Controlling the Christmas lights

img_9369Who wants to to out on a 20-degree night and unplug strings of Christmas lights that are decorating the house?   Nobody I imagine!  For this reason, I have had a project in the works to resolve that issue.  How could I connect the lights up so I can turn them on and off from inside the house…or even better, use a light sensor to turn them on and off when the sun goes down 🙂

For that, I had an idea…just tap off of an existing outside light and wire up some outlets.  The perfect candidate was a motion sensor light that is controlled with a switch on the wall in the living room and the den.  The mostion sensor went bad one day, so I had the idea to go ahead and do this project when I replaced the motion sensor. 20170218_204627

I ran a piece of conduit across the surface of the soffet above the carport to the other side.  I used a piece of 3-conductor “romex” cable.  One wire is “hot” that is on whenever the switch is on in the house.  The other wire is controlled by the motion sensor, so I can add another lamp if I need it.  (shown here without the wiring pulled yet!)

20170218_204636

I then ran the conduit down the side of the house to beside the driveway where I added two outlets:  The one in the gray box is “hot” and comes on whenever the switch is on inside the house.  This is good for running power tools and stuff outside, like my electric leaf blower, or to vacuum the cars out.  The white outlet on the bottom is controlled by the light sensor that is hanging off the bottom there.  It will turn on at nighttime, and off in the morning.  That’s where I can plug in Christmas lights, or what I am even thinking of, is some low-voltage landscaping lighting in the future along the driveway.20170301_192212

This project required about 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon, and about $50 or so in parts, but will save lots of headaches.  This also solves a secondary problem of having extension cords draped through the carport and causing tripping hazards  when yardwork is being done…and the outlet is closer to the yard, so I can reach the entire yard with my long extension cord.

 

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