How Do Motion Sensor Lights Work?

Perth Air & Power Solutions

How Do Motion Sensor Lights Work

Motion sensor lights are becoming a popular choice among business owners, with a lot of premises opting to automate even the simplest daily function. But what exactly are motion sensor lights, how do they work, and what are the benefits? Well, read on to find out if they would make a sensible addition to your business premises.

What Are Motion-Activated Lights?

Motion sensor lighting detects human movement over large areas using a variety of different technologies. They used to predominantly be utilised in burglar alarms and other security systems. They’re also used by outdoor lights so you can see where to put the key in the front door when you get home late at night. But as technology improves, it tends to get smaller and more discreet; meaning that light manufacturers have created ways to install them in any fixture to keep things incognito. 

The Different Types of Motion Sensors and How Do They Work?

There are a few different types of motion sensors, which all work slightly different to each other, they include:

  • Passive infrared (PIR)
  • Active infrared
  • Photoelectric
  • Microwave
  • Dual technology

Passive Infrared 

Most motion detectors use passive infrared sensors to track the presence and movement of people and animals via their infrared energy, which triggers the light switch. This is caused by a pryoelectric chip, which is responsive to heat and mounted on a circuit board, converting their energy into an electrical charge.

A transparent window on the sensor house can detect changes in the infrared via body temperature whilst also protecting the device from dust, debris and insects. Positioning needs to be taken into account upon installation as false alarms can be caused by air vents or temperature fluctuations.

Active Infrared

Not unlike PIR, active infrared can be utilised outside and in automatic door opening systems. Their sensors can cover larger areas as they’re less prone to false triggers like weather or small animals but do require more frequent maintenance.


Known as both photocell or a photo-eye sensor, photoelectric motion sensors work by using a beam of light to detect movement. With two parts, a transmitter and a receiver, the transmitter has a light and the receiver can detect it, therefore whenever an object, like a person or a car, passes through it, breaking it and causing the receiver to detect a change.

They can more commonly be used in outdoor lighting, with security lights or street lamps, to track whenever someone enters an area. However, they can be affected by changes in ambient light, dirt or debris on the lens.

Light Motion Sensor


Microwave sensors are the next most common type of motion detector. They work by sending out microwave pulses and then measuring the reflections of moving objects. They cover a larger detection range than infrared sensors but are more expensive and vulnerable to electrical interference.

To maximise reliability, some motion detection devices combine a PIR motion sensor with a microwave sensor. This can greatly reduce the number of false detection signals but is more commonly used for security purposes rather than for lighting.

Dual Technology

Typically used in security systems and outdoors in the lights where they can respond to both people and objects, like vehicles, dual technology uses a combination of passive infrared and microwave sensors to track moving objects and trigger a response.

By using a combination, dual technology can reduce false alarms caused from the environment. As it requires both sensors to be triggered, it limits the chances of the lights being turned on by nothing.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Motion Sensor Room Lights?

  • Convenience: Hands free lighting, making them a more accessible option for those with disabilities or mobility issues in your business, and allowing a wider selection when it comes to decorating due to a lack of fixtures. 
  • Increased security: By turning on whenever someone walks past, motion sensor lights can deter burglars and anyone who has ill-intention towards your business.
  • Energy efficiency: By only turning on when triggered, motion sensor lights use less energy than traditional lights, therefore they can help reduce your energy bills and your business’s carbon footprint.
  • Longer lifespan: As they can only be turned on via a trigger, motion sensor lights tend to have a longer lifespan than a traditional outside light which is left on overnight.
  • Increased safety: Especially useful when placed in car parks, they can light up the darker spots of the areas, making it safer and easier for your employees to navigate and limit the chances of injury.

Get In Touch! 

Electrician Installing Motion Sensor Lights

Ready to upgrade your business with some motion sensor lights?  Our team of experts can help you figure out the best solution for your business, to make sure that you have reliable and long lasting lighting for years to come. Get in touch with us at Perth Air and Power Solutions today to get a quote, learn more about the options we have and for all your commercial electrical needs.




article thumbnail image

Decoding Comfort: How Does Split System Air Conditioning Work?

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2024

This blog will answer the questions of ‘how does split system air conditioning work?’, how it can benefit your workplace and what you need to know when it comes to selecting the right system for you....

Read more
article thumbnail image

Unlocking Efficiency: How Much Energy Does a Commercial Refrigerator Use?

Posted on Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

If you run a business that requires cold storage, you might be asking about how much energy a commercial refrigerator uses to prepare for the cost of running it. Understanding energy usage is crucial for effectively managing this and minimising your business’s bills....

Read more
article thumbnail image

Can A Commercial Freezer Be Used As a Refrigerator?

Posted on Tuesday, January 02nd, 2024

Commercial freezers are specifically designed to maintain much lower temperatures than domestic refrigerators, impacting the freshness and safety of stored food, but can they be used as one? In this blog, we'll tackle the question head-on and explore whether this unconventional approach to commercial refrigeration is a viable and cost-effective solution for commercial systems dealing with limited space or budget constraints....

Read more
article thumbnail image

What is The Difference Between Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration?

Posted on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

When it comes to both commercial and industrial refrigeration, figuring out what exactly your business needs comes from knowing the difference between the two. The main differences between commercial and industrial refrigeration are the size and capacity of the equipment, power requirements, temperature range, types of refrigerants used, and maintenance and servicing needs....

Read more
article thumbnail image

Maximising Efficiency and Comfort In Your Business: What is Split System Air Conditioning?

Posted on Tuesday, August 08th, 2023

In the realm of air conditioning, split-system air conditioners have emerged as a popular and versatile option for both commercial and residential spaces. Split system air conditioning consists of two main components: the indoor unit and the outdoor unit....

Read more
article thumbnail image

Efficiency and Comfort in Winter: Unraveling the Best AC Mode for Your Business

Posted on Wednesday, July 05th, 2023

For commercial building owners and facility managers in Perth, knowing how your air conditioning units work during winter is crucial. Winter often creates a challenge: how to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without an immense energy bill?...

Read more
article thumbnail image

Ducted Evaporative Air Conditioning: How Much Does It Cost

Posted on Monday, June 05th, 2023

As a commercial property owner or manager, finding a cooling solution that is both cost-effective and energy-efficient is a great way to save money. Ducted evaporative air conditioning systems can be a good choice to cool large spaces as they also reduce your business's energy usage. However, it's important to understand the costs of these systems before making any decisions....

Read more
article thumbnail image

Australian Winters – What’s The Best Temperature For Your Air Conditioning

Posted on Tuesday, May 09th, 2023

As the winter season settles in Australia, it's important our workspaces are pleasant when we step in from the cold weather. However, with rising energy costs and how much air conditioning impacts the environment, it's more important than ever to find the ideal temperature in the winter months so that everyone is happy....

Read more
article thumbnail image

The Basics of HVAC Systems For Your Business: What You Need To Know

Posted on Friday, April 07th, 2023

With Perth's hot summers, most if not all businesses need a form of air conditioning to keep everybody cool and comfortable. Air conditioning comes in many formatsc, with reverse cycle wall units, evaporative systems, and commercial HVAC split systems. The best air conditioner for your building depends on many factors, including the location, its surroundings, and its indoor space....

Read more
article thumbnail image

How Do Motion Sensor Lights Work?

Posted on Friday, March 10th, 2023

Motion sensor lights are becoming a popular choice among business owners, with a lot of premises opting to automate even the simplest daily function. But what exactly are motion sensor lights, how do they work, and what are the benefits? Well, read on to find out if they would make a sensible addition to your business premises....

Read more