DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This problem involves finding a replacement for my nonworking motion sensor in my garage.

i had a sensor in my garage connected to a light bulb. It was a motion sensor and if i walked into the garage or drove my car into the garage, the light turned on.
Recently, it stopped working, the light always stayed on. I had an electrician come out because i had a total of four things that needed work. All four things were repaired including the installation of a new sensor. The older sensor was installed by a handyman in 2007. It has worked fine since then until now.

The electrician replaced the motion sensor with a new one from Home Depot. When i walked into the garage, it worked fine, but when i drove my car into he garage, it did not light up. The old replaced sensor always lit up every time when i drove the car in.

I tried repositioning the sensor (which by the way, looked very similar in design to the previous one). Even though i had it pointing right at where the car came in, it would not light the bulb. It did show a brief flashing red light on the sensor which the user guide said means it senses the motion. So it sensed the motion of my car but did not turn the light bulb on. This did not make sense to me.

I texted the electrician and asked if there is something i could try, to get it working. He said to increase the range setting to maximum. i did but it was already set to maximum. i reported this back to the electrician but he did not reply, that was a couple of days ago. So i called Home Depot. The representative put me on hold and consulted with the technical people. She was told that the motion sensor only turns the light on in response to body heat and will not turn the light on for a car. She said they don't offer any model that responds to a car.

I looked at the brand of my old sensor, RainTight, but could not find anything on google about it. I have googled the terms 'motion sensor for garage car trigger' and various other similar terms. i can't find anything, it's as if there is no such thing, yet only 7 years ago, i got one that worked perfectly with my car.

Does anyone know if there has been some change in sensors so that now they all only respond to body heat? Surely there are motion sensors that detect any motion, like my inexpensive original one. And if anyone knows anything about this, does anyone know of a sensor that can be added to my existing fixture that will turn the existing light bulb on for my car? Since the electrician did not get back to me about the problem, i am thinking of this as a do it yourself project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I am not an expert on motion detectors, but I believe yhe answer from Home Depot is incorrect. I would try two things... First, rotate the detector 90 degrees while keeping it pointed at the car entrance. I know they are far more sensitive to motion across the long axis of the detector. Second, if that fails you could try installing an "occupancy sensor" switch. Essentially that is a switch that always remains in the ON position combined with a small motion detector as part of the switch. People use them in bathrooms, so the light goes on automatically when someone walks into the bathroom, and in kids rooms to turn off the lights when the kids ate not in the room to save electricity.

Sent from my LG-D415 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
I agree with the previous post, that the information you got from HD is incorrect. To prove it, just try walking into the garage and see if the light comes on. I'd bet that it doesn't.
Perhaps you just have a defective motion detector? I'd have the electrician come out and make it right. After all you paid him for a working unit. Didn't he test it before he left?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,954 Posts
I can't comment directly on your motion sensor because you did not ID it as to make/model.

But many of the current PIRs (used in motion or occupancy sensors) are designed to detect infrared around 10 microns, which is the approximate wavelength of body heat. Many of the earlier sensors were not as selective.
 

·
A "Handy Husband"
Joined
·
14,384 Posts
You do know the sensor only works when it is dark?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You do know the sensor only works when it is dark?
I'm not sure. The garage is dark when i enter. i haven't tested to see if it goes on when the garage door is open in the day time, when it would make the garage pretty light. it's night time now so i'll test that tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can't comment directly on your motion sensor because you did not ID it as to make/model.

But many of the current PIRs (used in motion or occupancy sensors) are designed to detect infrared around 10 microns, which is the approximate wavelength of body heat. Many of the earlier sensors were not as selective.

It was purchased probably in late 2007 or some time during 2008.
I have the unit right here. I think that it says the make is STONCO in Union NJ, and the model number is MD-501 . It says Rain Tite Photo Electric Switch.

this old model always worked fine until the recent problem developed where it would not turn off. i was hoping the electrician would try to repair it, but probably replacing it was cheaper. You said many of the current PIRs are designed to detect around 10 microns, similar to body heat, while many earlier sensors were not as selective. That is useful to know.

I googled the make and model number and didn't get anything. The make, STONCO, has some hits but the top one suggests it's owned by Philips and that Philips closed it in 2011.

Do you have any suggestions about how i might be able to locate a motion sensor that has a less sensitive PIR? (what does PIR stand for?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with the previous post, that the information you got from HD is incorrect. To prove it, just try walking into the garage and see if the light comes on. I'd bet that it doesn't.
Perhaps you just have a defective motion detector? I'd have the electrician come out and make it right. After all you paid him for a working unit. Didn't he test it before he left?
The answer to your question is yes and no. When i walk into the garage, through the human door, not the car door, the light comes right on. It also came on when i got out of the car and walked in front of the sensor from behind it (the human door is in front of it). But, some of the time when i was testing it the other day, it did not come on when i walked in front of it, even after waiting for the red flashing light to stop flashing and wait a couple of minutes. Today, i went through the human door and the light came on. I took the car out the car door, went to the store, came back, and when i came back the light was off. When i walked in front of the light, coming from the car, it did not go on. So you are probably right about it being defective, and i will text the electrician and let him know. Before i contact him again, i want to first be informed about what the options are, particularly how to obtain a unit that will see my car, when replacing the current one.
thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am not an expert on motion detectors, but I believe yhe answer from Home Depot is incorrect. I would try two things... First, rotate the detector 90 degrees while keeping it pointed at the car entrance. I know they are far more sensitive to motion across the long axis of the detector. Second, if that fails you could try installing an "occupancy sensor" switch. Essentially that is a switch that always remains in the ON position combined with a small motion detector as part of the switch. People use them in bathrooms, so the light goes on automatically when someone walks into the bathroom, and in kids rooms to turn off the lights when the kids ate not in the room to save electricity.

Sent from my LG-D415 using Tapatalk

Thanks---I am glad to hear that Home Depot is probably wrong in saying the motion detector can't detect the car and is not designed to. i was afraid no one is making that kind anymore, and it's useful to me to have the light go on when i enter the garage in the car at night.

When you say to rotate it 90 degrees while keeping it pointed at the car entrance, you mean with the sensor pointed at the car entry door, right? the garage door? The way the motion sensor is installed, and the way the former sensor was installed, it's pointed at the smaller door the you walk through which is on the opposite wall, and i don't think it can turn all the way around to be pointing at the car entry door.

Thanks for telling me about the occupancy sensor switch. Would that be something that is wired to the same light bulb that the previous motion sensors are wired to? Do those have a timer on them, with options to have something like either 5 minutes or 20 minutes, things like that? Does it only sense body heat or could it sense a car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,174 Posts
Virtually all motion detectors of this type, if not all, use passive infrared technology. You need to think of it as a camera for heat;
1. It has a lens (usually a Fresnel lens with the ridges on the inside surface).
2. Since it has a lens, it has a Field-of-View.
3. The FoV is focused on a pyroelectric element that converts changes in received heat to changes in voltage or current.
4. The sensor takes voltage/current level "snapshots" and compares them for changes greater than some predetermined level to trigger an output.
If your car isn't in the sensor's FoV, it isn't being "seen". The FoV is determined mainly by the lens; the old and new devices may have different fields of view, but without installation instructions showing the FoV of each, there is no way to know for sure.

Passive infrared detectors are most sensitive to movement across their FoV, so a location change could be part of it. If the instructions don't show or state the FoV, try to determine it by walk testing at different distances (after each activation, stop and allow the unit to "settle" by waiting a couple of minutes). Then you can use what you discover to reaim the sensor. Try to change only one axis at a time; I'd suggest horizontal first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,954 Posts
Your Defiant DF-5716-bk-a (your new sensor) does have a photo eye. So if you have been walking around and driving your car towards it expecting the lights to come on during daylight hours, you have been wasting your time. You will need to test it at night.

I did not see an easy method of disabling the photo sensor (or an obvious appature for it).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,174 Posts
... BTW, every residential box store motion sensor I installed died within a few years.
Probably "blinded" by lightning. It also happens with expensive outdoor motion detectors with lots of built in protection, just not as often.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good pick-up. Often motion switches incorporate daylight sensors for night only operation. The last one I had included an override.

BTW, every residential box store motion sensor I installed died within a few years.

The new unit i have has a "DUAL BRITE" dawn to dusk switch which can be in the OFF position, or a 3 hour position or a 5 hour position or a 'dawn to dusk' position. Is that why you are talking about?

I did not get a chance to test it today during daylight, got home too late. I can check and make sure that it's turned off. Is that what i want, for it to be turned to off? When the guy was installing it, we talked about that and i said that i didn't want it on, i just want the same thing i had before, turn on when it senses entry to the garage, whether by me or by the car.

i would be satisfied with my previous garage motion sensor because it lasted 8 years. My problem is that i'm not sure how to get one that will definitely work in turning the light on from the car motion.

I live in mild weather and the unit is inside the windowless garage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Your Defiant DF-5716-bk-a (your new sensor) does have a photo eye. So if you have been walking around and driving your car towards it expecting the lights to come on during daylight hours, you have been wasting your time. You will need to test it at night.

I did not see an easy method of disabling the photo sensor (or an obvious appature for it).
It has something on the unit that says DUAL BRITE where you can switch it on to use as a dawn to dusk sensor. But it's always dark in my garage unless the garage door is opened during the day. The garage door has a light which turns on every time the garage door opens, it doesn't stay on very long and isn't very bright. I have the DUAL BRITE thing turned off, i don't have a use for it because it can't see whether it's day or night, unless i open the garage door. I just went out and tested it.

btw, it always turns on the first time i walk into the garage through the regular door, so is that what you mean by wasting my time? It seems to work as it's supposed to the first time i walk in, whether it's day or night. But once i do that one time, after that, it won't go back on unless i wait 5 minutes. i have to wait 5 minutes from the last time it sensed motion. So, when it becomes useless is, after it senses motion and turns the light on, after the light turns off, it won't come back on even though the red flashing motion detection indicator light flashes three quick times. Then, if i'm still, the red light goes off but if i move, it comes back on, and it never does turn the light on. It clearly indicates that it senses motion, but it will only turn the light on the first time it senses motion. Actually i haven't tried waiting 5 minutes. My previous unit was set for 20 minutes, but you never had to wait 20 minutes for it to operate to turn the light on, it recovered immediately. It always turned on when it sensed motion. It did not have a red flashing light.

Just now, 9pm, dark, i went out to discover that my garage door was open. Apparently i forgot to close it when i came in when i got home earlier. The light bulb was on, before i opened the door. So for some reason, it did not go off after 5 minutes as it's set to do.

I took my car out of the garage, closed the garage door and set the timer on my phone for 5 minutes, i drove around, and after more than 5 minutes, i went back, the door opened, the light was off (except for the garage door light which comes on when the garage door opens). I drove forward and could see the red light flashing to tell me that the motion detector detected motion, the car was the only thing moving in the garage. But the light didn't come on.

I don't understand this. Does it make sense that it senses the motion but doesn't turn the light on, but does turn the light on when it senses the motion of me coming in the regular door?

My original motion detector was not complicated at all. It sensed motion, turned on the light, it was set for 20 minutes. After that, if you went back into the garage the light came on again. It came on whether i was walking in or driving in. I don't know why that is not an easy kind of device to find if i go out t buy another one, or to ask the electrician to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you guys So much for trouble shooting this. I just solved it. You're right, it had to do with the photo/light sensor. Even though it's called a motion detector and even though it was detecting motion according to its indicator light, it would not turn the light on. I was thrown off because it did this both day and night, and my previous one never did this at all, so i was so baffled, but i just put electrical tape over the upside down horseshoe shaped thing in a square that is in the diagram above, and now the motion detector is working fine as a motion detector and not as a light sensor. i think this has to do with the garage door opener light that comes on when i open the garage door, day or night. it's near the sensor. i just would not have thought that it had a light sensor since right on the cover of the user guide, it says Replacement Motion Sensor. So, silly me, i thought it was just a motion sensor like my old unit. Now, with that piece of tape, it is just a motion sensor like my old one. Thank you very much for all your ideas and knowledge.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top