Looking for a odd piece of hardware

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Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:16 pm

This is not strictly a computer related item so if I am in the wrong forum I will apologize now.

I am in need of a timer that will turn a electric light on when it gets dark but shut it off at a set time. This is for a older person with a severe case of arthritis that can no longer manipulate the timer she has been using. She was just resetting the old timer to come on at about dusk every month or so. That is no longer possible. I have found a few that will turn the light on when it gets dark but those that have a time shut off on them are all set times of two, four, or six hours later. In a pinch those would semi do the job but I really need a timer that I can set to shut off at a specific time. I found one that will do the job but it was rather complicated and required a computer to set up. I need something simple yet at as low a cost as I can find.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:25 pm

If you can't find one device with the combined features that you want, you could use two simple devices in series. A regular timer like the one that you already have can turn on well before sunset and shut off at the time that you specify. A dusk-to-dawn photocell activated switch plugged into that timer will not turn the light on until it gets dark.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202260319?catalogId=10053
http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202524820?catalogId=10053
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:35 pm

I just had a "Homer face palm" moment. So simple a solution that it never crossed my mind. Thanks JustAnEngineer!
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:17 am

I just had a thought and wish I knew the answer. Looking at the light sensors that screw into the light bulb socket I am wondering what is keeping the light from the bulb you use in the sensors from affecting the sensors? You know, it gets dark, light comes on, sensor sees light from bulb and thinks it daylight again and shuts the light off.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:01 am

Khali wrote:I just had a thought and wish I knew the answer. Looking at the light sensors that screw into the light bulb socket I am wondering what is keeping the light from the bulb you use in the sensors from affecting the sensors? You know, it gets dark, light comes on, sensor sees light from bulb and thinks it daylight again and shuts the light off.


Use an extension cable to run the light from a power socket further away - near a different window that won't be affected by the light

or

makeshift directional shade/hood hot-glued onto the sensor so that it doesn't get direct light from the lamp?
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:25 am

Khali wrote:I just had a thought and wish I knew the answer. Looking at the light sensors that screw into the light bulb socket I am wondering what is keeping the light from the bulb you use in the sensors from affecting the sensors? You know, it gets dark, light comes on, sensor sees light from bulb and thinks it daylight again and shuts the light off.

This can happen, especially if there is something nearby to reflect the light back to the sensor. Usually the best thing is to install and test, and then modify the installation if there are problems.

What many manufacturers will do, especially in vehicles with dashboard sensors for autmoatic headlights, is include a filter that shades out almost all light above the infrared range. Natural sunlight puts out very high levels of infrared radiation compared to other light sources and will easily trip the sensor through the filter, while other light sources will not.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:49 pm

Hmm, I may have a problem then. I just bought a new timer and one of the light sensor units that screw into the lightbulb socket on the light. This is all going to be used on a table lamp with a shade on it. I am thinking the shade is going to reflect the light back into the sensor and turn the thing off on me. I will have to come up with a shade for the sensor or even go buy a sensor that plugs into the electrical cord just to get it away from the light.

Since the sensor has a little adapter piece of plastic I can put in the sensor hole I am going to try that route first then modify it if I have to.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:13 pm

Try something like this or this, maybe. You can place the sensor in a window and then plug the light into the switched outlet.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:24 pm

The Woods model with just the light sensor is probably going to be the answer to my problem. I looked at the second Woods model with the timer but would take me back to the issue of having to reset it several times over the span of a year.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:48 pm

I believe that one of the settings on the unit with the timer is "Dusk 'til Dawn".
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:27 pm

Aye, but I need the timer to shut off at around 1am not dawn. I got the timer part taken care of, just need to work out the sensor issue.

This light is in the Foyer of these peoples home. They spend the evenings in a Family room addition to the house. You have to go through the Foyer to get to the kitchen and the master bed room. The gentleman of the house has Alzheimers and can not remember to turn lights off. Since the Foyer is the crossing point of the whole house they just leave a light on in that room during the evening hours. Since the lady of the house has to sleep in a recliner due to health reasons she does not make the trip to the master bedroom with her husband. Hence the need for the timer to shut the light off. With her worsening arthritis she can not change the timer they had in use already. This is why i wanted to work in a light sensor so she would not have to mess with it again. Forget anything digital, its just too complicated for her to understand. This is the same Lady that still uses the rotary dial telephone I mentioned in another forum post.
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Re: Looking for a odd piece of hardware

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:31 pm

Wall outlet -> existing timer (set noon to 9 PM) -> new dusk-to-dawn photocell -> lamp.
The lamp will light from dusk until 9 PM.
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