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How to Program Outdoor Light Timer [4-Way Solution]

We know, it’s a great hassle for us to turn on and off the outdoor lights.

That’s where outdoor light timers come in handy. They save our time and function automatically.

How to program outdoor light timer?

You should know the type of timer before programming it. There’re many types of timers. Like, mechanical, digital, noma, intermatic, etc. The steps for programming are different for all. Some timers work for 7 days and some only work from dusk to dawn. Some timers work for individual days too.

That’s just a short brief. To know more, keep on reading!

Complete Guidelines of How to Program Outdoor Light Timer

As I’ve mentioned earlier there are many types of outdoor light timers. The ways of programming are different for all of them. Setting up an outdoor light timer is surely different from testing dryer timers.

That’s why I’ve mentioned all of the ways for programming them separately. 

Let’s learn how to program outdoor light timer:

Type 1: Mechanical Outdoor Timer

Mechanical outdoor timers are weather protective. There is an analog dial in the timer. It works through a plug-in system.  

Here’s how to program a mechanical outdoor light timer:

Step 1: Push up All The Pins

There are some pins on the timer. The pins are for indicating times. After opening the package, push all the pins up to set the time.

Step 2: Set the Local Time

The darker shades of the analog are for pm and the lighter ones are for am. Set your local time. Move the arrow of the ‘time now’ dialer to your local time.

Step 3: Push Down the Pins

Push down pins of the time you want to set. Do it counterclockwise. 

For example, you want to turn on the lights at 6 pm and turn them off at 4.30 am. Then push down the pins from 6 pm to 4.30 am counterclockwise.

Step 4: Plug in Lights

Turn on the switch button of the timer and plug the lights in the timer. There are outlets for lights to plug in the timer. 

And you’re all set!

Type 2: Noma Outdoor Light Timer

Noma also has a version of the mechanical timer. The photocell version of them is the most famous one. You might find it identical to pool pump timer installation.

The photocell will work according to daylight. You just need to plug it in.

Here’s how to program a noma outdoor light timer:

Step 1: Turn it on

Turn on the switch button. There’s an indicator that will show if it is turned on or not.

Step 2: Find A Button

There is a button there. And there is also a screen which will show numbers after pressing the button. The number indicates the time the lights will be on after dark.

Step 3: Set Up The Time

Press the button five times if you want to turn on the lights for 5 hours after dark. The screen will show 5. After 5 hours, the lights will turn off automatically. You can do it for up to 9 hours.

After 9 hours have passed, you can find ‘d’ on the screen.

Type 3: Digital Outdoor Light Timer

The digital outdoor timer also works through a plugin system. Let’s learn how to program digital outdoor light timers:

Step 1: Charge the Timer

Plugin the timer for about half an hour to charge the internal battery of the timer.

Step 2: Figure out the Button Layout

Let me explain the button layout. 

The ‘Mode’ is for switching the timer function. 

The ‘Time’ is to set the current time and it also shows time. ‘Prog’ is for setting the time function. ‘+’ is for increasing the setting time. ‘-’ is for decreasing the setting time. 

‘Set’ is for confirming the setting time. You can also delete the setting time with it. And there is a small button for reset.

Step 3: Set the Current Day of Week

Hold ‘Time’ for 2 sec for showing the current time.  Select the correct weekdays through ‘+’ and ‘-’.

Step 4: Set the Current Time

Press the ‘set’ again.  Set the current time through ‘+’ and ‘-’ and while setting minutes, notice the am pm.

Step 5: Press ‘Time’

Press ‘Time’ again after setting time.

Step 6: Select the Mode

Press the ‘Mode’ button. There are a total of 6 modes. They are ‘OFF’, ‘Random Timer’, ‘Auto Timer’, ‘Auto Photocell’, ‘Auto P[hotocell and Timer’, ‘On’.

For custom settings, go to ‘Auto Timer’ and ‘Auto Photocell and Timer’. ‘Random timer’ will make lights on and off randomly. In ‘Auto Photocell’ the lights will turn on till dusk to dawn. 

You can use a dusk to dawn lighter as well. Be careful not to override the light. Or else, your dusk-dawn light will always stay lit.

Step 7: For Custom Settings

For custom settings, hold ‘Prog’ for two seconds. Now set up the weekdays you want this auto system.

Step 8: For ‘Auto Photocell and Timer’

Set the ‘on’ time and wait for 15 sec. Then set the ‘off’ time. For ‘Auto Photocell and Timer’ you don’t need to set the ‘on’ time, just set the ‘off’ time. The ‘on’ time is from dusk here.

The processes are quite lengthy and difficult. But it contains many modes so you can get many benefits from a timer. It works like an automatic light timer. 

Good digital outdoor lights are hard to come by. Take a look at my top picks:


They are long-lasting and durable lights with a timer. 

Type 4: Intermatic Outdoor Light Timer

Intermatic outdoor timer is a very tough and strong timer.  It’s also very easy to set up an Intermatic outdoor timer. Here’s how to program them:

Step 1: Basic Configuration

This timer also has an analog dial, the same as a mechanical timer. The darker part shows the time in the afternoon. And the lighter part shows the time in am.

Step 2: Pegs for Indicating Time

There is a green peg and a red peg. The Green peg is for indicating on time. The red peg is for indicating off time.

Step 3: Set the Pegs

Pull the green peg. Set it at the time you want the lights to turn on. And set the red peg around the time you want it off in a clockwise direction.

Step 4: Recheck

Now there is a small screen showing times and its name is ‘times of the day’. Rotate the big dial. Whenever the screen shows the time you set, it’ll give you a click sound. If it gives a click, that means your setup is right.

That’s all. I’ve mentioned all the ways to program for every outdoor light timer. Be sure to follow all the steps carefully, or you may see that your light is still on when it’s supposed to be switched off.


Question: Can you use a mechanical timer indoors?

Answer: Yes, you can use them indoors. You can set them for any kind of indoor light.

Question: How do you reset an outdoor light timer?

Answer: There is a reset option in the outdoor light timer. Find it and press it to reset your timer.

Question: Can you set the timer to the water heater?

Answer: Yes, you can. There is an analog dial in the heater. You can set your timer in there.


It’s time to say goodbye, my friend. Hope you’ve learned now how to program outdoor light timer.

Make sure you set up your time right! Also keep an eye on the am and pm.

Till then, good luck!