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The Wiring Details on How to Install a Photo Light Sensor for Outdoor Light

Updated February 21, 2017

A photo light sensor activates electrical circuits based on the amount of light they receive. They're commonly used to make outdoor lights turn on automatically when it becomes dark, and turn off automatically when it's light again. This can be useful in improving the security in your home and discouraging prowlers. The wiring details involved in installing a photo sensor light are quite important, for if the photo light sensor is not installed properly, the light will not activate when it's supposed to.

Turn off power to the circuit you'll be connecting the photo sensor to. In most homes you'll turn off the power at the circuit breaker box, though some older homes may employ a fuse box. Don't settle for switching off the light at a wall switch, and never attempt to work on a live electrical circuit.

Remove the wire nuts connecting the light to the home wiring by twisting the wire nuts holding the wires together to the left. This will leave you with a white and black wire connected to the lamp, and a black and white wire connected to the home wiring.

Place the bare end of the red insulated copper wire from the photo sensor together with the black wire connected to the light. Slide a wire nut over the ends of the wires and twist to the right until it's tightly secured. Wrap a short piece of electrical tape around the base of the nut and the wires.

Place the bare ends of the two white wires together. Slide a wire nut over the ends of the wires and twist to the right until it's tightly secured. Wrap a short piece of electrical tape around the base of the nut and the wires.

Place the bare end of the black wire from the photo sensor together with the black wire connected to the home wiring. Slide a wire nut over the ends of the wires and twist to the right until it's tightly secured. Wrap a short piece of electrical tape around the base of the nut and the wires.

Warning

Never attempt to work on a live electrical circuit.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
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About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.