Tired Of Replacing Dusk To Dawn Light Fixture - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 12-28-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
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Tired of replacing dusk to dawn light fixture

About 4 years ago I installed a dusk to dawn light on the garage wall to keep my driveway lit at night (there are no street lights so it gets pitch black in my neighborhood). I am currently on my 3rd fixture as the photocells never last more than 12 to 18 months. Well low and behold I pulled into my driveway last night and the darn thing was out again. I knew it wasnt the bulb because I had replaced it just a few months ago but got a new one this morning just to make sure and it is indeed another photocell failure (which either aren't sold separately or cost almost as much as the unit itself). The latest unit is a Lithonia 42W fluorescent (see attached pic). One thing I noticed the last time I changed the bulb is the large burn mark on the plastic plate that covers the wiring. Seems like a bad design that put the bulb way too close to this plate as the two would almost touch when the bulb was installed.

I'm now considering running underground wire to the two utility poles in my front yard (I live on a corner lot and even with the old light installed only the driveway was lit and a wall mounted light on the front porch would look silly). So I'd like to install post lights on both front sides of the yard. I'm tempted to get the fixtures from one of the big box stores but the reviews are terrible even for the "premium" models. I will definitely be going to an electrical supply store. I don't mind paying more for a unit that is going to last.

So my question is this: Has anyone had success with a commercial quality unit? Or am I just wasting my time digging trenches and moving the problem from the wall to the pole? There is one last option which is to let the power company install lights on the poles. They take care of the installation and maintenance but charge you about $10 per month per light. And since I'm cheap I'd hate blow $240/year just to keep my yard lit at night.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:14 PM   #2
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I have these in service for years and every 6 years or so, replace a photo cell.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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You get what you pay for. Those like the one pictured in the first post do not last very long. The commercial units you see on business buildings last a long time, but they cost a pretty penny!

Also photo sensors sold separately at electric supplies last a long time, especially if you get a much higher wattage than the load (bulbs). Like this...

Fixtures like this...

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Old 12-28-2012, 08:56 PM   #4
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I have older wallpack with 70 W HPS that I have it on my garage and it is allready over 25 years old and only replace the photocell just once and replace the HPS bulb every 4-5 years that was about it.

But I do have BIA D-D ( Ballast In Arm Dusk to Dawn ) luminaire which it used 250 watts HPS that been running for 30 years ( it wired for 277 volts on my shop ) it the same as my wall pack not much go wrong with it.

Over here in France I have wall pack as well that also only 15 years ( per manufacter date posted inside the luminarie ) and only replace the bulb once.

The issue is when you buy it from big box store the qualitny is genrally little lower than what we useally get it from legit electrique supply centre.

Oh the other thing you will have to becarefull if you ever try to put the luminarie on the uility pole the POCO useally have a fit no question asked unless you have your own pole aka privite pole then it is not a issue at all.

The answer will be based on NEC ( National Electrical code ) or CEC ( Cananda Electrical code ) or ECF ( Electrique Code France )
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