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Junhel L. Juarez BSEcE V-G



Assembly Instruction

Circuit Description


Circuit Diagram



The light activated relay switch circuit can be used for switching
OFF or ON a particular application or lamp or group of lamps in
response to the varying ambient light levels.

The unit once built can be used for switching OFF a lamp when
dawn breaks and switching it ON when dusk sets in.

The light activated relay switch circuits operate as dark detectors.

This means that when the light level falls under a preselected value, the
relay is actuated.


Before I do any construction I connect a potentiometer to the

LDR's - the component with the transparent face and a spiral pattern
inside it and note how the resistance depends inversely on the
amount of light falling on it.

I play with the LDR in very bright and very dark conditions. A feel
for what is happening in the LDR help me understand the circuit I am
about to build. In the dark, the resistance is very high, typically around
1M ohm. In bright light it is low, typically 1K ohm.

It is generally easiest to solder the lowest height components first

- the resistors. After I finish the schematic diagram, I place all the
components on its designated place; I check all solder joints carefully
under a good light. I check that all components are in their correct
position on the PCB. I make sure that I put all the components are put
in the correct place and solder it.

In this circuit I use 9 volts battery as a source for the circuit to


The circuit depends on a light sensitive device called a LDR, light
dependent resistor, as already described above. The resistance of the
LDR depends on the amount of light falling on it. The snake-like track on
the face of the LDR is a cadmium sulphide (CdS) film. On each side is a
metal film which is connected to the terminal leads. If you played with
an LDR & Potentiometer as mention above then you will know what it

The LDR and a potentiometer form a voltage divider which is used

to apply bias to a transistor. The more dark it is, the higher the LDR
resistance. As the LDR changes resistance the change in potential is
detected by the circuit and the relay is activated. As far as the detection
circuit is concerned. So a dark activated switch becomes a light
activated switch or vice versa. A protection diode is fitted across the
relay. This is to short circuit the 'back-emf' generated by the collapsing
magnetic field when the relay is turned off.

Otherwise a high-voltage spike transient would enter the circuit

and quickly damage the other components. In all three circuits an LED
with current limiting resistor is in parallel to the relay to give a visual
indication of when the relay is turned on.

22K Potentiometer

3mm LDR

1.5K Resistor

7.5K Resistor

2.2K Resistor

2n3906 Transistor

2n3053 Transistor

1n4001 Diode

3mm LED (Red)

12v Relay


This is basically a Schmitt Trigger which receives input from a
cadmium sulfide photo cell and controls a relay that can be used to
switch a lamp on and off at dawn and dusk. The photo cell should be
shielded from the lamp to prevent feedback so the lamp light does not
strike the photo cell and switch off the lamp. The photo cell is wired in
series with a potentiometer VR1, so the voltage at the base of
transistor Q1 can be adjusted to about half the supply, at the desired
ambient light level. The two PNP transistors are connected with a
common emitter resistor to produce a gap between the on and off
voltages - called the HYSTERESIS GAP.

Under dark conditions, the photo cell resistance will be high

producing a voltage on the base of Q1 that is higher than the base
voltage on Q2. This causes Q2 to conduct and activate the relay. The
switching points are about 8 volts and 4 volts using the resistor values
shown but could be brought closer together by using a lower value for
R3. A value of 3k3 would move the levels to about 3.5v and 5.5v.