New Wired Photocell Not Working

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Old 03-08-09, 12:19 PM
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New Wired Photocell Not Working

I have a - what appears to be mercury vapor lamp - on a big telephone pole at the house I just moved in. It's wired directly to the box in the garage on a 20a single pole breaker, so the only way to turn it off during the day is by flipping the breaker.

I wanted to remedy this so I bought a photocell censor (dusk/dawn) that wires directly into the source. So I wired it in at the base of the pole and got everything together. Then I turned the breaker back on ... and the light still comes on right now ... while it's bright and sunny out.

Is there a certain time period I have to wait - a cycle of sorts - before it functions properly? Or is it possible I wired it wrong? It seemed quite simple: black to black, white to white, red to red and since it didn't have a ground wire I just re-spliced the ground together in the main wire.

Any ideas on why the light is still on?

Thanks,
Jason
 
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Old 03-08-09, 12:33 PM
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The photocell should be wired like a single pole switch. Power in to the black PC wire, switched power out to the fixture on the red PC wire.

Do you really have a red wire in the circuit wiring? Is this a 120 or 240 volt light?
 
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Old 03-08-09, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
The photocell should be wired like a single pole switch. Power in to the black PC wire, switched power out to the fixture on the red PC wire.

Do you really have a red wire in the circuit wiring? Is this a 120 or 240 volt light?
No it's 120. But I went and checked something. The wiring that I spliced the photocell into coming off/going to the pole, is actually coming off a 20a 120vac outlet. So the wiring comes from the 20a single pole breaker to the outlet, and then they ran wiring from the outlet which is then spliced to the wiring on the light pole. I'll need to check the splice they did on the inside, but I'll bet that red wire is not connected, or spliced to something else. If that's the case, what do do then?

Am I still okay wiring the photocell into the pole wiring, or will I need to rewire it into the circuit wiring?

*EDIT - I checked the old splice and the red wire is NOT part of the circuit wiring. It's simply part of the pole light wiring and is capped off at the splice to the circuit wiring. So the wiring is as follows: Comes from the 20a single pole breaker (120vac) to a 20a 125vac outlet - then goes to splice with pole light wiring connected as black to black, white to white, bare copper ground to bare copper ground and red wire of pole light capped.

So, I'm assuming I need to wire the photocell black to black ... but what about the photocell's white and red wires? Where I made the cut in the wire, do I need to connect the black power in to the black PC wire, and then the other end of the cut black wire (that goes to the light) have the red PC wire connected? And then white PC wire spliced into white?
 

Last edited by EntoMan; 03-08-09 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 03-08-09, 01:38 PM
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Try moving the black wire that goes to the fixture to the red from the PC.
 
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Old 03-08-09, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Try moving the black wire that goes to the fixture to the red from the PC.
Okay thanks. I was just editing my question when you posted this. I had it wrong. From the look of the diagram on the box I had both cut black ends spliced to the black PC wire. No wonder it wouldn't switch it off.

My last question then would be in regard to the white PC wire. Just splice it in with the two cut portions of the white circuit wiring?
 
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Old 03-08-09, 01:54 PM
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Yes, splice all the whites together.

Make sure to make all the splices in an accessible box rated for the environement it will be used in.
 
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Old 03-08-09, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Yes, splice all the whites together.

Make sure to make all the splices in an accessible box rated for the environement it will be used in.
Done and done. Everything is working great now. I changed the wiring and when I turned the power back on the light came on for about a minute and then turned off. And then just before dark it kicked on perfectly and is doing well.

Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.
 
 

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