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Energy Savings Controls for Outdoor Lighting

How can a photocell be used to control outside lights? Control Different Types of Outdoor Security Lighting so they Come On Automatically and Save Money on Your Electric Bill.

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Control Outdoor Security Lights and Save Energy
Electrical Question: How can a photocell be used to control outside lights?

This electrical wiring question came from: Don, a Homeowner from San Diego, California.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Don.

How to to Control Outdoor Security Lighting

The following explains how to control different types of outdoor security lighting so they come on automatically which may save money on an electric bill.

How to Control Outdoor Lighting

Don, all photocells are not the same. Photocells that are designed to control one incandescent light fixture do not use a neutral, however other commercial grade photocells required a neural wire and work very well. When controlling light fixtures with electronic components it is best to use a photocell that requires a neutral wire.

Photocell Electrical Load Rating

Understand that photocells are rated for the amount of load that they are able to control. One example is a photocell that will control up to 1000 watts, or if the load requires more than a 1800 watt photocell may be installed. Most commercial grade photocells are available for 120 volts, 277 volts etc. to make it convenient for controlling a large lighting fixture in a specific location.

Controlling Lighting in Parking Areas

When controlling the lighting for larger areas such as parking lots or apartment parking areas then one option would be to have a photocell and relay contactor. This works very well where the photocell will accurately turn the lights on only when it actually gets dark during any time during the day, even if it becomes dark due to a storm. The photocell sends power to a control relay which may be configured to control one or more circuits of lighting. This is a very popular method of controlling lighting of  large parking lots and not be concerned about resetting time clocks when the time change occurs. If you do not wish for the lights to stay on all night long then a time clock may be wired into the control circuit and provide the designated OFF time to take place.

More about Outdoor Lighting

Security Lights and Motion Detector Wiring

Installing Motion Detector and Security Light Fixtures

Installing motion detector lighting fixtures provide security and energy savings and they can easily replace an existing exterior wall fixture.

All About Electrical Relays

Understanding Electrical Relays

The use of relays that are sometimes needed to control special device loads such as Air Conditioners and other high demand equipment from starting at the same time.

Lighting for the Home
recessed lighting

Planning and Installing Home Lighting

Home lighting articles covering recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, lighting terminology and more.

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

More articles about Electrical Wiring, Energy Savings, Photocell, Security Light and Home Electrical Wiring:
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