Installing a garage light timer

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In Summer 2005, I replaced the cheap dawn-to-dusk garage light with a new dawn-to-dusk flood light to illuminate both the driveway and some of the backyard, which is kinda freaky at night. It worked fine, no problem… except that it likes to come on in the evening about 60-90 minutes before it gets dark and shuts off about an hour or so after day has broken in the morning. Can you say waste of electricity?

So, what to do. I fiddled with the sensor settings with no results. After pondering it, I thought th best course of action, besides buying a new $30 light, would be to put it on a timer. Since the light was hard-wired (no on and off switch, unless you count the powerbox in the basement), the cable to it needed to be removed at the power source and have a plug attached.

Thankfully, there is power in the old garage thanks to a modification someone did a few decades ago. So it wasn’t too hard.


This is the power box, where the main power lines come in and get redistributed to the indoor garage light, an outlet and of course directly to the garage light.
The timer I bought is a cheap $3.00 rotating kind that needs to be plugged in.

I cut an old plug off an extention cord, stripped the wires and tied them together. That created a barrier between the light and the power source. Now I could turn the light on and off by simply unplugging it. This however would be a massive pain in the ass.

Enter the timer. The timer goes plugged into the outlet, and the new plugged light goes into the timer.


I set the timer to give power to the light starting at 9pm and shut off at 5am. So basically when the light tries to come on at 7:30pm (when it’s currently very much daylight in NY during the summer) and shut itself off at 7:30 am (when it’s already well passed daybreak) the timer says nuh uh.

It’s a quick solution for now. Maybe eventually I’ll get a digital timer and hardwire it onto the wall instead of using an outlet timer, but this will do for the moment. The main reason for doing this is to save a few cents in electricity costs. With the light coming on when it did, that was just wasting power. Remember, these are flood lights, not regular little lights. To save even more power, I switched the two 100 watt flood bulbs to two 50 watters. I wish I could have gone lower with those Energy Efficient bulbs that only use about 14 watts, but the base of those are too big to fit into base of the outlet I got.

So, here’s a tip. If you’re going to buy a new flood light and want to use energy efficient bulbs, check the size of the base and see if it’s big enough to handle the them.

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