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Installing a Photocell Switch

by Uneeb Khan
photocell switch

What is a Photocell Switch?

Automatic lighting, for instance streetlights usually employs photocell switch. It is also known as photocells sometimes referred to as photoeyes. We use it to detect how much light ambient is. If the sensor detects adequate light levels the light is turned on. Conversely, increasing light levels from outside will shut off the light.

The photocell consists of a resistor bonded with photo-sensitive plates. As more light hits plates their resistance changes, thereby turning the light off and on. This is a great technology for any outdoor areas.

Since there is no input from the user it’s not a problem setting timers to switch off the lights. The photocell works in the same way a light switch is able to do. The photocells are sometimes referred to as photoelectric switches.

Photocells function all year they turn on at dusk, and then shutting down at dawn. Regardless of whether daylight hours are longer in summer and less in winter. They detect their amount of sunlight. Rather than working at a fixed time, they don’t have to be changed. When the time of sunset or sunrise shifts according to the seasons.

Many outdoor lighting setups use motion sensors. However, and motion sensors generally serve different functions. While motion sensors may be helpful in keeping stray animals from dumpsters and garbage bins. For instance the photocell is able to maintain a parking space in a safe manner and continuously lit for long durations of time.

How do I Install a Photocell Sensor to be used outdoors

The next steps will help you with the process of installing a photocell sensor. First, buy a photocell switch from the best photocell switch manufacturer. This project will require some electrical work. If you aren’t secure or comfortable doing these things. Therefore, it is recommended to seek out an electrician to install the photocell for you.

  1. Shut off your circuit breaker for your exterior light. If you aren’t sure the breaker that powers your light. Also, switch off all breakers within the building to make sure that the power is off. Then verify that the power is turned off by turning the switch on the outdoor light and making sure that it does not turn on.
  2. Secondly, Take apart the housing that houses the exterior light. You might want to document the process of disassembling it using photos, It will help you put it back to its original form.
  3. There should be two black wires connected to the photocell. These black wires must be connected into the wire running through the fixture. Remove the black wire from your home into the lighting fixture.
  4. Now you should connect the black wire from this photocell and connect it to the wire coming out of the structure. So, make sure that you bend the copper wire in a way that it creates an extremely tight connection.
  5. Moreover, attach the black wire from your photocell with the other black wire in your light fixture. Thus, make sure the wire of copper has been tightly twisted.
  6. Make sure to cover the connections you created by using electrical caps. Make sure the cap is secure over the wiring.
  7. Also, make sure that your connections are completely taped using electrical tape. Be sure there is no copper wires exposed.
  8. To test the photocell, switch the power back on the breaker. Also, check that your light switch remains on position. Cover the photocell using your fingers. If the light goes to red when the photocell has been covered, the photocell is operating properly.
  9. Finally, Install the photocell and finish placing your light fixture back in place.

If you’re installing the lighting fixture for the first time, the process is similar to the above procedure. For the installation of the new light fixture you might require these items:

  • The latest photoelectric switch
  • Wire strippers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • A screwdriver
  • A voltage tester
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire nuts
  • Silicone sealant

The steps to set up an entirely new fixture:

  • Shut off the power on the circuit breaker.
  • So, take out the light fixture that is currently in use.
  • After all these, set up the light source by using the already installed photoelectric switch following the mounting instructions supplied with the fixture.
  • Now, for wiring the new fixture employ scissors to cut around 3/8 inch of insulation to separate the wires. You should connect the black wire from the light fixture with the black wire from your home. Overall, connect the two wires using the wire nut and ensure it’s snug. Repeat the process with those with white wires. Be sure you connect black wires and black wires as well as white wires with white wires.
  • After all, make sure that all connections are covered using electrical tape. Then, put all the wires away.
  • So, completely install your light fixture according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
  • After you have everything put together Test your lighting as illustrated above. Read more.

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