Are you annoyed by the fact that you have to look for the light switch in the dark? This is even worse when you have to go outside the house in the dark or go through an area of the house that is sunk in darkness during the night. In this article we will discuss the fact about how do motion sensor lights work. Stumbling around while trying to find a way to turn on the lights is not fun at all, especially when you’re up from your sleep.
So, you need motion sensor lights because they will automatically turn on as soon as they detect motion in their action range. In other words, you will have to worry less about light switches and enjoy light on the spot, wherever you need it.
If you’re wondering why you need motions sensor lights, just think about going to your garage when it’s dark outside or out on the porch? It would be very useful to have lights on where light switches are unpractical. You can easily get this task done without worrying about anything. You can have them work around the clock or just during the night.
The only thing you need to have in mind that they can be triggered by anything that moves around them. So, if you have pets around the house or there are animals visiting the area where the lights are installed, they can be turned on by any kind of motion detection.
Motion sensor lights operation
Let us start with the most basic aspects, before moving on to the way motion sensor lights work. First, do you know what motion sensor lights are? Motion sensor lights, as their name suggests, are activated by motion. These lights use special sensors meant to detect physical movement around them.
Depending on the product you are purchasing, the sensors may emit infrared energy, microwaves, or sound waves in order to determine whether there is or not a movement in the environment. But, let us get into more details and see how these motion sensor lights work more precisely.
We will use as an example of motion sensor lights that work with the help of infrared energy. These sensors emit passive infrared energy, shortly known as PIR. In some cases, they can also contain pyroelectric sensors. Both sensors work by being sensitive to the heat produced by human bodies.
In terms of infrared energy, the human body that has an average temperature of 93 degrees Fahrenheit, will emit energy with wavelengths between 9 and 10 micrometers. Thus, the sensors of motion sensor lights are set to record values between 8 and 12 micrometers, detecting a variety of body temperatures, within the normal range.
In reality, these motion sensor lights are very simple mechanisms. The infrared light emits electrons, which will bump into a substrate, like the surface of the human body when the case. This bumping can be then measures and the sensor is capable of determining how a body moves according to the way those electrons bump back.
At the same time, this particular motion is amplified and transformed into a signal. This aspect can be easily tested. Motion sensor lights will turn on only when motion is sensed. So, once you stand still and don’t move for a while, the light will turn off, considering that there’s no more movement in the area. This is because the device is made to look for rapid motion changes, triggered by the amount of infrared energy it manages to detect on a given period.
So, when a person moves or walks, the number of energy changes quickly, due to the performed movements. Fast movements are detected very fast and the lights will react by turning on. After all, you don’t want your sensors to detect slower movements triggered by heat, like the surface of the concrete sidewalk cooling down during nighttime.
This will mean that your lights will be on all the time. In other words, it is good that the sensors can detect rapid movements, so they can make the difference between human body movements and movements triggered by other types of energy emissions.
The reason a motion sensor light can detect movement on such a wide area is because the infrared energy, which is actually light, is emitted with the help of plastic lenses. When light is behind lenses, it can bend and focus in various ways.
However, these sensors are not as advanced as 2-D type sensors, because, in the case of motion sensor lights, there is only one sensor, two at most, which look for movement changes in the surrounding environment.
Types of motion sensor lights
When it comes to motion sensor lights, there are several types, based on the kind of motion sensor used for the making of the lighting fixture. So, here are the types of motion sensors:
PIR or Passive Infrared Sensors
One of the most commonly met types of sensors, the PIR uses infrared radiation to detect physical movements. It contains a pyroelectric material that is sensitive to IR radiation. The best part about these sensors is that they can last for a very long time and don’t consume a lot of energy.
This type of sensor will emit microwave impulses and they will measure the way they will bounce back off various surfaces. They are very sensitive when it comes to detective movements, but they consume quite a lot of energy. This is why they are built with an On/Off cycle.
These sensors can be active or passive. Active sensors will emit sound wave pulses and will detect movement based on the way these waves reach various surfaces. However, these pulses can be heard by pets and animals around the house, so it can be disturbing for them. They are also more expensive and can trigger false alarms.
This sensor uses radio waves to detect movement. They are highly effective because they can detect movement through walls, doors, and other objects. Movement is sensed when the radio waves are disturbed. Because they are quite expensive, they are mainly used in warehouses and storage areas.
Combined Motion Sensors
Also known as dual sensors, such a sensor will use two different methods for increased efficiency. Thus, a combined motion sensor can use PIR and microwaves at the same time.
Types of motions sensor lights:
- Motion detecting lights powered by solar energy;
- Motion sensor lights activated with batteries;
- Motion sensor lights powered by electric wires.
- They can be energy-effective if you choose the type adequate in your case, as they will only turn on when motion is detected and most of them use LED lights these days;
- They are very convenient, as you will have the lights on without having to use a switch;
- It will discourage intruders to get close to your property and may help you prevent burglaries or acts of vandalism to occur;
- They can be installed in an area where electrical wires and switches are unpractical, like on your backyard patio or outside of your garage. So, you can enjoy bright lights even in areas that are harder to reach when it comes to electricity;
- Those powered by solar energy are clean and you don’t have to worry about batteries or energy bills;
- You cannot control them, as they are automatically controlled by motion. So, whether you want or not the lights to turn on, they will if the sense motion;
- Motion sensor lights may go off at inconvenient times. More precisely, because they are activated by motion, they usually turn off when they don’t sense motion anymore. Thus, if you stand still, the light will go off.
There are more than enough cases in which you could use the help of motion sensor lights. You could use such lights at the entrance of your house, so you’ll have the lights on when you’ll return home at night. Also, having motion sensor lights at the entrance of the house will discourage any perpetrators, as they won’t want to act if there’s a bright light that could reveal their identity. So, besides making you feel safe at night, by lighting your way, these lights can also increase security on your property.
Of course, you can install them in the backyard, in front of your garage, or storage units that are further away from your home and are sunk in darkness after nightfall. This way, not only will you have light available if you to go there at night, but you will also keep perpetrators from attempting anything illegal.
Motion sensor lights have their disadvantages as well, but by making an informed choice and choosing the product that best fits in your case, it is possible to minimize the downsides of these devices. You just need to pay attention to the specifications of each product and make sure it will serve you well.
What area surface can be covered by motion sensor lights?
The area covered by a motion sensor light depends on the type of sensor used by the device and the way it is positioned. So, you will have to take these two details into account before purchasing such a device. You either think about positioning in a way that it will light a path, for instance, or you can place it in the corner of a building or structure, having the light on one side and the other.
Motion sensor lights that are operated by batteries or solar power can be even installed on poles and on trees, although positioning the light in a tree can be problematic for those operated by sunlight. Also, check to see how much light a device can provide when on, so you can determine just how large the lit surface will be.
Where can these lights be placed and used?
The position of a motion sensor light depends on its power source. If you have a motion sensor light that is operated by electrical wires, you will have to make sure there are electrical wires where you want to place the device. Or, if not, you will have to bring some electrical wires to the desired position.
Motion sensor lights that are operated by batteries or solar power can be placed almost anywhere. Usually, they are used outdoors, but they can be used indoors as well, in some cases. More precisely, you can use this kind of lights in the garage, storage unit, barn, or anywhere else you need a practical lighting fixture.
Why can’t these lights be controlled by the user?
You cannot switch these lights on and off as you’d normally do with other types of lighting fixtures. They are triggered by motion detection only. So, if you move, they will turn on. If you stop moving, they will turn off after a while. This can be inconvenient in some instances, but, as long as you move, they will stay on.
What kind of power source do these lights need in order to work?
They can be operated with the help of electricity, if you can install electrical wires for then, with the help of batteries, or solar power.