Introduction: How to Convert Your Outdoor Light Into a Sunset to Sunrise on Service

Picture of How to Convert Your Outdoor Light Into a Sunset to Sunrise on Service

Are you tired of remembering to turn on and off your outside drive way or front door light every night and day. By installing a small photo electric switch the pain of remembering is done for you. You have to by the switch at a electronics store that sells only electronic stuff. The big box lumber stores do not carry the small size switched and only carry the larger size units. I took me about :30 min to install the switches onto two lamp that are attached to the house garage facing the drive way.

Step 1: Tools Needed

Picture of Tools Needed
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit to fit the barrel size of the switch
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Electrical tape
  • 4" plastic ty wraps
  • Nibbler
  • Ladder to reach the lamps

Step 2: Steps One

Picture of Steps One


In this case I found that at the top of the lamp was the best place to put the small photo electric switch. Next I removed the glass casing and drill the hole at the top of the lamp.

Step 3: Step Two:

Picture of Step Two:

Next mount the switch into the hole and tighten down to secure the switch. Be careful not to over tighten the brass nut as the plastic barrel will strip.

As you can see the wiring is shown in the picture as well as the model. I have had this one laying around for over five years and three years of use outside. The unit has been sturdy.

Step 4: Step Three

Picture of Step Three

This is optional if the case that holds the wiring is similar to what is shown. The base is a cup style and to get the wires I had to cut a slot for the wiring. You can drill a hole as well to give the wiring access to the power wires.

Step 5: Step Four

Picture of Step Four

I added 22 gauge solid core wire to extend the wires from the photo switch to the base compartment since over the years the wire got a bit shorter.

after adding the electrical tape M88 preferred, I added a ty wrap over the electrical tape to prevent it from coming undone due to weather conditions and causing a short.

Tuck the wire nuts in the enclosure. Dress the wire as shown with ty wraps

Step 6: Step Five

Picture of Step Five

Turn electric source on and test your connection.

Now close everything up .

Now you dont have to remember what time of year as the seasons change for you to have lights on at dusk.


bkhosman made it! (author)2014-04-28

This was something that I was wanting to do for some time. Thanks for the reminder, I tied my photo cell into three outdoor lights that were in series. Looks good and works great.

JasonC336 (author)bkhosman2016-09-27

Just stumbled on this project, and I'm excited to try it! bkhosman, I want to install mine outside my garage like yours. Do car headlights affect the sensor or turn off the lights when you pull up at night?

aspendog14 (author)JasonC3362017-01-04


FrancesS4 (author)bkhosman2016-12-08

That does look great! How does the lamps being in a series change the instruction if at all?

aspendog14 (author)FrancesS42017-01-04

no affect at al mine are the in series. Sorry for taking long to reoly

aspendog14 (author)bkhosman2014-04-29

the possibilities for this are many, yours looks great and the series use is better to control all

brunnegd (author)2015-08-19

BurgersBytes (author)2014-02-23

How old is that fixture? Might want to replate it. At least hide the wires behind the tube or get a bigger tube perhaps. Maybe everything could be wired up in the bell and just bring 2 wires down to the lights like it was originally. Put a hole in top of tube for the power wire out and and the sensor wire into the tube. Everything else was already wired correctly. Then you don't need to put a hole in the bottom either. The tube screws out from the top center piece if it is not too corroded.

aspendog14 (author)BurgersBytes2014-02-25

Sorry for the delay on answering, I had some big issues in trying to post anything to these.

The fixture is 6 years old, its dusty here near Austin, Tx. The fixture has a rustic look to it and some ceiling fans in the house which we bought in 2008

kforbes3 (author)2014-02-23

would it be possible to do this to an indoor lamp, such as a floor or desk lamp?

aspendog14 (author)kforbes32014-02-25

Yes, you can use on any lamp, just remember that you need a light source during the day so the lamp can shut off.

Sorry for the delay on answering, I had some big issues in trying to post anything to these.


altomic (author)kforbes32014-02-24

yes, but put the sensor away from direct light of the lamp.

aspendog14 (author)2014-02-25

test post

chuckyd (author)2014-02-23

And that adds so much to the beauty of the lamp, being right there where everyone can see it.

Aremon (author)2014-02-20

oh men... please.

Hide those wires inside. It is so cool lamp and you just leave wires outside/on it?!

Use this vertical tube to hide them inside od it (it is for this). :)

aspendog14 (author)Aremon2014-02-20

That is a good idea. The reason I did what I did is because the frosted glass cover hides everything. Also if I have to replace the unit, removing the wires is much easier. Also the tube is small and contains the AC feed from the fuse panel.
Thanks for the suggestion as it is truly good

aspendog14 (author)aspendog142014-02-20

This is the completed project. Black wire can be used to camo the wires, I only had the red.

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