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Dusk to dawn lighting

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I see that a lot of members here have installed dusk to dawn lighting. My understanding is that basic dusk to dawn lighting (i.e. without separate sensors, but all in one integrated units) comes in two varieties:

  1. simple dusk to dawn lighting that comes on at dusk and switches off at dawn; and
  2. the PIR variety that is off during the day, but will turn on at night if the motion sensor is triggered.

 

Generally speaking, when would you use each type? I am planning to have three zones of external lights, with each zone illuminating:

  • my driveway
  • the side passage of my house
  • the front door

 

I think a PIR motion sensor would be useful for the side passage as I only really need light there when I use the passage (this looks like an affordable option), but for the front door of the house and the driveway does it make sense to have PIR as well? I see some houses illuminate their driveway and even their front elevation throughout the night, but I query if this uses a lot of electricity? In addition to the doorway, I will need about 8 lights for the driveway, so seems like a lot of light to have running all night. The disadvantages I see of the PIR lights are that (i) the sensors are a bit too noticeable and give the light a somewhat functional aesthetic; and  (ii) I haven't been able to find many recessed options that have a PIR sensor, and need it to be recessed or have a minimal projection as otherwise they will get in the way. As an alternative, this has a projection of only 30mm, so would probably not need to be recessed, although it doesn't have a dawn to dusk sensor or a PIR sensor. Is it straightforward to fit these separately or is my instinct to look for an all in one solution a good one?

 

What dusk to dawn lighting have you installed? Any tips?

 

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I think this is a case of horses for courses. PIR sensors can also improve security as they come on whether a person is invited or not. Whether that works as a true deterrent or not, I do not know though.

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I inherited a load of outside lights with PIR sensors and they were useless. 

 

 - lights that only switched on when you were close to them, so anyone who didn't know the light was there was taking a voyage into the blackness until they were blinded by the light at the last second

 - lights that switched off if departing guests stopped to have a chat on the doorstep

 - lights you couldn't override and have them permanently on if you were expecting visitors

 

I am sure you can probably get more modern versions that fix all of the above, but nuts to that. 

 

I've wired simple light enclosures back to the consumer unit and I control them with little wifi enabled switches. So dusk to dawn, motion enabled, or permanently on are all available without worrying about what the light fitting supports, or what it looks like.

 

Standalone PIR sensors are available (e.g. https://www.philips-hue.com/en-gb/p/hue-outdoor-sensor/8718699625474#overview). Eventually I'm going to put this, or something similar, halfway down the drive and use it to illuminate guests/the night people with the glare of my million spotlights. 

 

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I tried the Phillips Hue system many years ago when it was first released and was really impressed. The only thing that put me off at the time was the price, but I see that bulbs are now cheaper. In terms of motion sensors, I think the only thing that puts me off for the outdoor setup is that they are a bit too conspicuous for my liking. Is Phillips really expecting everyone to fit one of these above their driveways? The other downside is that lighting becomes dependent on internet, which is fine when the internet works, but not great when it doesn't.

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59 minutes ago, James Newport said:

Hue works fine without internet. https://www.howtogeek.com/293341/what-happens-if-my-philips-hue-lights-go-offline/

 

What you lose is the ability to control them away from home. 

That's a gamechanger then. Thanks for the info! Sounds much better than the functionality of the other smart home tech that I'm already invested in: tado (https://support.tado.com/en/articles/3477781-what-happens-when-the-internet-connection-is-temporarily-lost-can-i-still-control-my-heating-or-air-conditioning-using-tado)

 

 

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Sounds like your in the same spot as me.

I wanted a dusk to dawn light come on at 10% and then PIR activated to 100%, there are stand alone units but when it comes to the linked set HUE appeared to be the only/simplest solution.

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55 minutes ago, ash_scotland88 said:

a dusk to dawn light come on at 10% and then PIR activated to 100%,

 

These do what you say, with a background light all night and then very bright when operated by PIR.130 lumens and 1350 lumens.

There are other settings too, with the background optional or to come on full until switched off. The ones I have require climbing a ladder and pressing a button to scroll the options but there is now a remote control option.  There is a very big solar panel on the top.  40 Euros. very impressive.

NIZAR L SMART

 

That was the good news. But, It says it charges in 8-12 hours and runs for 15 hours , which is fine in Spain (where they come from) even in winter.

Wondering how it will work in winter, in the Highlands.  Maybe will buy another one and try.

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2 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

 

These do what you say, with a background light all night and then very bright when operated by PIR.130 lumens and 1350 lumens.

There are other settings too, with the background optional or to come on full until switched off. The ones I have require climbing a ladder and pressing a button to scroll the options but there is now a remote control option.  There is a very big solar panel on the top.  40 Euros. very impressive.

NIZAR L SMART

 

That was the good news. But, It says it charges in 8-12 hours and runs for 15 hours , which is fine in Spain (where they come from) even in winter.

Wondering how it will work in winter, in the Highlands.  Maybe will buy another one and try.

When can I buy these?

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I have a similar situation to you.

 

At the side and back of the house I use PIR lights.

 

At the front I use lights with dusk to dawn sensors in the individual bulbs.

 

8 lights at 8W for maybe 10 hours a day on average. Plus a little bit for running the sensors is around 0.8kWh a day, or 15p at current higher prices.So that is £55 of electricity a year. If you are on Octopus GO with cheap overnight electricity then you could get this down a lot.

 

I did think of other solutions such as timed switches and wifi switches but I liked the simplicity of this. The other thing I liked is that if any individual bulb fails I can just buy a new one for £8ish. Already one of the PIR lights has failed and had to be replaced. I tried really hard to avoid having LED lights with built in bulbs as they are too unreliable, this is especially problematic with multiple matching lights where you might not be able to match them in future if they break.

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