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.
Control Outdoor Security Lights and Save Energy
Electrical Question: How can a photocell be used to control outside lights?
- Can you put a photocell on a 4′ florescent tube fixture (2 tubes) outside under a covered carport?
- I put one the fixture and it burned up the ballast after two weeks. If you can do it, what do I need to do?
This electrical wiring question came from: Don, a Homeowner from San Diego, California.
See more about Home Wiring for California
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.
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