security light photocell

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  #1  
Old 08-08-02, 01:45 PM
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steve2655
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Question security light photocell

We live in a rural area where we are subject to periodic power blinks; they last just long enough to mess up clocks, etc. After the last one our auto (photocell, not a timer) outdoor security light has been erratic in turning on and off. One night it will work fine, the next night it won't come on at all, and the next night won't come on until the middle of the night and then burns until mid-morning the next day, etc. A couple of years ago I heard someone in conversation mention that the photocell switches on such lights were "resettable". Does anyone know how? Is it a simple matter of turning off the power supply for a while, then restoring power? I'd hate to needlessly climb up that pole to replace the switch or light! Thanks! Steve
 
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  #2  
Old 08-08-02, 05:55 PM
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Wgoodrich
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You may have brown out voltage that is not providing that light to operate under that low of voltage properly.

You may have a faulty photo cell, they are not adjustable normally. The photo cell normally will twist and unplug then plug in a new photo cell and twist lock it in.

You light bulb may be getting weak causing the malfunction in startup and warm up of the ballast.

Your ballast may have become weak and needs replacing.

The above are the most likely corrective actions in probability as they were listed.

If you climb that pole take a long screw driver and go to the bottom of the pole where the earth starts and drive that screw driver into the pole in several angles below the earth level. Poles tend to become rotten just below the earth level. If you climb that pole and the base is rotten you may live in traction a very long time. I suggest hiring an electrician with a bucket truck and pay the minimum fee to get your light repaired. Easy job if with a bucket and much safer too.

Wg
 
  #3  
Old 08-08-02, 06:16 PM
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Captain Avenger
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Switch?

Those kind of lights are usually required to be installed downstream of switch, and the switch would normally be where you could operate it without climbing a pole.

I'm not clear on your particular installation because you mention a "switch" but say it is at the top of the pole.

Please post back, let us know exactly what you have so we can think this out further. It is normally the function of the switch to reset the lights after a power loss.

Is this light connected to a source of power that is always on??


The Captain
 
  #4  
Old 08-09-02, 01:30 AM
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steve2655
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more info

It is a standard fluorescent (street-light type) photocell-switch activated security light that I bought at Lowe's last year. It is mounted at the top of the utility pole that provides power to our place and has our service box and meter. Inside the service box I had the electrician who wired our house install a 20 amp breaker dedicated to the security light wiring, so I could turn power off to the light should I ever need to climb the pole to work on/replace it--which it's looking more likely that I'm going to have to do! Last night the light did not come on at all for the second night in a row. Thanks much! Steve
 
  #5  
Old 08-09-02, 06:30 AM
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Nickkkkkkkk
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My guess is its a faulty photocell like WG said earlier.
 
  #6  
Old 08-09-02, 12:09 PM
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Wgoodrich
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Steve, I suspect that if you look up at the light and can see the bulb the bulb will be on large round bulb, if so you most likely have a mercury vapor or high pressure sodium dusk to dawn light instead of a flourescent fixture.

Just for clarification.

Wg
 
  #7  
Old 08-09-02, 06:35 PM
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steve2655
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Thumbs up Many thanks!

Problem solved! Thanks for the advice; every one of you was right. And Wg, you're right: it is, of course, a mercury vapor light (when I get "ballast" and "blue white light" in the same picture I automatically think "fluorescent").

Still had to climb the pole this afternoon, but only to replace the photocell/ballast, not the whole light assembly. Felt good right off the bat, as when I flipped the breaker switch and restored power, the light turned on for a minute or two then turned off, just like the instructions said it should. It came on right at dusk this evening, just like it's supposed to. Thanks again! Steve
 
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