Guide to Troubleshooting Photocell Sensors

This security light has a photocell and a motion sensor.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Outdoor lighting enhances a home's exterior and acts like a guide to direct visitors down a pathway. Many lighting systems utilize photocell sensors to automatically activate lighting, but the photocell can malfunction at times requiring simple troubleshooting procedures.

Function

A photocell sensor is an electronic component, typically a resistor, that detects levels of light. As the sun sets, the photocell senses the light waning. As a result of less light, the photocell activates the lighting system.

Considerations

One common problem that affects photocell functioning is incorrect or loose wiring between the photocell and the main circuitry of the lighting system. The wire that connects the photocell to the lighting circuit needs to have a solid, soldered connection. In addition, the system needs to have proper electrical power. Verify that all connections are securely fastened to he power supply.

Identification

Over time, photocells can suffer from small cracks within their assembly. These cracks can result in intermittent lighting, or even no light activation at all. Inspect the photocell for any aberrations. If cracked, replacement is the only option.

Related Articles

Types of Light Sensors
How to Wire a Lighting Contactor
How to Reduce 12 Volt to 6 Volt
What Are the Different Types of Ballast?
Types of Light Sensors
How to Test a Toshiba DLP Ballast
How to Use a 12-Volt LED on a 24 Volt
What Is an Electric Relay?
How Does a Check Valve Work?
Types of Electrical Loads
Projects for Electrical & Electronics Engineering
Multimeter Parts & Functions
How Does a Lock-Out Relay Work?
Why Do Fluorescent Lights Flicker?
How to Diagnose a Circuit Board With a Bad Transistor
How to Test a Blower Resistor
Infrared Light Effect on Eyes
How to Use a 9-Volt Battery to Power LEDs
What Are Infrared Heaters?
Uses of Resistors