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If you look around, it is very easy to find a photoelectric sensor switches that shuts off lights during the day. What if your project needed you to turn on a item during the day and shut it off at night. I guess those are also readily available but at a ridiculous prices nearing $100+. This kit allows is made up of readily available parts, you may even have them in a parts bin.

I made it using separate GFIs. The reason is simply because they were available. You can save money by getting a GFI electrical cord. Personally I don't mind the double GFI protection. If day time control trips I won't loose my night time control.

Parts List:
- Extension Cord
- Cord Grip
- 1 or 2 GFI Outlets
- Wire
- Relay Socket
- SPDT 120v Relay
- Photocell or Photoelectric Sensor
- Wire Nuts
- 120v Small Bulbs

Tools:
- Drill
- Step Bits or Drill Bits
- Wire Strippers
- Painters Tape
- Knife or Dremel
- Outlet Cover (for template)
- Marker
- Screwdriver

Disclaimer:
This is just for experimental purposes. Project boxes are not UL rated for 120v electrical. If you are interested in making one you can simply replace the project box with the plastic UL rated electrical boxes.

 

Step 1: Prepping Project Box

Drill out the hole for the electrical cord. Be sure to insert the nut of the cord grip first before you begin wiring anything otherwise you will find yourself having to undo all your wiring in order to slip the nut on. At this point I went ahead and separated the ground out into 2 for each outlet.
 

Step 2: Creating Labels

I started to create labels for all my wires to make it a breeze when it comes time to connect them. After-which I went ahead and started placing some of the wires where they belong.

Tips:
Labeling makes for a much easier project build. Below you will see the label list followed by a text diagram of where they go. I labeled them in layman's terms so they are easier to understand. 

Also label each outlet (night or day) if you are using two outlets. Disregard if you are just using one.

Labels:
#2 Relay
#2 Relay
#3 Relay
#3 Relay
#5 Relay
#6 Relay
#7 Relay
#8 Relay
White Wire (cord)
White Wire (cord)
White Wire (cord)
Hot/Black (cord)
Hot/Black (cord)

Prep wires by splicing at each end (approx. 7) and add labels. Here is a text diagram of what labels go on which wires.

--- Dotted lines represent a wire
[ ] Brackets are the Outlets


#7 Relay--------------------White Wire (cord)
#6 Relay--------------------Hot/Black (cord)
#5 Relay--------------------Hot/Black (cord)
[day]-------------------------White Wire (cord)
[day]-------------------------#2 Relay
[night]------------------------White Wire (cord)
[night]-----------------------#3 Relay


Photo Sensor:
Red Wire - attach to #8 on relay
Black Wire- attach to Hot/black wire on supply cord
White Wire- attach to White wire on supply cord

Bulbs:
Night Bulb- One wire goes to White wire on supply cord the other goes to #2 Relay

Day Bulb- One wire goes to White wire on supply cord and the other to #3 Relay

 

Step 3: Prepping Faceplate

I started to create the faceplate for the project box. I taped up the cover with frog tape and put double sided tape on my template (the white outlet cover). The cover turned out to be a great template. I drilled out the corners then began to cut with my olfa knife. It took a few swipes but it worked out fine. I marked my holes for the bulbs and the photoelectric switch. once complete I wired up the face plate. The bulbs must be fed through the faceplate before wiring up.

 

Step 4: Bulb Wiring

Grab one of each color wire from the bulbs. It doesn't matter which wire. What I did was solder both of them along with another wire that will attach to the white supply wire. I did that because the wires were so little that I felt they would come un-done inside of a wire nut. Espessially when the would be beside a much wider wire.

Step 5: Wiring It Up

If you followed step 2 and created all the labels necessary. I'm sure you also attached all the labels to the appropriate wires. You can now begin to attach all the wires to the appropriate locations.

Please note that I added a jumper from relay number 5 to number 6. You can see in the picture above.

Once you are done you can install the outlets to the faceplate and install the plate. Congratulations you just created your own light controlled outlets.

Step 6: Other Applications

This light control can be created with just a day or night time control. It can also be made in a much smaller manner with both day and night control by using a special outlet that does not have both outlets wired together or better known as an altered dual outlet. No worries they are available at your local hardware store.

I need something like this but for 12 volts. I want something that is time adjustable. I want it to open my RV awning when it's day then close it when it's dark.
<p>is this the right relay?</p>
<p>Correct</p>
<p>Great writeup. One question though, do you have a part number for the relay? Everything else is pretty much self explanatory.</p>
<p>omron ly1</p>
<p>Exactly the kind of info I was searching for. Just bout a screw in sensor at Walmart for $6.97 and calculated the 8 Watt LED bulb would take 4 years, running 12 hours a days as opposed to 24 hours a day, to pay for the sensor control. Would be interested in knowing how much for your sensor and where you obtained it.</p>
<p>This is an awesome idea.</p><p>Can you give more specifics on the relay portion? I understand the concept but I don't know which relay to purchase. When I Google SPDT 120V relay it seems there are many options. Can you list a part number? How many ports on your relay?</p><p>How does a relay socket differ from a relay? </p><p>Thank you kindly for sharing this cool project!</p>
So would this work in an application where a light would turn on/off at sunup/sundown?
<p>Yes, The outlet on the left turns things on during day light and the outlet on the left turns things on at night. I put a orange bulb to represent day and a green bulb on the right to represent night. So basically if you want something off during the day just plug it into the right side. Keep in mind you can make this unit with just daytime or night time feature.</p>

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Bio: I am a life long biz owner. I've been fortunate enough to have a successful business and a fun life.
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