Suggestions for controlling/limiting outdoor lighting

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I'm looking for suggestions on controlling outdoor lighting to limit a friend of mine wasting money.

My 80 something friend is registered blind and lives alone with her guide dog. She has an eye condition that means she needs huge amounts of light to be able to barely see what she is doing. Consequently she has inordinately high electricity bills.

Guide dogs are trained to do their business in a special pen, my friends pen is a short walk from her back door. To light the path she has two 500w halogen security lights. Unfortunately, from her back door she cannot see well enough to know if the lights are on or not. Consequently the two lights are often left on from close of "business" at around 8pm through to mid morning the following day when a visitor notices them. I've calculated that these mishaps are costing in the region of £25 a month if not more.

I'm trying to find a solution for her. Her switches are on grids, so changing the switch to some sort of timer is out of the question as she knows the tactile nature of the various switches and what they control.

LED is out of the question too. She is extremely reluctant to change light types as she knows she can see well enough to keep her independence with the current lights.

However, the switched live, earth and neutral exit the wall behind the first light and there is enough slack to divert it through some sort of timer. Then I can run a short length to the first light and the second light is already daisy chained off the first.

What I would like is peoples recommendations/suggestions for timers. I am keen to time the light for 4-5 hours as what I don't want to happen is for my friend to go out when she first puts the light on and then go out a second time and the light go out whilst she's in the middle of the path.

Is there a straightforward outdoor rated in-line timer? This would mean if she puts the light on at 4pm for pre-tea "business" and it was set for 5 hours the light would go off after the last call. The only downside I can see to this is that when the light goes on at 7am, it may stay on during daylight hours. Although the potential 10 hours is less than the time the light often gets left on.

I've seen outdoor photocell timers which seem like they would deal with the downside I've noted above. However, my friend needs the lights on before you or I probably would and the only experience I have with photocells is on my PIR lights. Both my PIR lights are set to the sunshine symbol, I.e they come on at the earliest time - but this is darker than I would like and nowhere near sunshine brightness. So I need a photocell that is truly adjustable from midday sun to pitch black so as not to restrict her.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

p.s. I have every respect for the people on here, but please don't start telling my about 500w lights needing planning permission and light nuisance etc. I've read lots of posts wheres it's been mentioned, but the type of lights are not my doing and not for me to change. Without these two lights my friend would lose her independence!
 
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Can she not use a rope to guide her to and from the pen? No light required. A timer is a bad idea, what happens if she is still out there when it goes off? Or move the pen closer? Tbh I would have thought the guide dog people would be used to this and have solutions that don't involve annoying neighbours
 
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It's not really going to be possible to mount a timer outside. Virtually all timers are powered by the mains, so when the light is switched off, the timer will stop and get out of sync.

Would a movement detector be an option? It could switch the lights on before she gets to them, and then they would stay on for how ever long you set the timer to.

LED would be my preferred option, but if she's unwilling to budge and you can't persuade her otherwise on this front, then we'll have to try and think of something!
 
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Metal Halide lamps?

What about a time clock BEFORE the grid switch, positioned out the way, that cuts power to the lights from say midnight to 7am?
 
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That could work. Maybe mount a timer at ceiling level, and intercept the cable to the lights somewhere near by.
 
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Would an audible beeping from a unit by the grid switch be a viable alternative to limiting the times the lights are powered?

If I've understood the situation correctly, your friend puts the lights on to take the guide dog down the path to the special pen, and back again. On return to the house, she sometimes forgets to switch off the lights again.

I was thinking that an audible beep should be straightforward to fit and would work along the same idea as the 'lights on' reminder in modern cars. It would also mean that the lights could be switched on at any time if for any reason they were needed beyond the normal routine.

If I've not understood your friend's circumstances fully, then I agree that a timer before the switch seems like a good option.
 
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Unless I've missed something the simple answer to this is to suggest that the person who clearly has perfectly good vision and installed all of the following could empty the dog, switching on and off whichever lights they need....

these 3 PIR secturity lights

http://www.diynot.com/forums/electr...th-time-lag-switch-led-keeps-flashing.372550/

and this decking/fort

http://www.diynot.com/forums/diy-disasters/so-i-built-a-fort-and-fell-through-it.372798

don't see any mention of your 80 something friend in there but you do mention your guide dogs

even if you are talking about a different property I find it difficult to believe that guide dogs are handed out to people who depend on flood lighting their neighbourhood in order to be able to look after them properly. many blind people with guide dogs have no vision at all, yet they manage to look after their dogs with no lights, something doesn't fit with this requirement.
 
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I would imagine the 80-something-friend lives elsewhere... Given he stated she lives alone, and in those two posts there is clear mention of a wife and children.

The fact that they both have guide dogs doesnt mean they are the same household...

Clearly, the 80-something friend is partially sighted, rather than completely blind. I dont see why you have a problem with this. I do agree that leaving 9megawatts of lighting on permenantly is somewhat antisocial, but thats why the OP has posted here isnt it? To find a solution... Maybe the suggestion that the only reason hes looking for a fix is the electricity bills has annoyed you, rather than because hes annoying everyone in a 4 block radius with his Mini-Sun.

I quite like the idea of an audiable warning, assuming ofcourse she can hear. That way you can be fairly sure it'll go off every time, rather than staying on all night until a timer kicks it off at midnight or something.
 
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The audiable indication that the light is on has many advantages as mentioned. The important one is that the light will not go out until the lady is ready to put it out. It has a second advantage that with a bit of "training" neighbours seeing the light on later than normal could check to see if the lady is still outside the house, maybe having fallen or otherwise unable to get back to the house.
 
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What's wrong with a PIR set to 8 mins above the back door.

The existing switch can still be used but if it gets left on it doesn't matter.
Quick on off switching needs to be avoided though.
 

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