What's the best floodlight with motion detector.


I live in the last house in a line of townhouse. The HOA wanted me or the guy whose building is at right angles to mine to put up a motion-detector controlled floodlight. I volunteered so that I could turn the light off entirely if I ever sleep outside.
The fixture has broken three times in the last 10 or 15 years. Each time the electrician the HOA uses installed a new fixture, a different model each time. Do you think it likely the electrician uses the cheapest fixtures they sell and that is why they fail so soon????
I sort of thought those generic fixtures electricians use are as good as any others, just cheaper because there is no famous brand name attached, with the advertising costs that go with one.
(The first time, the light wouldn't go on when I walked in front of the motion detector, even though the little red light went on. The second time, nothing went on and I found a burned out connection inside the fixture after the trician replaced it and gave it to me. Now the light goes on if there is a short power failure, even one second, which is fine. but doesn't turn off when the sun comes up the next day. It will stay on 24 hours a day until I notice it. In Baltimore County we get short power failures all the time.)
If the theory the electrician buys cheap stuff is reasonable, I'm ready to buy my own. All that Home Depot sold is Zenith/Heathkit.
Is that good? What would be better?
What would you reccomend, one that uses standard floodlight like they've made for 50+ years, two 150 watt bulbs (probably not, huh)
halogen floodlights (they seem to make those now, smaller than regular floods;
or those halogen lights the shape of glass cigarettes or pencils, that fit behind rectangular windows?
If you like the thin halogen lights, which would be better/brighter, One 500 watt bulb, or Two 150 watt bulbs?
Now, if I want to change the bulb, I have to have them call the eleectrician. If I get the fixture lowered a few feet, I'll still have to borrow an extension ladder.
The yard is small but the fixture is 20 to 25 feet up the wall and now barely illuminates the yard when its on.
Thanks a lot.
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wrote:

I have 4 motion detectors mounted under the eaves. They work well, none have broken, and they are all Healthkit. Look for floodlamps with a waffle texture, those are specifically for outdoor use. Make sure you do not exceed the wattage rating of the fixture. Neighborhood cats trigger the lamps sometimes, and that is somewhat annoying.
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You say you get power failures all the time, so you get surges from this big problem you have, surges that shorten the life of most electronics. I saw a Heath zenith at hd thats looked commercial in its load rating and lifetime warranty on the box, it looks well made but I have no idea on electronics. Ive lost thousands of dollars in electronics from surges, I hope your homes have extra surge protectors starting at the panel, that could be one reason they blow but 5 years for many seems normal. 25 ft up is to high to change a bulb easily. The thin halogen bulbs fixtures I have fail often, my spring contacts are burned from arching and I have to sand them clean every year or so the bulbs burn out, the thin halogens dont last me as long as regular incandesants or cfls.
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mm wrote:

The reason the bulb stays lit after a power interruption is that the fixture is "smart." It's designed so that a momentary interruption - like flicking the switch on and off - will cause it to remain on. You need a more stupid fixture.
In a Dilbert strip, the company replaced their standard room-lighting in the conference room with motion-detected capability. Unfortunately, just sitting around the table did not generate sufficient activity to keep the lights on. The fix, however, was simple: For every meeting, an intern hired specifically for the purpose, would stand an the end of the room and flap his arms up and down for the whole meeting.
For almost every problem, there IS a solution.
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mm wrote:
<snip>

Ah, you asked the right person!
I own a townhouse in an HOA and "they" (well "we") installed the halogen lamps with the "cigarette" shaped bulbs you refer to. The bulbs are expensive, don't last long, and are a pain to change (have to open the fixture, while up on a high ladder). When I lived there I would change the bulbs. Now they pay someone to do it.
At my house I have four of the Heath/Zenith halogen motion detectors that use the G8 bulbs. The bulbs are expensive and don't last long. Two of the units don't work properly any more (one doesn't ever turn off). It's a pain to change the bulbs as the gaskets fall off, and the pin spacing on the replacement bulbs (even the genuine Heath-Zenith bulbs) doesn't match the holes on the socket so you have to bend the pins.
If I were you, I'd get the ones that use standard PAR38 floodlight bulbs. Use the outdoor fluorescent or LED replacement flood lamps if you can live with the reduced brightness. If you need the incandescent at least those round flood lamps are cheap and easy to replace.
It probably costs the HOA $100 every time someone comes out to change a bulb, so the cost of an LED PAR 38 might be worth it if it's bright enough, but it probably won't be.
Choose the right fixture with PAR38 lamps and you can use a commercial PAR38 light bulb changer, i.e.
"http://www.budgetlighting.com/store/agora.cgi?&p_id 655&xm=on&product=Light%20Bulb%20Changers&ppinc=search2&TROD=Light%20Bulb%20Changers"
plus the extensions
"http://www.budgetlighting.com/store/agora.cgi?&p_id 660&xm=on&product=Light%20Bulb%20Changers&ppinc=search2&TROD=Light%20Bulb%20Changers|Rite-O-Lite|Incandescent"
which will save a LOT of money.
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wrote:

Ah, that's good. Thanks for your answer. Thanks to eveyone!

Couldn't get another volunteer. Maybe I don't want to change them either.

Three bad things.

I guess those standard screw-in sockets are what God intended. Certainly we were closer in time to creation when I was born than we are now, so that proves it.

If it's only going to run for 20 minutes a year, I don't need to save electricity. I should spend more time in my back yard at night, I guess, but I don't. (This is on the side, but the side is boring and I only go to the side to get to the back.)

I think I'm going to lower the fixture. I wanted it as high as possible when installed to light as much area as possible, but a) 23 feet was higher than needed. It would light everywhere anyhow. b) it's so high the light is dim by the time it reaches the ground (or he put in small bulbs) c) I can't reach it even with a 16 foot extension ladder (maybe it's a bit higher, or I can't work over my head)
I think I can lower it 4 feet, which might be enough.
And I've come up with a plan to remove it, caulk the holes with brown latex caulk, and reinstall it 4 feet lower,
with out using a ladder.
Entirely from the attic and the ground outside. The plan started because I can't even find an 18 or 20 foot ladder to borrow, and I can't expect the HOA electrician to do caulking for me, but I realized I can do everything from the inside of my attic. I"ll remove one fixture and lower it to the gound with a string, and then make the other holes from the inside and lift up the new fixture with a string.
And fall is here so it won't be that hot in the attic at dawn, or all day soon.
To change bulbs I'll still need a ladder or the HOA electrician. But the first fixture 15, maybe 18 years ago, was on all night every night, iirc. This is only on when someone walks by, so the bulbs should last many years longer.
Thanks a lot. You are the right person. You convinced me. It pays to talk to someone
P&M because I wanted to be sure you saw my reply.
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mm wrote:

It's not electricity, it's the pain of changing the bulbs. I don't know why we go through bulbs (the cigarette shaped bulbs) so fast. The lamps are controlled by a light sensor as well as a motion detector, so they are not on very much, only at night for maybe a total of an hour every month.

I think ours are about 16 feet high, reachable with a ladder, but it's shaky. Some are on the side of the building on uneven ground. I'd much rather use one of those bulb changers with PAR38 lamps than be up on a ladder.
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wrote:

    I suggest getting true commerical grade fixtures. Not the kind of thing you find in the local big box store.
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mm wrote:

Hmmm, I have one installed ~15 years ago. It was on sale at HD for 9.99. Has time delay for turn off, sensitivity adj. for trigger point. Other than replacing bulb couple times this thing just keeps working. It's no name made in China.
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