Introduction: Wi-Fi Remote Control for Hayward ColorLogic
The Hayward ColorLogic is a popular addition to swimming pools, spas, ponds, and other water features. Each light contains a set of bright LEDs plus the logic to provide a dozen solid colors and light shows. These units use 12 VAC power, which makes them safe around water and compatible with typical landscape lighting transformers. Unfortunately, they also use a primitive technique to control the colors and light shows, requiring you to flick the power on and off in various rapid sequences.
Hayward makes a controller that applies these sequences to the 110V transformer input when you push one of 12 buttons. They recommend it as a “convenient” replacement (at more than $200) for the 110V power switch by which you control the pool lights from your house. But what if your transformer is in a pool house where it shares a 110V line with other equipment? In that case, flicking the 110V on and off is probably not a good idea, so you would most likely put a switch between the 12V transformer output and the ColorLogic lights. Of course, that switch needs to be in or around the pool house, which means you need to walk out there to change the light effect. That’s where I was when I started this project. My pool house is down a flight of stairs and on the other side of the pool. My tired old knees complained each time I made the long walk just to flip a switch. So, I decided to solve this problem with my smartphone and keep my butt planted on the porch. It turned out that the solution was easy, and so I want to share it with you. All it took was 2 parts: a Wifi- controlled inching relay and an enclosure to keep the electronics dry in the pool house.
1. DIY 12V Inching/Self-locking Wifi Switch Module.
2. Waterproof electrical box.
Step 1: Starting Point
Here is my pool house electrical setup before starting this project. The white box on the left of the electrical panel is a12 VAC transformer that powers the pool light, while the black box supplies 12 VAC to the landscape lights. The photocell switch feeds 110 volts to a photocell on the outside of the pool house to give dust-to-dawn power to the transformer. If you flip that switch down, then the other one controls the power. In either case, the 12 VAC from the transformer passes through another switch mounted on the outside of the pool house so people can change the light pattern without going in by the noisy equipment. The wiring diagram shows this setup.
Step 2: Adding Wifi Relay to Pool House
For the inching relay I chose the DIY 12V Inching/Self-locking Wifi Switch Module from Amazon at $13.99. This excellent little unit is Amazon part number B077Z5B461. It operates at 12 volts AC or DC, and its relay easily handles the ColorLogic load. I could have chosen any Wifi relay for this project, but the built-in inching feature allowed me to pulse the relay off and on within the ColorLogic’s 4 second requirement. Furthermore, control of the inching (pulsing) feature is available on the popular eWeLink app for Android and IOS phones. After some experimentation, I set the pulse at 1.5 seconds.
Referring to the wiring diagram the goal is to insert the Wifi switch between the transformer and the ColorLogic. How to do this depends on your current setup. In my case, I shut off the 110v power and opened the 12v transformer as shown here. Then I removed the bottom knockout plug and attached a short piece of waterproof flexible conduit found in my junk pile. I attached the other end of the conduit into an in-service electrical box also found in my junk pile. Next, I fed 4 wires through the conduit: two 14 AWG for the light and two 18 AWG for the relay microprocessor. These photos show the results of this wiring before I put the cover back on the transformer. Notice that I installed the Wifi switch into a box with a transparent, hinged cover so I can easily get to the microprocessor.
Step 3: Controlling the Wifi Switch From Your Phone
I use the free eWeLink app to control the Wi-Fi switch. This app makes it easy to control an inching relay. Furthermore, you can add eWeLink to your favorite voice control device, such as Amazon Alexa.
You probably noticed that the microprocessor only receives power when the 12 volt transformer has 110 volt power. Since I normally keep the photocell in the circuit (switch up), the transformer is off until dusk. This isn’t a problem for me because the microprocessor boots up within a couple of minutes after it gets 12 volts. It’s doubtful that anyone will be pulsing the light that soon after it comes on. Also, eWeLink shows then the relay is offline.
If you need to test the relay during the daytime, just switch the photocell off and leave the power on. On of my pool guests suggested that I could eliminate the photocell by adding a Wi-Fi relay in its place and then using eWeLink’s scheduling feature. In fact, you can easily find a 2-channel version of the DIY switch I used. But I was happy to be finished with this project, so I handed him another beer and he shut up.