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What Direction Should a Photocell Face?

Outdoor lighting is a great way to illuminate the surroundings and provide safety and security. Photocells are often used in outdoor lighting to automatically turn the lights on and off based on the amount of light present. However, when installing a photocell, it is important to consider the direction in which it faces.

Photocells work by detecting the amount of light present and turning the lights on or off accordingly. When installing a photocell, it is recommended to place it in a direction where it faces north and away from sunlight. This is because direct sunlight can interfere with the photocell’s ability to detect light, leading to inaccurate readings. Additionally, artificial lights surrounding the photocell at night can also interfere with its ability to detect light, leading to incorrect readings and potentially causing the lights to turn on or off at the wrong times.

Optimal Photocell Orientation

When installing a photocell, it is important to consider the optimal orientation for the device. This can vary based on geographic location and solar path tracking.

Geographic Considerations

In general, it is recommended to install the photocell facing north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern hemisphere. This is because the sun is located to the south of the equator and to the north of the equator in respective hemispheres. By facing the photocell in the opposite direction of the sun, it can avoid direct sunlight and provide more accurate readings.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, in areas with long periods of darkness in the winter, it may be more beneficial to install the photocell facing south to capture as much sunlight as possible. In addition, if there are obstructions such as trees or buildings that block the sun from the south, it may be necessary to install the photocell facing north or another direction to avoid interference.

Solar Path Tracking

Another factor to consider when determining the optimal orientation for a photocell is solar path tracking. The sun’s path changes throughout the day and throughout the year, so it is important to install the photocell in a location that can accurately track these changes.

One way to ensure accurate solar path tracking is to use a photocell with a built-in sensor that can detect the sun’s position and adjust accordingly. Another option is to install the photocell in a location that is unobstructed by trees or buildings and has a clear view of the sky.

Overall, when installing a photocell, it is important to consider both geographic location and solar path tracking to ensure optimal performance. By facing the photocell in the right direction and choosing a location that can accurately track the sun’s path, it can provide reliable and accurate readings for a variety of applications.

Installation and Adjustment

When installing a photocell, it is important to consider the direction in which it faces. The most commonly recommended direction for a photocell to face is north, as this direction receives the least amount of direct sunlight throughout the day.

Mounting Angle

The mounting angle of the photocell is also important to consider. The photocell should be mounted between 6-8 feet of the window area, central to the area illuminated by the electrical lighting that will be controlled. In all cases, the photocell must be mounted so that it looks at reflected light only and not at any direct light.

Periodic Adjustments

Over time, the photocell may need to be adjusted to ensure it continues to function properly. For example, if the photocell is mounted near an emergency light, the adjustment knob may need to be turned clockwise to compensate. Similarly, if the photocell is mounted near a light fixture that focuses light toward the ceiling, the adjustment knob may need to be turned.

It is important to periodically check the photocell and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it is functioning properly. By following these guidelines, the photocell can provide reliable and accurate control of the electrical lighting it is connected to.

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Electrician

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