outdoor light/photocell issues

Old 04-05-18, 08:17 AM
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outdoor light/photocell issues

Excuse this lengthy post - I feel I need to give a little background.

We live in a small community where they have outdoor lights (with photocells) on each lot and these were put in by the community management a little while back. Initially the lights on our street were not wired to power- just the light and post mounted. These light posts also have an outlet near the bottom, which is a nice feature.They sat like that for a few months (not wired to power) so I decided to do a temporary step and at least get some light. I ran an outdoor extension chord from a GFCI on my house and hard wired it to the light post. Initially the light would not turn off, though it appeared to be wired correctly. A disconnected the ground wire (not even sure why I did that) and it worked fine after that. Always came on at dusk and turned off at first light.

Fast forward four months and the development folks hired some electricians to hard wire the lights to our power source. As soon as they were done, my light stayed on 24 hours a day - as did a few others on my block. Now I know they hooked up the ground, which they should have, but, as I said, I had disconnected it earlier to get it to function properly.We had also heard that the photocells in a number of the light posts may have been defective so, after a few weeks, I decided to change out the photocell. Did it this past Saturday and it worked perfectly. On at dusk and off at first light in the morning. This lasted for four nights and then, this morning (and still into the afternoon), the light stayed on. When I put the new sensor in on Saturday I re-wired it exactly as the electricians did - with the ground wire hooked to ground. I know that you can get bad sensors but this doesn't compute. Worked when ground was not hooked up but when ground is wired in it only worked for four nights then back to permanently on.

Can the ground (or lack thereof) make a difference? If so, why? I know folks will also talk about how much light the cell is getting but it worked for months before the electricians hard wired it and then for a few days after I replaced the sensor, so I am not really considering location of the sensor to be the problem.

Kind of at a loss, here, and looking for thoughts on this.
Old 04-05-18, 12:10 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Most photocells don't even have a ground as they are in a plastic housing.
The ground wire should have no effect on the operation of the fixture.

Which photocell are you using ? Maybe a model number.

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