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Why Dusk to Dawn Fixtures Go On and Off

What would cause a dusk to dawn light fixture to turn on and off? How to Test Outside Motion Light Fixtures for the sensitivity of the motion detector.

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Cause of On and Off Dusk to Dawn Light Fixture
[ad#block]Electrical Question #1: What would cause a dusk to dawn light fixture to turn on and off?

I have a dusk to dawn light fixture that turns on and off quite a lot. I replace an old outside light fixture with a new Area dusk to dawn fixture. I had observe that the new light fixture goes on and off. It come on about 5 min, then back on with 5 min., what could be the problem?

This electrical question came from: Bob, a Homeowner from Los Angeles, California.

Electrical Question #2:

This electrical question came from Tim in Cottageville, South Carolina.

Electrical Question #3:

I have a dusk to dawn motion light. It works just fine at night. Motion activates it and the light burns until the time expires. The problem is during the daytime. Once it becomes light outside the light comes on and burns until it detects dusk again. Once it becomes dark it works properly until the next morning.

This electrical wiring question came from Skip, a Handyman in Bedford, Indiana.

Dave’s Reply:
Thank you for your electrical questions.

How to Test Outside Motion Light Fixtures

Adjusting a Motion Detector Light Fixture

Lear More about Outside Motion Light Fixtures



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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Why Dusk to Dawn Fixtures Go On and Off”
  1. jones says:

    My dusk to dawn light works for 90 seconds, then it goes out for 2 minutes, and then relights for 90 more seconds continues this cycle. What is causing this?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jones,
    Check to make sure that one of the switches on the bottom of the motion detector is not set to the TEST setting. The TEST setting enables you to adjust the sensitivity of a security light, dusk to dawn fixture, or motion detector light fixture. After you are through making the sensitivity adjustment to these settings the switch must be moved out of the TEST mode position to allow normal operation.
    I hope this helps,

  3. Jerry says:

    I have an outdoor light fixture mounted on top of a 15 foot high pole. The light has a 120 watt light bulb which is controlled by a photocell which is mounted on top of the fixture. The photocell is the plug and twist type. An hour or so after sundown and the photocell has turned the light on, but then the light turns off for about 10-20 minutes, then it comes back on again. Is this a faulty bulb, photocell or just a reflection from something like a light in the distance from another light 30 degrees around from the cell window of the original light picking it up?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jerry,
    The other light may be interfering with the photocell, and this could be verified by placing a shield at the photocell to block the light from the other light fixture. Typically when a bulb is going bad it will turn on and off several times.

  5. Susan Henry says:

    Dusk to Dawn Light Control Problem

    We have an outdoor dusk to dawn electrical outlet that we plug our palm tree lights and other deck lights into. In the past few days it will turn on at dusk, but not turn off at dawn.

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Tips to Repair a Dusk to Dawn Light

    Hi Susan,
    Make sure that the dusk to dawn sensor module is not obstructed in any way, and adjust the direction that it is facing to receive the morning sun exposure. If this does not fix the problem then the sensor module may need to be replaced. Make sure the total number of lighting watts is within the rating of the dusk to dawn sensor module.