Custom photocell integration with switch bank

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  #1  
Old 09-11-15, 10:01 PM
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Custom photocell integration with switch bank

I have a five gang masonry box set into the concrete block wall.

The box is located inside an atrium, with a total of ten switches controlling all the exterior lights.

Here is a picture of the switches, and the corresponding labels for each switch. I have wired the switches such that the location of the lights each switch controls maps to the location of the switch in relation to the box. Otherwise with ten switches it can get confusing.



After I wired them I realized one set of lights should be controlled dusk till dawn instead of with an on/off switch. Well it would be nice to have an on/off manual override.

The top middle switch controls two pole lights and two step lights at the front entrance.



I think the wires to each pole and step are encased in the concrete stairs. There is no easy way to have a photocell on the outside for all four lights. So I am thinking of a way to mount a photocell on the inside.

But I have ten switches and each one serves a purpose. It is difficult to rearrange them due to their location on the box. I don't want to move a "center" light out of the "center gang".

Can you think of anyway that the two switches in the middle can be converted to control the pole/step lights via a photocell, as well as the center recessed lights? Is there a decora switch where half of it is a switch and the other half a "blank" that I can drill a KO hole to fit in a photocell? Or any other ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-11-15, 10:46 PM
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It's going to be pretty hard to do anything inside the house. The photocell would probably need to be outside. It would make sense for the wiring to come to one step light first and then branch off from there.

I'd pull out the step lights and see what you have for wiring. Based on your picture maybe you could drill thru the cement and put a photocell on the opposite (back) side of the cement base.

It would still be switched controlled. If you turned the switch on there may be a short delay for the photocell to turn on and you could turn the switch off if you didn't want them coming on at all.
 
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Old 09-12-15, 05:56 AM
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Let me clarify.

The five gang box switch in the picture is on the inside but is "outdoor". You enter the front door where the pole and switch lights are into an outdoor atrium. Then you walk across the atrium to reach the doors to go inside the house. So the house is like a donut. In that sense, the switches are "outside", with the sun and rain etc...

Also, I have already opened the poles at the top, and the step lights. Unfortunately, each of them has just one hot and one neutral going to the metal box. It wasn't wired to one fixture, then the next...next...next. There isn't a first entry point.

Being that this is original, 1976 work, I think this means there is a junction box somewhere with the circuit splits into four, and this junction box is on the outside somewhere. I have opened all outside junction boxes nearby and couldn't find it, and I suspect it was buried in concrete somewhere.

That's when I went back and try to do something at the switch. Because the alternative is to install four photocells, one at each device. That would involve drilling two holes at the poles (no big deal), and chisel out two boxes at the step lights (big deal). If I were to do that I might as well chisel out a box above the existing 5 gang switch box just for the photocell.
 

Last edited by MiamiCuse; 09-12-15 at 07:08 AM.
  #4  
Old 09-12-15, 12:08 PM
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I gave you the only idea I had. I can't picture adding a photocell INTO that switchbox.
 
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