Hardened Motion-detection Floods

HenryB

Member
Location
Arizona
Occupation
RV Park
I'm looking for a US product recommendation. I haven't found what I want by searching. Maybe there is a non-consumer (mil-spec?) version somewhere. I figured electricians were more likely to know fringe suppliers not well-represented on e-commerce.

I have a number of 120V powered motion-detecting area-lighting floods on the grounds. Now, the Arizona sun just destroys stuff, so I invested in the "all metal" units, which also came with a "lifetime guarantee" (which is worthless when the manufacturer tanks).

The problem is that even the "all-metal" units aren't really all metal. Every one of them has a plastic fresnel cover on the detector, a key component. Out here it takes less than a year before the cover is fried and chips out, the occasional rain gets into the circuit board behind it, and your entire fixture is toast. They don't make "all-metal" replacement detectors, and the plastic ones available don't fit the metal units.

I'm old enough to remember this stuff called "glass," which they used to use for applications just like this. But I can't find any unit that doesn't use this cheap plastic.

I bought ahead a stock of these lights, which I have finally run out of. They're older halogens, but if there's an LED panel out there that does the same job, I'd be game. Not interested in the weak-sauce solar solutions, we have power everyplace we need one.

Does anybody know of a real "no-plastic" lighting unit I could use?

Thanks.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Maybe there is a non-consumer (mil-spec?) version somewhere

I have to laugh at that. I don't think the military is big into motion lights.

As to you question, I don't know of any, and I agree they are all crap. If it were me I would go another route with LED lighting controlled as a group by a time clock or photo control. Matter of fact there is a really great GPS lighting controller that knows where it is and when sunrise and sunset happen each day.

-Hal
 

HenryB

Member
Location
Arizona
Occupation
RV Park
Thanks, but I'm not looking for permanent-on lighting. We're a dark-sky establishment and we hold star parties. We just need short-interval illumination when people are walking through less-navigable portions of the property.
 

tthh

Member
Location
Denver
Occupation
Retired Engineer
I'm looking for a US product recommendation. I haven't found what I want by searching. Maybe there is a non-consumer (mil-spec?) version somewhere. I figured electricians were more likely to know fringe suppliers not well-represented on e-commerce.

I have a number of 120V powered motion-detecting area-lighting floods on the grounds. Now, the Arizona sun just destroys stuff, so I invested in the "all metal" units, which also came with a "lifetime guarantee" (which is worthless when the manufacturer tanks).

The problem is that even the "all-metal" units aren't really all metal. Every one of them has a plastic fresnel cover on the detector, a key component. Out here it takes less than a year before the cover is fried and chips out, the occasional rain gets into the circuit board behind it, and your entire fixture is toast. They don't make "all-metal" replacement detectors, and the plastic ones available don't fit the metal units.

I'm old enough to remember this stuff called "glass," which they used to use for applications just like this. But I can't find any unit that doesn't use this cheap plastic.

I bought ahead a stock of these lights, which I have finally run out of. They're older halogens, but if there's an LED panel out there that does the same job, I'd be game. Not interested in the weak-sauce solar solutions, we have power everyplace we need one.

Does anybody know of a real "no-plastic" lighting unit I could use?

Thanks.
Two fresnel lens uses come to mind: traffic lights and film studio type lighting. You might find something suitable looking and those types of suppliers.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
The OP is talking about the lens on the PIR motion detector, not the lens on the floodlight.

This might be a problem to find in glass because it needs to pass long wavelength IR for the motion detector to work.

Perhaps someone has a suggestion for a different motion sensor technology that would be suitable in the environment the OP describes.

In addition to PIR detection there is active microwave motion detection, ultrasonic, video camera with image analysis, etc. Then on top of motion detection there are other ways to detect if a person is passing a location (think alarm srnsors).

Given the description I'd consider time switches to let a person turn the light on only if needed, with automatic shut-off.

Jon
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
Well, theres this thing but its 24vdc so it needs a relay unit with it, and it seems like it has the same lens material as the others.


There are some laser based motion detectors for alarms, but you're getting into $1000/sensor territory.
 

tthh

Member
Location
Denver
Occupation
Retired Engineer
Here's another thought. How about using some 3M film like they put on cars or motorcycle visors and just replacing the film a couple times a year.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Here's another thought. How about using some 3M film like they put on cars or motorcycle visors and just replacing the film a couple times a year.
The fresnel lenses aren’t just a protective film. They are made to direct the ir beams in a certain pattern to detect crossings
 

tthh

Member
Location
Denver
Occupation
Retired Engineer
Yes, I understand, just thinking of a way to keep the harsh environment from wrecking the plastic lens in the first place. I remember my first car that had non-sealed beam headlights had glass lenses and those lasted the life of the car. Nowadays the plastic lenses on headlights get foggy over time.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician

HenryB

Member
Location
Arizona
Occupation
RV Park
The lenses on these are behind grills that I don't believe are removable. Plus my chances of getting the right part, sized properly for these units, is probably zero (the lenses have to be located properly).

I like the idea of other detection technologies. Microwave sounds promising, or ultrasonic as long as it doesn't upset the local raptors. Does anyone know of products available with those technologies?
 

HenryB

Member
Location
Arizona
Occupation
RV Park
Sounds to me like the thing to do is require people to to carry flashlights...

-Hal
Might work if guests only walked in those areas during the parties, but they walk there all the time. We just don't want the lights on all the time.
 

wwhitney

Senior Member
Location
Berkeley, CA
Occupation
Retired
The lenses on these are behind grills that I don't believe are removable.
Can you tell if the lenses are failing due to the thermal environment, or due to UV? If it's UV, then I could imagine that you could find an IR transparent, UV opaque film to put over the grill to block the UV.

If it's the thermal environment, maybe a sun shade over each motion detector could lower the peak temperature during the day?

Cheers, Wayne
 

HenryB

Member
Location
Arizona
Occupation
RV Park
I suggest contacting the manufacturer and treat it like you expect them to fix the problem.
As I mentioned, these units came with a lifetime guarantee, which doesn't do me any good because the manufacturer is gone.

I like the idea of the UV film. My guess would be that it's the UV brittling the plastic and I'm willing to take the bet that it's not heat. Hopefully, I can find an IR transparent, UV opaque film. If you happen to know of one of these, please give me a hint.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
I'd contact these guys to see if they have a suitable material:


(The linked page is for a plastic that would pass IR from something like a remote control at 1um but you need something that passes IR at 7-14 um. I am pointing them out as a supplier clueful about plastic transmission wavelength, not suggesting this material. )
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
As I mentioned, these units came with a lifetime guarantee, which doesn't do me any good because the manufacturer is gone.

Use another manufacturer. Seems your problem is the Fresnel lens, not any other part of the detector and a similar plastic lens is used by them all. Then complain to that manufacturer that their lens doesn't hold up. They might even be happy to get your feedback.

-Hal
 
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