Hook up of photo cell on yard lamp post

laketwoMay 10, 2008

Purchased a yard lamp post with a photo cell light activator. The only instruction that came with it was on the plastic bag that said to dispose of due to its hazard to children. Power source coming into the post is 12 - 2 with ground (black wire, white wire, and ground wire. The photo cell has black wire, white wire and red wire. The lamp has black wire, white wire and ground wire. I understand the white wires are to be connected together. The ground wires are to be connected together. That leaves the black power source wire, the black wire from the lamp and the black and the red wires from the photo cell. Which of these wires are to be connected to which?

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Ideally, the photocell itself will be powered 100% of the time. Probably that is the red wire. If you wish the light to be on all the time when it is dark, simply splice the red and black together with the power supply conductor. If the switch inside the house is off and then turned on, it will take about 45 seconds for the photocell to normalize itself. If you desired the light to come on at dark and then to be turned off at midnight by a timer, three-conductor cable to the lamp post would be needed for proper operation. Electric rates will be rising in the near future.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 7:54AM
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bus_driver, I hooked the wiring as follows. The ground wires together; the three white wires together. Then the black power source wire to the red wire of the photocell; the black wire of the photocell to the black wire going into the light fixture. The photocell activates the light fixture when it is dark and turns on the light. The light stays on as long as it is dark out. But when it becomes daylight, the photocell repeatedly turns the light on and off at intervals of about 40 seconds. This turning on and off of the light continues as long as it is light outside. I've moved the lamp post in different directions to turn the photocell eye in different locations, but as long as it is daylight the photocell continues to turn the light bulb on and off. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 11:31AM
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Red wire goes to the lamp.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:02PM
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I think I am still confused.
Source - has white, Black and ground
lamp - has white, black and ground
photocell - has white, black and red

all 3 whites go together
grounds go together
how do the blacks and red intertwine? i would like the lamp to only work when it is dark outside

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 12:16PM
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Ron Natalie

Source Black to Photocell Black
Lamp Black to Photocell Red

At least that's the way the intermatic ones I've used work.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 2:50PM
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Thanks, I tried last night but it still didn't light. It's a new light fixture, so my next step is to replace the photo cell.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 3:07PM
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Ok, I bought a new photo cell and the connections were same as you indicated above, however it still didn't work, it's the only light that doesn't work, so i don't think it's the gfi, any other ideas or suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 8:23AM
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Does the light work if you bypass the photocell?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 9:12AM
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Disconnect the new light fixture, put a known working tester on the ends of the wire and see if you're getting juice to the fixture at all.

Twice in the last year I,ve put up new fixtures and they didn't work, once was my fault and the second was a broken factory wire.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 10:20AM
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I wouldn't run the light on a GFCI. Each time photocell turns it on, it will probably trip the GFCI. I put out a yard light last summer and run it direct to box. Put also, a dimmer switch on my light. Black wire from photocell goes to black wire in servic. White wire from service to white at cell and white at light. Remaining switch wires goes to black from light and red from the photocell. Should work that way even with a dimmer switch.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:37PM
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Bring your power source and switch wires into your box outside where photocell is placed on your wall, not on the lamppost. Wire all connections there from your power source and from your switch which comes into your box for photocell. That is black from source to black on photocell, white from source to white on photocell and white from light. Remaining wires from your photocell which is red goes to black of switch wire. Black wire from light goes to white wire from switch. No way it can't work this way. Mine has worked well for a year. Get your source from a receptacle or go all the way to the breaker box, not GFCI. Make sure your ground your light real well!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:17PM
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Why is everyone I impose this question to have to make this so complicated? If your house only carries a black, a white and a green but your photocell has a black, a white, a red and a bare wire for your ground. How do you hook up the photocell to operate properly from dark to dusk ? And please no extra. Make it basic!!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:03PM
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Just in case someone comes across this page like I did, here is the simple answer.

1. Tie the RED wire to the lamps BLACK wire.
2. Tie all remaining BLACKS together.
3. Tie all remaining WHITES together.
4. Tie all remaining GREENs and/or BARE wires together.

That's it. The red wire is the key. It supplies lamp power only when it gets dark.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 8:48AM
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EXACTLY, rms59!! Thanks for confirming, and SIMPLY SO, my suspicions.... I had the same problem yesterday, and will correct it today.

All you have to remember is, the photo cell is nothing but a SWITCH, and, depending on light conditions, the RED WIRE from the cell supplies power to the light fixture via the black wire of the fixture. Thanks !!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:05AM
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