Automatic Headlight Controller

Front panel of the Lux Meter gVI students work with to measure the intensity of light with a photocell
Learn about photocells by building an automatic headlight controller. Students measure the change in resistance of a photocell and see how this changes with light exposure, using a pre-built Virtual Instrument to convert change in measured voltage to lux. Students also learn about a voltage divider circuit along with associated equations and use cases. Finally, they implement this logic to create a model of an automatic car headlight system with a LED that illuminates if the light value drops below a threshold. The challenge portion of this project challenges students to create at tripwire motion sensor using concepts they learned.


This is lab 5 of 10 in the course, myDAQ Projects for Engineering Students.


  • DAQExpress workbook


  • Basic circuit building
  • Basic familiarity with DAQExpress

Related Resources


These labs prepare students with prerequisite skills.


These labs have related concepts that can expand student experience.


Combines a comprehensive set of plug-and-play computer-based lab instruments with portability for hands-on student learning in or outside the lab.


Save time with quick, clear access to DAQ measurements, get instant access to data without the need to program, then apply analysis or program for advanced acquisition, using built-in interactive tools to rapidly make data-driven decisions.

Required Software

  • DAQExpress 1.0

Required Hardware

  • myDAQ - View Specifications
  • Breadboard
  • Wires
  • Photocell
  • LED
  • Buzzer
  • 10kΩ resistor
  • 100kΩ resistor
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