Installing a dusk til dawn sensor

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by nottick, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Hello ~
    I am having a huge headache with a dusk til dawn sensor switch.

    The switch has three wires, red black and white.

    It has to service two seperate light fixtures.

    I have tied the feed to the red, tied all black wires together to the black wire from the switch, all whites together to the white from the switch.

    However, the switch only works for one fixture, the other remains constantly on.

    What am I missing?
  2. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You say the switch has three wires? Are you calling the sensor the switch?

    Typically a sensor has to have the line tied to the black wire of the sensor and the lights black wires to the red.

    Also you said you had the white wire to the switch,are you talking about a switch leg where you have a white go to the switch from the power or line side and a black go back to the light?

    By the way if this is the case the white should be reidentified black.

    Wiring is not always color to color. One reason it can be very hard and dangerous for a DYI.
  3. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Black = hot (power in)

    Red = switch leg (to light/light bulbs)

    White = neutral (return path)
  4. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Dusk til dawn switch( sensor)

    I understand that -

    Red - to black wire of fixtures.

    Did this ,but one remains on all thevtime
  5. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Well you are going to have to provide more info if you can't follow the circuit.





    The feed is the 120V power. it goes to the black wire of the photo cell (which you refer to as the switch)

    The red wire goes to the black wire(s) going to the fixtures.


    It sounds like you have the black power hooked to one of the black fixture wires and the other black fixture wire hooked to the photo cell black. Hard to tell when you give conflicting info.
  6. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Thank you for the reply.
    You said
    "The feed is the 120V power. it goes to the black wire of the photo cell (which you refer to as the switch)

    The red wire goes to the black wire(s) going to the fixtures.



    It sounds like you have the black power hooked to one of the black fixture wires and the other black fixture wire hooked to the photo cell black. Hard to tell when you give conflicting info. "

    I have the photo cell sensor ( switch) wired exactly as you advise.

    That is also the how the instructions that come with the sensor relay how to install it.


    I have the feed to the black wire on the sensor.
    The red wire from the sensor to both black wires to each fixture.
    The white wire from the sensor to both white wires to each fixture.

    My problem is one of the fixtures remains "on" all the time.

    I am using the sensor to control two fixtures.


    Thanks to you and anybody else who can assist me.
  7. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Apparently the circuit does not feed directly to the one light. How far apart are these fixtures? Did one light switch used to turn on both lights? Does your circuit run from one light to the other? Does power come to one light first then to the original switch? Or to the power first? More info would help.
  8. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Response to codeone

    Codeone,

    From the breaker the service goes directly to a fixture. and then to the second fixture ( which is about two feet away).

    There was an existing sensor which controlled both fixtures. Everything worked fine ; the previous sensor was smashed and needed to be replaced. ( it was removed by somebody else and I inherited the project without any sensor in place.

    The service to the fixtures does not have a switch. It is constantly energized.

    I have installed the sensor as described in previous post. The "first" fixture on the line is the one that remains on. THe sensor works fine to control the second fixture.

    This is all the info I can provide. There isn't anything else on the breaker.

    THanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
  9. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Where is the sensor in relationship to the lights? Is it remotely mounted or is it mounted on or in the same box as the fixture?
  10. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Codeone

    The sensor is mounted on the pole of the first fixture.( the first fixture is an exterior garden lamppost) of the first fixture. The first fixture is the one that remains "on".

    This feeds the second fixture which is a light for a flag pole. This one works fine ( goes on and off by sensor)

    It is about two feet away.
  11. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    So in this lamp post you have two conductors coming from the house a hot and a neutral going up the pole to the sensor. You have a hot and a neutral going down the pole from the sensor to the light for the flag pole. And then you have a hot and neutral from the pole light down to the sensor. Is that correct?
  12. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Codeone

    "So in this lamp post you have two conductors coming from the house a hot and a neutral going up the pole to the sensor"

    As of right now I do not have a sensor installed, but yes, I have a hot and neutral coming up the pole. It is connected to the pole fixture.LIght is constantly on.

    " You have a hot and a neutral going down the pole from the sensor to the light for the flag pole."

    As of right now I have the hot and neutral going down the pole to the flag pole. No sensor installed. The light is constantly on

    Both fixtures are constantly "on".

    I have three black wires together, three white wires together and both are 'on" constantly.

    Installing the sensor as described leads to the pole fixture remaining "on".

    I have attached a photo file(drawing), though crude, it will clearly show what I am trying to relay. I have three blacks tied to three whites, that is all.



    Wires labeled B and W, dark circles indicate wire nuts .

    [​IMG]

    The sensor( not currently installed) has three wires , red black and white.



    Again, thanks for any assistance.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  13. WV Hillbilly

    WV Hillbilly New Member

    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    WV
    In your first post you said you had the feed connected to the red wire on the sensor & in a later post you said you connected the feed to the black wire on the sensor . Did you get confused or did you switch the feed from red to black ?
  14. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    WV Hillbilly

    I tried both . Each time the first light remained "on"
  15. WV Hillbilly

    WV Hillbilly New Member

    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    WV
    I have another question . Does the feed wire & the wire going out to the flagpole both come up inside the lamp post ? If so are you 100% sure you know which one is the feed & which wire goes back down to the flag pole ?

    Codeone , not trying to horn in on you helping him out so stick around . Just scratching my head on this one too . lol
  16. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Hillbilly

    My feed comes up the pole. ( lamppost).
    The flagpole light wires come from the fixture up the pole.

    I have correctly identified which is which.

    I also tried this ; installed sensor to just the pole ( lamppost fixture) - it remained on all the time.

    THen installed sensor to just the flag pole fixture,it worked fine.

    ( To any and all, please excuse my language usage, English is not my native language)

    Thanks for any assistance
  17. WV Hillbilly

    WV Hillbilly New Member

    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    WV
    Your english is fine . Some electricial devices can be damaged by being wired up wrong as you originally did . This doesn't really seem to explain your problem since the flag pole fixture seems to be turning on & off & the lamp post fixture isn't . I don't know if the sensor could be bleeding enough power through to keep the lamp post on ( which is close to it ) when it's supposed to be off . Wierd things happen . It would take a meter to check it . The only other possibility I can think of is the hot feed wire is somehow making contact with the post lamp black wire . I think I would try another sensor & make sure it was wired properly the first time .
  18. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    No problem. Had to retire for the night. You know work today calls. It is an interesting problem. These are hard to imagine and flustrating. Also good questions.
  19. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
  20. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If you are getting the load side for the flag light tied to the black of the sensor and the load side of the pole light with the line side from the source tied to he red of the sensor and the sensor is somehow still funictioning (even though it shouldnt) this could be your problem.

    Also if you are putting the load for the flag to the red and the load to the pole with the line side from the source tied to the black of the sensor. This would deffinately create your problem.

    Other wise you would have to have a short or improperly grounded wire somewhere. Be very careful and do not work on live and make positive sure you have the pole and the light grounded properly.
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