Electrical Wiring in the Home/Out door lighting


Just bought an out door light to install near the front door.....it has wiring to hard wire as well as a photo cell.  Can you manually override the photo cell?  As I would not really like the light or lights on from dark till morning.


If I am understanding you correctly, you simply want this photo cell equipped light to operate from a manual switch?

Photo cell lights are much more expensive than a standard two wire light, so why not return it and select a light without the cell?

I guess I am not understanding if you want it to come on, on auto or off on auto, but not at loss and gain of natural light?

If you want it to work part of the time, a timer in the circuit would work, if not at all on auto, I would return it as mentioned,  if that is not possible, you could place a small piece of tape cut very small, and cover the eye, or even darken it with some sort of permanent marker.

Depending on the construction of the light, if it is riveted together, I would not even suggest trying to get to the bread board,   but if it can be disassembled you most likely could get to the photo cell and solder a jumper wire across it,  again depending on the OEM design if it is accessible.

Again some confusion as you say it could be hard wired or wired for photocell operation,   so not sure if you meant that was a choice on install,    if so hard wired without photocell would do the trick,  it would be on by manual switch wherever you locate it or it is already located.

Now this is somewhat complex but go slow and you can select either photocell or manual :

use a 3-way switch? Using a standard 3 wire photocell switch, connect the black wire from the light to the common on the 3-way switch. Connect the Red wire from the photocell to one of the 'traveler' connections on the 3-way. Connect a piece of black wire to the other 'traveler' connection on the 3-way switch. Make a 3 wire connection with the black wires from the 3-way, photocell and supply. Make another 3 wire connection with the white wires from the light, photocell and supply. Flip the switch one way and the photocell has control (AUTO). Flip the switch the other way and the light is ON 24/7 (MANuel). Note that the photocell is still active. It just doesn't controll anything.

To also turn the light OFF 24/7, add a Standard switch between the black supply and the other black wires described above. The Standard switch turns the whole thing ON/OFF. The 3-way switch set it for Auto/Manual. Be sure to label the switches as ON/OFF and AUTO/MAN. The ON/OFF switch is ON if the light comes on with the 3-way switch in one or both positions. In daylight, the AUTO/MAN is MAN if the light is ON when the ON/OFF switch is ON.

The same thing could be done with a center off double pole double throw toggle switch non momentary.

But the instructions above would give you the option of either photocell switching or manual switching on/offf by using one three way switch.

If you really want to be creative, there are ways to add an electronic timer to the board   providing there is space in the fixture body for the extra circuitry.  I can get you those instructions if that is appealing but you would need to match the components to the voltage and amperage,  for size only,     

Sorry I am not quite understanding exactly what you need,  but at least there is an option to have either or photo or manual with one switch.

If none of the above is where you want to go, let me know more detail and we can figure something out,  
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Will Babbitt


Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,


Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri wbabbitt@jciind.com Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. About.com provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

Former IBEW, EASA, IEEE, UL, ..............


10 plus years, various Technical Schools, followed by Industrial College Credit and non Credit Courses, electronics courses, experience in most any electrical apparatus, electric motors and generators, AC OR DC, fractional to above 5000HP, other electrical apparatus, slip rings, sleeve [plain] bearings, lubrication, identification-no data plate, control components, service and sales. I have continued night schools for decades, the list is extensive. I have been in the business of repairing most anything with wires or mechanical parts for decades, I have some helpful hints and directions you won't have to dig up. Or hopefully not have to pay a huge service call invoice to find.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Federal Government, National Weather Service, NOAA, Commercial Power Plants, Major Vehicle Manufacturers, Printers, Other industrial and Commercial Businesses

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]