A motion sensor light is to be installed where it is exposed to the Florida outdoors. How can one gauge (is there a metric?) if the fixture is durable (last 5+ years).

As you have probably already guessed: I am weary of replacing fixtures every year. Any suggestions or lessons learned are always appreciated: thank you.

  • 1
    what kind of failures have you experienced? – jsotola Aug 25 '20 at 2:13
  • Failures range from not turning on when expected and vice versa. – gatorback Aug 25 '20 at 4:04

Yes if you buy no name china with no UL listing you will be changing the fixtures out regularly.

I would suggest LED and to assure long life you want a fixture that is DLC and UL certified UL underwriters laboratory, Design Light Consortium requires a 5 year warranty. I purchase a large number of fixtures and lamps Every year and find good prices and the above 2 certifications in many products they sell.

Check our LEDMYPlace.com and 1000bulbs.com I have no connection to either company other than having purchased at least 100 from each and the very few problems I have had are quickly taken care of.

But in any case the DLC certification in a lamp or fixture has provided long life in rough environments where non DLC from other parts of the world have had many failures in fact not many have lasted beyond their warranty.

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    I've also used 1000bulbs.com and I know others who have as well. Good company to deal with. I can also tell you my stories of buying junk LEDs and having lots of failures (indoors) - learned to not do that, but most important (because even the good stuff can have occasional lemons) is to work with a retailer (whether online like 1000bulbs.com or a local store) that stands behind the products they sell. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Aug 25 '20 at 4:24
  • It's amazing how difficult it is to buy good LEDs, or to be more precise, to resist the allure of the online deal on shady sites (Amazon being the #1 culprit) or the endcap offerings of the big-box store. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 25 '20 at 18:32

Separate the lights from the sensors

enter image description here

You can buy stalk motion sensors a-la-carte for about $20 from reputable makers. You wire up your lighting as if it's going to be switch-controlled, except you run 3 live wires between the lamps and the motion sensor location (which can share a junction box with one of the lamps, or be located cleverly to get a better view of the geography). You can also put the motion sensor in a more serviceable location.

  • White = neutral (to all lamps and motion sensors)
  • Red = switched-hot (to all lamps and motion sensors)
  • Black = always-hot (to motion sensors only)

Now, when a motion sensor goes kaput, you swap only the motion sensor. There is no reason for valuable/expensive lamps to go into the landfill.

Also, a bespoke setup like this lends a much better aesthetic. It doesn't look like somebody bought a gimpy "2 lights and a stalk sensor" thing from CostCo and slapped on the wall... it's architected lighting designed to fit and flatter the building, with a motion sensor possibly concealed.

You can also expand into low voltage 12/24V LED lighting, which gives a great deal more design freedom. 12/24V motion sensors are definitely a thing, and are half the price of 120V sensors since they don't need internal power supplies or 120V relays.

  • Is this Acuity outdoor sensor what you are thinking? Please clarify what is meant by stalk motion sensor or provide an example link. Concrete examples are helpful and highly appreciated. Thank you – gatorback Aug 26 '20 at 0:46

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