This view inside the junction box shows the transformer (right), the solid state relay, and the rectifier diode, resistor, and capacitor attached to the + and - control inputs on the solid state relay.
I had a similar problem where some of the garage lights were going to be blocked by the opened door. I solved it by placing the ligths so that they were aove the horizontal windows in the door when it was in the open position - much of the light made it to the room down below in that position.
I assume the SSR is triac or SCR based. Most are zero voltage switching and require holding current. What kind of flourscent lights did you have? If they had electronic ballast without power factor correction did the circuit work? Magnetic ballast may not have sufficient holding current.
I considered switching the transformer but thought that cycling power to it might be harder on it than leaving it on. I ended up thinking of it as another door bell transformer (it is), which stays on all the time.
I used the relay and switched low voltage (16 V) to prevent exposure to line voltage out on the garage door track.
I don't know about the insurance issue. I designed it to be as safe as possible with line voltage contain in the junction box. The low voltage circuit is like a door bell circuit.
#1) I guess in the overall scheme of things, the few watts per day that the bell transformer uses are not going to bring down your local power grid. Since those transformers are fairly high impedance, it probably doesn't matter one way or another. IF it was my circuit design, I would probably have put it on the swiched side of the AC circuit, just because that's the way my brain is "wired".
#2) What I was referring to was placing the SSR on the low side of the AC circuit, not the control relay. Whenever I've used SSR's in control applications, I've always fed them, and taken the loads from them.
#3) I'm NO attorney either, but in today's litigious atmosphere, where INsurance companies generally contrive to void policyholders' claims, seeing this circuit made me take pause. YOu can bet your bottom dollar that some over-zealous investigator COULD insert a sentence or more about your circuit in an attempt to deny a claim. Although I've never wired anything of my own design into the electro-mechanics of our houses (and I've thought of many applications over the decades!), I just question the efficacy of doing so now. In my younger years I've totally wired several houses from the "pole" to the last outlet, so I did have intimate knowledge of acceptable wiring practices.
Ever wanted to see light beyond what's detectable by the human eye? You can with DOLPi - a homemade Raspberry Pi-based polarization camera. You can even use it to detect unseen objects like landmines, IEDs, pollutants, and maybe even UFOs.
A Design News contributor takes on the challenge of building an old-fashioned metric clock that uses French Revolutionary time, which divides the day into decimal units, and shows you how to build your own.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.