Dusk-til-dawn flood lights may have any of a variety of configurations and features that could be involved in a failure. The simplest involve a fixture with photo sensor that interrupts (switches) power to the floodlight lamp holders when daylight is present. Other ‘enhancements’ such as outdoor motion sensing flood lights and dual brightness level settings may come at the cost of increased susceptibility to weather, mechanical and electronic failures (usually due to temperature extremes or else voltage surges from nearby lightning strikes, damaging circuitry inside the sensor assembly). Where possible, consider use of an astronomically-self-calibrating timer (see Intermatic), rather than sensor-based controls for outdoor lights. If photo-sensing, and especially motion-sensing, are critical or cheaper due to the wiring configuration of your fixture(s), then consider a whole-house surge suppressor to protect their sensitive electronic components along with those of consumer electronics and newer appliances inside the home.
A timer may be the culprit if your outdoor lights don’t seem to operate correctly in Spring or Fall: daylight savings time, your own pattern of being outdoors vs. indoors, and changing daylight hours could individually or cumulatively amount to the timer being out of sync with your lighting needs. The most common timer for exterior lighting is a 9″ x 5″ mechanical clock with set-screw timing points that trip a mechanical switch on and off. The Intermatic T101R has been a go-to classic for decades, but may be effectively replaced today by the astronomically auto-adjusting digital version for location in utility areas, or a more elegant wall switch timer that you can locate for convenient manual override to turn your floodlights on/off when the timer would otherwise prevail.
Photo sensors may take anywhere from 10-120 seconds to respond to continuous illumination (turning off), and a similar duration of darkness before turning on. This tends to minimize flickering and contactor fatigue from responding prematurely to marginal conditions, such as at dusk and/or with passing cloud cover when light levels are already low (such as when the sensor is in a shaded location).
Dust to dawn flood lights won’t come on
Dusk to dawn flood lights won’t turn off
The most common cause of a flood light fixture not coming on (or not turning off) is that the small electronically-controlled contactor in the sensor has frozen in the open (off) or closed (on) position. Tapping on the device during the condition (light or dark) when the contactor is ‘out of position’ (malfunctioning) may free it for normal operation for several more years — ie: indefinitely. Once you’ve tried this and verified that lamps are good and any associated light switches/timer switches and circuit breakers are on, replacing the sensor is the next step. For some fixtures with integrated light and motion sensing, this may mean replacing the whole fixture. For others, the sensor may be located mounted to the same enclosure where the outdoor flood fixture is attached — or remotely, probably at another fixture location outdoors. Contact us for assistance with non-functioning flood lights, anytime.
My flood lights turns on and off all night long.
How to stop a flood lights from turning on and off all night?
Photo sensors are light sensors — not just sunlight. A flood light that turns on and off at intervals of 10-120 seconds may be a multi-sensor type flood fixture whose motion sensor is responding to a habitual animal visitor, or it may be that the photo-sensor is responding cyclically to the light of the fixture(s) it controls. When daylight is gone, the photo-sensor turns on the lamp. The sensor receives light from the lamp for about 30 seconds before turning itself off. After about 30 seconds, the sensor decides it really is dark out, and turns back on. Repeat until dawn.
One should take care to install outdoor-rated, directional flood lamps, or to locate the fixture and aim the lamps in such a way that there is no direct ‘line-of-sight’ between the lighted part of the lamp (bulb) and the sensor. Contact us for assistance with blinking flood lights, anytime.
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