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Old 08-20-2011, 06:35 AM   #1
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Wiring Photosensor


I'm trying to wire up a photosensor to my garage exterior lights. The photosensor has a black, white, and red wire. The black wire coming off the subpanel is always hot. I wired up the photosensor's white wire to the blue connections, the black wire to the black wire coming off the subpanel, and the red wire to the 2 black wires of the lights. Does that sound right? It's not working, so I'd like to make sure I have the wiring done correctly before I say the photosensor is bad.



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Old 08-20-2011, 07:23 AM   #2
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Wiring Photosensor


Check the instructions for the sensor. Normally you connect the white sensor wire to the neutrals (bundle of white wires). Connect the black sensor wire to the always hot wire in the box. Connect the red sensor wire to the lights' black wire(s).

Don't use colors indiscriminately in diagrams. Green is for ground wires only White or light gray is for neutral. All other colors are for hot, either always hot or switched hot.

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Old 08-20-2011, 07:47 AM   #3
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Wiring Photosensor


No directions were included. On the body of the photosensor above the black wire is the word "line" and above the red is "load". I wired it up as you described and it doesn't work.

The colors in the diagram were to show the connections between the various wires to make them easy to describe.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:16 AM   #4
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Wiring Photosensor


the switch needs power AND a neutral. Power from subpanel to black wire of switch. tie all neutral wires together, including the one from the switch and finally red wire from switch to black wires of lights.

usually photocells will not react right away as soon as it gets dark, it may take several minutes to recognize its dark. hold your hand over the photocell for a couple mins if it doesn;t come on right away.

the way AllanJ described it will work unless something else is wrong or you aren;t keeping it dark for long enough.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
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Wiring Photosensor


Try this diagram
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:58 AM   #6
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Wiring Photosensor


I'm having the opposite problem... the lights won't shut off, they just stay on all the time. The photocell doesn't seem to be interrupting the current flow.

What throws a monkey wrench into this is the black wire from the switch being tied into the neutrals from the lights. Is the black wire from the switch being used as a neutral and the neutrals from the switch and panel are totally useless/nonfunctional?
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:11 AM   #7
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Wiring Photosensor


Do you have a switch in addition to the photocell? You didn’t mention it. I assumed in your picture you said switch but meant photocell. My bad. New diagram coming.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
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Wiring Photosensor


Re-color the white that goes to the switch at both ends something other than green or white, a black sharpie works well. The black of the source gets connected to this. The black of the switch cable connects to the black of the photocell. The neutrals that get connected together are the 2 from the lights, the photocell, and the source. The neutral does not get switched.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:01 AM   #9
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Wiring Photosensor


Thanks for the info. From the way it's currently wired up it appears the neutral is switched. The black wire coming off the switch doesn't test for any current with the switch on or off. That coupled with the fact that the black switch wire is tied into the light's neutral wires. I'll have to pull the switch to be 100% sure. It is a 3-way switch.
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Old 08-20-2011, 02:45 PM   #10
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Wiring Photosensor


ah okay. well 3 way changes things big time. im sorry im just runnign out the door so can;t explain, but hopefully one of the pros will be around shortly. GL!
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:06 AM   #11
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Wiring Photosensor


Here's a drawing of one way it can be done with 3-way switching. Also suggest look inside the sub-panel, verify the source cable black wire is on the breaker/fuse and that the white is on the neutral bar. Your picture of the j-box with the 4 cables appears that the neutral was being switch originally, but may not have been if the wires were reversed in the sub-panel. If that's the case, then also check the connections at the light fixtures. Verify those are black to black, white to white. They may have been reversed as well.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:57 AM   #12
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Wiring Photosensor


I will check. Hopefully all 3 wires from the other switch are in the garage. The other switch is in the kitchen and it's a detached garage so if only the red wire is run through the conduit there will be a problem.

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