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Discussion Starter #1
I went to Home Depot today on a mission for a motion sensor. What I was hoping for was a sensor I could plug a extension cord into and hook strobe lights and a sound box up to it. I want the sensor outside the house and the lights and sound inside the front window, which in turn will trigger a couple moving props. I have seen a sensor set up like this online a while back for $30 or $40, but not 100% what I wanted.


Well, they did not have anything that simple, and no one in the first 30 minutes of me being there had any ideas. I called my Dad and we mulled over some options. I finely found a employee who helped me out a lot.


I ended up getting a $12 motion sensor with 2 light fixtures attached to it, 2 light socket screw in plug outlets, and a grounded plug end. I am going to wire the motion sensor into the plug end, which I can then plug into a extension cord instead of having to splice the cord itself. Then I can just screw the plug outlets into the 2 empty light sockets and plug the strobe lights right into them. The sensor has a 1, 5, or 20 minute on timer... I will just set it at the 1 minute mark which will be plenty of time for it to trip and have the TOT's see what just scarred the crap out of them in the window!


You could use this set up for anything you can plug into it... the only downside is 1 minute is the shortest time you can set it to. In the end, it only cost about $15 for the whole set up!


-Scott

Haunter's Headquarters | MySpace
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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I went to Home Depot today on a mission for a motion sensor. What I was hoping for was a sensor I could plug a extension cord into and hook strobe lights and a sound box up to it. I want the sensor outside the house and the lights and sound inside the front window, which in turn will trigger a couple moving props. I have seen a sensor set up like this online a while back for $30 or $40, but not 100% what I wanted.


Well, they did not have anything that simple, and no one in the first 30 minutes of me being there had any ideas. I called my Dad and we mulled over some options. I finely found a employee who helped me out a lot.


I ended up getting a $12 motion sensor with 2 light fixtures attached to it, 2 light socket screw in plug outlets, and a grounded plug end. I am going to wire the motion sensor into the plug end, which I can then plug into a extension cord instead of having to splice the cord itself. Then I can just screw the plug outlets into the 2 empty light sockets and plug the strobe lights right into them. The sensor has a 1, 5, or 20 minute on timer... I will just set it at the 1 minute mark which will be plenty of time for it to trip and have the TOT's see what just scarred the crap out of them in the window!


You could use this set up for anything you can plug into it... the only downside is 1 minute is the shortest time you can set it to. In the end, it only cost about $15 for the whole set up!


-Scott

Haunter's Headquarters | MySpace
What you want to look for are the motion sensors that have a "test" mode on them. In "test" mode, the motion sensor turns off 5 seconds after motion stops. I've had a couple of them for years and they work great this way.
 

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Scott, I think I just bought the exact same motior sensor light fixture from Home Depot last weekend. Mine had a "Test" on it like ThePod recommended. Check yours, I bet you have it.
 

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The Evil Apparitionist
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I went to Home Depot today on a mission for a motion sensor. What I was hoping for was a sensor I could plug a extension cord into and hook strobe lights and a sound box up to it. I want the sensor outside the house and the lights and sound inside the front window, which in turn will trigger a couple moving props. I have seen a sensor set up like this online a while back for $30 or $40, but not 100% what I wanted.


Well, they did not have anything that simple, and no one in the first 30 minutes of me being there had any ideas. I called my Dad and we mulled over some options. I finely found a employee who helped me out a lot.


I ended up getting a $12 motion sensor with 2 light fixtures attached to it, 2 light socket screw in plug outlets, and a grounded plug end. I am going to wire the motion sensor into the plug end, which I can then plug into a extension cord instead of having to splice the cord itself. Then I can just screw the plug outlets into the 2 empty light sockets and plug the strobe lights right into them. The sensor has a 1, 5, or 20 minute on timer... I will just set it at the 1 minute mark which will be plenty of time for it to trip and have the TOT's see what just scarred the crap out of them in the window!


You could use this set up for anything you can plug into it... the only downside is 1 minute is the shortest time you can set it to. In the end, it only cost about $15 for the whole set up!


-Scott

Haunter's Headquarters | MySpace

Secure Home or Heath Zenith (same model)

I bought three of those from HD with the test mode last year hoping to fix a few last minute prop triggers and they did not work very well at all. Not anywhere near as well as the older models I have. They would work fine for a little while then stop responding. The temperatures here are normally 40 to 50 degrees on our haunt and I've found that some PIR sensors do not like the cold. The more expensive models have temperature compensation for sensitivity to take care of this.
 

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Kind of on topic. Big Lots has preassure pads that activate sound for $5. I wonder if they could be hacked.

Really? What area did you find them in? I remember people posting about some on Harbor Freight last year but I never got around to getting one and playing with it. I'm sure it can be--do a search for "pressure mat" or "harbor freight" to see if they talking about hacking them. Here's a link I had bookmarked to get you started.

Update: Harbor Freight still has them in stock, slightly more than Big Lots! which is at least local for me. Here's the HF web page for them in case someone's interested and doesn't have a Big Lots.



BTW getting back on topic, here's a link to a tutorial on the motion sensor light hack I like.
 

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They are sitting in the halloween aisle. I missed them the first time I was in, just sitting in small boxes on one of the shelves.

Thanks for the links! I remember seeing stuff on tieing sensors into power strips. I just wonder if a $5 item is durable enough to hold up to something like this.
 

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The Evil Apparitionist
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They are sitting in the halloween aisle. I missed them the first time I was in, just sitting in small boxes on one of the shelves.

Thanks for the links! I remember seeing stuff on tieing sensors into power strips. I just wonder if a $5 item is durable enough to hold up to something like this.
The Big lots ones are pretty thin/flimsy and smaller than the HF ones. The HF ones are a little better but still not very durable. I guess you could always stick it between a couple door mats to protect it. Nothing to hack since they both have zipcord wires, two wires just like a push button switch.
 

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Psychomaniac
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Motion sensor security lights can be both a blessing and a curse. They can be a very useful and cost effective way of triggering props and effects so long as you're aware of their limitations.

Adjusting the time can be very difficult. The settings are not very precise and for certain props can never be set short enough. Another notable issue is that they instantly reset. This can be a problem because it could end up making your prop or effect go off continuously, thereby ruining the effect. This can be solved by using a time delay relay, which is what I do with mine.

Here's an example... last year I had a prop which needed to run for about four seconds. It was a tree shaker rig that also had lighted eyes and sound effects. It was located along a path where people would always be walking by. If I'd used just the motion sensor, the prop would run pretty much non-stop, surprising no one. Plus, getting it adjusted down to a four second range would have been very difficult. Instead, I used an adjustable timer relay. The relay was set for four seconds and the motion sensor was set for about twenty five seconds. Someone would walk by, trip the sensor and the prop would go off. After it stopped it couldn't be tripped again until the motion sensor reset twenty seconds later.

With regard to very short runtimes, an air cannon is a good example. I made one last year that was hidden along the same path. It needed to operate for .1 seconds. I used another time delay relay for this application. The relay was set for .1 seconds and the motion sensor was set for about twenty seconds.

I took my motion sensors and separated them from the lights (so I could put them on their own small mounting poles) but the screw in plug adapters work great too. The tutorial Spooke linked will do the job for low voltage switching but it's way more work than is needed. All you need to do is add a simple relay with a 120v coil to the switched AC side. This can be easily built into a junction box with your switched 110v prop outlets. Most time delay relays are DPDT so you can use them to activate low voltage applications as well. In addition, by adding another power cord for a constant AC supply you can use them to turn things off as well (like turning off the overhead lights and starting a strobe when the motion sensor is tripped).

Time delay and basic relays can be picked up surplus cheaply so you still end up with a low cost solution.
 

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The Evil Apparitionist
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Even Cheaper Motion Sensors at Walmart

I bought a few of these to try today. They are being closed out at $7 each at WalMart.
No lamp sockets to deal with, just wire them up.


 

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I went to Home Depot today on a mission for a motion sensor. What I was hoping for was a sensor I could plug a extension cord into and hook strobe lights and a sound box up to it. I want the sensor outside the house and the lights and sound inside the front window, which in turn will trigger a couple moving props. I have seen a sensor set up like this online a while back for $30 or $40, but not 100% what I wanted.


Well, they did not have anything that simple, and no one in the first 30 minutes of me being there had any ideas. I called my Dad and we mulled over some options. I finely found a employee who helped me out a lot.


I ended up getting a $12 motion sensor with 2 light fixtures attached to it, 2 light socket screw in plug outlets, and a grounded plug end. I am going to wire the motion sensor into the plug end, which I can then plug into a extension cord instead of having to splice the cord itself. Then I can just screw the plug outlets into the 2 empty light sockets and plug the strobe lights right into them. The sensor has a 1, 5, or 20 minute on timer... I will just set it at the 1 minute mark which will be plenty of time for it to trip and have the TOT's see what just scarred the crap out of them in the window!


You could use this set up for anything you can plug into it... the only downside is 1 minute is the shortest time you can set it to. In the end, it only cost about $15 for the whole set up!


-Scott

Haunter's Headquarters | MySpace
is it possible for you to have a tutorial on this? Im more of a picture following than instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all for the help... I have been doing static props for years and really haven't attempted building my own motion sensor before.

I checked the bottom, and it does have a test feature! That will make it perfect for what I need. As for the temperature, it never gets much colder that 65 or 70 on Halloween here in Florida, so I should not have to much trouble.

Thanatos, when I get mine set up, I will try to take some pic's of it step by step. If someone else can post a link for a how to on this, that would be great.

-Scott
Haunter's Headquarters | MySpace
 

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Motion sensor security lights can be both a blessing and a curse. They can be a very useful and cost effective way of triggering props and effects so long as you're aware of their limitations.

Adjusting the time can be very difficult. The settings are not very precise and for certain props can never be set short enough. Another notable issue is that they instantly reset. This can be a problem because it could end up making your prop or effect go off continuously, thereby ruining the effect. This can be solved by using a time delay relay, which is what I do with mine.

Here's an example... last year I had a prop which needed to run for about four seconds. It was a tree shaker rig that also had lighted eyes and sound effects. It was located along a path where people would always be walking by. If I'd used just the motion sensor, the prop would run pretty much non-stop, surprising no one. Plus, getting it adjusted down to a four second range would have been very difficult. Instead, I used an adjustable timer relay. The relay was set for four seconds and the motion sensor was set for about twenty five seconds. Someone would walk by, trip the sensor and the prop would go off. After it stopped it couldn't be tripped again until the motion sensor reset twenty seconds later.

With regard to very short runtimes, an air cannon is a good example. I made one last year that was hidden along the same path. It needed to operate for .1 seconds. I used another time delay relay for this application. The relay was set for .1 seconds and the motion sensor was set for about twenty seconds.

I took my motion sensors and separated them from the lights (so I could put them on their own small mounting poles) but the screw in plug adapters work great too. The tutorial Spooke linked will do the job for low voltage switching but it's way more work than is needed. All you need to do is add a simple relay with a 120v coil to the switched AC side. This can be easily built into a junction box with your switched 110v prop outlets. Most time delay relays are DPDT so you can use them to activate low voltage applications as well. In addition, by adding another power cord for a constant AC supply you can use them to turn things off as well (like turning off the overhead lights and starting a strobe when the motion sensor is tripped).

Time delay and basic relays can be picked up surplus cheaply so you still end up with a low cost solution.
I would love to see this method with the relays if you have something that you could show.
 

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Ghouls Rule
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just today I found a motion sensor thingy from zenith and they had a blue halogen at a yard sale, I got both for a total of $8 and it has the test switch on it! :3 I cant wait to try this out thanks for the link. :)
 
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