Jump to content

Opinion - battery-operated outdoor motion sensors?


Andrew

Recommended Posts

Any recommendations for battery-operated outdoor motion sensors? They will not be directly exposed to rain. First thought is to put one up on the (covered) front porch to activate a z-wave bulb in the porch light.

I see this one on Amazon, maybe someone has had some experience?

 

At this point, I'm basically only planning on using them to turn on lights.

 

thanks!

Andrew

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First thing to consider is what the temperature rating is for the device. If you live in a extreme climate area don't expect the hardware to last very long if its exposed to such. Since this device by default uses A123 lithium cells it will supply decent power in the cold.

 

Your next area of concern is what does the FOV look like that this device is expected to monitor? If there are lots of moving objects (major road) trees, sun ray impact, don't expect stellar performance.

 

It goes with out saying you better ensure the RF coupling in your network is top notch. Otherwise missed events can and will happen and understand everything I just stated up above is only the basics.

 

There's a lot more than just slapping a device under the eves and calling it good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you're on the right track -- if you have to go battery powered, the CR123A battery is going to be a lot more climate-tolerant (e.g. cold) than other batteries.
 
The Aeotec multisensor 6 is rated for sheltered outdoor use, their website states "IP20 rated, you can use MultiSensor 6 outdoors by disabling its motion sensor and usings its 5 other sensors."  (IP20 basically means it is not dust/water-resistant at all)
 
If you can locate the sensor in a sheltered area and where it won't be triggered constantly by wind-driven branches and bushes, an outdoor motion sensor can work, but they are generally prone to false positives.
 
I went with Dakota Alert.  They have an interesting approach, take their indoor PIR sensor and mount it in an enclosure with an IR-transparent window:
23ucz2c.jpg
Unfortunately, Dakota has yet to formally announce a Z-Wave version of their products, and I've had nothing but headaches with the Smartenit EZSnsRF.  I eventually just wired the Dakota receiver into an EZIO2X4.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kevin.

I should mention that I'm in the Northeast, and we do, indeed, have days below 32, and certainly nights. Would like to find one rated down to 0.

 

I don't think moving branches are going to be much of an issue for a PIR sensor, though. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should mention that I'm in the Northeast, and we do, indeed, have days below 32, and certainly nights. Would like to find one rated down to 0.

 

I don't think moving branches are going to be much of an issue for a PIR sensor, though.

 

I'm in New Hampshire (thereby explaining my login name), cold is no stranger to my neighborhood.

 

The mechanism by which branches, etc trigger false alarms is different for PIR than for video motion detection.

 

Here's a pretty good summary:

Generally speaking, these types of sensors are watching for relatively rapid changes in infrared light. Sometimes those changes can be caused by light being "blinked" on and off by the wind moving leaves or tree branches, etc back and forth across a warm source. They can also be triggered by sunlight, campfires, or distant IR light sources, etc. playing off of ripples on water. So look for things in the environment that might be moving and periodically blocking possible IR sources, even distant sources. Also note that walls, etc. can reflect infrared fairly well or might even store heat during the day and behave like IR emitters at night. If there are ponds or other water sources in the PIR's field of view, try to move the PIR so it's not going to see reflections from those ponds, etc.

My experience has been that plants in strong sunlight, when moved by strong gusty winds, will cause a false trigger on PIR. A tree branch occluding the setting sun can trigger that very directional Dakota sensor I show above at 50 feet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Info only: Infrared is radiant energy or heat, not light. A passive infrared (PIR) detector senses very minor changes in thermal energy (heat). So, yes, sun reflecting off a moving object such as leaves rustling can sometimes be detected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm in New Hampshire (thereby explaining my login name), cold is no stranger to my neighborhood.

 

The mechanism by which branches, etc trigger false alarms is different for PIR than for video motion detection.

 

Here's a pretty good summary:

Generally speaking, these types of sensors are watching for relatively rapid changes in infrared light. Sometimes those changes can be caused by light being "blinked" on and off by the wind moving leaves or tree branches, etc back and forth across a warm source. They can also be triggered by sunlight, campfires, or distant IR light sources, etc. playing off of ripples on water. So look for things in the environment that might be moving and periodically blocking possible IR sources, even distant sources. Also note that walls, etc. can reflect infrared fairly well or might even store heat during the day and behave like IR emitters at night. If there are ponds or other water sources in the PIR's field of view, try to move the PIR so it's not going to see reflections from those ponds, etc.

My experience has been that plants in strong sunlight, when moved by strong gusty winds, will cause a false trigger on PIR. A tree branch occluding the setting sun can trigger that very directional Dakota sensor I show above at 50 feet.

 

We had an interior motion sensor go off by what I believe was a truck carrying large panes of glass reflecting sunlight just at the right time to "flash" our living room...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Info only: Infrared is radiant energy or heat, not light. A passive infrared (PIR) detector senses very minor changes in thermal energy (heat). So, yes, sun reflecting off a moving object such as leaves rustling can sometimes be detected.

:? ???

 

My understanding is "light" is fuzzy at the ends, and includes both visible light and light outside what we considered to be the visible part of the spectrum, with either more energy (UV) or less energy (IR) than what the human eye can detect.   But it's still "light", even though infrared photons have less energy than visible light photons, they are still photons.

 

Not to drift into wave-particle theory and quantum mechanics or anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:? ???

 

My understanding is "light" is fuzzy at the ends, and includes both visible light and light outside what we considered to be the visible part of the spectrum, with either more energy (UV) or less energy (IR) than what the human eye can detect.   But it's still "light", even though infrared photons have less energy than visible light photons, they are still photons.

 

Absolutely true. Infrared is often referred to as heat radiation or radiant energy and begins just below, in frequency, the red edge of visible light.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Info only: Infrared is radiant energy or heat, not light. A passive infrared (PIR) detector senses very minor changes in thermal energy (heat). So, yes, sun reflecting off a moving object such as leaves rustling can sometimes be detected.

Try telling that to photographers that are professionals in infrared photography.

 

B.R.I.A.D.A.

Best regards,

Gary Funk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try telling that to photographers that are professionals in infrared photography.

 

Why would I do that? This discussion is about PIR sensors and what/how they detect, not about photography.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why would I do that? This discussion is about PIR sensors and what/how they detect, not about photography.

Because your statement that

 

Info only: Infrared is radiant energy or heat, not light.

Is misleading if not outright wrong.

 

Are you sure there's nothing wrong with you? Did you fall or suffer a blow to your head? A lot of us are really starting to worry about you.

 

I. S. B. S. P.

Best regards,

Gary Funk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you sure there's nothing wrong with you? Did you fall or suffer a blow to your head? A lot of us are really starting to worry about you.

 

I'll add that IR is used for remote controls. But the means of control is coded pulses which is entirely different from motion sensing and photography. You don't seem to realize there distinctions and paint with a broad brush. thus missing the nature of topic.

 

Relax, I'm fine, even fantastic. You seem to be the only one who has a concern. Now you have me worried B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any recommendations for battery-operated outdoor motion sensors? They will not be directly exposed to rain. First thought is to put one up on the (covered) front porch to activate a z-wave bulb in the porch light.

 

I see this one on Amazon, maybe someone has had some experience?

 

At this point, I'm basically only planning on using them to turn on lights.

 

thanks!

Andrew

 

Oh, hey, I have those sensors.  They are actually pretty good, for what they are / what they cost.  I have several indoors and they work just fine.  I changed the jumper to be instant and not do the 3 minute lock-out.  You either remove the jumper, or move it over one. I can't quite remember, but its well documented anyway.

 

I have one outside as well.  It's been out there for most of this year and we are heading in to winter so I'll see how it does. Mine is on the inside eve of a covered porch. No sun or rain will ever hit it.  Mine is actually on the outer edge of the porch facing back towards my front door. I use it to detect people when they step up on my porch and approach my front door. I have a couple switches and outlets inside the house near the front door, so signals get to and from the sensor just fine.

 

I still don't have battery status for the sensor. There was another thread about this problem and it may have gotten fixed, but I haven't looked for updates yet. The batteries do last a long time as far as I know.

 

The problem I have as we approach fall is the sun is getting lower in the sky and is casting more direct light onto my porch and front door. Party cloudy days and swaying trees definitely give false alarms.  Some days its only one or two.  But in the right situation, it can give a false alarm non stop for several hours.  It's pretty annoying.  For this reason alone, I'm considering switching to a hardwired Trip-wire sensor.  Seco-Larm (and others) make these two-piece units that have an IR beam running and if the beam is interrupted (by a person walking through it), the alarm goes off.  Hook that up to a MimoLite and you have a much more reliable motion alarm for outdoors.

 

KeviNH, above poster, is 100% dead on right - the false alarms are caused by that exactly.  I have a camera watching the same area the PIR is looking at, and I can see the light / shadow shifts trip the PIR in real time.  It's a pretty sensitive unit, so when there is a major heat fluctuation across a flat surface, its significant enough that it thinks its the heat signature of a person.  Indoors, you generally have more controlled light so the false trips are rare, if ever at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, anyone have any recommendations for a good  z-wave battery-powered outdoor motion sensor that's rated down to 0 degrees F ?

 

I don't have a Z-wave recommendation, but several posters have reported success with the Insteon Motion Sensors in sub-zero climates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll add that IR is used for remote controls. But the means of control is coded pulses which is entirely different from motion sensing and photography. You don't seem to realize there distinctions and paint with a broad brush. thus missing the nature of topic.

 

Relax, I'm fine, even fantastic. You seem to be the only one who has a concern. Now you have me worried B)

I fully realize the distinction. I'm not the one that said infrared is not light.

 

That chat rooms are full of people discussing your mental well bring. I'm happy to hear you think you are fine.

 

B.R.I.A.D.A.

Best regards,

Gary Funk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That chat rooms are full of people discussing your mental well bring.

 

Any links. I'd like to join in the fun.

 

I'm happy to hear you think you are fine.

 

I think, therefore I'm fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried moving a red laser pointer (infrared light) across a PIR motion sensor. No response from the motion sensor. Then I tried using the infrared light from a CCTV camera (the camera can see what the infrared beam illuminates). Nothing detected.

 

I even tried an IR remote control.

 

An iPhone camera sees the laser beam as white light and a remote control beam as a red light.

 

Each detector (camera, IR remote receiver, motion sensor, IR aircraft wing de-icer, IR ovens, IR data transmission) is specifically designed to respond to different properties of infrared radiation. PIR motion sensor do not respond light energy in photons, but rather the radiated thermal properties (not the same as thermal conduction).

 

This topic is about motion sensors, not infrared photography. I'm not implying that the posts about the other aspects of infrared aren't both interesting and true. I'm actually enjoying reading them B)

 

But, they're not pertinent to the topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get it now. When you made the misleading statement you just assumed we would all be thinking PIR.

 

Most of us don't assume. We've been better trained.

 

Thank you for going into Teken-mode and giving us such a wonderfuly detailed explanation of what you meant to say.

 

By-the-way, some infrared motion detectors do use infrared light to detect motion.

B.R.I.A.D.A.

Best regards,

Gary Funk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...