How to Upgrade Your Pool Light To an LED Color Changing Light

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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Do you have an outdated white incandescent light in your pool burning 300-500 watts per hour? You need to upgrade to a cost efficient color changing LED pool light with energy saving of over 80%. This guide will show you how to convert by simply changing the bulb in your pool light fixture to a J&J Electronics Color Splash Bulb.


Step by Step


Step 1

To avoid possible electric shock, turn off the power to the pool light at the circuit breaker. Also at this time try to determine what voltage level your pool light is operating on - 120V or 12V. If your light uses 12V, you will find a transformer usually mounted on the house wall between the circuit breakers and your light fixture. If you control your light remotely, check that your remote system handles low power (<40W) LED lights. Some only support higher power (40 - 500W) incandescent lights.

Step 2

Purchase your light ahead of time so you have it on hand for replacement. We had to take our light fixture out of the pool wall to determine what it was. For instructions in how to identify what light you have, go to our guide How To Identify a Replacement Pool Bulb / Light . Then go to our website Pool Light Bulbs to find a comparable replacement bulb. Also when you replace your bulb, we strongly recommend that you also replace your pool lens gasket to ensure a water tight seal for your pool light. See Pool Lens Gaskets

Step 3

Our light is an old American Products Amerlight pool light (now Pentair) which has a regular (Edison) base so we need a replacement light bulb with an Edison type base. One of the most popular LED color changing bulbs with the Edison base is J&J Electronics' Color Splash LED Pool Lamp. For economic reasons, we are installing a 2G Color Splash version. Another option you might want to consider is the newer 3G version which cost a little more but is brighter and provides more uniform light.

Step 4

Your first step in replacing the light bulb is to remove the pool light fixture from the niche in the pool wall. Most pool light fixtures are secured to the niche with a single screw at the top of the light. Remove this screw. If the pool light is just below the surface, you may be able to remove the screw by leaning over the pool deck. In this case I had to get in the pool with a snorkel and goggles.

Step 5

Pull the pool light fixture out of the niche. You should have enough excess cord to be able to lay the light fixture on the pool deck. Note how the excess cord is stored in the niche so you can replace it the same way when you reinstall the pool light.

Step 6

Lay the light fixture gently on a soft surface on the pool deck and dry it with a clean towel.

Step 7

Disassemble the light fixture. The older models like ours have a series of brass retainer clips and screws around the perimeter of the light fixture to keep it together. Remove all the clips. Note: the newer models are held together with a unitension wire clamp with one bolt and nut. See Pentair Amerlite Pool Light for examples of both models.

Step 8

Gently pry the lens and gasket off the Face Assembly Ring.

Step 9

Gently pry the lens and gasket off the light fixture housing.

Step 10

Remove the old gasket from the lens.

Step 11

Clean any old gasket residue from the surface on the lense using a damp rag.

Step 12

Carefully remove the old bulb with towel.

Step 13

Dry inside of light fixture and clean any gasket residue from the light housing that comes in contact with the gasket. Do not use hard scraper to clean. If you score the surface of the housing, it may not seal properly.

Step 14

Screw in the new bulb securely. Do not over tighten or you may break the bulb.

Step 15

Wrap the new gasket around the edge of the lens.

Step 16

Place the gasket & lens on top of the light housing.

Step 17

Set the light housing (with lens and gasket) on top of the Face Assembly Ring. Reassemble the light housing assembly by screwing in the brass retaining clips. Alternate tightening of screws/clips to allow the gasket to seat properly -two on one side then two on the other side. Do not over tighten. Hand tighten only. If you find that the gasket is not fitting into the groove of the Face Assembly Ring, you might try stretching the gasket a little.

Step 18

Submerge the assembled light housing in the water. Watch for bubbles. A few bubbles may float up, but air should not be coming from the sealed outer edges.

Step 19

Replace the light fixture by first recoiling and storing the excess cable as observed in step 5. Then push the light fixture back into the niche.

Step 20

Replaced the single screw to secure the pool light fixture to the niche

Step 21

Restore power to the swimming pool light fixture.

Step 22

Test operation of the light. When you first turn the light on, it should sequence through its 7 colors.


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Lucho  Posted: 05/26/2017 1:16 AM  Latest

Hello, I have the exact same situation as the previous post here: an old Sta-Rite Sunbrite light with a 120 volts 500 watts bulb. What are the options to replace it with a more modern bulb or LED without replacing the entire fixture? Are there any compatible color bulbs / LED? Thanks in advance.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/25/2017 22:43 PM  Latest Inyo Product Specialist

madmax - Please call our number at 877-372-6038 and talk to one of our service reps. They should be able to tell you if our LED light will fit into your Sta-rite fixture.

Rick  Posted: 05/25/2017 11:52 AM  Latest

My pool is a liner type. Are the fixtures or procedure for changing bulbs any different? I'm unsure of what type of fixture I have, I only know I have a 12v transformer for the light.

madmax  Posted: 05/23/2017 22:18 PM  Latest

hi, I have an old Sta-Rite 120V 500W light in my unground pool. Can I simply replace this bulb with your LED? Thank you.

Inyopools  Posted: 04/04/2017 13:34 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Zo - In many cases, you can replace the current incandescent bulb with a LED bulb. It depends on the size of your current light fixture. See if you can determine what your current light fixture is. The name is often stamped in the glass lens of the light. Then give us a call at 877-372-6038 and we will see if you just replace the bulb.

Zo  Posted: 04/02/2017 11:36 AM 

We have an old incandescent 300W light in our pool, connected to a 12V transformer next to pool. Our pool person (not electrician) said in order to change the light to LED we would need to rewire everything although we have a 12V transformer. Is that true? I see from your instructional video that you only changed the bulb itself. Thanks

Inyopools  Posted: 01/24/2017 15:49 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Joe - I haven't used an iAquaLink system but from what I read and what I know about like systems, as long as you insert the power souce between the control box and the light, you will be able to control the light with the iAquaLink.

Joe  Posted: 01/21/2017 20:53 PM 

Hello. If I replace the old bulb with color changing bulb will the iAquaLink detect the bulb and allow me to control the colors? Or do I need more to do something extra.

Inyopools  Posted: 12/21/2016 11:03 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Musicat Man - Yes, hooking your light to 12V output of the transformer and controlling the light by turning the power on and off should work. That is the basic operation for most LED color changing lights without a control system.

Muscat Man  Posted: 12/20/2016 10:24 AM 

I have a LED light controller (installed next to the pool electric panel) and 2pc 12V RGB LED lights installed. The controller has given up, the transformer outputs 12V but there is no voltage at the output side of the controller board. Can I hook up the lights directly to the 12V of the transformer and than regulate the color by switching the power on and off.

Inypools  Posted: 07/23/2016 12:01 PM 

Rodman - Yes, the Jandy Aqualink system will handle the 35W bulb. This comment was referring to much older remote control systems.

Rodman  Posted: 07/21/2016 14:24 PM 

The article mentions operating remotely may or may not be possible under 40W. Does the Jandy Aqualink system handle a 35W bulb?

Inyopools  Posted: 06/06/2016 14:33 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

spa light in pool - We would need more information to identify your light. Please call us at 877-372-6038 to speak with one of our customer reps.

spa light in pool  Posted: 06/05/2016 6:42 AM 

I have a spa light 12volts about 4 inches in diameter made by brand. has romanish type pattern front stainless ring. do you have any thing that works with it.

Inyopools  Posted: 10/19/2015 12:00 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

pool light - Some of these daylight dark switches are very sensitive and it's hard to cover them up completely. Does your light come on when it's dark outside? And, if you still have your light out, (with power off) try prying up the contact tab in the center of the socket to make sure the bulb is making contact. One more consideration. Do you know if your switch works with low power LED lights? That’s been a problem with some of the older relay on/off systems.

Anonymous  Posted: 10/17/2015 14:27 PM 

I have a old standard 12 volt pool flood light, i bought a 252 led 12 volt color wimming pool light bulb. it says it has a a E27 base, will it work in my old base. it screws in but wont come on. i have a daylight dark switch on it which i covered up but still wont come on. is it the base on the bulb or do i have problem some where else.

Inyopools  Posted: 10/07/2015 23:09 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

LED Light - Depends on the LED light. The Color Splash LED light will allow you to lock in a light color or show.

Anonymous  Posted: 10/05/2015 16:19 PM 

My lite is on a daylight dark switch. will the led light work or go through light change

Inyopools  Posted: 08/26/2015 23:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Rob - I would first confirm that your current transformer is not functioning by measuring the voltage coming into and out of the transformer. It should be 120V in and 12V out. Verify that the circuit breakers are set. If there is no voltage then I would purchase a new one. The LED light does not take a special LED transformer. You just need one that delivers 12V like the "Intermatic 100 Watt Transformer".

Rob  Posted: 08/25/2015 19:13 PM 

Hello, I have an old light in my pool that I want to change for a new led. I have tried and do not get any power and am suspecting the transformer to be dead. Should I replace with an LED transformer?

Thank you your comments will be appreciated

Inyopools  Posted: 05/30/2015 12:31 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

whapple - Yes. This guide actually shows replacing the LED light in an old American Products light fixture.

whapple  Posted: 05/27/2015 15:29 PM 

will this light work with "American Products Company" Light ??

Inyopools  Posted: 05/25/2015 17:25 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

SamJ - A 300W incandescent light will produce ~3200 lumens of light. So a matching 45W LED white light will also generate `3200 lumens. Colors from a 45W LED will vary with less brightness depending on the color but white would be the same. If you had two 300 W incandescent lights before, two 45W lights should light up your pool adequately.

SamJ  Posted: 05/25/2015 10:27 AM 

Generally brightness is measured by lumens, for LED light bigger watt means bigger lumens, right? so for pool around 20ftx20ftx5ft, is it enough to have around 300++ lumens each light?

Inyopools  Posted: 05/24/2015 13:32 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

SamJ - For a rough comparison a 45W LED light will generate as much light as a 300W incandescent light. See our guide on "How To Understand Pool Light Options" for more general information on pool lighting. As to the transformer, many people think the converted 12V power is safer. I would leave the transformer in. It has no effect on resulting power or bulb brightness.

SamJ  Posted: 05/22/2015 9:30 AM 

My pool lights are Pentair Amerlite 300w/12V.If i upgrade to LED changing color:-
-how many watt for LED bulb equal/almost same with brightness of 300w halogen?(im afraid if 10-15watt LED light not bright enough).
-how about the transformer?shud i take it off or remain?which is better?

Inyopools  Posted: 04/26/2015 10:09 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

GATO – I’m not sure what their safety concern is. The LED bulb is no less safe to use than your old incandescent light. I would go with an LED bulb replacement Make sure you replace the fixture gasket.

Gato  Posted: 04/26/2015 9:40 AM 

The local pool store by me says they will replace an incandescent bulb for my pool light for about $40 because they just replace the bulb. However, they said if I want to replace with an LED bulb that they recommend replacing the entire housing and cord as well as the bulb for safety reasons. The cost would be about $800. What are your thoughts on their recommendation? Your tutorial sure makes just replacing the incandescent with an LED bulb look easy and much cheaper. Thanks

Inyopools  Posted: 07/01/2014 8:23 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

KEN - I was told by an Intermatic rep that the output of a transformer is 12V AC. And I do not know the lumens ratings, but the newer LED lights are equivalent to the older incandescent lights in brightness.

KEN  Posted: 06/29/2014 14:43 PM 

question: is the 12 volt ac or dc. want to convert my 120 to 12 volt. Need to know what type of power supply to obtain as I feel the 12 volt is safer than my 35 year old 120 volt lamp. which led bulb is closer to the original light volume lumens 256 or 526?

Inyopools  Posted: 06/03/2014 11:00 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

peterp - I assume you are talking about the pilot screw in step 4.
If it is stuck in there, talk to someone at a local HW store. There are taps to back the screw out. If the threads no longer hold a screw, ask about a tool to retread the hole.

peterp  Posted: 06/02/2014 19:11 PM 

Bought house with pool light blown out. Problem is when I bought the house I was toldded the previous owner stripped the screw from a neighbor. Now what?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/03/2013 9:02 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

SteveA - You have three options that I know of: 1- drain the pool to a level below the light; 2-buy and string a new light fixture with a longer cord; 3- if you have enough line above ground on the other end, you might be able to put in another waterproof junction box. Then you could pull more slack for your light end and add wire between the new box and the supply box. You do not want to slice the existing cable in the conduit underground. Water generally finds its way into the conduit.

SteveA  Posted: 07/02/2013 13:05 PM 

I have verified that I have a 500W 120V bulb. Problem is they did not put in enough wire to get the light out of the water to change the bulb. How can I change the light? Thanks

Inyopools  Posted: 06/19/2013 11:15 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

EJ - These Watercolor LED lights are a bulb designed to screw into an existing (compatible) light fixture without having to replace the fixture or power cord. Please give us a call at 877 372-6038 to see if your SPA light fixture is compatible with the Watercolor LED light bulb.

EJ  Posted: 06/18/2013 20:52 PM 

Great info...I have an existing Jandy 12v halogen spa light and niche, can I use the existing power cable on a new Watercolor LED or will I have to pull the existing light cable out and pull in the light cable? Is the cable sealed to the fixture in such a way that it cannot be removed without damaging the seal?

Thanks in advance!

Inyopools  Posted: 06/04/2013 17:34 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Switching Colors - The LED lights are designed to move to the next programmed setting each time you turn the switch on and off. This will toggle through the different color settings and shows.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/04/2013 11:05 AM 

I am confused as to how you change the colors if I have the basic Pentair 120V 500W lamp system now. It turns on and off only either form the panel or the remote control.

Inyopools  Posted: 03/18/2013 11:32 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

appletim - LED bulbs are sold for 12V or 120V systems just like the older incandescent lights. All 12V lights need a transformer to step down the voltage and a transformer is a transformer. The same transformer that you used for your older 12V incandescent bulb can be used for your newer 12V LED bulb.

appletim  Posted: 03/18/2013 10:40 AM 

My light is an American Products 784 series (now Pentair) light, with a burnt out 300W, 12V, R-40 bulb, and a transformer is already mounted to the house near where the pump is. So do I still need a transformer for converting to an LED bulb?