Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY: Sensor floodlights installation

So this is something I was going to do as soon as we moved in (over a year ago!) but of course I kept forgetting to do it, and only happened to remember while at our local hardware store. We had a standard bayonet mount light fitting outside our front door, and I'd always forget to turn on this light when expecting visitors.

So this is what you call a standard builder's light fitting, the most basic thing imaginable that does the job. The good news is, with this light fitting (also called a batten mount) there are many direct DIY replacements available that you don't need an electrician for. This takes maybe 10-15 minutes to do and is very simple.

I chose this twin floodlight sensor DIY fitting - you can also get oysters with sensors, but I wanted a lot of light in the front. About $30 for the sensor unit and $7 for a twin pack of floodlights. They're pretty high powered at 150W each, but this light will only be on when someone triggers it at night, so I'm not too concerned about their power consumption.

So the next thing you need to do is get up on your ladder and remove the light globe, the threaded screw collar, and the plastic dome thing around the bayonet mount until it looks like this. You probably want to make sure the light is off too.

Open up your DIY sensor light. Make sure you've got the DIY version - there's also a non DIY version in case you have no bayonet mount - for that one you'll need an electrician to legally install it. I've removed the centre cap on the light - you can see a little plug right in the middle - this screws into where your original lightbulb was.

Place the unit over the original bayonet mount, rotate it so the sensor is facing the direction you want, then replace the original screw collar to hold the sensor unit in. If you want, you can also add 3 screws around the outside of the unit to stop it moving, but I've put a few of these in other houses and they stay pretty firm without additional screws.

Screw in your floodlights, adjust the angles of the lights and sensor and make them firm using the wingnuts provided.

Finally, test to make sure your lights work!

I only want these on when someone walks into the sensor range at night, so I'll wait until tonight to make the final adjustments. There are two adjustments you can make - sensitivity of the sensor, and duration of light, just turn a couple of dials on the back of the sensor. The beauty of it is, you can leave the light switch inside turned "on" all the time, but these floodlights will only come on when someone triggers them.

The next lighting-related project is to replace more of the internal plain bayonet lights with nicer ones - we've got a fancy light for the entrance that we'll need an electrician to install, but there were quite a few nice DIY fittings that I might get, once they're Tina-approved! Any electricians reading this in Melbourne and want to help us install some lights in return for some blatant promotion on our blog? Contact us! :)



  1. Hi Tim and Tina
    Firstly may I thank you for your blog, it has been a great source of info for first time Metricon builders like us. I have a quick query for you. We have asked for a waste pipe in our laundry underneath the washing machine as you have, but Metricon have said that the waste must be in the middle of the room with the floor levelled (like a shower base)to allow for drainage. The cost for this $850... ? I was wondering how much your laundry floor waste pipe was and whether the floor is levelled to allow drainage ? Many thanks again for all your advice. Regards Mark

  2. G'day Mark - ours wasn't that much, maybe $150 or so - but it was just a plain drain under the washing machine position (and it wasn't put in the right place at first, requiring the slab to be drilled out, drain moved and slab repaired!) Theoretically it would be better to have it levelled and tiled for drainage - which is a lot of work and would justify the $850 quoted. T&T

  3. Hi guys,

    Our Metricon home is heading towards completion in about February and our thoughts are turning to finishing touches.

    Any word on your soft door closures coming back into stock?


    Pete and Dawn

  4. G'day P&D - I'm hoping to have soft closers in stock by February, but not the self-adhesive type. Unfortunately since importing the adhesive soft closers, I've found the adhesive isn't sufficient to cope with the weight of a closing door, so they tend to come off after a few months. The new design will be secure using two self-tapping screws (you don't need a drill to install these, just a screwdriver) and are much more reliable in the long term. Stay tuned for updates :)


  5. I found they come off after a few months too Tim, which is a shame but you weren't to know.

    Will you post to let us know when the new ones arrive please? I'm keen to get some to replace the original ones I got from you ;)



  6. Hi Shayne - I'm assessing two different suppliers for the new dampers, hoping to have them in stock in approx 1 month. These are much better - as they can actually be mounted internally in the cabinetry so they disappear, or externally using selftapping wood screws. I'll also be offering them at a discounted price to anyone who ordered the original self-adhesive dampers, so stay tuned :)




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