Photocell Issues


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Old 10-19-21, 04:37 PM
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Photocell Issues

Hi there,
I just moved into a new house, and am having some issues with the photocell that controls the front patio lights. When I moved in, the lights were perpetually on. I spoke to the previous occupant and they advised it was due to a bad photocell receptor located on the roof that controlled the lights. I uninstalled the photocell, tested the lines, and found 120V coming into black wire, red and white both dead. I assumed white to be the common and red my out line. I purchased a replacement photocell and installed it with the same configuration as the old, black to black, red to red, white to white, but now I cannot get the lights to turn on. I removed the new photocell, and re-installed the old, and could not get the lights to turn on. I then re-installed the new photocell, left the breaker off for a few hours, turned it back on, and nothing. The new photocell has been installed for a week now with no luck. At this point, I tried just manually connecting the black wire to the red wire, which I assumed to be the out (after confirming that black was still hot), and this did not get the lights to turn on either.

Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong?

Thank you!!
 
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Old 10-19-21, 06:35 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You are correct. Connecting the red (switched) line to the black (hot) line should make the lights come on. I would check for power on the black wire to the white/neutral wire or to ground.

Possibly you tripped a breaker ?
I don't see you as doing anything wrong.

Typically there is a switch inside the house that supplies switched hot power to the photocell so that the lights can be turned off or set to be always on.
 
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Old 10-20-21, 09:40 AM
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Thanks so much for the reply. There was power coming from the black line, so I don't think it was a tripped breaker. I think the previous owner had replaced the inside lightswitch with a home security panel, but it doesn't seem like I can control the lights from that. Also it's odd because the lights were on before I replaced the photocell.

I am going to try connecting the black and the red wires and cap it and leave it for a day or two to see if that does anything.
 
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Old 10-20-21, 11:58 AM
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Does it control just one bulb ? Maybe it went bad ?
 
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Old 10-20-21, 12:58 PM
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No there's 4 lights in the circuit and I've tried using a few different bulbs, no luck.
 
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Old 10-20-21, 01:12 PM
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Hmmm...... you said there was power on the black wire.
Be sure to check from black to white to make sure the neutral wire is also ok.
 
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Old 10-20-21, 07:42 PM
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Thank you! The white wire should be dead right? Since is the common?
 
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Old 10-20-21, 10:17 PM
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Technically the neutral is at ground potential.
You should measure 120v to the white wire or ground. Both should measure the same.
 
 

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