How to make automatic night lights

Written by mary lougee
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How to make automatic night lights
A dusk to dawn lamp adaptor makes your porch lights operate automatically. (porch light image by Greg Pickens from

Automatic lights that illuminate at dusk and turn off at dawn have a photocell sensor in them, called an "eye." The opening in the light senses the amount of light pointing at it. When the light becomes dim, the photocell automatically turns the bulb on to illuminate the area. When the area becomes light at dawn, the photocell turns the bulb off. Dusk to dawn bulb adaptors simply screw into a light between the lamp socket and bulb to turn lights on at dusk and off at dawn either inside or outside your home.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Dusk to dawn bulb adaptor

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  1. 1

    Turn the light off and let the bulb cool for about five minutes. Put gloves on to protect your hands from the heat of the bulb.

  2. 2

    Grasp the bulb and turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it from the lamp socket.

  3. 3

    Insert a dusk to dawn bulb adaptor into the lamp socket. Turn it clockwise to tighten it.

  4. 4

    Screw the light bulb into the adaptor in a clockwise direction.

  5. 5

    Turn the photocell sensor on the adaptor so that it receives the maximum light from nearby windows indoors. Turn the sensor to face the setting sun outdoors or forward on porch lamps.

Tips and warnings

  • Hardware and home improvement stores carry dusk to dawn lamp adaptors.

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