Automatic mooring light

Posted on Aug 25, 2012

Integrated-circuit Ul—an LF351 or 741 op amp—is used as a comparator to control the light. Resistors R2 and R3 provide a reference voltage of about 2.5 volts at pin 3 of Ul. When daylight falls on light-dependent resistor LDR1, its resistance is low: about 1000 ohms. In darkness, the LDR's resistance rises to about 1 megohm. Since Rl is 100,000 ohms, and the LDR in daylight is 1000 ohms, the voltage ratio is 100 to 1; the voltage drop across the LDR is less than the 2.5 volt reference voltage and pin 2 of Ul is held at that voltage. In that state, the output at pin 6 of Ul is positive at about 4.5 volts, a value that reverse-biases Ql to cutoff, which in turn holds Q2 in cutoff, thereby keeping lamp II off.

Automatic mooring light
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When darkness falls, the LDR's resistance rises above Rl's value and the voltage at pin 2 of Ul rises above the reference voltage of 2.5 volts. Ul's output terminal (pin 6) falls to less than a volt and Ql is biased on. The base-to-emitter current flow turns Q2 on, which causes current to flow through the lamp. When daylight arrives, the LDR's resistance falls sharply, which causes the lamp to be turned off, ready to repeat the next night/day cycle.

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