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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hopefully local or online from a Canadian retailer. The reason is I need to keep an existing outdoor fixture. I will drill a hole in the existing fixture. I have done this before but with a dusk to dawn sensor. I also want the pointable version like shown below.

I can find a thousand of these on Aliexpress but hoping to find one sold in Canada so it should have CSA. Amazon might be a toss-up. So either I am using the wrong keyword search or they are not sold separately.

As a last resort I will just a buy a cheap PIR fixture in Canada and remove the sensor and put it in the existing fixture.
Input device Peripheral Camera accessory Gadget Audio equipment
 

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These may be found by searching for Photocell Light Control. Beware of cheap products or those with short warranties. I unknowingly purchased some with a nine month warranty and they all burned out in 6 months. I think they were RCA or something similar fro Home Depot. Previously, I had always used Leviton light controls and they typically work well, last a long time and are reasonably priced. I have some Leviton products that are over 20 years old that still work well long after some cheaper brands died. Leviton and other reputable wiring products can easily be found at electrical wholesalers. Some serve the public but other don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I'll make a visit to the store. Perhaps not all the inventory at HD is not listed.
I have two that are 18 years old and still work well. Not sure the brand. I did replace the original PAR38 bulbs with LED bulbs. Meanwhile my COB LED motion sensor light stopped working after a year. I did a diode test on the two LEDs and one failed. At least the power supply is good. So I've been trying to source an 8.1mm round COB LED on a12.5mm board without luck. Unless I want to buy 500 from Digikey LOL.
 

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Depending on the wiring of the outdoor fixture you have several options.

I have seen a plug in photo cell which has a male and female socket which you simply plug this on the end of the chord of your appliance and it will turn on when it gets dark and switches it off at day light.

I have also seen a wall plate with a photocell sensor. A Family member had this in one of his buildings he owned. It basically is wired in place of a outdoor light switch and mounts to a junction box, it has a weather proof cover with a photocell sticking out so when it gets dark, it activates the lights on the outside of the building, and then turns them off in the morning. I like this because it is neat and tidy and makes a clean install but not sure who sells them, We believe it was already there when he bought the building
 

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one last thing i forgot to mention, some people have a outdoor lamp fixture or some kind of outdoor lighting on their property, but its hard wired or permanent fixture. You can buy a screw in adaptor to the edison socket with a photocell and then screw in the light bulb, then your outdoor light will turn on and off on its own at nite or day.
 

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Another option might be to purchase an LED outdoor fixture with a built in photocell, as many do these days. Some include a motion detector in addition to a photocell.

Yet another option may be a timer switch that has a built in calendar that turns the light on and off at the local sunset and sunrise times. It's not as accurate but often includes other functions. I use a timer indoors combined with an outdoor photocell to limit the time the outside lights are on.

I have seen a plug in photo cell which has a male and female socket which you simply plug this on the end of the chord of your appliance and it will turn on when it gets dark and switches it off at day light.
There are also screw in adapters for lamps. I've also seen cheap adapters than can be mounted in the fixture casing. These tend to be fairly useless, especially for LEDs and CFLs as they do not turn off and on cleanly. The better wall plug models may work well for things like non-permanent outdoor lights but are not designed or approved for permanent fixtures.

I have also seen a wall plate with a photocell sensor.
Generally useless for an outdoor fixture as they need to be covered with a waterproof cover. Mounting them inside usually defeats the purpose as indoor light, not outdoor, is detected.

Avoid two wire photocells and motion detectors they are are often useless with LEDs and CFLs. They rely on the resistance of incandescent lamps to operate and have an internal voltage drop at all times. Make sure that any device has at least three wires, including neutral and power feeds, and a switched output connection.

I unknowingly purchased some with a nine month warranty and they all burned out in 6 months.
That should have read 6 month warranty and they all burned out, out of warranty, in about 9 months. What a scam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have installed 2 these options in the past. On my previous house I installed the dusk-to-dawn sensor on my front entrance fixture. This was after getting a "citation" for not having a porch light on at night. It was some community safety group that was endorsed by the city police and used their logo. I moved out many years ago.

At my current house I wanted the lamppost to only be on until midnight or thereabouts. I installed a timer and set it to come on at 3PM and off at 1AM. Where the service exits the out building I installed a junction box with a dusk-to-dawn sensor. The benefit of this is that I don't have to worry about DST and the light will always be on at sunset regardless of the season.

I am doing this for an elderly relative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the tips I have re-evaluated my relatives options with her. There are 3 fixtures I'll be addressing. Back, garage and front entrances. The garage and back will have the fixture replaced with a basic PIR motion sensor light. The basic ones sell for $30. This is good because the current single lamp fixture is not bright enough so adding a photocell would not address this issue. For the front entrance I thought I found a good option in this Amertac Programmable Light. Unfortunately if the power goes out or you accidentally turn off the wall switch it does not store the settings and reverts to dusk-to-dawn. Most programmable photocells are like this. Plus I don't want this elderly relative getting on a step trying to program it. Since the fixture will effectively become a simple photocell I'll avoid this complication and just get this photocell and pair it with an LED lamp in the existing fixture. Fortunately these photocells are available at most big box stores. They run about $18.
 

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That might be the Photocell I've seen mounted on an outdoor weather proof junction box on a building. Yes if you can mount it directly to the light fixture (provided there is a hole and the wires can be spliced into at that junction that would also work well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have a step drill and will drill out a 1/2" hole if there is no knock-out or plug in the fixture. Wiring them into the fixture is quite straight-forward.
 

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That is good, then you also want the wires to be accessible once you mount the sensor. the wires should be long enough to reach the area where the wire junctions and spices take place, also if the fixture does not have a proper junction box for the wire connections and splices a proper one is used within.

best of luck with your project
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes that is what I have seen as well. Note this is going into a fixture. In these cases there is a small gasket that seals the drilled hole. In my experience fixtures are rarely sealed against the wall so I have no worries about moisture.
 
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