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Old 08-06-2008, 03:41 PM   #1
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Photocell usage

I have a lighting fixture for my terrarium with 3 compact flourescents in it. The center bulb is on a diferent switch than the other 2. I thought it would be cool if when the 2 main bulbs went off at night (theyre on a timer) the third bulb came on with a nocturnal light in it. I was thinking of just sticking a photocell in the appropriate bulb's circuit...would this work?


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Old 08-06-2008, 04:42 PM   #2
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Sounds OK to me, or you could just use a second timer, and program it to turn on at night.
Photocell probably requires a neutral wire, so don't know if the switch box includes a neutral.



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Old 08-06-2008, 06:36 PM   #3
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Some timers act like a 3 way switch. Yuo have a third connection labeled NC or Normally Closed to which you connect the second lamp

You may use a photo cell or a second timer too. Or use a contactor (relay) on the first circuit and connect the second thru its NC connection

But imo the best thing is to put it on a manual switch and turn it off when nobody needs it anyway. CFLs save energy but still use it

If you really want something nocturnal put there stuff that glows in the dark
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:41 PM   #4
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I have attached a very crude image of a relay and timer setup (sorry photoshop not working for me right now). Basically line neutral is split to timer and both lamps (bottom line wire in pic), Line hot is split to timer and relay contact common, relay NO (Normally Open - when relay de-energized) connects to lamp 1 (lamp that comes on with timer) and NC contact (Normally Closed) connects to lamp 2 (lamp that comes on after timer shuts off). Relay coil should be 120volts and powered by the timer (also could be low voltage with a plug-in ac adaptor that plugs into the timer). When the timer comes on the main light comes on, and when it shuts off, the second light comes on. Only downside with this option is if you want both lights to be off at some point (could simply put in a switch between the relay C (common) contact and line power. This would allow the timer to still do its thing, but allow you to turn the lights off at any time if you wish. Hope this makes sense.
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