Tips For Using Light Sensors with LED Wall Packs
LED wall packs are a good choice for providing accent and security lighting to buildings, walkways, entrances, and parking garages. Pairing these fixtures with photo controls is the best way to make sure your lights are on only when needed. Light sensors turn the lights off during the day and on at night, automatically adjusting throughout the year to accommodate shifting daylight hours. Here are some helpful tips for choosing and installing photocells to your LED wall packs.
Point Sensors North, Not South
In order to have a balanced on-off schedule in the northern hemisphere, point your light sensors facing north. This ensures that the sensor turns the light on and off at the right times by following the arc of the sun. Facing the photo control east can cause your lights to come on and off too early and facing west will cause lights to turn on and off too late. You should avoid aiming your light sensor south. South-facing sensors get more direct sunlight. While a photocell needs light, too much direct light can damage components over time and cause the sensor to fail prematurely. If you can’t point your sensor northwards, aim it northeast, northwest, or at the ground. Your lights will come on a little early or late, but your sensor will be protected. The opposite rules apply to photocells installed in the southern hemisphere.
Use LED Compatible Sensors
When retrofitting or replacing a conventional wall pack with an LED wall pack, you will not be able to use the original photocell. In order to properly work with an LED fixture, the light sensor needs to be LED compatible. A conventional sensor will burn out prematurely when paired with an LED fixture. This can cause your wall pack to stay on during the day until the correct sensor is installed.
Take Advantage of Remote Mounting
Light sensors can be installed remotely if they share a circuit with your wall packs, allowing you to place the sensor in an optimal location. If you have a fixture on the south side of your building, install a stem mounted control in a north-facing location. Stem and swivel mount sensors are similar, but allow you to pivot the angle if the sensor is blocked by an object or in the shade. A fixed position mounting photo control is an unobtrusive plate that mounts directly to the side of a building or the wall pack itself. These sensors do not have a shield to block artificial light and should be installed away from other lights. Lock-type mounting photocells use NEMA-rated twist locks to withstand vibrations and prevent the sensor from disconnecting if bumped.
Check Your Line Voltage
Make sure to know your voltage before purchasing and installing a light sensor. Unlike LED wall packs, many photosensors are rated only for 120 Volts though you can find some rated for 120-277 Volts if desired. If your photocell is rated for a lower voltage than your wall pack, the light could stay on (failing to turn off during the day). If your light is staying off, then the line voltage is more than what the photocell is rated for. The wrong line voltage can also cause the sensor to burn out and create electrical problems.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you find the right light sensor for your LED wall pack.