When designing a security system or finding new ways to cut energy consumption, many individuals choose to add motion sensor lighting to their setup. Motion sensor lights are not only a cost-effective, easy way to alert the occupants of the house to a potential intruder, but also a way to turn off lights in rooms that are unoccupied. In security applications, motion sensor outdoor lights of the past may have turned on for every leaf, rabbit or neighborhood cat, causing undue stress to homeowners, but as technology progresses, motion sensor lights are becoming both increasingly sensitive and easier to customize. Motion sensors are comprised of fairly basic components, which sense a change in surroundings, and then activate a light accordingly.
The motion light sensor is composed of a small lens that detects changes in heat, and sometimes movement, in a given area. When the motion sensor switch is activated by a very rapid change in heat or light conditions, the switch activates the lighting. Because motion sensor lights are built to detect rapid changes in heat or movement within a specified area, they deactivate when there is no change to conditions for a period of time. The automatic shut-off feature of motion sensor technology makes motion sensor lighting a practical way to conserve on energy costs when used in indoor, household applications.
Motion sensor lights operate with what is known as a passive infrared detector. The difference between passive detectors and active detectors is that active detectors add something to the surrounding environment, such as microwaves, sound waves or light waves, while passive detectors do not. A person's proximity to the motion sensor detection system also determines how effective it is. The farther away a person is from the system, the harder their infrared heat becomes to detect. This may present a problem to homeowners investing in lower-end makes and models, as basic motion sensor lighting is only sensitive to the relative temperature of the human body.
Motion sensor lights are available from a variety of sources, including home improvement stores, department stores and specialty security stores. Prices range from about $10 US Dollars (USD) to $100 USD or more. Models are available for purchase that utilize LED lighting, as well as more traditional incandescent lighting. There is a wide range of styles to choose from, including decorative and utilitarian models, as well as kits to convert already existing lighting into motion sensor lighting.