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Thread: Dawn to Dusk sensor

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member JonathanBaines's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Dawn to Dusk sensor

    I am looking (but currently failing) to find a sensor that will turn on a fountain I have in my yard at dawn and turn it off at dusk.

    I had one of these a long time ago at a previous property I owned but I have been completely unable to locate such a device now.

    If anyone can help, I would appreciate it greatly.

  2. #2
    DIY Member TWEAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Bay Area CA


    Most of the inexpensive photoswitches I've seen are for lighting and work opposite - on at dusk and off at dawn.

    You can use an Intermatic digital outdoor timer in your application. Check www.intermatic.com. They make indoor timers that automatically adjust for changing sunrise/sunset... I have one, it works well and would probably work for you if the on/off switch for the fountain is inside the house. If the device has to live outside, call intermatic to see if they have a recommendation. Maybe they have an outdoor timer that does this also. Or, you could just go with one of their straight on-off outdoor timers that would turn the fountain on and off at fixed times.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    Grainger has many versions, but they are all "pricey".

  4. #4
    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Easiest way to do this (if you can't find one that turns 'off' at dusk) is to get one that turns 'on' at dusk and then use 120V AC relay to 'flip' the signal. The sensor would be used to turn the relay on/off. The relay would be wired NC (normally closed) and connected to the fountain. When it got dark, the sensor would put voltage to the trigger side of the relay and breaks the contacts (turn fountain off). The only disadvantage of doing it this way is that the fountain would run all night if the sensor failed.

    The relay would look something like this:


    If you were handy with electronics, there are several simple circuits that could do what you are wanting.


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