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alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

Motion sensor security light - Are they all junk?

All I can find is Heath Zenith and they all seem to get bad reviews for failing quickly.

I had to take out the bulbs from my current security light because it started turning on and off non stop, no matter the sensitivity setting (Along with other settings). There is not switch to simply cut power to it

Is there such a thing as a GOOD security lights out there?

Considering they all seem to be crap, I'm thinking of putting up normal flood lights powered by a basic switch. It would simply light up my driveway all night (With less powerful light bulbs).

Are there timer based or light sensing based sensors that can toggle the light On/Off that can be hard wired? All the ones I find are for extension cords.

This post is very open to discussion, if it's not already obvious

Sorry if this is a recurring thread (I remember seeing that subject a few times), but the search options don't give good results



dandelion
Premium,MVM
join:2003-04-29
Germantown, TN
kudos:5

All I know is an electrician that I trust and has been in business for a long time told me there is no motion sensor light that lasts.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to alkizmo

I have a Heath-Zenith light that's still working after 7 years.

I had a Heath-Zenith wireless transmitter that quit after 3 years. Replacement is still working.

Expand your moderator at work


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to alkizmo

Re: Motion sensor security light - Are they all junk?

They are all Chinese crap. You might have some better luck with RAB. I don't have much else to add besides that.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



AnonEEMouse

@bhn.net
reply to alkizmo

I've yet to find any that last more than 2 years. Even the expensive "pro" grade ones you get from Grainger didn't last and they cost $70 something dollars.

I switched to regular photocells with LED bulbs to offset the energy cost from running them dawn to dusk. »www.grainger.com/Grainger/INTERM···ol-6P007



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to alkizmo

While calling all of them "junk" is a bit harsh, it is true that there do not appear to be any motion sensor lights that can be called "good" (let alone "perfect").

There are certainly motion sensor lights that are above average (quality components and long service life) but I have yet to see any motion sensor light that provides the right sensitivity over a wide range of ambient light and temperature conditions.
Depending on those conditions the motion sensor either becomes overly sensitive or too insensitive. Another common misbehavior is that many motion sensors pick up a person walking past it in the distance yet fail to pick up a person walking straight towards it.

Regarding the specific problem you are mentioning (turning on and off non stop) there is probably feedback from the light bulb to the sensor. This can happen with bright colored surfaces that reflect back some of the light to the sensor(s) and is worse with the better motion sensors that detect ambient light (to turn off during day time). However also check that the light bulb is the correct one for the motion sensor. Using CFL or LED bulbs in motion sensor light fixtures not rated for it can have all sorts of wrong effects.
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


averagedude

join:2002-01-30
San Diego, CA
reply to alkizmo

The Heath Zenith one I got from Home Depot lasted less than 2 months before it started blinking constantly and finally died.


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to alkizmo

For best results purchase a security light with a motion sensor rated for use with Incandescent, Tungsten or Florescent lamps. Those sensors use a relay to energize the lamp. Do not purchase a motion sensor marked incandescent only, they use a Triac switch in place of a relay, which is very sensitive to the load characteristics of the lamp(s).

You might have to remove the sensor from the box and look at the information hot stamped on the outside of the sensor to determine which application it is rated for. The one I purchased to activate a florescent lamp by the front door, lasted Ten Years and would have lasted longer if a painting contractor had not flooded it with a pressure washer.



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
reply to alkizmo

I had an ancient Heath sensor that worked for decades. Even survived a lightning strike. It was mounted on the house and controlled a light on our shed.

Since then I have not had any luck finding a reliable sensor, even the commercial ones. I've given up trying to automatically control the light.

Our porch light is CFL so I control it with a photocell. If we need extra light flip the switch. Not very elegant but it works well enough.

/tom



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
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·surpasshosting
reply to alkizmo

It's a shame, because I like the motion sensor lights. We have a bunch of hoodlums surrounding us (yes, it's far past time to move), so I have them on all for sides of the house.
I had 2 die this year that weren't even a year old. 1 Lithonia, and 1 Heath. I ended up just putting the RAB heads on them. It looks a little funny with brown heads and white bodies, but it's all the had in stock at the supply house.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to alkizmo

Mine failed then one of my vehicles was broken into. Of course! Can I just replace the sensor (HD sells them for $20) or does the whole unit need to be replaced? Mine turns on, but only if I'm two feet away from it. Used to work great in the past, but like an old dog with arthritis, it started slowing down and now is pretty useless.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by fartness:

Can I just replace the sensor (HD sells them for $20) or does the whole unit need to be replaced?

That's the joke, the replacement sensor costs almost as much as a complete unit.

So lesson here is: I'll look for non-motion sensor flood lights.

Actually..... I might tinker with my current broken unit to remove the motion sensor and just hard wire the lights. There are like... ZERO choices in standard outdoor dual flood lights.

Why have motion sensors when permanently turning on the lights at night is just as good and probably cost very little more in electricity?

If hooligans and thieves are scared off by motion sensing lights, then I'm sure they don't even approach permanently lighted areas.

PS - Same cost in electricity because motion sensor lights need halogen 100W (30 minutes up time per night) while permanently on can use 15W CFLs (8 hours up time per night).

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
reply to alkizmo

6 years and still going for mine.

Today's lesson people. Buy the cheapest one that does what you want and hope it lasts.


Gardener
Premium
join:2006-10-19
Burnaby, BC
reply to alkizmo

23 years. It did quit once, then I evicted a family of tiny spiders from just behind the plastic lens. It's been fine ever since.



Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to alkizmo

If you go without a motion sensor look at light sensor so it will automatically turn your light on at dusk and off at dawn. Light sensor is inexpensive.

I did that for some outdoors LED I have.

I did a motion sensor security light for another place but I paid > $100 for it. Only a few months old, I hope a get many years before it needs replacement.



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:6
reply to alkizmo

About $60 list...you also need the interface relay.

»www.wattstopper.com/products/com···FebJlS1w



motoracer

join:2003-09-15
united state
reply to alkizmo

»www.amazon.com/Lithonia-OFLR-6LC···-battery



disconnected

@snet.net
reply to alkizmo

I had the Zenith lights too, and the cadmium photocells fail at 6 months of age like clockwork. Replaced them three times, and finally switched to a different kind of light. Now have an 1800 lumen LED motion sensor light that so far, after a year, is still working. Have five of them and all are working okay still. I think the brand is Sentry.


equivocal

join:2008-01-23
USA
reply to alkizmo

The three I have are pretty rugged with metal shrouds for the bulbs, but the sensors are the same ole crap. Sensitivity has dropped off significantly since new. The lenses have clouded up and become very brittle. These wide angle sensor units are actually two sensors packaged together.

I'm not certain, but I think most the detection work is done by the lenses. They have some sort of fresnel pattern which scrambles the image so that an object moving across the field of view flickers. Then the sensor can be a stupid photocell wired to something that reacts to rapid changes in light.


Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to alkizmo

When I had put some in where I used to live it stated on the box to keep the sensor eye from direct sunlight. If pointed at direct sunlight it would shorten the life of the sensor. I don't remember the brand.



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to alkizmo

That's what I've been doing since it stopped working properly. I have a separate light near it that has a switch, so it goes on when it gets dark, and gets shut off when I wake up. If I go away for a week, I just leave it on. It's a 23W CFL, so it's not using much electric.


Hellrazor
Bah Humbug

join:2002-02-02
Abyss, PA
Reviews:
·Service Electric..
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

1 Lithonia, and 1 Heath.

Lithonia is the biggest pile of dung I have ever used. They used their commercial lights in the one building at work and it is a pain to get parts for them. I bought a few lithonia fluorescent lights for my garage and they last less than 2 years with minimal use.

MrIcehouse

join:2006-02-07
Saint Petersburg, FL
reply to averagedude

I have a Heath Zenith in my back yard it still works after 2 years but it flashes a lot, The one on my front porch I got it from my local mom and pop hardware store, he special ordered it for me, it's going on 10 years, I wish I could remember the brand, it was under $100. It has 3 separate settings, width, length and sensitivity. Dogs or cats won't set it off, people in the street either, but if you get closer than 10' from the door it's on.


Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
reply to alkizmo

I guess it's hit and miss. I have a 20 year old Heath. Works fine.



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting

said by Tig:

I have a 20 year old Heath.

The problem is new Heath products are Heath in name only, no semblance to the old Heathkit.

/tom

dick white
Premium
join:2000-03-24
Annandale, VA
reply to alkizmo

If you want a timer switch that just turns the outside lights on and off:

»www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R···angId=-1

This one has programmable on-off times or a pre-programmed dusk/dawn setting that adjusts for changes in sunrise/set times through the year (including daylight savings time) and does not have a minimum load so it can be used with a low-wattage CFL.

dw


peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON

1 recommendation

reply to alkizmo

Click for full size
This thread got me so excited I went out and got a new light for $99.00 with a camera that records up to 400 video clips.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

2 recommendations

Click for full size
You'll never stop seeing it.

Speedy Petey

join:2008-01-19
reply to alkizmo

An of the RAB Stealth series is top quality, NOT junk, and WILL last a long time.
Sorry if folks think $70 is a lot of money for something quality made. If you want $30 junk then buy junk,. If you want quality then you'll have to spend more.