Mike the Poolman


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Fiber optic pool light upgrade

September 26, 2022

Do you have a fiber optic light in your pool that no longer works?
Are you unsure if you have a fiber optic light? If you have a “fiber optic tower” or a fish bowl light in your pool that looks like one of the ones in the photos below, you have (or had) a fiber optic light.
When I built my pool in 2004 I installed three!!  By 2017, all three had failed 🙁
Nowadays I RARELY see operational units. Most fail due to rat nests, spider web build-up, overgrown bushes and/or age.


In the 2000’s, fiber optic lights were all the rage because there were no other options to change colors in your pool (other than manually snapping on colored plastic lens on the outside of your white pool light fixture). When these fiber towers were introduced to swimming pools they were awesome because we had nothing to judge them against. Inside the tower was a light bulb and a rotating glass wheel that looked like a pie. A typical wheel had four or five colors on it. There were two switches on the tower: one to turn the bulb on/off and one to rotate the wheel on/off. When you got to the color you wanted you flipped the switch off to stop the wheel. Another option was to just let it rotate and your pool would continually change colors as the color wheel turned. It’s pretty simple technology and they were neat while they lasted.

The problem with these devices is they were very susceptible to dust and rodents. As the inside of the tower got dusty, the light dimmed from dust on the bulb and as the color wheel got dirty the colors faded. Rodents are always looking for warm and dry homes and these towers were rat-heaven. These rats bring all kinds of things (leaves, grasses, insulation, foam) into the tower for bedding and this diminishes the effectiveness of the light (let alone when they would chew the wires. I’ve found some BBQ’d critters over the years…)

Modern Options

In 2022 we have all kinds of color-changing lights- from full-sized traditional fixtures to small low-voltage lights, there are many options. One of the best developments is when they came up with a product to retrofit all those old fiber optic lights and their towers. We upgrade these systems all the time. The colors are vibrant and the product (out since 2015) has proven to be reliable. In addition, not only do you get more colors but you get “color shows”. My favorite color show is American. The colors cycle from Red to White to Blue and back through, over and over. If you’ve ever seen them while at a party at night, it is fantastic.

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