How to Install a Photocell Sensor

Installing a photocell sensor is an easy and affordable way to add automated lighting control to your home. Photocells are designed to detect the presence of natural light and automatically turn lights on or off based on the amount of ambient light in their vicinity. This type of automation can save you money on your energy bill, as well as provide additional convenience when it comes to controlling lighting around your property.

How to Install a Photocell Sensor

In this guide on how to install a photocell sensor, we’ll explain how you can install a photocell sensor in just four simple steps. With minimal effort and basic hand tools, you’ll be able to have automated lighting control that will serve you for years to come.

What is Photocell Sensor?

Before we jump into the installation process, it’s important to understand what a photocell sensor is and how it works. A photocell sensor is an electronic device that detects the presence of light or darkness in its vicinity and reacts by switching lights on or off accordingly. These devices are often used to automate lighting control and to save energy by only providing light when it is needed.

The basic components of a photocell sensor include a detector and a relay switch. The detector is the “eye” of the system that detects changes in ambient light levels, while the relay switch is used to activate or deactivate electric circuits.

Preparing for Installation

Before you get started with installation, you’ll need to prepare by gathering the necessary materials and tools. You’ll need a photocell sensor, wire strippers, electrical tape, screws, and screwdrivers, as well as any other tools required for the specific type of installation.

The most important thing to remember when preparing is to make sure you have all the right tools and materials for the job. This will help to make sure that your installation process goes smoothly and that you don’t run into any unexpected issues.

10 Instructions on How to Install a Photocell Sensor

1. Install the Photocell Sensor

Install the photocell sensor. Begin by mounting the photocell sensor to a wall or surface using screws and screwdrivers. Make sure that the sensor is securely mounted in its desired location, as any loose connections could cause malfunctions.

2. Connect the Wires

Connect the Wires From the Photocell Sensor

Next, connect the wires from the photocell sensor to your wiring system. Start by stripping the end of each wire and then connecting it firmly to its corresponding terminal on the photocell sensor. Once everything is securely connected, use electrical tape to reinforce any connections that may be loose or exposed.

3. Connect the Relay Switch

Now, it’s time to connect the relay switch for the photocell sensor. Again, start by stripping the ends of each wire and then connecting them firmly to their corresponding terminals on the relay switch. Securely fasten any exposed connections with electrical tape.

4. Test the Photocell Sensor

Once all of the connections are secured, you’ll need to test the photocell sensor. To do this, turn off the lights in your home and wait for a few moments. If everything is working correctly, then the lights should automatically turn on when there is sufficient ambient light detected by the photocell sensor.

5. Secure the Wiring

Now that the photocell sensor is working correctly, you’ll need to secure the wiring. Start by wrapping any exposed wires with electrical tape and then tucking them away from harm’s way. This will help to ensure that the wires don’t become damaged or disturbed in the future.

6. Mount the Relay Switch

Mount the relay switch by screwing it into a nearby wall or surface. This will help to keep the switch secure and out of harm’s way. The switch should be easily accessible and visible so that you can control the lights with ease.

Mount the Relay Switch by Screwing

7. Troubleshoot

If you are having any issues with the photocell sensor, then it’s important to troubleshoot them as soon as possible. Start by double-checking all of your connections to ensure that everything is securely fastened and that no wires are exposed. If the issue persists, then it may be necessary to call in a professional for help.

8. Program the Lights

Once everything is working correctly, you can start to program the lights with your desired settings. This includes setting the appropriate timers and light levels for when the lights should turn on and off throughout the day.

9. Test the System

Once you have programmed the lights, it’s important to test the system to make sure that everything is working correctly. Turn off the lights in your home and wait for a few moments. If everything is working correctly, then the lights should automatically turn on when there is sufficient ambient light detected by the photocell sensor.

10. Enjoy the Lights

Once you’re sure that everything is working correctly, it’s time to enjoy your new lights! You can now control the lights in your home with ease and convenience, thanks to the installation of your photocell sensor.

By following these steps on how to install a photocell sensor, you should be able to successfully install one in your home. Keep in mind that it’s important to take precautions when dealing with electricity, as any mistakes could cause serious harm or damage. If you ever feel unsure of yourself while installing the sensor, then it’s best to call in a professional for help.

Program the Lights With Your Desired Settings

8 Maintenance Tips

1. Make sure the sensor is clean. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the photocell over time, so it’s important to regularly wipe it down with a soft cloth. The sensor should also be shielded from direct sunlight and other sources of bright light.

2. Test the photocell regularly to ensure it’s working properly. When testing, cover the sensor with your hand or a piece of paper and make sure that the light turns off when the photocell is covered and back on when it’s exposed.

3. Make sure that the sensor is properly connected to the other components in your system. Check the wiring and make sure it’s securely attached and not frayed or exposed. If the sensor isn’t connected properly, it won’t be able to do its job.

4. Replace the battery in your photocell every two years or so. This will help ensure that the sensor is always functioning correctly and receiving power. The battery should be easy to locate and replace.

5. Check the settings of your photocell periodically to make sure that they’re correct. This is especially important if you live in a location with seasonal changes or drastic shifts in daylight hours. The settings should be adjusted accordingly as needed.

6. Make sure the sensor is securely mounted on the wall or other surfaces. With time, vibrations from surrounding machinery or traffic can cause the photocell to become loose and start malfunctioning.

7. Check for signs of physical damage on the sensor, such as cracks or chips in the body. If you notice any damage, replace the photocell immediately to avoid further problems down the line. The signs of physical damage may be small, so take the time to inspect it regularly.

8. Move the photocell away from interfering parts, such as air conditioning units or electronic equipment. This will help ensure that the sensor functions properly and pick up the correct signals.

It’s important to remember that regular maintenance and routine inspections are key to keeping your photocell sensor working properly. With a little bit of effort and vigilance, you can ensure that your system is always running smoothly and efficiently.

Move the Photocell Away From Interfering Parts

 Frequently Asked Question

How to Choose the Best Sensor?

When choosing a photocell sensor, there are several factors to consider: the type of application you will be using it for, the power requirements, and the size and shape of the sensor. Different types of sensors have different features and capabilities, so it is important to understand your needs before selecting a particular model. Consider whether you need an analog or digital output, the range of sensitivity, and any special features such as waterproofing or remote control.

Which Type of Sensor Is Right for My Application?

The type of photocell sensor you need depends on your application. For example, a photoelectric switch may be best suited for an outdoor area that needs to detect obstacles or objects in motion, while an indoor occupancy sensor may be better suited for a room that needs to detect when people come and go. Consider the particular needs of your application before selecting the right type of photocell sensor.


Installing a photocell sensor is an effective way to automate your home or business, providing convenience and peace of mind. When selecting the right type of sensor for your application, it’s important to consider factors such as power requirements and size, and shape before making a decision.

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