wiring a photo-sensor

I would like to find the best solution for having my porch lights turn on automatically at dark and off at dawn. I have two porch lights controlled by one switch. I tried one of those screw in sensors and it diminished the brightness in the bulb to such an extent as to be worthless.
Any recommendations?
--
John




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
yep the trick is to arrange the sensor so it cannot "see" any light from the bulb.
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John,
Before you give up on the screw in sensors:
1) Is the sensor portion of the device adequately shielded from the light from the bulb controlled by the sensor? It is possible that the sensor is causing a rapid flicker as it attempts to constantly turn the light on and off. I'm no expert on light sensors, but it seems that some sensors could have this problem and you might not notice the flickering if the sensor had a very quick response time. You would just notice the dim incandescent bulb which is receiving 50% power.
I'm just doing some educated guessing. As an extreme example, a 60 cycle per second flicker would be similar to the action of a diode placed in series with an incandescent bulb. The diode will reduce the power to the bulb by 50% and you'll never notice the flicker but you will notice the dim bulb. I'm not certain of the actual lumen output of the bulb because it is dependent upon both current flow and filament temperature. But the reduction in light output with a diode is at least 50%; probably much more. (A 100 watt bulb puts out more light than two 50 watt bulbs since the two 50's are operating with cooler filaments).
2) A properly functioning screw-in photo sensor should not dim the attached bulb. You may want to test the sensor you own by covering the sensor with a bit of electrical tape to see if you get full brightness.
3) Try another screw-in sensor or two. Open the packages carefully so that you can return the sensors if they don't work. I would guess that some sensors are better designed than others. Not all engineers are created equal. :)
4) If you are really lazy and looking for a quick solution, you could always go for a higher wattage bulb in the hope that when dimmed it will give you the light output you want. I don't seriously recommend such half-assed solutions and I'd never try it without using a clamp on meter to determine effective current flow through the outlet. Even then you run the risk that the light may sometimes receive full voltage and full current, which could compromise the life of the outlet.
Good luck, Gideon
==================== John R. Bartos wrote I would like to find the best solution for having my porch lights turn on automatically at dark and off at dawn. I have two porch lights controlled by one switch. I tried one of those screw in sensors and it diminished the brightness in the bulb to such an extent as to be worthless.
Any recommendations?
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
IMHO, those screw in sensors are all pretty cheesy. I'd have an electrician install a wired in photo control in an obscure location to control both lights

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The real problem is that this device was not installed by a professional electrician. If you knew what you were doing, it would work. Obviously you are incapable of doing this yourself, and the average homeowner should never touch any electrical wiring. Leave it to the professionals to insure your safety. Besides that, tampering with electrical things will void your homeowners insurance.
A general rule of thumb is this: A homeowner should only flip light switches, and plug UL Approved electrical things into outlets. That's ALL you should do, except to turn off a circuit breaker in an emergency. You should hire a Union Electrician for all wiring. Hire an electrician to change light bulbs, and hire an electrician to turn ON or OFF all circuit breakers in non-emergency situations. Also, if you have the old fuses instead of breakers, DO NOT touch them even during an emergency. They are extremely dangerous and can explode if handled by an inexperienced home owner. Even light bulbs are capable of exploding and killing people. Thousands of persons die every day as a result of electricution and fire caused by non-certified people tampering with electricity. Just last week an entire family consisting of three adults and seven children died as a result of an inexperienced homeowner attempting to change a light bulb, which exploded and released toxic gasses, killing the entire family, and causing one of the worst fires in U.S. history
Learn not to burn.
John Walters Professional Electrical Consultant and Union Certified Electrician 1030 Market St. Los Angeles, California snipped-for-privacy@EccElectricalServices.net
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John R. Bartos wrote:

Hi, Think logically. How about higher Wattage bulbs then? I don't have that problem with my back yard lamp post. The sensor has sensitivity adjustment. Tony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Get a timer for it rather than a sensor. You may have to adjust the timer as the sun sets and rises earlier and later depending on how accurate you want to be.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mea culpa. I will not even touch a switch in the future.
BTW, I did turn the sensor away from the glass prior to getting this good advice and it solved my problem. Thanks to those who suggested it. Next time I will have my union electrician come to turn that sensor if necessary.
John

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hey, I know you. You've got several brothers who operate heating & cooling companies and post similar advice regarding HVAC, especially over at alt.hvac.
:)
snipped-for-privacy@EccElectricalServices.net wrote in message ...

The real problem is that this device was not installed by a professional electrician. If you knew what you were doing, it would work. Obviously you are incapable of doing this yourself, and the average homeowner should never touch any electrical wiring. Leave it to the professionals to insure your safety. Besides that, tampering with electrical things will void your homeowners insurance.
A general rule of thumb is this: A homeowner should only flip light switches, and plug UL Approved electrical things into outlets. That's ALL you should do, except to turn off a circuit breaker in an emergency. You should hire a Union Electrician for all wiring. Hire an electrician to change light bulbs, and hire an electrician to turn ON or OFF all circuit breakers in non-emergency situations. Also, if you have the old fuses instead of breakers, DO NOT touch them even during an emergency. They are extremely dangerous and can explode if handled by an inexperienced home owner. Even light bulbs are capable of exploding and killing people. Thousands of persons die every day as a result of electricution and fire caused by non-certified people tampering with electricity. Just last week an entire family consisting of three adults and seven children died as a result of an inexperienced homeowner attempting to change a light bulb, which exploded and released toxic gasses, killing the entire family, and causing one of the worst fires in U.S. history
Learn not to burn.
John Walters Professional Electrical Consultant and Union Certified Electrician 1030 Market St. Los Angeles, California snipped-for-privacy@EccElectricalServices.net
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John Walters uses that exact same answer for everthing. I see he has a copy machine. I guess it saves typing new answers to all questions. Sort of a lazy man's way to answer questions.
Stretch
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@EccElectricalServices.net wrote:

Fear, uncertainy, doubt. I love how the scare campaign now even includes changing a light bulb. Above there is a nonsensical claim of "thousands of persons die every day." Please cite just 100 of the thousands that died yesterday.
Please. And when an electrician is needed, no need to get a union electrician. Get better service, better price, and better attitude from a non-union electrician. We love ours.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hello. I could not find the original post. Please be advised, you must remove the glass panels to the fixture, and the sensor will send full power to bulb. These screw-in sensors are not intended for enclosed fixtures, as stated in the instructions. The panels act like a mirror to the bulb and fools the cell.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.