Circuit to turn on deck lights an hour before sunset

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by JeremyCondie, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. JeremyCondie

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 5, 2015
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    I have just wired in 35 12V LED light caps and down-lights on new deck. Looks great. Now I'd like them to automatically turn on about an hour before sunset and turn off (unless overwritten) about three hours later.

    I'm wondering about best approach. Perhaps an analog circuit with light sensor that detects sunset (the previous evening), and then turn on lights 23 hours later, or maybe an Arduino with WIFI that downloads sunset data (not sure where I'd find this).

    Any thoughts on the best approach is appreciated.
     
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Usually irrigation/sprinkler timers are cheap and include a real time clock.
    The output is usually 12v? AC so you may have to stick a bridge on the outputs for DC.
    Max.
     
  3. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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  4. AlbertHall

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2014
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  5. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    This timer may work for you.
    It automatically adjusts for the differences in sunset time over the year.
    You can set the time an hour earlier to get your 1 hour delay.
     
  6. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Not exactly.
    He wants a delay at the start. ;)
     
  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Not the way I read it.
     
  8. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    No he doesn't.

    Darn public skool edukation done gott ya on da readin comprending again huh? :oops:
     
  9. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Well I sure do. :oops:
    Read it several times and I somehow always read before as after.

    But my solution in post #3 should still work.
    He just needs to set the timer time one hour later rather than one hour earlier.

    A photo sensor would not readily work unless you add a 23 hour delay.
     
  10. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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  11. crutschow

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  12. JeremyCondie

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 5, 2015
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    Thanks guys. I found this too "Arduino Astronomical Clock for Automatic Light Control." Think I'll try this route. Appreciate your advice.
     
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  13. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I read it, and thought, "A person can situate a retail sensor so the setting sun is mechanically occluded and thus adjust the start time."
    Then I forgot about the 3 hour limit.:oops:
    Then I doubted the O.P. is sure about what he wants. "Trigger something an hour before an event?"

    Fact is, I have an over-designed sunset sensor with a timer very similar to this in my blog.
    http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/blog/night-detector.658/
    Does the O.P want to build the deluxe night sensor and change the jumpers on the timer?
    Get some education in analog design by trying to strip out the unnecessary parts?
    When CdS sensors are now obsolete, and so it the timer chip?

    Now that he's come back, it seems he wants an Arduino project.
    OK. I'm getting obsolete.:(
     
  14. ci139

    Member

    Jul 11, 2016
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    requires GPS or other PS . . . input from

    -- this is one of the occasions where the no. of results displayed makes me wonder if we actually are at the 3-rd millenium of ̶h̶u̶m̶a̶n ̶̶ christian history :
    Google?: Arduino "Astronomical Clock for Automatic Light Control" critics outdoor marine
    track target: November 14, 2013
     
  15. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I don't understand why you would start an Arduino project to avoid buying something for less than $10 at Home Depot that is purpose built for the exact task.

    The ones that detect sunset are adjustable. Face them east and they turn on at least an hour earlier than if they face west.

    Now, they will come on earlier on a cloudy day. If you don't want that and really want to synch with the sun, then I suppose the hardware store options aren't up to it.
     
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  16. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    The timer I referenced in post #5 tracks sunset time and goes for $30.
    But I suppose doing it with an Arduino is more fun. :rolleyes:
     
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  17. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    I think it needs to be a two-pass algorithm. Record the time of sunset, turn them off 2 hours later, then turn them on 21 hours later. This is like the old lady who asks the kid: "How do I get off the bus at Mulberry Street"? The kid replies: "Watch me and get off two blocks before I do".
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
    #12 likes this.
  18. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Typical modern day mentality. Anything that can be done cheaply, simply and reliably can be done more costly, complexly and less reliable as well and since it cost more and takemore to design and build therefore it's better.

    Personally I don't follow the reason for turning the lighting on a full hour before the sun goes down.

    What's there to gain? Is the sun not bright enough as is? If so why not just leave them on all the time? o_O

    Around here we have evening dusk light for about an hour after the actual sunset so by my reasoning turning them on a hour before sunset would have them running for nearly 2 hours for no reason whatsoever.
     
  19. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Or as the old Irish version of giving directions, 'Well, Firstly you can't get there directly from here." followed by a long drawn out set of directions that could have been summed up in one or two easy to follow sentences. :p
     
  20. metalmoto

    New Member

    May 10, 2008
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    I agree, simpler is better. A lot cheaper. And it will work for many years.
    I once built a sump pump controller, using metal probes, at different heights. It worked fine for a while...
    But a simple float switch cost $10, and worked just a well. Also think of the environment your electronics have to deal with. Rain, moisture, temperature extremes. Just something to think about...
     
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