Ideas to replace hardwired outdoor photocell light control with ST control?

(DLee) #1

I have a driveway light that is controlled by a standard photocell sensor on the side of the house in a box. Like this one.

The area is now surrounded by tall trees that block light. On overcast days the driveway light will stay on all day. I’m looking for a simple z-wave switch control solution to replace the photocell. Ideally a solution that I can easily revert later if/when we move some day.

I’m no electrician but I can do a few things. I believe these photocells send a low voltage on/off signal? Any ideas for ST connected hardware to wire in place of the photocell?

(Cody Truscott) #2

Aeon Labs micro dimmer should do the trick.

(DLee) #3

Thanks @codytruscott. I have seen these Aeon switches before but couldn’t figure out a use case. So I can do the Aeon switch (DSC18103-ZWUS) instead of dimmer. And leave the photocell cover on the box with wires capped, the Aeon Labs switch inside the box with no manual control switch attached.

Aeon Labs website is not exactly forthcoming with part numbers for some reason.

It appears the 2nd gen dimmer is DSC19103-ZWUS.
The 2nd gen switch is DSC18103-ZWUS
And there are other version that sell in the same price range without energy monitoring.

(Cody Truscott) #4

Dimmer are nice because they have a smooth ramp up down with an on/off, but, obviously, they do need compatible light bulbs in order to work.

Alternatively, and cheaper?, depending on the enclosure you could just use a GE lightlinc bulb?

(DLee) #5

I thought about a bulb but this brick light post is about 60 feet away from the house down by the road and the ST hub is another 30 feet through walls. The photocell is mounted on the house external wall. Also, this time of year I have a string of LED xmas lights plugged into the light post via a light bulb socket adapter. Looks kind of silly to have xmas lights on all day on dark days.

All Aeon micro switch versions appear at about the same price. I’ll probably go with the on/off switch for simplicity. If this switch has reasonable delays, I plan to have it flash via an Emergency Alert smartapp to help draw attention in case of emergency.

(Cody Truscott) #6

I’d give the bulb a go anyhow — $15 and zigbee range aint bad.

(Chuck) #7

I had a similar situation with a motion sensor that did not work as required.

In your case I would black out the light sensor which should leave the light on all the time. You can use a piece of electrical tape as a temporary test. I would then install a Z-Wave on/off light switch somewhere in the power line. At that point you can have the light come on when you want it to.

Hope that helps.


(DLee) #8

It’s not bad, but I want to be able to control the outlet below the light socket during the holidays.