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Dusk to Dawn outdoor lights?
Old 03-10-2016, 10:06 AM   #1
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Dusk to Dawn outdoor lights?

We are building a new home with a front exposure that has 3 coach lights on one switch and 1 coach light on a separate switch. All are the same model with clear glass vs. frosted glass and none are under a roof, but rather a soffit and gutter. We were planning on using Natural Light 5000K CFL bulbs, 13 watt each.

How can we get these to best be dusk to dawn lights? Home Depot sells an "eye" that screws into the socket. Are these reliable? Does anyone have any experience with them?

Thanks!

Not an electrician -- any input much appreciated.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:33 AM   #2
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You could install an astronomic switch similar to this:

NSI Industries SS721ZA Sunset/Sunrise, Astronomic 7 Day In-Wall Timer, 120/277 VAC, SPST Switch Type, Light Almond: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:49 AM   #3
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If you want dawn to dusk lighting, use the screw in sensors with LED bulbs.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MovingtotheCove View Post
Home Depot sells an "eye" that screws into the socket. Are these reliable? Does anyone have any experience with them?
Your light setup is exactly like mine, except my glass is frosted.
I use these screw in photo-cell adapters and it works.

My front does not get the morning sun, so the lights stay on until the afternoon (also caused by the frosted glass, the large roof overhang, and the fact that some of the adapters when screwed in don't face straight out with their eye).

I had one of those lightswitch replacements the other poster identified, on another house. It worked but issues with it are:
You have to reset them after each power failure, so keep the instructions as they are a pain to reset.
They don't adjust for the change in seasons, so you will need to reset the timing for when they come on as the days get earlier/later.

My advice would be try 1 adapter as they are so easy, see how you like it for a couple of weeks and then you will know which way to go.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:57 AM   #5
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As soon as I get my house built, I plan to put in a backyard observatory. Light pollution from both Denver and Colorado Springs is a problem even out in boonies where I live. Then there are the folks out here that leave yard lights on continuously even though they are not here but a few weekends a year. You might check out lights/fixtures that are more environmentally friendly to light pollution if they are going to be on all night.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:58 AM   #6
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As a side note, on the screw in adapters, perhaps they make them for LED's but I never bothered to pay attention to that and they still worked fine for regular bulbs, then CFL's and now have LED's in them. Yes I've used them about 10 years so far.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:02 AM   #7
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As soon as I get my house built, I plan to put in a backyard observatory. Light pollution from both Denver and Colorado Springs is a problem even out in boonies where I live. Then there are the folks out here that leave yard lights on continuously even though they are not here but a few weekends a year. You might check out lights/fixtures that are more environmentally friendly to light pollution if they are going to be on all night.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:12 AM   #8
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I have used the programmable switches as well as the photo-cell "eyes" and prefer the former. They are easy to install and program, and the battery lasts a long time. The dusk/dawn times are pre-programmed into the switch. You can override the programming with a push-button on the switch. You won't have your lights turning on on a gloomy day.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:16 AM   #9
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I've used the screw-in "eyes" with mixed results depending on the fixture. I'm now using these with a built-in "eye"
Philips 60W Equivalent Soft White Spiral Dusk till Dawn CFL Light Bulb (4-Pack)-405852 - The Home Depot

But if I was building a house, I would use the programmable switches noted above.

And I would also pay attention to the fixtures for light pollution as previously mentioned.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:36 AM   #10
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I put my outside attached garage lights and my workshop lights on photocells. They lasted about a year and now no longer work.

I'm going to try programmable switches instead.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:49 AM   #11
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I used those "eyes" when I had CFL bulbs in 2 coach lights by our front door. They worked pretty well. When I switched to 2W LED's, their current draw was not enough to keep the lights on. They flickered a lot and were very dim, sometimes off totally. I now have the LED bulbs in them and keep them on 24-7. I figure they cost me about 1 penny a day to operate. Still cheaper that the CFL's and an "eye" combined. Are they as bright as the 13W CFL's? No. But they are still enough to light up the doorway and fumble with my keys.

I have other lights that light up the driveway, front fascade of the house, and the garage door. All are LED powered by 12VACand 120VAC. They are on a 24 hr timer with photocell like this one. Those turn on when it is dark and turn off again at around 11PM.

https://www.atgstores.com/timers-pho...160310174150:s

For your application I would recommend just the photocell switch and wire the inside switch as an override.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
As soon as I get my house built, I plan to put in a backyard observatory. Light pollution from both Denver and Colorado Springs is a problem even out in boonies where I live. Then there are the folks out here that leave yard lights on continuously even though they are not here but a few weekends a year. You might check out lights/fixtures that are more environmentally friendly to light pollution if they are going to be on all night.
+2

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Old 03-10-2016, 04:22 PM   #13
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The switches with the astronomical feature automatically adjust the on/off times for you throughout the year based on your local sunrise and sunset times.
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:53 PM   #14
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I purchased a similar unit just over a year ago - has worked great - no resetting the on/off as the season changes. It just works.

http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-EJ6...ct_top?ie=UTF8



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
Your light setup is exactly like mine, except my glass is frosted.
I use these screw in photo-cell adapters and it works.

My front does not get the morning sun, so the lights stay on until the afternoon (also caused by the frosted glass, the large roof overhang, and the fact that some of the adapters when screwed in don't face straight out with their eye). ...
So it 'works', but it doesn't sound like it works very well?


Quote:
I had one of those lightswitch replacements the other poster identified, on another house. It worked but issues with it are:
You have to reset them after each power failure, so keep the instructions as they are a pain to reset.
They don't adjust for the change in seasons, so you will need to reset the timing for when they come on as the days get earlier/later.
The one I linked has lithium battery backup, no resetting with a power failure. And it does change with the seasons, auto-magically. That is what it does, and why I bought it. It's great.

-ERD50
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:58 PM   #15
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We have both. The sensor eye for our 'street lights' and the programmable for our porch and garage lights. We live in an area w/o street lights, so installed our own when we re-landscaped about 5 years ago. These are dusk to dawn.

Our porch and garage lights are timed to go on at dusk and off about 11:30pm, however, can be programmed for dusk to dawn or pretty much anything you want. They automatically adjust with the seasons as well as daylight savings time and have a battery backup. These were also installed about 5 years ago and we just replaced batteries about 1 year ago.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:42 PM   #16
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I purchased a similar unit just over a year ago - has worked great - no resetting the on/off as the season changes. It just works.

Intermatic EJ600 120 Volt Indoor Digital Astro In-Wall Timer, White - Wall Timer Switches - Amazon.com


The one I linked has lithium battery backup, no resetting with a power failure. And it does change with the seasons, auto-magically. That is what it does, and why I bought it. It's great.-ERD50
Well it does seem like they have improved them in 20 yrs, and the price for your linked one is decent. I like the latitude setting, very clever.
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Old 03-12-2016, 12:54 PM   #17
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Well it does seem like they have improved them in 20 yrs, and the price for your linked one is decent. I like the latitude setting, very clever.
I have several of these astronomic switches made by Honeywell. I like the larger screen and they're easy to program and retain settings in event of a power outage. Photocell controls generally keep your lights on while it's dark. These astronomic switches turn on at dusk and you can set the off time.

Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B 7-Day Solar Time Table Programmable Switch for Lights and Motors - Wall Light Switches - Amazon.com
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:00 PM   #18
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I think mine is the one ERD50 mentioned. It has a little battery that lasts for many years. One might want to change it around year 5 or so. I've had mine in operation for more then 5 years. No issues. Works great.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:29 PM   #19
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I think mine is the one ERD50 mentioned. It has a little battery that lasts for many years. One might want to change it around year 5 or so. I've had mine in operation for more then 5 years. No issues. Works great.
The battery is not designed to be replaced, but I'm sure a handy DIY person could manage it. But it's a rechargeable lithium, and it is only needed for the clock - all the settings are in non-volatile memory. A clock takes very little draw, and only from the battery when the power is out, so there is little demand on that battery. It should last 10+ years (like the new CO detectors).

So worst case, if the battery dies, and you have a power outage - you just reset the clock, and that's it.

Over the holidays, I wanted to bypass this timer (porch lights), since the Christmas lights we have are plenty bright for that area. I feared it would be complicated - but just hit MANUAL/OFF and then MANUAL/ON when the holidays are over - EZ peezy.

-ERD50
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:33 PM   #20
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I've had this Honeywell switch for three years, on at dusk, off at 10 pm, easy to override. It runs all LED bulbs without a hitch:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...rch_detailpage

My parents have a different brand that requires periodic battery replacement with teeny, tiny, hard to replace batteries, but otherwise works fine too. You can guess who "fixes" the switch when it "stops working".

Some "neighbors" on the opposite side of our canyon had a high power light that they left on dusk to dawn. It would shine into our bedroom all night, but then the house was sold, an addition was added to the backside, and the light is gone. Yay!
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