I need to add some light to a new refrigerator. It seems to me that the obvious thing is a battery powered LED with a motion sensor. I’ve tried a stick-on light that supposedly will do that, but I think it’s either not sensing motion properly, or as soon as I open the door, it thinks there’s too much light so doesn’t come on. Any ideas about how to do this simply and inexpensively.
In case it’s relevant, the built lights are LED’s–but they’re not positioned well. That means there’s no conventional light bulb socket to use for power. The fridge is under warranty, so I don’t want to do anything that would invalidate the warranty.
Probably can’t do anything wireless as the doors will kill all signal. I’d probably make something with arduino and slide some skinny wires to power some LEDs when a Hall Effect sensor contact is broken.
If you’re not afraid of soldering and the like, I would get two (assuming you have a two door fridge) like these: mag switch
You would use the NC side of the switch, the NC contacts are in a closed state when the magnet is not next to the switch.
For a two door setup you would wire them in parallel, meaning connect the two C contacts together, and the two NC contacts together. Then another pair of wires from C and NC to connect to the switch on the new battery LED light.
Everything can be stuck to the interior of the fridge with double sided sticky tape.
Secure the magnets to each door, the contacts to the fridge.
Opening either door will then turn on the light.
I thought that, too, but it turns out that the rubber gasket on most refrigerator doors allows for enough signal leakage that network devices will work from inside the refrigerator. A number of community members have sensors in their refrigerators as I found out in the following topic:
As to whether or not the device has to be smart, it really depends on whether you want something that will for example let you know if the door was left open. If not, no need for a network.
If it was me, I would just buy a couple of inexpensive motion detector lights that are rated for outdoor use and try them in the refrigerator until I found one that worked to my satisfaction.
My personal favorite nonnetworked brand is Mr. beams, which are very good quality, but do cost more than some others.
Regardless of brand, if you have a problem with the light not coming on because the room is too bright, try just turning it around and aiming it towards the back of the refrigerator, or aiming it across the refrigerator but putting it inside a box. You may have to intentionally wave a hand in front of it but the light should come on and stay on. So it’s just a matter of getting everything angled just right. Or, as others suggested, just use opaque tape over the light sensor.
The one I’m trying is the Mr. Beams MB700. I’d try the opaque tape if I could figure out where the light sensor is/how to block it without also blocking the motion detector. Anybody know how to tell? Otherwise, it seems that the first thing is to do more experimenting with positioning the lights I already have. More ideas welcome!
Something like this would be easy to connect the reed switches to the battery packs switch. battery pack LED light
The reed switch link I included above allows the switch contacts to close when the magnet is away from the switch body, this is opposite from the normal way that these work in alarm systems.
So using that switch allows the contacts to close when the door is open.
On that model the light sensor and motion sensor are combined in that one little button so you likely can’t block it that way. That is with tape.
However, it should be pretty easy to in someway cause a shadow to fall on the sensor that still allows for motion detection. Sometimes just pointing it down from the “ceiling” is enough. You’ll just have to experiment.
Thanks for the help. Here’s the resolution: I bought two cheap stick-on lights that have switches to control night/day time use. It’s working perfectly (once I moved them close enough to the front of the fridge that it can detect the motion without having to wave hands around).
FYI, you can get to the light sensor on the Mr. Beams and remove it with a needle nose pliers. More complicated and destructive than tape, but can be done: http://www.mrbeams.com/information-docs
I got Mr. Beam lights—but: though they worked fine for a while, it didn’t really work in the end. The lights worked fine in other situations (in a room). I’m not sure if the batteries didn’t like being in the fridge or what, but I gave up on trying to add lights. Needless to say, I now know something to watch out for next time I buy a fridge.