Home » Electrical Wiring Directory » Photocell » 4 Comments

Wiring a Photocell for an Outdoor Light Fixture


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a Photocell Control to an Outside Light Fixture: Matching a Photocell to an Outdoor Light Fixture, Example of Wiring a 120Volt Photocell.


How to Wire a Photocell

Electrical Question: I would like control an outside light with a photo cell.

Wiring a 1000 Watt Outdoor Light

  • The light is now wired for 240 volts and would like to switch it on and off with a photo cell.
  • I have a photocell and was just wondering do you switch just one leg to shut it on and off and if that is the case why is a 240 volt photo cell needed?
  • Each leg is 120 volts just looking for some understanding.

This electrical question came from: Joe, a Handyman from Branch, Michigan.

Dave’s Answer:

Thanks for your electrical wiring question Joe.

Photocell Control for Outside Lights

Application: Wiring a Photocell to control Outside Lights.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the timer switch wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Materials: Make sure the timer switch has the same amperage and voltage rating as the original switch, and is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used.

Wiring a Photocell Control for an Outside Light Fixture

Matching a Photocell to an Outdoor Light Fixture

  • There are applications where a 240 volt load can be switched on and off using just one leg of power, but I would not advise it unless it is a built in control circuit of the equipment.
  • The photocell to control your 1000 watt outdoor light fixture needs 240 volts to operate the photo cell, and because the 240 volt circuit does not have a neutral you cannot use a 120 volt photocell which does require a neutral.
  • The solution is to get a photocell that matches the voltage configuration you have wired the outside light fixture for, and wire it according to the diagram.
  • Photocells are available for most voltages and various watt or electrical circuit load requirements.

Photocell Basics: How a Photocell Operates
A photocell is basically an automatic switch that is controlled by sunlight during the daytime, and darkness during the night. The change from light to dark automatically activates the photocell to turn on the light fixtures that are wired to it.

Example of Wiring a 120Volt Photocell

  • The Electric Circuit and Line Wiring Connections
    A typical photocell requires circuit wiring connection which would include the green ground wire, white neutral wire and the black circuit power wire.
  • The Load Wiring Connection
    The Load wiring of the photocell is typically where the black wire that leads to the light fixture is connected to the Red wire of the photocell.
  • Remaining Light Fixture Wires
    The white neutral wire and the ground wire of the light fixture connect to the white neutral wire and the ground wire of the photocell.

More about Electrical Wiring

Light Switch Wiring

Wiring Diagrams

Electrical wire
electrical-wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

For more information about 220 Volt Wiring Diagram
220 Volt Wiring Diagram
220 Volt Wiring Diagram
Wiring 220 Volt Electrical Outlet
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how electrical outlets for the home are wired.




Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshooting and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
  repair electrical wiring  


Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.
« Does Electricity Travel Through the Air? My Husband is trying to install a Window Air Conditioner »

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Wiring a Photocell for an Outdoor Light Fixture”
  1. emmie says:

    I bought a photocell for mounting outdoor. Could you please send me wringing diagram?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Emmie,
      The voltage of the photocell as well as the make and model will need to be identified and the country where the photocell is to be installed for an accurate wiring diagram.

  2. Isaac Howser says:

    I have a friend that wants to hook a photocell up in place of a time clock how is this done

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Isaac,
      A photo cell is wired just like a switch, only it needs a neutral. Photocells may also be used with a time clock if the lights should turn OFF at a special time, but accurately turn ON at dusk, very energy saving.
      Dave


4 Comments

Thanks for your Comments and Quick Questions!

Please make sure your question is about the topic on this page, which is:
Wiring a Photocell for an Outdoor Light Fixture


Comments or questions posted here are open for Quality Discussion and Participation - Spam will be deleted.



*