Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Light Timers

If you live in an apartment block (which I don't), you must be only too familiar with corridors & stairways which are illuminated by lights on timer switches.

Basically a sound idea; when you enter an unlit hall or stairway, you push on the obvious, illuminated, light switch & the lights stay on long enough for you to get comfortably through that zone, then turn off to save electricity & global warming.

Except for some snags.

If the light is already on when you enter, you cannot usually reset for a new time period, but have to take your chance on sudden darkness at some mid point.
Not much of a problem in a corridor with frequent & obvious light switches, it can be a nuisance when light switches are too similar to door bell pushes, and dangerous for old people in stairways with switches only at top & bottom of stairs.
Can it be so difficult to provide a full reset with each switch activation?

Even that would not answer the infrequent but very inconvenient problem encountered when struggling to move bulky furniture slowly up staircases.
If you need light for a long time, you need a spare helper just for the light switch.

The apartment block we used for skiing this year had motion detectors in the corridors, so that lights came on automatically as soon as anybody entered the corridor & presumably could go off that much quicker afterwards.
First time I had seen them used like that & very satisfactory.
They didn't use the system in the stairways though.
Maybe it is too complicated to set up sensors with all the corners?
Or maybe nobody except us uses stairs when there is a lift?
Probably a reasonable compromise in that case.

I award a special prize to the public toilet in Poitou-Charente, which was absolutely pitch dark apart from one light on a too-short timer.
With the switch outside!

Parting thot: "You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in." - Arlo Guthrie

No comments:

Post a Comment