Motion Light In Dark Stairwell Brightens Trips To The Basement

WARNNG: Walking around in the dark could be dangerous to your health! You may bump into something or worse, take a tumble down the stairs. Safety conscious [Ganesh] has come up with a solution for us folks too lazy to manually turn on a light. It’s a simple light controlled by a motion sensor that anyone can put together.

The meat and potatoes of the build is an off-the-shelf motion sensor, the same kind that is used in a home security system. We humans emit infrared energy and that is just what this sensor ‘sees’. The motion sensor is powered by 12 VDC and has a pair of DC output leads that are used to control a relay. [Ganesh] used an standard hobby relay board with built in power spike protection diode and transistor to supply the current required to trip the relay. Closing the relay sends mains power to the AC light bulb. Both the triggering threshold and the ‘on’ time are controlled by potentiometers integrated with the motion sensor.

Check the video out after the break of the device working its magic and lighting the way to [Ganesh’s] basement dungeon…


34 thoughts on “Motion Light In Dark Stairwell Brightens Trips To The Basement

  1. Is there a simple method to override the timer? Just to save that few seconds it would turn off and having to move to activate it again, so it stays on while your there.

    1. $15 and ten minutes gets you an indoor one that replaces the existing light switch. $800 and three months of coding and debugging gets you a Wemo motion sensor, Wi-Fi switched outlet, nfc tags, individually addressable led strips and an android phone, just open the app, read the tag, and DISCO!

  2. Ok, it works but … that’s a bit bulky build for such simple task. You can buy small battery-powered PIR lights with 8 bright LEDs for about $5 a piece. You can get them even cheaper if you’re willing to do some bidding and waiting. Big bonus is they work even when mains power goes off. I’ve covered my corridors with such lights, they work great.
    When you add the costs of materials for the lights in the article you’re well over $5, so why spend your time to build something that you can buy for less money.

    1. A matter of costing above .In addition to time to build you have to add cost to purchase . Get in the car -drive somewhere come back all takes time . Searching on the internet and paying all takes time!

  3. I use a light switch, one at the bottom and one at the top wired in a three way configuration so I can turn the same lights on or off whether I’m at the top of the stairs or the bottom.
    It’s pretty awesome!
    Should I write it up?

    1. Sounds primitive. My light switch uses a touch-sensitive gesture recognition system to detect the motion of my finger. And it only uses one bit of memory to save the state. Amazing stuff.

      1. You should also add camera and shape recognition software. When you walk system recognizes you and turns on the lights. If it’s burglar system doesn’t recognize his shape and turns on alarm instead. :)

    2. Whoa whoa whoa! You’re saying you can hack lights to turn either off OR on!? Please post the link to the Arduino library that lets you do this. I usually just smash them all with a sharpened stick when I go to bed.

  4. I used a similar, if not identical, cheap PIR sensor and an automotive 12V relay along with a diode to switch on some LEDs (strips, other) automatically in the back of a box truck that one of my regular employers has.

    Works great when searching for tools / parts or loading / unloading. It didn’t seem to be worthy of HaD, though, despite hackishly being mounted in a metal single-gang handy box and affixed to the vehicle with zip ties.

    I’m also working on building a magic box with 12 RCA jacks and some nice Panasonic DPDT small-signal relays to bypass my home theater receiver whenever it is off, converting my particular rig from digital surround (5.1) to analog stereo (2.2) automatically.

    It, too, gets mounted in a handy box (this time with through-plated perf board to hold the SMD relays), but its utility is really very limited: It’s only really useful if when one has an AVR with 12V trigger, good outboard amps, a good stereo preamp, an external analog crossover […], much of which is literally extraneous gear that most folks aren’t cursed with having.

    (Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with my Lexicon AVR, but I want to use the Yamaha C2 for -something-.)

    So I agree with others: Neither the article nor my own small projects are particularly novel. I might post my AVR hack to, but it’s not HaD material.

    1. why not?
      Honestly this elitism is a big much. Not everyone is going to make a Cray Replica using an FPGA people. Your magic box sounds really interesting and this hack might be a good one to get someone started.
      My first hack as was way back in 1983 when I made a joystick for my Atari 2600 out of some tilt switches and PVC.

  5. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!
    India has learned to control lights with a PIR Sensor! Totally awesome!

    @ Hackaday: Your Quality is dropped below Zero. Crap Posts, well embedded between ads. FAIL!

    Bookmark deleted sucessfully, bye HaD!

  6. I don’t know why there is so much hate here. The project itself is a good exercise in basic electronics. It’s someone’s personal hack. Just because someone else doesn’t view it as such does not change what it is.

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