Remote light failure detection.


Old 10-01-01, 07:03 AM
hornetd's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 695
I posted this question about a month ago, I think, but have lost the reply and can't find it in the site. I
apologize for the repetition.

We have a dug well that requires a light-bulb to burn continuously during the winter to prevent the water
from freezing. The light fixture is attached to the bottom of the well boards so that the light warms the
well; the boards are covered by many layers of blankets as insulation to keep the heat from escaping.

The problem is that if the light bulb burns out, you have no way of knowing unless you lift the insulating
layers and look down in there.

We'd like to rig a 'warning light' -- that will go on or off when this light bulb burns out. We tried series
wiring -- like some Christmas tree light strings -- but that didn't work because of the wattage difference
between the well light (about 200 w) and the warning light (about 15 w).

Someone on this site posted a reply suggesting putting a sensor in the well. But I thought he meant the
type of sensor is set in a light bulb fixture, for a light to go on automatically when there is darkness.
Recently someone told me that there are sensors that are separate from light fixtures.

Could someone please go through the idea again, if possible, or other ideas that might solve this

Thank you for your patience and help.

Donna Walker
upstate New York
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Old 10-01-01, 07:08 AM
hornetd's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Maryland
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Photo Cell detector

Any competent electician can run a peice of three wire plus ground UF to your well and wire a photo cell switch on the end of it. Back at the house the output of the photo cell will light a light whenever the well goes dark.
Old 10-01-01, 12:27 PM
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Donna, hornetd is right about using a photo cell that would turn a light on in the house if the light fails in the pump house. You could even install a bell to ring instead of the warning light in the house. The photo cell will automatically look at the heating light bulb and only react if it fails that heating bulb fails to produce light. This method is also often used in oil furnaces shutting down the flow of oil if the fire fails to light.

Also in your past post a person suggested a photo string installed between the pump house and the dwelling thus carrying the output of the pump house light through that monofiliment string producing a lighting output in the house that you can see produced from that heat light in the pump house. If the string goes dark then the bulb has failed in the pump house. This is along the design of fiber optic work. Not expensive or technical to install.

Another person suggested cutting a hole that can be seen from the dwelling through the hole of the pump house where you can see the heating light bulb through a piece of plexiglass mounted to the side of the pump house wall by using a sealing compounds such as an adhesive caulk.

There were a couple of other ideas but those above I remembered but can't remember who suggested what in replies. All suggestions were in my mind imaginative and good ideas.

Hope this helps


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