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Dusk to Dawn Light Won’t Turn On!:Experts Solution[2022]

A simple set of tools simplifies the issues when dusk to dawn light won’t turn on. For example, a voltage tester is one of those tools anyone doing any electrical work should have on hand.

But there are also some scenarios where you don’t need that type of tool. Troubleshooting can be as easy as covering a sensor to determine the state of the photocell.

Of course, there is more to it, but that’s what we’ll be going through today.

We’ll show you how you can troubleshoot your dusk-to-dawn light and fix it at home. That said, let’s jump right into it.

What Is a Dusk To Dawn Light System?

A dusk-to-dawn light is an electrical device that uses a sensor to determine whether it’s dark outside or not.

When this sensor detects any natural light, it’ll automatically turn off the lights. But as soon as the sun disappears or the light that it was picking up, it’ll turn on the lights.

It does not have to be natural light for it to turn off the lights.

For example, the sensor could pick up light nearby, which is not necessarily natural light. This feature can, sometimes, lead to some strange issues.

This is not to be confused with the motion sensor light. Unlike the motion sensor, the dusk-to-dawn light does not detect movement.

It simply picks up light to decide whether it should turn on the lights.

Benefits of Installing a Dusk-to-Dawn Light at Home?

So, you’ve recently seen your neighbor installing dusk-to-dawn lights and couldn’t help but notice how cool they look.

Despite this, you’re probably having a hard time making up your mind whether it’s worth the money or not. Here are a couple of reasons that might help you clear up your mind:

Ease Of Use

Homeowners know the struggle of having to look from the window at night.

Even though it sounds like an easy task to do, things can get pretty messy when you have to walk across the room in the dark to light up your place.

This is rather inconvenient. With dusk-to-dawn lights, this tedious task becomes a walk in the park since you no longer have to flip the switch to the on position manually.

As soon as the sun disappears, they will slowly turn themselves on.

And when the sun comes up again, the sensor will detect the first appearance of light in the sky, which will turn off the lights.


It is well known that bad guys tend to stay away from well-lit places since people have a much easier time spotting them.

And the best thing about it is that you don’t have to expose yourself to manually turn them on.

The moment the daylight fades, the dusk-to-dawn will come on, lighting up your place in a couple of seconds. This will keep both your family and home safe from any intruders.


Did you know that these lights are incredibly durable? The average lifespan for these lights can go as far as 50,000 hours, which translates to roughly five years.

They also hold up pretty well to temperature changes.

This stability makes these lights an excellent choice for those folks who plan to install them in areas subject to temperature fluctuations, meaning they can be installed in cold and warm areas.


It’s easy to forget about electricity consumption. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the moment that we’re only reminded of it by the end of the month.

But this is a whole different story with dusk-to-dawn lights.

Keep in mind that they will only function when there is no light nearby. As soon as the lights become aware of the lack of brightness outside, they’ll begin to work as they usually do.

They also emit the light in one direction rather than all over the place.

This feature comes in handy as it severely reduces energy consumption since the bulb does not have to light up unnecessary areas.

This is a great feature since it saves energy a lot of unnecessary consumption throughout the day.

On top of that, these lights tend to use lesser watts than traditional options. All of these reasons will put more money in your pocket in the long run.


Even though these lights consume considerably less energy than traditional methods, they are just as bright.

During the night, you’ll enjoy the beautiful brightness these dusk-to-dawn lights can achieve. You won’t be able to tell the difference between a regular bulb and these lights.

Easy To Install

Don’t want to call an electrician to install lights? Well, most dusk-to-dawn lights are straightforward to install on the fly.

As long as you plug them into an existing outlet, you should be good to go. There is no need to spend several hours installing them.

How to Know if Dusk-to-Dawn Light is Broken

Here, we’ll go over common dusk to dawn light troubleshooting methods to detect red flags that suggest the dusk-to-dawn light is broken and must be replaced.

Led Dusk To Dawn Light Troubleshooting: Dusk to Dawn Light Won’t Turn On

The most common way to tell whether the dusk-to-dawn light is still in great shape is testing the sensor. When this little device goes bad, the unit will stop working.

Here are a couple of tests you can perform on your own:

  • Make sure the sensor is not getting reflection off of something. Any type of reflection will trigger the photocell, making it think it’s natural light.
  • If you have any sort of heating system at home, turn it off. The abnormal amount of heat can draw a lot of energy, which can turn off the lights.
  • Cover the sensor using a small piece of electrical tape. If the fixture turns on as it should, then there is nothing to worry about.

If you went through all those steps and your lights are not working at all, then it’s safe to assume that the sensor is no longer working, and you have to replace it.

Common Problems of Dusk-to-Down Light

Down below, we’ll discuss the most common dusk to dawn light problems that homeowners have experienced with dusk-to-down light.

At the end of each explanation, you’ll find an informative section on how you can fix those problems.

My Light Will Not Turn Off

So, the night is finally over, and the sun is slowly rising, but there is just one problem. The dusk-to-dawn lights will not turn off despite the crystal-clear light coming from the sun.

This is a common problem. So there is no need to worry about it.

So, what is wrong with it? Well, the lights will not turn off when the sun comes up because the photocell is being covered by something.

When this happens, the motion sensor has no way of knowing when the sun is coming up. So, to fix this, follow these steps:

  • You might need a ladder to reach the dusk-to-dawn light. So, once you have reached the bulb, you must remove the cap from it. Most of the time, the sensor cover can be found on top of the light or the bottom side.
  • To remove it, you must use a screwdriver and push it down; it should come off right away. Since you’re at it, make sure nothing is covering the photocell. Otherwise, you won’t fix the problem.
  • Some people do not like the idea of the sensor being exposed. If you’re one of those people, then we suggest using translucent blue plastic to cover the sensor. Now, the light should immediately turn off.

My Light Does Not Work At All

The second problem is slightly different since, unlike the previous one, this issue causes the light system not to work at all, and despite all your attempts, the lights don’t seem to do their job.

If that’s your case, there is a high chance the lamp is poorly situated. This means that the lamp is not being exposed to natural light.

When this happens, the light does not know when it should light up the area. For example, if the roof is covering the light, there is no way for it to know that it should turn off the light.

To fix this issue, you need to place the system somewhere the roof’s shadow cannot cover it.

Light Goes On And Off

We’ve seen just how many people have reported that their dusk-to-dawn lights frequently turn off for a certain amount of time, and then they turn on again.

Sometimes the problem is a lot more noticeable. For example, they sometimes won’t stop flickering.

It’s hard to tell right away what could be the culprit, as there are plenty of reasons why this is happening. As such, we’ve narrowed down the most common culprits and how you can fix the issue.

  • You might be surprised to find out you put in the wrong bulbs. If you recently installed new ones, and the lights started acting up after that, then we suggest putting in different bulbs to ensure the new ones are actually responsible for this.
  • Another culprit you should look into is reflection. If the photocell is picking up any reflection, it could be the reason why it’s always turning on and off. So, look for any reflection that might trigger the sensor and then cover it.
  • We also suggest covering the photocell before spending some time finding the main problem. If the issue goes away the moment you cover it, then it’s safe to assume it’s a shadow of light causing this mess.
  • Most of the time, you could get rid of the reflection by adjusting the two lamps. This means that there should be a gap between them. If they are too close to each other, the shadow might trigger the sensor.

Light Does Not Work At All

So, you just spent some time setting up the lights only to find out they don’t work at all? Well, chances are there is something wrong with the power.

The most common way to go about led dusk to dawn light troubleshooting is by checking the voltage using a voltage detector.

It’ll tell you whether there is power or not. It takes a lot of the guesswork out and makes your life a lot easier.

Dim Light

Another issue we’ve seen among homeowners is dim and barely visible lights.

This is perhaps the easiest fix as you only need to change the bulb. Nine times out of ten, this fixes the problem.

But if that doesn’t do the trick for you, we suggest checking the cables.

These wires get damaged from time to time, so there is a chance the cable got cut in half, or it’s slowly coming apart.

How to Fix a Dusk-to-Dawn Light

Don’t want to call an electrician to replace the dusk-to-dawn sensor? Then this is your guide. Down below, you’ll find how to replace the sensor on your dusk-to-dawn.

1. What You Will Need

For this job, here are all the tools you will need:

  • A screwdriver—you’ll have to remove a couple of screws when installing the new sensor.
  • Electrical tape—when connecting wires, we suggest using this type of tape. Also, it’ll protect the wires from the water inside the lamp.
  • A coat hanger—the wires are holding the lighting, which is why you need to hang it somewhere unless you do not mind taking it off.

2. Shut Off The Power

The first thing you want to do is to shut off the power. You don’t want to get electrocuted as you’re replacing the light sensor.

So, locate the circuit breaker panel box. After that, find the breaker that supplies power to the lamp and flip it to the off position.

You should hear a clicking sound as soon as you switch it to the off position.

3. Remove The Screws

To take off the top of the lamp, you must remove the screws on the button. So, grab your screwdriver and remove all of them. After you’ve taken them off, you’ll notice the wires holding the top together.

We suggest twisting a coat hanger to hold the lamp together. This will facilitate the hanging of the lamp base. If you find water inside, wipe it off before installing the new sensor.

4. Install The New One Sensor

Remove the ring from the pole. Once you’ve removed it, pull one of the wires from the pole, and the sensor should come right off.

Now begin to remove the wires from the old unit. As you’re removing them, please connect the wires to the other cables.

The wires must match the previous order, which means white goes with white, black with black, and so on.

Once you’ve connected the wires, use electrical tape to secure the cables. After that, use the wire connector

From there, slide the sensor into the hole. Make sure to tighten it up, as you might find it loose if you don’t.

Next, grab the lamp and put it back on. And now you’ve successfully replaced the broken sensor.

Here is a video we suggest watching that goes through all the steps we just covered:

Top Questions (FAQs)

This information section aims to clear up any question you might still have about troubleshooting dusk-to-dawn lights.

What causes dusk to dawn light to go off and on?

Lights tend to go off and on when the light of the fixture hits the sensor.

As the light is continuously hitting it, the sensor will detect the light, which will turn it off. This cycle keeps on going since it is detecting the light.

Why is my dusk to dawn light not working?

Here is a list of some of the most common problems:

  • The sensor is being covered
  • The photocell went bad
  • The cable got cut in half
  • The light is placed in a shaded area

How do dawn to dusk bulbs work?

A dusk-to-dawn light is a device that detects nearby light. When the sensor picks up the light, it’ll turn off the unit. But as soon as the light fades into nothingness, it’ll turn on the lamp.

Are Dusk Till Dawn Lights expensive to run?

A common myth about dusk-to-dawn lights is that they are expensive to run. This is not true at all. They are relatively cheap to run as these lights do not use as much power.


Now that you’ve dealt with dusk to dawn light troubleshooting, it shouldn’t be hard to search for the main problem if you ever run into any trouble.

This process is a logical and structured process that requires time and effort.

But you’ll also run into some cases where the fix barely takes time if any. Having such a critical skill under the belt can make a huge difference as a homeowner.

Fixing these lights can get expensive, and since you’re running them throughout the whole year, learning how to troubleshoot them does not sound like a bad idea.

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