On the one hand, it’s pretty clever; on the OTHER hand, reassembling it EXACTLY RIGHT is a nightmare from HELL!

PoolLights

After pissing away the AM in my usual fashion, I decided to take some digital photos of a watch I’m gonna put up FS on one of the watch forums, so I went out into the garage and clipped some white pillowcases onto my super-duper florescent light out there.

I had the garage door open of course, and spied the pool repair guy’s truck at my next door neighbors’ house. It occurred to me to walk over and see if he had some new pool light bulbs and gaskets for my 2 burnt-out pool/spa lights.

He did, so I bought both “sets”, donned my bathing suit, gathered up the required tools, and started in on the bigger pool light. Of course, it’s submerged ~2 feet in the shallow end. It consists of an escutcheon plate with a single screw holding it into the conically-shaped “hole” in the side of the pool wall.

The bulb itself is secured within this hole by an assembly which consists of said escutcheon plate, a convoluted “cage” assembly which is spring-loaded with 5 “fingers”, and a hoop that encircles the fingers, which is all held together with a 2″ long machine screw. Loosening that screw makes the entire assembly “spring apart” and allows one to remove the gasket/glass lens and access the 130 volt bulb inside the whole mechanism.

I studied on the mechanism as I took it all apart — once you remove the escutcheon screw on the one side, you have to tilt it at a 45 degree angle to clear the “tang” that is on the other side of the screw hole to “clear” the entire assembly from the conical hole; you then are able to turn the entire assembly counterclockwise 4-5 times to unravel the 120 volt power cord, which is wrapped tightly around the entire lamp assembly, to place it butt first on the edge of the pool above the water line, where you can work on it.

On the one hand, it’s pretty clever; on the OTHER hand, reassembling it EXACTLY RIGHT is a nightmare from HELL! The backside of the escutcheon plate has 5 slots placed in a seemingly “random” sequence that the five fingers have to exactly fit into. The spring steel “circle” that holds it all together has to go in EXACTLY “one position” which is categorically NOT “marked” – you just gotta “know” how it goes.

And exactly how to you GET that “knowledge” of exactly WHERE it has to GO? That’s right — trial and error — with the emphasis on the latter!

I got it all APART just FINE — as is customary in the Game Of Life, it is a WHOLE LOT EASIER to take something APART than it is to put it BACK TOGETHER AGAIN — don’t believe it, just ask Humpty Dumpty’s horses and men!

I musta put that thing back together a dozen times to “get it right”. After all THAT comes the HARD part — lining up the one finger with the opposing “tang” in the side of the pool wall that holds the whole assembly into the wall, and then lining up the SINGLE screw hole in the escutcheon plate to run the screw in to the opposing threaded tang that holds the whole fuckin’ thing into the side of the pool wall. That whole process took me ~90 minutes!

Add TO the mix – if the gasket/lens assembly isn’t EXACTLY RIGHT when you tighten that spring steel hoop down, and the lamp assembly leaks when you submerge it (bubbles tell you that you fucked up); you gotta take it ALL apart again, dry the bulb/socket COMPLETELY out (if you don’t, it’ll trip the GFI, which is VERY sensitive to ANY moisture WHATSOEVER — that’s there so you don’t get electrocuted when you’re swimming if the assembly develops a leak) — took me THREE tries to get THAT right.

And of course, it’s pretty near IMPOSSIBLE to EXACTLY line the whole mess up while you’re trying to look underwater at what your hands are doing. I put on a pair of goggles (my scuba gear is up in the attic, so I didn’t have a “proper” dive mask), which kept taking in water as I splashed around trying to submerge my head far enough to SEE the two tangs and line up the escutcheon screw hole w/the threaded tang.

By then I was cursing out loud the engineer that designed such a Rube Goldberg cheap-ass assembly! In my own mind, I figured out at least a dozen FAR better ways to design a pool lamp assembly to make changing the gasket/bulb a WHOLE lot easier.

FINALLY got the big lamp done/tested; little did *I* know that the worst was yet to come – the dreaded Spa Lamp…

Took myself a piss break, then tackled the aforementioned. The “spa” portion of the pool is on the opposite wall of “the deep end” — a small ~3×6 foot spa, with a horseshoe-shaped seating area around three sides — the (much smaller) spa lamp was in the bottom of the far end.

Removing it was no big deal — the immediate problem being that the “working area” was MUCH smaller – I had to convolute my body to try to get into position, since you’re working in the “foot area” of the spa, which is only ~18″x 36″x 36″ deep — REALLY hard to stay submerged in!

Got it out, unraveled the power cord, and noticed that the cord wasn’t long enough to get the lamp assembly completely OUT of the spa to work on. I had to set it carefully on its back so that the gasket/lens JUST cleared the “water line” IF I didn’t “splash” or otherwise “disturb” the water; if I DID, water entered the bulb/socket area, forcing me to COMPLETELY dry it out before proceeding.

Further hampering my progress was the fact that THIS assembly is only ~6″ wide, instead of ~12″ wide like the pool lamp. Took me about 6-8 tries to get THIS whole cluster-fuck of an assembly back together “just exactly right” to not leak AND go back inside its conically-shaped “home” just exactly right.

THEN came the HARD part – lining up the finger/screw hole with the assembly tangs, and trying to line up the escutcheon screw hole with the tang screw hole – MOTHER FUCKER! If my neighbors didn’t think I had Tourette’s BEFORE yesterday, they certainly know I have Tourette’s NOW!

Add to all this that I had a cup of espresso to warm me up after the first bulb replacement, so I had to keep getting out of the spa to go piss! This meant drying myself completely off before I went inside. Add to all THAT that I was working in “the shady side” of the pool, so I soon began shivering, which only made trying to line up the screw hole even WORSE! Sufferin’ Jesus CHRIST what a job! FINALLY got it done right before 6PM – Peggy Sue got home in time to hear the best of my Tourette’s’ tirades!

Total time on the pool/spa bulb/gasket replacement job – 4.5 hours! It ain’t easy gettin’ along in this World when you’re mildly retarded, lemme tell ya’…

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