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How to wire a dusk to dawn light

Dusk to dawn lights are the perfect security addition to your home - intruders don’t like well lit areas. If you are looking to change an existing outside light to a dusk to dawn light, it can be hugely beneficial not only as a safety feature to save you tripping over the cat but can save pounds as you won’t have to leave the outside light on all day and all night. Your dusk till dawn light will be waiting to welcome you home in the dark – it comes on when you need it and goes out when you don’t.

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  1. Isolate the power from the existing light fitting. Do this by switching the light on then get a helper to tell you when the light goes out as you switch off the individual RCB breakers one by one. If you still have an old fashioned fuse board instead pull out the fuses one at a time. If in doubt isolate the whole power supply before starting work.

  2. Unscrew the existing light fitting from the wall plate to expose the wires inside. Disconnect the wires and discard the light fitting. Unscrew the wall plate from the wall, slide off the existing wires and discard.

  3. Check the wires for any damage for example, cracks, bare wires or breakages. Prepare the wires so you have approximately a 12 mm (1/2 inch) bear end to each of the three wires. If it is modern wiring you should have a brown, blue and either a bare wire or a wire with a green & yellow sleeve. If its old fashioned wiring you will have a red (live) a black (neutral) and a bare (earth) wire.

  4. Remove the wall plate from the new light fitting being careful not to damage the weather gasket. Push the three wires through the rubber grommet in the rear of the wall plate. Align the wall plate and fix to the wall.

  5. Make sure the gasket is in place before connecting the 3 existing wires into the block connector in the back of the new light fitting. Where brown is live, blue is neutral and the bare wire is earth (it is a good idea to obtain a small piece of yellow and green earth sleeve to identify the earth wire). Make sure your connections are firm and tight.

  6. Make sure the gasket is in place and screw the body of the light to the wall plate making sure all wires are safely inside the back box and not pinched or crimped between the wall plate and body of the light housing. Use a small bead of clear silicone along the top and two sides where the wall plate and light body meet to prevent any weather penetration into the electrics.

  7. Turn on the power at the RCB or fuse board, the light should come on for a few seconds and then go off. To test the dawn to dusk sensor hold your hand over the sensor for a few seconds to block the light and the light should come on. Remove your hand and the light will go off again. You now have a working dusk to dawn light.

  8. Tip

    If possible use a volt meter to confirm there is no power going to any of the wires prior to working on them. Any fine adjustment on the sensor would need to be done as it is getting dark. See manufacturer’s instructions for how to adjust the lumin sensor on the bottom of the light fitting. If your light does not work first check the light switch is in the on position.


    Working with electrics can be very dangerous, once you have turned the power supply of ensure it remains off until finished.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dusk to dawn light
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Voltmeter
  • Clear silicone

About the Author

Jenny Roberts

Jenny Roberts has been working as a ghost writer since early 2011. She has published numerous articles on health, fitness and diet, travel and a variety of other subjects. She is a qualified accountant and teacher.

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