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Author Topic: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?  (Read 24614 times)

Dan Lawrence

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #75 on: January 08, 2012, 12:07:31 AM »

You will need two screw-in photocell controllers as the PR511 uses two bulbs.
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MD Corie

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #76 on: January 12, 2012, 10:47:59 AM »

Just put a screw-in photocell controller between the floodlight bulb and it's holder. The power will come on, but the bulb won't be turned on unless it is dark. Or if you're compelled to use X10... use SocketRockets (and a complex series of macros).

Um... SocketRockets would not be a good idea in the floodlights - for at least three reasons:

1. The physically don't fit the floodlight lampholders (although it may be possible to force-fit certain individual SocketRockets into certain individual lampholders because they "almost" fit).

2. Other information notwithstanding, according to X10's Tech Support, the SocketRockets are not weatherproof - and so they are not suitable for use in the floodlights, unless the floodlights are well-protected from exposure to rain, etc.

3. The SocketRockets do not last when used with bulbs of 100 Watts or more.  You might get away with using them on 75 Watt bulbs, but even so, they woud need plenty of cooling (which probably would not happen if they were installed in a rain-protected situation).

Ask me how I know all this...  (Ahem!)  (Been there, done that! ::) )

I use AHP with my floodlight sensors - although I never had need to use timers with them.

Screw-in photocell controllers would do the job if they are suitable for the installation - although one would be required for each floodlight lampholder.  Another possibility would be to install the wired-in Appliance Modules to control the floodlights in the fixture.  (The floodlights are wired separately from the sensor, so they could be wired to the module instead.  This would control both floodlights with one device, but would require either AHP or the dusk/dawn switches of the sensors to control them for night-only operation).  Unfortunately, either of these options is redundant with the floodlight control relay that is built into the sensor - which makes it a crying shame that the floodlight sensors themselves do not provide the "obvious" capability to turn the floods on ONLY at night. ::)

Disclaimer:  I have not personally tried wiring an In-line Appliance Module to the floodlights as described here, but I have sucessfully wired the floodlights to a manual switch - instead of to the relay in the sensor.  In principle, wiring them to an In-line Module should work OK, too... but when it comes to X10 devices, a lot of things that seemingly should work actually do not.  :'
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #77 on: January 12, 2012, 01:38:45 PM »

I use a X10 PRO Wall Switch Appliance Module to control a PRS11 Floodlight, that has the timers in it.  I only use the PRS11 in AHP to keep the spotlights on (like on Halloween).
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HA Man

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #78 on: January 17, 2012, 01:26:42 AM »

OK, let me see if I have all this straight:  The only options for making the PR511 units turn on their floodlights only at night are:

1.  Set them for dusk/dawn operation (which takes the motion sensors out of the equation, and makes the lights stay on continuously, wasting energy).

2.  Set them for motion-activation, but adjust their Dusk controls so that they activate only at night (rendering the motion sensing outputs inoperative during the day, as well).

3.  Put individual photocell controllers on each floodlight bulb.  (Has anyone actually tried this?  It seems to me the photocell controllers might be fooled by the light from the floods reflecting off of nearby surfaces like the soffits that are right above the floodlights, and might cause the floods to oscillate on and off).

4.  Re-wire the floodlight holders to a separate control feed, instead of using the motion sensors for direct control of the floods.  Use AHP conditional macros triggered from the motion sensor outputs with a nighttime-only condition to activate the floodlights.  (If I read it correctly, I think it was mentioned that there was a way to do this directly with the hardware by using a wired-in X10 module to control the floodlights, but I am not sure I am understanding how to set up the PR511 so that it would make the floods come on only at night.  Is it done by wiring an X10 module between the relay output of the PR511 and the floodlight holders, and setting the X10 module to one of the dusk output codes of the PR511?  In such a scheme, wouldn't the PR511 have to be currently triggered by the motion sensor at the time that it issues the dusk or dawn code?  This sounds very unlikely to to happen.   Or am I misunderstanding the arrangement here?)
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HA Man

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #79 on: January 17, 2012, 01:49:01 AM »

In addition to my questions about why my PR511s react to traffic on the road but generally not to the traffic in my nearby driveway, and how to make my PR511s operate in motion-sensing mode 24/7 while having their floods come on only at night, I also have another PR511-related problem that I'm hoping someone can help me figure out:

I find that my PR511s quite often stop reacting to motion for no apparent reason.  This seems especially true at night.  Unfortunately night is when they are most needed.  The situation goes like this:  Many times I may be moving around in and out of the view of the motion sensors.  This causes them to activate, and depending on where I actually move, they quite often will time out when I go out of their view and then turn back on shortly afterwards when I move back into their view.  This is proper operation, and desirable at night when I may need the illumination of the floods, bit it is a bit senseless to turn on the floodlights like this during the day.  The weird thing is that quite often while things are happening like this, there will come a point where the PR511s stop reacting at all, no matter where I move around in their view.  This seems especially likely to happen at night, when I really need the lights to come on.  What is most puzzling about this is why they suddenly go from working regularly to not responding at all, apparently with no change in any ambient conditions that I'm aware of.  And worse, they often will not start responding again until several hours have passed, even if I turn off their feed power for awhile and then turn them back on.  Anyone know why they behave like this?  Do the PR511s overheat or something due to too much activity, and then shut down for awhile?  And is there some sort of work-around to prevent the shutdown?

Thanks!
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MD Corie

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #80 on: January 17, 2012, 11:16:16 AM »

OK, let me see if I have all this straight:  The only options for making the PR511 units turn on their floodlights only at night are: 

...

I think you have it covered.  Some specific comments, though:

Quote
3.  Put individual photocell controllers on each floodlight bulb.  (Has anyone actually tried this?  It seems to me the photocell controllers might be fooled by the light from the floods reflecting off of nearby surfaces like the soffits that are right above the floodlights, and might cause the floods to oscillate on and off).

I agree there may be problems due to reflections that are strong enough to affect the photosensors, with the floodlights being so close.  It probably depends somewhat on the particular photosensor.  Maybe some sort of masking would help.  Overall, my impression is that the whole scheme would be a kludge job at best, though, and likely have a lot of pitfalls.


Quote
4.  ...  (If I read it correctly, I think it was mentioned that there was a way to do this directly with the hardware by using a wired-in X10 module to control the floodlights, but I am not sure I am understanding how to set up the PR511 so that it would make the floods come on only at night.  Is it done by wiring an X10 module between the relay output of the PR511 and the floodlight holders, and setting the X10 module to one of the dusk output codes of the PR511?  In such a scheme, wouldn't the PR511 have to be currently triggered by the motion sensor at the time that it issues the dusk or dawn code?  This sounds very unlikely to to happen.   Or am I misunderstanding the arrangement here?)

Are you referring to my comment about using the dusk/dawn output of the motion sensor unit to control a separately-wired X10 in-line appliance module?  If so, that scheme by itself would not provide the function of motion sensing all the time, with the lights coming on only at night when motion gets sensed.  You would need other hardware to do all of that.  The only way that comes to mind right off would be to wire two X10 in-line appliance modules in series with the floodlights (and separate from the motion sensor).  The first one would be set to trigger from one of the dusk/dawn codes that the motion sensor outputs, and the second would be set to one of the motion sensing codes of the motion sensor unit.  That way, the dusk/dawn-controlled module would  "enable" the floodlight circuit only at night, powering the second ("downstream") in-line module... and only while the circuit was in this powered state, the motion sensing output of the sensor would trigger the second module, turning on the floodlights when the sensor gets activated, and off again when the sensor times out.  The big question with this scheme is whether two in-line appliance modules would even work properly when wired in series this way.  I don't know, but I suspect they would not.

It's too bad that the relay built into the floodlight sensor units could not be used in some scheme, but I don't think it can be set to operate dusk/dawn without also inhibiting the motion sensor outputs - for the same reason as being unable to accomplish this functionality using the settings of the sensor itself.  (I REALLY don't understand why this functinoality was omitted from the floodlight sensors;  it seems like it is such an obvious and needed functinality.  Go figure! ::))
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MD Corie

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #81 on: January 17, 2012, 11:21:55 AM »

....

I find that my PR511s quite often stop reacting to motion for no apparent reason.  This seems especially true at night.  ...  The weird thing is ... there will come a point where the PR511s stop reacting at all, no matter where I move around in their view. ...  Anyone know why they behave like this?  ...  And is there some sort of work-around to prevent the shutdown?

I've seen this behavior, too.  I never could figure out why it happens, though.  I wish I knew.

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dave w

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #82 on: January 17, 2012, 11:55:24 AM »

4.  Re-wire the floodlight holders to a separate control feed, instead of using the motion sensors for direct control of the floods.  Use AHP conditional macros triggered from the motion sensor outputs with a nighttime-only condition to activate the floodlights.  (If I read it correctly, I think it was mentioned that there was a way to do this directly with the hardware by using a wired-in X10 module to control the floodlights, but I am not sure I am understanding how to set up the PR511 so that it would make the floods come on only at night.  Is it done by wiring an X10 module between the relay output of the PR511 and the floodlight holders, and setting the X10 module to one of the dusk output codes of the PR511?  In such a scheme, wouldn't the PR511 have to be currently triggered by the motion sensor at the time that it issues the dusk or dawn code?  This sounds very unlikely to to happen.   Or am I misunderstanding the arrangement here?)
Besides MD Corie's method of using two wire-in Appliance Modules (yes two modules in series work fine) if you have the CM15A computer interface and AHP software, use a macro triggered by the motion sensor to turn on the lights only in the time window you want. i.e nightime.
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HA Man

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Re: Any good tricks for aligning motion sensors to the desired field of view?
« Reply #83 on: January 20, 2012, 01:00:49 AM »

Besides MD Corie's method of using two wire-in Appliance Modules (yes two modules in series work fine) if you have the CM15A computer interface and AHP software, use a macro triggered by the motion sensor to turn on the lights only in the time window you want. i.e nightime.

I have AHP, and I am sure that would be the best way to handle it if the sensors themselves cannot do it.  I am just a little gun-shy with AHP because I do not seem to have the handle on it yet.  At least, it does unexpected things that I have not figured out yet.


Getting back to my problem with sensing traffic on the road instead of in my driveway, I moved one PR511 from the corner of the house to a light pole that is BETWEEN the road and my driveway.  I mounted it so that it faces away from the road and towards the driveway and house.  This is not completely desirable because it detects movement close by the house.  On the other hand, at least it does not react to traffic on the road this way.  The strange thing is that it STILL does not detect cars moving in my driveway.  It does detect people walking there, most of the time anyway.  I cannot figure out why it does not detect cars in the driveway no matter which way I mount it, but they will detect traffic in the road about twice as far away as my driveway when they are mounted where they face the road.  It makes no sense to me.  Shouldn't the sensitivity decrease with increased distance?  What gives here?
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