Modify a sensor light

I got a sensor light with a 2 bulb fixture. The light is really annoying. It claims that if I shut it off and back on in 5 seconds or less, it will remain on. Well, that dont work. When I am working outside I want this light to remain on.
I only use one of the 2 bulbs to save energy. I plugged the other one with a dead bulb. My idea is to remove the wires going to the second light, where they attach to the sensor, and wire that socket directly to the power line with a separate switch. In other words, the sensor will control one bulb, while the other bulb will be connected to a switch only. That way I can leave the second light turned on as long as I want.
Is this legal according to the code?
Thanks
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Nec requires you to use and install equipment as per manufacturers directions, so technically it probably wouldn't meet code. I wouldn't hesitate to do it anyway, but it would probably be more efficient and cost effective to just buy a properly working sensor

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On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 05:03:14 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@222.com wrote:

In my part of Texas, if anyone mentions 'code' we immediately shoot them dead. So not many people mention the word.
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valvejob wrote:

Those who love code is the ones who don't know anything. LOL!
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snipped-for-privacy@222.com wrote:

Those things have minimum load to work properly. Try with two 60W bulbs and see. Mine has two 25W bulbs and I found out that's the minimum load it needs.
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wrote:

Control circuit should be independent of load, sounds like a poor design. Would be interesting to see a schematic of this circuit.
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Dimmers need to be able to operate the electronics when the light is off. If the light is off, there's no current in the bulbs. Where would the power come from then?
Instead, they leak a bit of current through the load and scavenge what they need off that. If the bulbs are too small, there might not be enough current flow to energize the electronics.
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Chris Lewis,

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On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 16:58:03 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

How di we get into talking about dimmers? This is about sensor lights or security lights as some call them.....
Getting back ot the topic, I used to live with a relative who had a light that seemed to do whatever it wanted. Sometimes it would stay on forever, other times not work at all, etc...... I hated that thing. But it was not my house, so I could not change it. Now, I have my own place and bought this fixture (another brand), and find mine is pretty much the same useless P.O.S. I have tried all kinds of adjustments and the light comes on everytime my cat gets nearby, but sometimes will not come on until I am as close as 8 feet away (and have tripped on the steps that are 12 feet away). I hate these sensor lights. I dont think there are any that work as they should, at least not in the lower priced ones.
I want to look into these remote switches that work on sending a signal thru the power lines. This light is on a building that is behind another building. The front bldg is visible from the house, but the rear one is not, and has steps. If I could put a switch on the front bldg it would solve all the problems. However, the wiring would require digging trenches and be too costly and too much work. Where can I get one of these remote switches that are wireless? That would solve everything. I just found that stupid sensor ON and it's noon and sunny. The stupid thing is costing a fortune in wasted energy, and getting on my nerves real quickly.
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Whoops. Got postings confused, and said "dimmer" when I should have said "sensor". Sensor light electronics need power when the bulb is off. Electronic timers do to.
Dimmers don't.

It's been my experience that the cheapies are erratic. Sometimes they work as advertised, but most of the time the controls aren't very consistent, and we find that they get worse as they get older, and eventually die, either fully on or fully off.
[I assume Canadian winters and power spikes may be the cause of most of that.]

X-10 technology stuff. The transmitter and receiver are connected to power, and communicate via the power wires, but they're not necessarily even on the same circuit.
The other option is to use a solar switch, which simply means that the light will be on all the time it's dark.
Note, however, that X-10 in complex systems with multiple panels (especially multiple buildings with their own main feeds), or with very long circuits may not work well or at all, because the transmitter might not be strong enough to transmit that far, or through that much intervening equipment (especially pole transformers). Otherwise, there'd be madness in a society where everybody's X-10 transmitters controlled everybody else's receivers.
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On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 19:00:46 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

they are off.
But all (or most?) light sensors are 3 wire, and have power all the time.
They should be designed to be independant of load, but in my other post, I urged him to try the second bulb, just to know for sure about his specific sensor.
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Chris Lewis wrote:

They do have to be on the same step-down transformer from the utility. If the two buildings are on different feeds, it won't work. If on different circuits, the circuits have to be fed from the same phase (there's ways to get around that, but costs more)

As noted above, it won't transmit through the utility pole transformers.
Wikipedia has a pretty decent layman's writeup on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X10_%28industry_standard%29
Yours aye, W. Underhill
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On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 19:00:46 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

This fixture is about 6 months old and keeps getting worse. Last night it was on all night. I saw it on but did not want to get out of bed and walk to the shed to shut it off. It's been turned off since, and will stay off. This weekend it comes off the wall and goes back ot the store. All it's doing is wasting power, and much of the time it dont come on when I need it for safety at night on the steps. Besides that, it's pissing me off, and I dont need that.

This is what I am going to buy, but I do see a problem. All the units that I see that are "home rated" and sell for $20 or less (on the web), are plug in devices. In other words I have to plug the receiver into an outlet, thus I'll have to put a cord on the yard light, run the cord through the wall, and plug it into the receiver in the shed. As far as I'm concerned, this is fine, but I have a feeling it wont be up to the code. I did find one commercial unit that wires in the circuit, but it looks like it dont fit into a common electrical box, and they want around $130 for it, and thats more than I will pay. I see some come with a hand held remote, others have a glue on wireless switch as the transmitter. I'll probably get the remote so I can just carry it around and / or turn the light on and off from the house.

$10 a month in electric. I probably need this light on about 10 minutes per night, when I go to the shed to care for pets. Thats about it. I just need the light because its very dark back there and those steps can not be seen in the dark and I have fallen several times on them, which is what made me buy this useless security light.

The remote type say they transmit 100 feet. If I click the thing in my hand about 30 feet away, thats about when I want the light to come on. That security light can come on at 20 feet, or it waits until I am right at the streps before coming on. Yet, a cat or wild critter makes it go one and off all night long. Rain, snow, or wind moving tree branches makes it come on and often stay on. Yet, when I want it to stay on, it wont. To be perfectly honest, I'd like to take a hammer to it, but I'll just return it.
Thanks for the advice.
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When the power is off there is no power to either to lamp or control circuit. After all you want the lamp off.

After you turn on the switch there is power across the sensor control circuit and a relay (depending on motion and/or night or day) would allow full voltage across the lamp via the respective relay contact. This is one way of doing it and is independent of the lamp wattage. Having the control circuit dependent on lamp wattage is a poor design.

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All sensor lights I've seen (not that I've seen that many... ;-) have separate individual leads to each socket and the control electronics.
Eg: in a two bulb fixture, each bulb has its own wire pair, and the control circuit usually has three leads. Plus ground screw or lead. Total of 7 or 8.
Which means that you could simply run the appropriate cable (eg: 12/3) to the fixture. The red and black would go to two switches. At the other end, you connect one hot (black say) to the control circuit and one of the sockets, and the other hot direct to the other socket. Connect neutrals to both.
If the were prohibited by code, I'd expect at least _some_ of the devices I've seen have cable harnesses that prevent you from doing that except by cutting cable. In other words, the fixture would simply have one set of hot/neutral/ground leads (total of 2 or 3), and no way (except by surgery) to connect to the bulbs independently.
While the installation instructions for sensor lights doesn't explicitly allow/disallow that kind of connection, and hence _might_ be considered violating the manufacturer's usage instructions, I highly doubt that you'd ever get dinged for it. After all, dual flood fixtures without sensor can be wired up this way, and if it's a more-or-less standard pattern (metal plate, screws to a J box, etc), they'd be hard pressed to justify it not being code compliant.
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On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 17:10:55 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

Very good point. I know nothing about the code or its enforcement, but each individual piece would still be wired according to code. They would be assembled the same and there would be almost no difference in the wiring.

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Right. The hazard is more in the area of how the wires going into the box are "derived". Eg, for some reason the hots being on a different circuit and sharing neutrals in cases where they shouldn't be.
If the OP had his existing light set up with the power feed going to the switch and not the fixture, then switching the box over to a dual switch and replacing the cable going from the switch to the fixture to be /3 with ground, and not screw up things like color codes, the likelyhood of him being called on it by a particularly grumpy and overly-anal inspector is extremely low.
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On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 05:03:14 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@222.com wrote:

Dunno.
I have two light sensor lights. The one with floods has two floods in it. The door light has a 60 watt bulb.
To get them to go on automatic, each gives problems. IIU them C, I have to do one of them at night and the other in the day to get them on auto, or maybe both during the day, even though I usually want to reset them when it's dark.
And if there is a power failure, they go on and stay on forever. I gather the new ones only stay on until the next sunrise.
Try the two bulbs. It may work or may not. Othewise I think your idea is a good one.

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