Author Topic: Photocontrol brand/model recommendation  (Read 456 times)
arcblue
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Photocontrol brand/model recommendation « on: November 24, 2020, 08:28:26 PM » Author: arcblue
The exterior of my house is lit by nine wall fixtures (5 HPS, 3 mercury and 1 PL-S CFL) that have integral photocontrols. All but three now will stay on in the daytime on cloudy days, some even on sunny days. They haven't failed, they just take a LOT of light to trigger them to turn off, more than is usually available. Some are under soffits and the trees have also grown so my property is darker now. As they've aged, the photocontrol eyes seem to need more light, much like my own eyes...

I've had little luck replacing them with new ones as I never know what the switch-on/off footcandle level will be, and many out of the box turn off at 15-30 footcandles, even when brand new. So, I went to using timers or manually switching the lights. That is not good on a rainy day where it gets dark unusually early unless I'm home and paying attention.

It is not practical to have one or several remote mount photocontrols without significant wiring work and conduit runs. I'd like to go back to individual photocontrols IF I can find some that turn on/off, say, at 1-2 footcandles. I can always block part of the eye with black tape to make them go on earlier where needed.

Any idea on GOOD brands (if any) for button-style hardwired photocontrols? The Intermatic K4021C is the easiest to find, but tends to stay on in my application. I had better luck with ALRs, but not always.
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HPSM250R2
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Re: Photocontrol brand/model recommendation « Reply #1 on: November 24, 2020, 09:52:13 PM » Author: HPSM250R2
If you're looking for a photocontrol that will be more sensitive, electronic is the way to go. DTL and Sun-Tech both make electronic button type photocontrols. The only obstacle will be finding them. They're not your typical units that are stocked in hardware stores. Most likely you'll end up having to order them special order from an electrical supply house.

I am planning on placing an order myself in the near future. If you'd like I can let you know when I put my order in and I can add a box of button photocontrols for you. Then you can give me the money for them and the shipping cost to ship them to you.

I did find some older stock DTL electronic button photocontrols on eBay but the only ones that were for 120v, the seller's listing only shows 4 available.
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joseph_125
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Re: Photocontrol brand/model recommendation « Reply #2 on: November 25, 2020, 01:14:42 AM » Author: joseph_125
I believe Precision has some wire in button PCs that are rated at around 1-3 FC and can be ordered online through their website. Too bad you can't convert to remote/external twistlock controls as you get a lot more options with those.

An alternative is to bypass all the PCs and replace the switches for all the lights with smart switches. Most will allow you to program them to run dusk to dawn or dusk with part night operation with the dusk and dawn times coming from the internet. Better than manually switching and timers I guess but you'll probably have to toggle them manually if it's dark because of rain. 
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HPSM250R2
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Re: Photocontrol brand/model recommendation « Reply #3 on: November 25, 2020, 07:56:38 AM » Author: HPSM250R2
I believe Precision has some wire in button PCs that are rated at around 1-3 FC and can be ordered online through their website. Too bad you can't convert to remote/external twistlock controls as you get a lot more options with those.

An alternative is to bypass all the PCs and replace the switches for all the lights with smart switches. Most will allow you to program them to run dusk to dawn or dusk with part night operation with the dusk and dawn times coming from the internet. Better than manually switching and timers I guess but you'll probably have to toggle them manually if it's dark because of rain.

Precision's button type photocontrols are the thermal type I believe though. And if they're from the same factory that makes their twist lock thermal photocontrols, they're made by LongJoin. I don't have much experience with Precision photocontrols. They're overpriced in my opinion for what you get. Ripley twist lock photocontrols are far superior quality and cost less than Precision. Precision used to cost a lot less. They were under $10 and if you would buy in quantity they offered price breaks. They don't do that anymore and they jacked up the prices by like 50% or more.
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