This is your bathroom life at pretty much any public place: at the toilet, urinal, faucet, soap dispenser, and air dryer, waving your hands, praying it will work. Sometimes it does. Sometimes you're left supplicating yourself to a motion sensor you don't understand.
Motion sensors like these dominate our bathrooms, and they're only going to become more common.Why motion sensors have trouble
Every motion sensor is different, but most use the same basic principles. In most of the products on the marketplace, we use active infrared sensing. It's cheap and reliable, and that makes it the common choice.
But these sensors don't always work perfectly. Possible trouble includes:
- Cleanliness. The biggest obstacle is when a motion sensor isn't cleaned or properly maintained. "The biggest problem we have is maintenance, they scale up with lime and calcium. Those minerals typically come from hard water and often cause problems in daily use.
- Distance. Most sensors have a range of 3 to 5 inches, but it varies. You have to be close enough to set it off.
- Urinating while standing up. If a man uses a toilet as a urinal, the sensor might not catch him.
- Battery life. To pick one example, look at the urinal battery requirements for one Sloan product: Four AA batteries will last about three years at 4,000 flushes a month. That's a long time, but it's not forever. Every bathroom requires maintenance.
Connecting the Kemet PIR Sensor