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What Is a Light Sensor Socket?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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A light sensor socket is a type of adapter that senses when there is light and when it is dark. When the level of light drops, the light sensor socket will turn on the light bulb screwed into it, making it useful for dark porches or homes when the family is on vacation. These sockets are able to handle average wattage light bulbs, so most lamps will be able to use the socket. There are interior and exterior versions of this socket and, while exterior can be used inside, interior light sensor sockets should not be used outside, because they are more susceptible to weather conditions.

There are many special types of sockets that are able to automatically turn on a light bulb if there is noise, movement or other conditions. A light sensor socket is able to switch a light bulb on at dusk and will shut the light bulb off in the morning. For outside use, this ensures that porches and doorways will always be lighted, even if someone forgets to turn the light on. Inside use is best for hallways or when the family is away and they want others to think people are still in the house.

Using a light sensor socket does not involve wiring or any electrical work at all. The socket acts as an intermediary between the light bulb and the electrical socket. First, the light bulb is screwed into the top of the socket, and then the socket is screwed into the lamp like a regular light bulb. The lamp can still be used normally, and no extra power is drawn to make the socket work.

Light sensor sockets are able to handle normal wattage light bulbs. The common wattage starts at 60 watts and goes up to 100 or 150 watts, with most light sensors peaking at 100. Lamps that use higher watts should not use these sockets, because the socket can be blown out from the high energy. The sensor may not work on lower-watt lamps, or it may not be able to screw in because many lower-watt lamps have smaller sockets for light bulbs.

There are both interior and exterior light sensor socket units. Interior versions are lighter and usually cheaper, while exterior units are bulkier but are better able to stand up to rain and wind. Exterior light sensors can be used inside, but an interior version being used outside can cause problems in the socket and may even short out the lamp to which it is connected.

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