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Old 04-18-2005, 11:09 AM
Acorn
 
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I hope someone can help...

I have a simple Malibu low voltage system, 5 11w lights, one 20w flood light on the small Mailbu power pack (ML121RT). Works fine. However, I recently added the Malibu photo cell ML814DRP Photo control. After a few realized wrong attempts on wiring to the power pack I am now 99% sure I have it hooked up correctly. So after plugging in the lights are ON, no problem. I then use the switch in the power pack to turn them off (as it's daytime) assuming the photo cell will kick them back on when it gets dark. Not happening.

Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions, prayers? Anything would be greatly appreciated.

THANKS in advance!
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:41 AM
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Sendsley:

Typically, we don't install Malibu brand lighting for many reasons, the first being that it is a mass produced lighting available at a very low price at most home center type stores. Don't take that as an insult, it is just that that brand does not hold up well enough for us to invest good labor on knowing we will probably get called back to fix something that was due to product failure, rather than faulty labor.

That said, if you are certain your wiring is as it is supposed to be, you may very well have a bad light sensor. Try this. Take one wire and run direct from your transformer to one side of an LV light. Then take another wire, with the sensor as an interrupt in that wire. In other words, one wire to one side of the sensor, and it will follow out the other side, to the other light wire. Make sure the light you are testing with works before hand. Then, take a piece of tape and put over the sensor eye. If the light does not come on, you got a bad sensor.

I hope this helps!
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:20 PM
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I'm going to move this to the homeowner forum.

As for the wiring, as I understand most photo cell setups for lights, they should always be "on", and the photocell will only close the circuit when it is dark enough outside.
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Old 04-18-2005, 07:40 PM
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Other than a timer where it activly turns on and off........I would think the photo cell is more passive and needs the system on in order for the photo cell to turn lights on and off.

Similar to motion sensors...

At least that is how I view the system being operational.

One thing with motion sensors is that when it is day time they do not work. I am only relating this to spot lights and other various outdoor lighting I have.

Never installed photo cells on any of our landscape lighting....I prefer the timers and sold the package as to why have the lights on from say 1:00am till dawn and pay the electric.
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Old 04-18-2005, 07:49 PM
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Oh and yes.........Bill makes a good point......Although at my own home I used the Malibu Cast Metal lights. For myself I didn't want to spend all kinds of money. Considering I was installing 6 zones with individual transformers. Having electric run all around my back yard. And throwing an 80th Birthday Party for my dad with 150 guests.

Other installations we used the same lights for customers, and they have held up well thus far.

Though I have gotten my hands on Kitchler and one other brand that escapes me at the momment. Very nice fixtures, and once in a while you can find some internet dealer having a sale.
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
I then use the switch in the power pack to turn them off
If there is a switch that manually turns the system on and off and you shut it OFF the entire system will be off. If you turn the system on and leave it on the photo control should control when the lights come on.

A good way to test a photo eye is to cover it up, it usually takes a couple minutes on a sunny day for it to trip and turn the system on. Ucover the eye and the system should go off in a minute or two.

I think the problem is that you are switching the entire system off when you turn off the power pack, not just the electric eye.

Is there some kind of cover over the photo eye that you forgot to remove? Hence, they are not going off when you turn the system on? I have seen plastic covers or metal bars that slide to cover the eye so the system can be tested during daylight.
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Last edited by jwholden; 04-18-2005 at 08:53 PM..
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:00 PM
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Resurrecting this thread and joining this forum because it is the only place on the Web I could find someone with the same issue I had. Now that I solved it, I wanted the answer attached to the question, not for the OP, but for the next searcher. Culprit here is Malibu, whose instructions are awful. As stated above, to turn on the lights, the timer must be providing power to the lighting circuit. Thus, a red ON key is needed in the timer, slightly earlier than the earliest sunset in your area. I used 4:30pm. The black OFF key is then inserted at desired off time. I used 2AM. The primary then turns off at that time, dousing the lights. When the timer reactivates, the primary is on, but the Photo control holds the secondary open until dark. Works fine, once you figure it out.

By the way, neat forum--I look forward to exploring.

Last edited by TheDurk; 06-18-2007 at 11:03 PM..
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:27 PM
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yes thedurk, you got it figured out. The only other problem you haven't mentioned though is with power failure. That always throws a nice curveball at you when you run a ac only timer such as the Malibu.

From my own experiences, I only install digital timers with battery backup as the number of calls I received after my first few installs with the old clicky clicky timers about their lights turning at 10 in the morning and me having to go out just to reset the time made we realize that they just don't work. Then, you put the photocell in, and they never turn on.

The main lesson........don't buy malibu.....and please, please, please, don't ever, ever, ever mention 'solar powered' landscape lights around here. They are the demise of the lighting industry.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:47 AM
Acorn
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by PSUscaper
yes thedurk, you got it figured out. The only other problem you haven't mentioned though is with power failure. That always throws a nice curveball at you when you run a ac only timer such as the Malibu.

[par deleted to make space]

The main lesson........don't buy malibu.....and please, please, please, don't ever, ever, ever mention 'solar powered' landscape lights around here. They are the demise of the lighting industry.
Thanks. All good points. In my case, I am smart enough to reset a clock, and I just wanted a cheapie flood on a street number sign and nothing else. After 2 years (without the new Photo Control), I am happy. Other landscape lights I have are controlled by my computer (X10) and have battery backup on the controller.

Amen on solar, too--tried one and threw it out. You can see the light itself, but not anything else BY the light. It only was on for about 4 or 5 hours, too.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:06 PM
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How to wire...

I just bought a 300W Malibu power pack and the optional photo eye. The photo eye didn't come with any wiring instructions. Nice. Anyway, after a bit of playing around...

There are 3 terminals at the bottom of the power pack. They are Labeled A, B, and C.

Without the photo eye, terminals A & B are a complete circuit. In other words, when the power pack is on, the line will be powered. Terminal C is only used with the photo eye.

With the photo eye, terminals A & B are also a complete circuit when the power pack is on. If you want to use the photo eye, run your ground cables to B & C. This will be a complete circuit when (1) the power pack is turned on and (2) the photo eye says it's dark enough. Note that if you're testing the circuits, it takes about 2 minutes for the photo eye to recognize dark and you can hear a noticeable click in it as it energizes the C terminal.

I won't go into all the settings for how to run dusk to dawn, dusk to timed off, or timed on to dawn. The Malibu website has a good video tutorial for that.

-Erik
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