Can One Photocell Control Multiple Lights?

Due to their numerous advantages, photocells are used for outdoor illumination. In addition to saving electricity, it also lessens light pollution. You might be interested in knowing if a photocell can manage several lights if you intend to install one for your outdoor lighting.

Do several lights work with a single photocell? One photocell can control many lights if the lights are on the same line. Similar to a manual switch, it has various light-switching capabilities. Install it correctly and connect it to several different lights to get the most out of the photocell’s illumination benefits.

How To Add Photocell To Several Outdoor Lights

The steps you must take to add a photocell to many outdoor lights include figuring out how many lights you’ll install, the circuit, where to get electricity, how to install conduit pipes, and how to attach cables. Let’s discover more about these actions down below.

Number of Lights

Counting the number of lights is the first thing you must consider. The number of lights that can be controlled by a photocell switch is determined by the power rating in watts that most photocells have. This will enable you to choose the appropriate photocell size.

Circuits in Question

You must count all of your lights and determine their power rating. Determine how much current will be drawn from the supply by each light next. The number of circuits you require must also be determined. You must utilize another course to power additional light fixtures if there are too many for a single circuit breaker to handle.

Source of Power

Can One Photocell Control Multiple Lights?

Choosing a power source is the next step. Don’t draw electricity from the current indoor lighting circuits. This could be risky if you install several outside security lights. The best thing you can do is designate a different course just for the lights that will be photo-activated.

Installation of electrical conduit pipes

Conduit pipes for electrical wiring must be installed next. Making progress on the electrical conduit piping is simple once you’ve decided how many lights you’ll install. This is so that you can plan how to arrange the conduit pipes to achieve your objective.

Put the Wires in Place

The wire installation must be done after the conduit pipes have been installed. The wiring of a photocell-controlled circuit must include this crucial step, so take note. To connect to electricity, a photocell has three terminals or cables. For ease of connecting the photocell and to prevent any problems, make sure the wires are installed correctly.

Put the Photocell in Place and Connect It

Mounting and wiring the photocell together are the final steps. Make sure the photocell is mounted correctly to avoid having the light turn off when the lights are turned on. In addition, be sure the photocell is placed in the appropriate location within your house.

How to Connect a Photocell Switch

A photocell switch is simple to wire. You can reduce your electric bill by doing this. On outdoor lighting fixtures, photocell switches are frequently employed. Here are the instructions for wiring a photocell switch.

Step 1: Turn off the electricity entirely at the light fixture where the photocell will be installed.

Step 2: Remove the light from the electrical box using a screwdriver. The two wire nuts connecting the wires to the light fixture and power supply should then be removed. The light fixture should be put on a flat surface to make installation easier.

Step 3: The connecting hole must next be taken out. The front of the outdoor lighting fixtures is where you can discover this. By inserting the tip of a screwdriver into the knockout hole and striking the other end of the screwdriver with wire pliers, you can remove the metal knockout cover.

Step 4: After that, you must firmly press the metal end of the photocell into the opening. A little lock nut located on the back of the light fixture should be used to tighten the switch. The nut can be drawn with wire pliers. The photocell switch has three wires connecting to it. The switch’s neutral wire is the white wire. The photocell switch’s primary power source is the black wire. The switch wire that exits the photocell is colored red.

Step 5: The final action you must take is to join the wires. Twist the three white neutral wires together, covering the exposed ends of the copper with a wire nut. The black wire of the photocell switch should then be connected to the black wire from the fixture’s electrical box, which is the power source.

Wrap the wires in a wire nut after twisting them together. Last but not least, join the black wire of the light fixture to the red wire that comes from the photocell.

Step 6: The lighting fixture must now be fastened to the electrical box in step six. Ensure that the light fixture’s bulb is replaced. For the switch to activate with the right light, you must also modify the metal band situated in front of the photocell.

Advice On Wiring A Photocell

Here are some pointers and ideas for wiring a photocell to several lights.

  1. Ensure that the photocell on your home is always facing the exterior. As a result, it will always be lit directly by the sun, giving you the best possible brightness to decide whether or not to turn on the lights.
  2. Avoid buying highly cheap ones; they are not worth the hassle! You’ll get more extraordinary results and a much longer lifespan if you invest more money in a high-quality photocell.
  3. If the photocell is located outside, ensure it is shielded from inclement weather and any debris, such as leaves or branches, that might turn on your lights when they are not supposed to.
  4. If the photocell shows any signs of condensation or water, dry it off as soon as possible. A short circuit could occur if too much water gets close to or inside the photocell, which could destroy your entire system.
  5. If you need to replace your photocell because it has failed, make sure the new one you get is an exact replica of the old one. This will ensure that your timers continue to function in the same manner.

Is Neutrality Required for Photocells?

Can One Photocell Control Multiple Lights?

The photocell is frequently believed to require grounding to function. Not so! A method of transforming light into electricity is the photoelectric process. Because it doesn’t include any electrical output (and consequently no pressure), it doesn’t need a zero-pressure standard like the earth. In other words, many individuals have done so efficiently without even connecting your photocells to neutral.

Connecting the photocell between the two hotlines will cause the cell to burn out; thus, avoid doing that at all costs! Like photovoltaic cells, which are neutral but not photocells, photocells are frequently mistaken for them.

Installation and Use of a Photocell: Safety Precautions

  1. AC (Alternating Current) light sources are how photocells are made. They should not be used with household electricity, such as that found in wall outlets or switches or DC (Direct Current).
  2. UV (Ultra-Violet) radiation from artificial lighting, strong magnetic fields, or direct sunlight will all impair the functionality of photocells.
  3. Photocells must not only not be exposed to household current, but they also cannot be used as a prevention cutout! Touching a photocell whose terminals have come into contact with household current could produce electrocution.
  4. Photocells shouldn’t be used as a switch for appliances like heat lamps because they are not intended to activate electronic devices that need a load of further than 16 amps or 10 watts.
  5. Photocell connections should never be powered by more than 600 volts unless specified in the product description! To regulate high voltage equipment like HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lighting, you should thus utilize suitable relays.
  6. The usage of photocells outdoors is not recommended. Installing them indoors with waterproof tape or enclosing the terminals in a plastic or metal housing is an option if you’d like, but keep in mind that they won’t survive as long outside.
  7. Photocells must never be directly connected to AC power; instead, they must always be connected to the leads of a device’s pilot light. Consequently, you can use less energy at night to run your appliances or lights.

Do LEDs Require a Particular Type of Photocell?

In contrast to conventional bulbs, LED lights require a unique photocell. Be aware that traditional photocells require a minimum current to function during the daytime when there is no light. However, their modest current results in distortion, shimmering, and other problems because LEDs have a low operating voltage.

Can a Photocell Be Added to an Outdoor Light?

The outdoor light can be upgraded with a photocell. It is an easy task to complete. Two black wires make up a photocell, which should be tapped into the black wire coming from your home and going to the light fixture. Make sure to install a photocell properly if you’re adding one to an outdoor lighting fixture to receive the most outstanding lighting and to avoid any issues.


I appreciate you taking the time to read this article about the possibility of a single photocell controlling several lights. One photocell can control several lights, as we’ve learned. Additionally, I described how to incorporate a photocell into several lighting fixtures.

You can do it yourself; it is a simple project. Alternatively, if you lack the confidence to work on light wiring, you may always call a professional electrician. For reading, I’m grateful to you.

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