Low Voltage Photocell Configuration

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Old 09-06-09, 12:13 PM
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Low Voltage Photocell Configuration

I have a low voltage configuration issue; equipment as follows: Landscape Lighting, Provided Transformer/Power Pack/Timer with 3 terminals: A, B & C. The lights continue to work without problems. However, I would like to bypass the timer in favor of a dusk-to-dawn photocell. The transformer manufacturer has designated the C terminal for photocell wiring per website as well as instruction manual provided with the setup, yet doesn't go into any installation steps at neither the website nor in the manual. The transformer is currently plugged into a GFCI-type outlet. Is there a way to configure the photocell leaving the GFCI functional during daylight hours? I attempted the following wiring schemes:1)Using the second set of GFCI terminals, I connected the photocell's black wire to the hot side and the photocell's white wire to the neutral side. The photocell's red wire was connected to the C terminal of the transformer. NO LUCK. 2)A trip to Lowes resulted in the following scheme: Again, using the second set of GFCI terminals, I connected the photocell's white wire to the neutral side and joined together the photocell's red and black wire and pigtailed them to the hot side. NO LUCK. Is it possible the PHOTOCELL is defective or is this scenario not possible? I know it has to be possible since the same manufacturer has recently produced a transformer with programmable dusk-to-dawn built into the unit.
 
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Old 09-06-09, 01:41 PM
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I'm not really sure what the C terminal is but here is how I would do it using a line (120v) photocell:

Connect the black of the photocell to the load side of the GFCI hot.
Connect the white of the photocell to the load side of the GFCI neutral.
Connect the red to a newly installed receptacle's brass screw
Connect a white from the load side of the GFCI's neutral (a pigtail might be a good idea) to a newly installed receptacle.
Plug low voltage transformer into newly installed receptacle.
GFCI will remain hot all the time. New receptacle will be controlled by photocell.
 
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Old 09-06-09, 05:34 PM
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Low Voltage Photocell Configuration

I installed a GFCI for safety sake to begin with. Doesn't adding a non-GFCI defeat the safety baspect of the GFCI? By the way, thanks for the quick reply.
 
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Old 09-06-09, 06:55 PM
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No. As long as you wire it on the load side terminals of the GFCI the new receptacle will also be protected by the GFCI. You can test this by pressing the "test" button on the GFCI when you finished wiring it up. The new receptacle will go dead when the GFCI trips.

If you wired the new receptacle on the line side of the GFCI then yes, you will have bypassed the GFCI's safety features.
 
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Old 09-07-09, 06:14 AM
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You can always use a 120v photocell to control the power to the GFI. Then just set the timer to be always on. The timer will still turn, but will never turn the lights on or off.

The photocell to be connected to terminal C is the second way to do it. You need to use a Malibu (or whatever brand your transformer is) photocell. It's probably a lower voltage rating. You connect the photocell between terminals A and C or B and C (I don't remember which, but the photocell installation guide should tell you which).

I think the important thing is that you use the Malibu photocell if you use the C terminal. I don't think a standard 120v photocell will work.
 
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Old 09-08-09, 08:21 AM
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Low Voltage Photocell Configuration

I've contacted Malibu as well as Intermatic and await their reply.
 
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