I'm looking for a few hints in designing a light detector circuit.
Priorities are that the circuit is simple (both as in few parts and as in relatively easy to understand), rather cheap, and can give a rough estimate of the light level.
It should be able to clearly differ between night, early morning light, a cloudy day, direct sunlight etc. Much more isn't strictly necessary, but would be a very nice bonus. (This is for a simple greenhouse temp/light monitor/logger circuit.)
Analog or digital doesn't really matter (the board has a microcontroller with an ADC), but I suppose anything except off-the-shelf solutions are analog.
I'm not quite sure where to begin, or even what class of photodetector to use. Since bandwidth is completely irrelevant (I need a reading every few minutes), I would suppose that the more important spec is how wide a lux range they can handle.
I'd also appreciate some input on noise sensitivity. Given the (lack of) accuracy required, do I need to be careful with separate analog/digital grounds etc., so that the lower-end measurements are still OK?
External power will come from a switching supply, but there's a LDO first thing on the board. However the rest of the board is digital (microcontroller, temperature sensors, SPI Ethernet chip).