone but someday I'd like to replace it - again, I'd like to replace the switch with a regular switch, would it be o.k. to do the same - run a ground wire to that junction box?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-05-12, 01:32 PM
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It would help us understand your question better if you could post some pictures. See How To Include Pictures.
 
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Old 06-05-12, 01:54 PM
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Will do, but that might not be until later today or tomorrow. In the mean time, the GFCI outlet for the light circuit as well as the light itself are grounded in that junction box.
 
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Old 06-05-12, 02:17 PM
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Will do, but that might not be until later today or tomorrow.
Understood, and thank you.

In the mean time, the GFCI outlet for the light circuit as well as the light itself are grounded in that junction box.
That's helpful. Might be sufficient, but we'd still like pictures when you can. Not all close-ups, BTW - some wide enough to show the box or light in context, for example.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 06-06-12 at 02:27 PM.
  #5  
Old 06-07-12, 03:24 AM
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OK so I have some pictures.....
I have a few new questions now too (sorry for multiple questions in one post)

First, my original question (1):
Here is the pic of the junction box, the open area where I'm thinking of adding ground is in the upper right of the pic, next to the red wire. That nub is threaded.

Or could just run a ground wire to one of the existing grounding points?

Next question is (2):
The x-10 switch has a neutral, load and line, here is a picture of that:

The Control line is not connected to anything - it worked with a wireless remote at one time and still works manually.
The new switch is a single pole 15/20A Heavy Duty switch. I will be connecting the line at the bottom, and the load at the top correct?
The neutral line will just go from the GFCI right to the light itself (which is basically what it does, only now it is goes to the x-10, then back to the light.)? I just want to confirm what I'll be doing.

Next question (3):
There are two other switches for this pool, one is for cutting the power to the automatic timer for the 220v 1.5hp pool pump and the other is another one of those X-10 switches that was for a .75hp 'feature pump' - a waterfall that is no longer connected to anything, but someday I would like to replace that pump - it is also 220v (the breaker is a double pole switch like the main pump.) - almost positive both motors are single phase.

One of the screws is stripped so bad it will not come out so the only option is to bend the faceplate until something gives, which I imagine will destroy that x-10 switch (screw from faceplate goes into that switch) but I'd like to ponder what I may be looking at before I go and destroy anything so I can be prepared. I know at this point I'm just guessing what I'll find....

Here is a pic of that setup, but can't get that blasted faceplate off:

The smaller cover to the left is the cut off switch for the timer, that will be a double pole switch, correct? Should be straight forward exchange, that face plate is odd with the large and small covers and the screws that are on the small cover side aren't set like normal switches.....

The X-10 (larger cover to the right in picture - for waterfall pump) is I would hope a double pole switch also, if it has a neutral, after I switch to a regular double pole switch that neutral would then just go directly to the future motor, correct?
It is the ground for a new double pole switch that has me wondering, if that X-10 is like the other, it won't have a ground....what do I do with that, just pick up a ground connection for the new double pole switch at the closest ground I can find? That GFCI is grounded in the pool light junction box shown above, I could just fish a ground over to that and piggy back on another connection - would that be good?

Again Nashkat1, sorry for the mutiple questions in one post and I really appreciate your help! Thanks.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 06:04 AM
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That box looks to be grounded correctly.
Note the green wires screwed down to the plate towards the bottom of the photo?
One should go back to your breaker panel ground, the other would continue on you the other device(s). From a grounding perspective, it looks good.
May consider applying some electrical tape over those wing nuts as an extra measure, but otherwise it looks fine.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 01:26 PM
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Mike, Thanks for the input but my question wasn't if the current grounds in that box are correct but if I could ground a replacement switch in there, and about replacing other switches....making sure I'm wiring correctly.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 09:31 PM
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One of the screws is stripped so bad it will not come out so the only option is to bend the faceplate until something gives, which I imagine will destroy that x-10 switch (screw from faceplate goes into that switch) but I'd like to ponder what I may be looking at before I go and destroy anything so I can be repaired.
Assuming that you're saying that it's the slots in the screw head that are stripped, and not the thread on the shank, two other options are
  1. tap a flat-blade screwdriver sideways through the slot in the screw head to open it up enough to allow the screwdriver to grip, or
  2. use a drill bit sized to the outside diameter of the screw head to drill that out, pull the plate, and use your linesman's to turn the stub of the screw out of the switch.

It is the ground for a new double pole switch that has me wondering, if that X-10 is like the other, it won't have a ground....what do I do with that, just pick up a ground connection for the new double pole switch at the closest ground I can find? That GFCI is grounded in the pool light junction box shown above, I could just fish a ground over to that and piggy back on another connection - would that be good?
In general, it is verboten for any part of any box or enclosure to serve as any part of the EGC. That said, though, and looking at your picture of the inside of the J-box as it is wired now, it appears that this enclosure has been specifically constructed to allow its back plate to serve in that capacity. So, yes, I would say that you can
just run a ground wire from the switch to this junction box.
And I would use a listed ground screw to terminate it to that open boss in the upper right corner, rather that have multiple grounds under one of the other ground screws.

This whole installation appears to be outside. I would therefore use a 2-gang in-use cover on the box with the 2 switches, rather than a flap-front cover. A "Suitable for wet locations" cover v. a "Suitable for damp locations" cover, which is what you have now. Heck, you're at or near a pool anyway; it's gotta be a wet location, and you're probably gonna need a new cover anyway. Look for a cover that comes with a lot of interchangable internal plates, so you get the ones you need for your new switches, and seal all around the cover/box meeting plane, leaving a 1" or so gap at the bottom for drain and vent.

Alternatively, since you're installing single-throw snap switches, you could use a 2-gang weatherproof switch cover such as this one. Seal around the edge of this cover too, if you use it.
 
  #9  
Old 06-08-12, 12:09 AM
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Nash,
Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate it.

That stripped screw is actually not the screw but the threaded hole on the tab of the x-10 switch, where the cover connects to it. And that boy is stuck in there, it'll turn but won't come out, I tried to pry the plate back a little while turning the screw and it wouldn't budge. I'm replacing the switch and cover anyway so it won't matter if I damage either removing it.

I am going to get the In-Use cover for the GFCI and either In-Use or the Weather proof switch covers that you linked to at Grainger. Going to the electric supply house tomorrow or Monday, I'm sure they'll have both.

Thanks again,
Jeff
 
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Old 06-08-12, 08:52 AM
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I am going to get the In-Use cover for the GFCI and either In-Use or the Weather proof switch covers that you linked to at Grainger. Going to the electric supply house tomorrow or Monday, I'm sure they'll have both.
I imagine they will. I can get them at the big box store here, as well as at any supply house.
 
  #11  
Old 06-09-12, 04:04 PM
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Nash,
I'm went with the In-Use boxes for everything, the supply house I went to had ones with a metal cover, extra heavy duty. The big box stores only have the plastic ones - I live just west of Phoenix and my boxes are in the sun most of the day, plastic takes a beating out here. They told me at the supply house that the In-Use covers are current code for anything near pool equipment out here. I know my application would be grandfathered in but whatever, I think those covers will be better in the long run.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 06-09-12, 04:28 PM
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I know my application would be grandfathered in but...
Including the changes you are currently making? Good choice, regardless.

FWIW, some clear plastic ones I installed maybe 10 years ago still look as good as new here. But, as you say, different conditions. I prefer those for covering receptacles, 'cause I can see the plug connection with it closed -- not sure why that matters to me, but it does.

I'm hoping, when you're finished, that you'll post a picture or two showing how it turns out.
 
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