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I think my outside lights are not wired properly in terms of functions

I think my outside lights are not wired properly in terms of functions

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  #1  
Old 10-05-11, 07:34 PM
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I think my outside lights are not wired properly in terms of functions

I have been trying to figure out my outside lights.

My roof extends beyond my exterior walls by about four feet. The four feet roof overhang has a soffit and a series of recessed lights around the perimeter of the house. On each side there is also a security light (mercury vapor bulbs).

The recessed lights are controlled by four separate switches, one switch for each side of the house. That same switch also controls the security light on that side.

The security lights have photo cells on them and will only turn on when it's dark.

So at night, if I turn on the east side recessed lights, those lights come on, and the security light comes on. During the day, I can turn on and off the soffit recessed lights, but the security light will stay off.

I don't think this is the best way for it to work.

I have been trying to divorce the soffit recessed lights and the security light completely.

I would like to turn the recessed lights on and off by a switch.

However, I would like the security light to be independent of that switch. I would prefer for it to be able to work in different modes.

(1) To come on during the night and goes off during the day, controlled by the photo cell exclusively.

(2) Or, to be motion activated, when motion is sensed, it turns on at night.

What is a typical setup for lights of this type?
 
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  #2  
Old 10-05-11, 07:43 PM
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Mercury vapor lamps react too slowly to work well with a motion sensor. Your best bet would be use the photocells that your are using now. The only thing you need to do is get an unswitched hot to the mercury vapor lights.

IMO I would suggest running a switched hot so that you can turn them off if needed. I has an unswitched HPS light on the front of my house. I had to put it on a switch due to the "light pollution" into our house in the summer. You can either switch them with one to four switches, just like your cans.
 
  #3  
Old 10-06-11, 06:27 PM
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I agree with you, I think I need a new switched wire to the security light.

However, this is going to be a real pain.

The way it is currently wired, it is all hard piped. From the switch the wires go fifty feet or so through the soffit to the first recessed light, and there is a box there. To get to that box, I need to remove the can, then open the box that is within arms reach, get the wires than pass to recessed light 2, then light 3, light 4 and so on, and finally to the security light.

It is also a challenge because these lights under the soffit are sloped, in a "A" frame configuration, so the lower two lights are 12 feet off the ground, the higher ones are 16 to 18 feet off the ground, and a good 30" off the wall.

I am not sure I am up to standing on a 12' ladder trying to daisy chain this wires.

Now, if I do try to do it, I only need to pass a hot wire right? I don't need a neutral as I can use the existing neutral?
 
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Old 10-06-11, 07:27 PM
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Now, if I do try to do it, I only need to pass a hot wire right? I don't need a neutral as I can use the existing neutral?
As long as it's on the same circut in the same pipe.
 
  #5  
Old 10-06-11, 07:47 PM
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Justin is correct. In case you had doubts.
 
  #6  
Old 10-07-11, 10:01 AM
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Just as note on this topic, you might want to consider replacing your mercury vapor fixtures with something newer while you've got it all torn apart. The MVs are not very efficient compared to other types. The ballasts were banned a few years ago, so you will have to replace the fixture if the ballast goes bad anyway. If you want to stick with HID lighting, metal halide fixtures are a lot brighter for about half the watts. There are also some LED options which are comparable in brightness and significantly less watts, but for quite a bit more cost upfront.
 
  #7  
Old 10-08-11, 01:40 PM
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Thanks, I will look into the newer more efficient lights.
 
  #8  
Old 10-08-11, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
Thanks, I will look into the newer more efficient lights.
Check out pulse start metal halide lights.
 
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