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Old 06-30-2010, 09:08 AM   #1
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Light activated wire in switch do they exist?


I have a bathroom fan with a night light in it. In my other bathroom I have a little night light plugged into the wall. The little night lights that use a 4 watt bulb, have a photo sensor on them and they turn on when there is not much ambient light. In the case of the other bathroom, it is wired to a switch inside the wall.

Do they make wire-in switches that have a photosensor on them such that I can make the 4 watt night light only come on when there is not much ambient light? I don't want it burning all day and when the other light is on. Ideally it would have a mechanical kill switch too.

I don't want a motion sensor. I want a light sensor just like my el-cheapo nightlight has.

If I can't find one I'm tempted to just hack my own together.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zootjeff View Post
I have a bathroom fan with a night light in it. In my other bathroom I have a little night light plugged into the wall. The little night lights that use a 4 watt bulb, have a photo sensor on them and they turn on when there is not much ambient light. In the case of the other bathroom, it is wired to a switch inside the wall.

Do they make wire-in switches that have a photosensor on them such that I can make the 4 watt night light only come on when there is not much ambient light? I don't want it burning all day and when the other light is on. Ideally it would have a mechanical kill switch too.

I don't want a motion sensor. I want a light sensor just like my el-cheapo nightlight has.

If I can't find one I'm tempted to just hack my own together.
They have them at menards, but you woukd have to wire your own switch in line. They are called dusk to dawm sensors. They are under $20.

Jamie
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
They have them at menards, but you woukd have to wire your own switch in line. They are called dusk to dawm sensors. They are under $20.

Jamie
+1 You would have to mount it somehow as I don't beleive they are built into switches yet.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gmhammes View Post
+1 You would have to mount it somehow as I don't beleive they are built into switches yet.

I don't have a menards near me. What about online or a manufacturer part number?

Are these ones you could wire in a wall? I just want the sensor in the wall, not one with a light in it..
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:21 PM   #5
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Something like this would be cheapest:
http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Photo-Ce...7922016&sr=8-1


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Old 06-30-2010, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zootjeff View Post
I don't have a menards near me. What about online or a manufacturer part number?

Are these ones you could wire in a wall? I just want the sensor in the wall, not one with a light in it..
You could mount it up in the fan vent area so it is competely hidden.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:19 PM   #7
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For your new application where your mechanical mounting options are limited you might want one with adjustable sensitivity or you might have to fuss with taping over part of the sensor.
If some of the light from the controlled light falls on the sensor you will have an oscillator.

The electronic one that I used didn't go on early enough at the end of the day, but when the sensitivity was adjusted it responded to people walking by.
The one in the link uses a bi-metallic switch and won't respond that fast, and you may be able to tweak the sensitivity over a narrow range.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 06-30-2010 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:43 PM   #8
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you could try one of these. A light sensor socket adaptor.

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Old 07-02-2010, 11:23 AM   #9
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you could try one of these. A light sensor socket adaptor.



Ironic. I actually went this route, but via a hackjob. I went to home depot and bought a two pack of LED night lights that have the rotating lens. Then I took a dead bulb and broke off the glass portion. I took the board and LED out of the little night light. The wires that were connected tot he filiment of the bulb, I soldered down to the circuit board on the LED night light. Then I potted the whole thing in hot melt glue.

Seems to work great. I have a light sensor in the bulb and the switch on the wall is normal.

That socket listed there makes the bulb too long to fit in the enclosure..

What I'd need is a ligth sensitive LED bulb that has the small 1/2 bulb socket.. (night light bulb size)
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zootjeff View Post
That socket listed there makes the bulb too long to fit in the enclosure..

What I'd need is a ligth sensitive LED bulb that has the small 1/2 bulb socket.. (night light bulb size)
If you can find white LEDs you can make an omnidirectional 'bulb' and run them on 120 vac by adding a diode bridge and a resistor. A totally custom job.
To specify resistor size for equal brightness you need to know how much power your LED nightlight consumes.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-03-2010 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:30 PM   #11
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I use a P&S combination switch/receptacle in my bathroom.
Then I plug in a 4watt night light into the recept.

Works for me!
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