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Old 02-09-2013, 10:06 AM
 
816 posts, read 1,774,703 times
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I recently purchased a motion sensor light from Amazon and started placing it around the house (e.g. on a bookshelf in the upstairs hallway). My girlfriend and I started to notice that the motion sensor light would trigger at random times during the evening/night. FYI, these motion lights only work in the complete darkness.

I tried to explain it rationally: it may be thick waves of heat coming from the air vents that trigger the motion. Or it may be small particles of dust that are triggering it.

However: My rationales were all debunked after we purchased a SECOND (different) motion sensor light. That second one was being triggered at random times, as well. We also placed each motion light in different spots in the house (on a window seat in the mudroom, on top of the living room bookshelves, on top of the dining room, etc.) and it continues to exhibit the random triggering behavior.

Note: once we placed both motion lights next to each other (physically), each of them would still randomly trigger [u]but at different times[/b]. In other words, Motion Light A would randomly go off, but Motion Light B would stay off.

We have a cat, but that cat is never near the motion lights when it is randomly triggered.

We live in a New England Connecticut suburb. Populated area. 1950's home. The house has no history of any deaths or unexplained activities. We've never felt any weird sensations or feelings.

For reference, here are links to the two DIFFERENT motion sensor lights from Amazon. Both are "Mr. Beams" brand and battery-operated. I searched the customer reviews and all of them are very positive. If anything, a few customers complain that it's hard to trigger their lights ().
Mr. Beams LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight
Mr. Beams Indoor/Outdoor Motion Sensing LED Ceiling Light

I've already done some digging on Google, and it looks like Radio Frequency Interference is a possible cause. However, correct me if I'm wrong, but "RFI" seems to only affect wired garage motion sensors.

Would anyone be able to help shed any light?
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
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Shed any light.....too funny.
Is there a sensitivity setting? Sounds like something is faulty in the motion detector.
RF is a funny thing, it can do all kinds of things. You can attempt to rule out RFI by shielding the light. Copper screen works best but in a pinch tinfoil can work to an extent. Give it a tinfoil hat.
I worked in electronics, RF even, and I would be so curious that I'd be taking the thing apart to see it's insides and if there is something that is loose of has a poor connection (part soldered to the PCB). Maybe a spider got in there? I've had spiders do some stuff to the units I worked on.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:46 AM
 
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Lol, I actually didn't mean to make a pun!

To answer your question, there is no sensitivity button on these motion sensor lights. I will try covering the motion sensors with tin foil tonight when it's dark. Hopefully, that will cease the lights from triggering and prove it is RF interference.

FWIW, I have a dual-band wireless home network (2.4ghz & 5ghz bands). Would that be a plausible source for the radio frequency interference?
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:54 PM
 
816 posts, read 1,774,703 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwlKaMyst View Post
I worked in electronics, RF even, and I would be so curious that I'd be taking the thing apart to see it's insides and if there is something that is loose of has a poor connection (part soldered to the PCB). Maybe a spider got in there? I've had spiders do some stuff to the units I worked on.
Quick additional thought: I thought about manufacturing defects, too, but surely it can't affect BOTH motion sensors (albeit from the same manufacturer), no?

Not to mention, both motion sensor lights are different models (so they may be held to different design specs). But regardless, I will still try the tin foil experiment tonight.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
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Your wireless router indeed can cause interference.
If you are able to switch the frequency, that could also solve the problem. It could be the lights are effected by one of the frequencies.
Electricity and radio waves are so weird. When our little fridge kicks on, and we are watching Netflix through the Wii, the whole screen on the TV blacks out for a nano-second. It does not do that with just regular TV broadcast.

ETA- as far as manufacturing defects, that's a possibility as well. One would think there would be less likelyhood with quality control. However, electronic components are sensitive and some are effected by moisture. If there are any parts that went into these lights that were 'on the edge', they could pass QC, but give out a short time later especially in the wrong environment.
I have had to buy and return three of the same clocks before I gave up- just a bad batch. It happens.
My first guess outside of RF would be a faulty 'eye'. Perhaps clean the lense.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Here.
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Poor ghosts, they even get blamed for our cheap-ass electrical purchases.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Poor ghosts, they even get blamed for our cheap-ass electrical purchases.
No one has blamed a ghost. Not yet anyway.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:37 PM
 
816 posts, read 1,774,703 times
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One of the two lights came on tonight - both had tin foil over the sensor dome. The incident only happened once and both lights were physically next to each other on top of a bookshelf.

I tried waving my hands over both units and neither turned on, so the tin foil is properly covering the sensor domes from detecting motion.



Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:51 AM
 
Location: PRC
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I think I remember someone telling me that when the 'fridge kicks in, it sends a burst of radio frequency and also a spike along the mains which is why the other electrical circuits which are not protected from spikes get blasted. Some components are lower tolerances than other and so if your electrical equipment is a cheapo variety, it may be made from cheaper components or the circuit may not be as sophisticated as it should be.

If your IR sensor WAS picking up ghosties I would expect them both to pick up the ghostie at the same time, not one independently of the other. However, I am not sure that ghosties operate in the IR ranges ! :-) (Yes, I know no-one was suggesting it was ghosties)

More likely to be another electrical appliance causing this. Time it and see if there is a regularity to the ons and offs or if they coincide with the fridge or next-doors generator or fridge. All you need is some kind of resonance in the battery operated PIR to be in tune with another electrical transmitting something for it to receive a pulse which the circuit interprets as an 'on' from the PIR detector.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:32 PM
 
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Wow I've been noticing the same problem with the same brand, mr.beams! The lights are in my closet and keep going off at night. Totally freaky, but now I feel better...
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