Things You'll Need
Phillips- or flat-head screw driver
Adjustable box end wrench
Replacement lamp post photo cell
Orange wire connectors
Decorative lamp posts can make a statement when installed in your yard as well as provide additional security lighting. Having a photo cell in your lamp post turns your light off and on without the need of a physical light switch allowing you the convenience and security of coming home after dark to a well lit area. Unfortunately photo cells can eventually quit working and throw your yard into darkness but you can replace the photocell and light up your yard once again.
Turn off the electricity that powers your lamp post by turning off the circuit breaker in the main electrical panel.
Remove the post lamp from its base. Depending on the manufacturer and the design of your lamp post, there are various ways that this can be accomplished. Your lamp post may connect with screws or bolts and its base. Remove the screws or the bolts to access the electrical wiring.
Test the electrical wires for current. Use an inexpensive two-probe tester and touch one probe to the black wire and the other probe to the white wire to check if the power is still on. Check your tester's instructions to determine how your tester indicates there is still power to the circuit.
Disconnect the electrical wiring at the lamp post base. Remove the wire connectors that connect the white wires together by twisting them counterclockwise, then pull the wires apart. Repeat this for the black wires and the bare copper or green ground wires. Gently lay the lamp post on the ground or take it to your work area.
Disconnect the light fixture from the lamp post. Remove the screws that hold the fixture to the post and lift it off to expose the electrical wiring. Disconnect the light fixture by removing the wire connector in the same manner as you did in Step 4.
Release the photo cell from the lamp post. Remove the decorative locknut that holds the photo cell onto the lamp post by twisting it counterclockwise. Should you be unable to do this by hand, cover the nut with a soft cloth and use pliers to remove the nut. The soft cloth will protect the finish of the lamp post. Push the photo cell into the lamp post.
Pull the lamp post wiring from the top of the lamp post. Only pull enough wire to expose the body of the photo cell and the photo cell's electrical wire, and leave the remainder of the wiring inside the post.
Disconnect the photo cell from the electrical wire in the same manner as you disconnected the other wires in prior steps. The photo cell wires consist of a white wire that connects to the white wire from the base of the lamp post and the white wire from the top of the lamp post. The black wire of the photo cell connects to the black wire from the base, and the red wire from the photo cell connects to the black wire at the top of the post. Remove and discard the old photo cell.
Connect the replacement photo cell. Twist an orange wire connector clockwise onto the three white wires from the photo cell, the base of the lamp post and the top of the lamp post connecting them together. Twist an orange wire connector onto the black wire from the photo cell, and the black wire from the lamp post base, to connect them together. Connect the red wire from the photo cell to the black wire from the top of the lamp post, and connect them together with an orange wire connector, too.
Install the photo cell into the opening left from the removal of the old one. Twist the decorative lock nut to the threaded throat of the photo cell to hold it into place.
Reconnect the light fixture to the top of the lamp post and connect the lamp post to the electrical wiring at the base. Replace the nuts or screws that hold the lamp post to the base.
Turn on the electricity that powers your lamp post by turning on the circuit breaker in the main electrical panel.
Always make sure that the electricity is off to the area you are working to avoid electrical shock.
Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.