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Old 01-05-14, 01:18 AM   #1
SolarUtah
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Default Motion detector outdoor lights

I have an outdoor motion detecting light on my deck. Since I have a an outdoor cat, it lights a few times a night. I used to have Halogen floods 60Watts times 2 installed.

Recently changed to LED Floods from home Depot, they lasted 1 month then burned out.

Did not save packing or receipt from Home Depot. Anyone else having issues with outdoor Led bulbs?

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Old 01-05-14, 07:21 AM   #2
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You have two issues that can cause this problem: The first could be bulbs not ment for the stress of outdoor use. The second is the motion detector. When using LED or CFL bulbs with a motion detector you MUST use "Dimmable" bulbs. Reason being, motion detectors tend to not deliver the full current to the bulbs and also will often flicker to almost on with minor motion that does not quite meet the "on limit" set. Incandescent bulbs don't mind this and simply flicker dimmly. But the electronics behind the LED and CFL bulbs burn up quickly if they are not designed to be dimmable.

The othe strange issue I've been having with LED bulbs used with my motion detecting flood out back is the detector has a built in timer. This timer works fine with incandescent bulbs, but shuts off at inconsistant times with LED or CFL bulbs installed. Anywhere from 3 seconds to never. I've tried all positions of the setting switch with the same results. (1 minute, 5 minute or always on)
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Old 01-05-14, 10:15 AM   #3
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An alternative would be to make some sort of blocking plate so that your motion detector can't see that close to the ground. This would stop it from coming on due to the cat, but when a person or car comes by, it turns on. It would take some adjusting I'm sure, but its simple and cheap.
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Old 01-14-14, 01:11 PM   #4
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I put 4 cfl bulbs in my daughter's ceiling fan and they flickered like crazy. I replaced 1 of the cfl's with an incandescent and it now works fine.You might try replacing one of the led's with an incandescent. Kind of cuts back on your energy savings though.
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Old 01-15-14, 05:07 AM   #5
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It is interesting that you say that. I had a similar experience with LED christmas strings. I had lit my tree with 3 strings of LED lights and found it way too bright. So I put the tree on a power-strip with a dimmer but then the LEDs would not light. I added one 4 watt incandescent night light to the strip and the whole thing worked as expected.
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Old 01-15-14, 08:19 AM   #6
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Fascinating! I too have a ceiling fan where I replaced the four incandescent "calabra" lights with CFLs. They flickered. I redid the wiring thinking I must have screwed up the wiring when I put the ceiling fan in . . . but all wire nuts were in place as expected. Re did them anyway.

Still flickered and it is VERY distracting!

So I put one of the old incandescent bulbs back in - the flickering stopped.

I simply do not have an explanation . . . .

There is obviously an oscillation that occurs with the CFLs and a fixed resistance stops it. But why?

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Old 12-15-14, 03:19 PM   #7
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This thread got me wondering - "How much energy does the motion sensor use?"

One of the common thoughts on motion sensors is that they save you money on your electric bill - instead of having a light on all the time, it simply comes on when it senses movement.

But how much energy goes the sensor use? In other words, would it be better to simply have a plain on/off switch and only turn the light on when you need it?
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Old 12-15-14, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
This thread got me wondering - "How much energy does the motion sensor use?"
Not much. Back in the summer I went through an exercise of tracing all loads. I turned everything off and a whole-house meter still showed some usage. I was able to go round finding a few things that were on that I hadn't thought about, and saved quite a bit. Eventually I traced everything and got the usage down to showing nothing on the meter ... except that I completely forgot about the outside motion sensor lights until I just read this thread. I have 2 floods outside on motion sensors (one halogen and one LED). They were on[*] the whole time, but didn't use enough to register in my audit.

[*] When I say "they were on" I mean the motion sensors were on but not the lights

Last edited by SDMCF; 12-16-14 at 01:48 AM.. Reason: Add clarifying footnote
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Old 12-15-14, 05:48 PM   #9
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I figured that they would PROBABLY measure pretty low, but it's also one of those really weird things that's easy to overlook when trying do a DIY home energy audit!
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Old 12-25-14, 02:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehull View Post
There is obviously an oscillation that occurs with the CFLs and a fixed resistance stops it. But why?
CFLs run such a horrible power factor its likely inducing some line harmonics onto the wiring. I have seen flickering like this on long strings of ballast powered mercury lamps too.
Using a fixed purely resistive load to snuff out this inductive nonsense is a cheap trick that works really well.


Last edited by oil pan 4; 12-25-14 at 02:15 AM..
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