how to get street lamp working

Old 08-07-21, 04:58 PM
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how to get street lamp working

I live in a home that is one side of a duplex. I own my side of the duplex; the resident of the other side owns his side. The builder of this duplex placed a street lamp on the property line between the two sides, The builder had to choose one side or the other to connect the electric line running to the street lamp. He choose the neighbor's side. I am the original occupant/owner of my side of the duplex. My current neighbor is the third owner of his side. The lamp has a photocell which is supposed to turn it on and off.

The street lamp has not worked for years now. If I recall correctly, it has not worked anytime during my current neighbor's residency. I have discussed resurrecting the lamp with my neighbor. Since the lamp has not worked during my neighbor's residency here, he is unaware of how to turn power to the lamp off and on. I always assumed the builder installed a switch in the neighbor's garage. But, my neighbor says he has not found such a switch. He also said no notations in his main circuit breaker panel are marked to identify a breaker supporting the street lamp.

If, in fact, no switch to the street lamp was installed in my neighbor's home and his main breaker panel shows no notations identifying the street lamp, then I guess the lamp is combined with some other circuit in his home and this was not properly annotated in his main circuit breaker panel. If this is true, then some testing/experimenting will have to be done to identify the circuit controlling the street lamp.

I should mention, I have a contactless electricity sensor which seems to detect the presence of electrical power to the lamp; it beeps when held close to the lamp. I also have a regular (two-pronged) tester; I have not tried probing around with it inside the lamp pole. To proceed with troubleshooting this, I am thinking the following approach:

1. Just to be sure that the problem is not simply a burned out light bulb, replace the bulb.

2. If step 1 makes no difference: ask neighbor to turn off one circuit breaker at a time while I hold my contactless electricity sensor near to pole. If we can identify a breaker that feeds the lamp, then leave that breaker in off position and carefully proceed to pull wiring and photocell up out of pole and test with two-pronged tester.

3. If contact testing confirms power to lamp is off, then replace the photocell, which is usually the cause of street lamp failure.

4. Test the lamp by turning breaker back to ON position.

5. If lamp still does not work, call an electrician, or abandon the idea of resurrecting the lamp.

Does this sound like the right approach?
Old 08-08-21, 12:11 AM
PJmax's Avatar
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Typically you'd find a post light switch by the front door.
In the case of a shared light like you have there may not be a switch.

Your ideas sound good. Since you've found hot there at least the power is on.
You could still have an open neutral which would show still show hot.

Definitely try a bulb first.
Once you've found the circuit you can pull the photocell out and check it with your tester.
Old 08-08-21, 02:14 PM
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Can you talk to the builder or owner to see where the power comes from and if there is a switchand where it might be?
Old 08-08-21, 05:27 PM
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The builder probably built more than home with the same setup. You might have better luck talking to a neighbour who has a similar setup.

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