X10 Floodlight (PR511) – Review

My first intention with these lights was at my previous home so they have lay neglected for some time now in a cupboard. Since I knew I would be moving, the train of thought was, why install them only to take them back out or leave, what amounts to a very expensive motion operated floodlight for someone not using X10.

Anyway, the unit is now installed in the new home as a security measure come announcement of people coming to the door at night, or someone snooping around the home!

The units build quality is really rather good and it feels as if it will stand up to the wilds of the Scottish weather with relative ease. Remember though that the unit uses PAR38 flood lamps and you will need these in addition to the basic unit. The light from these is more than adequate and, in my opinion, better than a 500W halogen lamp but using a lot less power, just over 200W I think from memory. So you can argue that you would save money on power that could partially help justify the initial cost of the unit. I have also found that this unit does not tend to switch on without good reason, in fact, in the last three weeks or so it has only brought on the exterior lights twice when no-one was there to be seen although I do live in a house with a long drive so whether that would apply in every installation I cannot say for sure.

The actual installation was a bit difficult, at first the unit would not respond to PIR movement detection and this was a total mystery, but after a week or so it magically started to work without a flaw, no-one can understand this but there you go! The unit is mounted on a wooden soffit board and I still needed to use silicon sealant to ensure that it was watertight as the seal provided is a little lame unless you are mounting it to a totally flat surface – unlikely in nine out of ten installations I would imagine. Even then I doubt that I would trust the provided seal 100% – better to be safe than sorry in my opinion especially with 240V in an area where water can ingress. The other point worth noting here is that X10 say that this unit MUST have an un-switched supply, I cannot see the reason for this but I have followed the instruction.

Under the PIR section in the middle of the unit is the X10 stuff and lighting control. You can adjust the range of the PIR, although I found this mostly ineffective on playing with it, and you can adjust how dark it has to be for the lights to operate be setting the “Dusk” level. After that there is the obligatory X10 code wheels that we are all familiar with and that I am sure I need not explain.

Next up is the interesting stuff; you have a delay setting for how long the lamps stay lit, from 0.1 minutes through to 30 minutes so you should be able to find a setting here to suit your needs. Next to that is a switch to determine whether the lamp is PIR or dawn/dusk operated, not an option that I would use but some people may find it useful.

The next section is dipswitches for the various functions of the light, giving you the option to use as many or as few X10 addresses after the initial one, as you like. Simply switching them to the “in” position enables that X10 address on the appropriate function PIR or dawn dusk, this in turn operates the relevant X10 module or reports the state of the switch to an intelligent controller. This is the function I did not know about until the unit was installed and working, it does report it’s status to HV allowing the whole lot to be controlled intelligently – great, why can’t we have more modules like this?



The basic unit can be set to any house code and module number which is a relief if you have a set of busy house codes and can allow several of these units to be installed on one house code. Handy. The starting code determines the following addresses e.g. if the first code is set to P1 then the next is P2, P3 etc. or starting at P8 the next is P9 etc. There are basically eight separate X10 switches as such, one (the first) is the operation of the PIR motion and floodlights on/off, the next three are the sequential X10 addresses to operate either modules with that house code or macros in HV in my case. The first four codes are operated on PIR motion detection so these codes are reported as live as soon as the PIR detects motion. The following four are dusk/dawn operated and, if switched on, will report to an intelligent control system that dusk or dawn has arrived regardless of the times in your Schedule, again not an essential, but very handy as, we all know in this country, official sunset/sunrise times do not always equate to how much light is around at the time and this can be used to great effect to create more realism in your lighting and/or blinds control as a burglar deterrent.

From the documentation with the unit it is stated that the range of the PIR is roughly 39 feet when mounted at 6 feet above ground level. Owing to the design of the house I had no option but to mount it higher, at about ten feet off the ground and this has impaired the range as far as I can tell. I get a response from about twenty feet away but further adjustment of the PIR may help that a bit. The spread is fine though and it gives good coverage of the area I am trying to cover with the unit.

All in all I am very pleased with the unit – it does exactly what I intended it for and it has performed admirably thus far apart from the initial installation niggles and I would recommend the unit as a very welcome addition to your X10 kit.

Approximate Price £68.00. Available From Lets Automate

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