Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRs) for Lighting, Ventilation, and Heating

The PIR – Passive Infrared Sensor – is an electronic sensor that measures infrared (IR) light radiating from objects in its field of view and then trigger a certain action in a device or light fitting. They are most often used in PIR-based motion detectors, and they work in conjunction with lights, heating, ventilation, etc.

Their main purpose is detecting the presence (or absence) of a human being (or a pet) in a certain area, and then switching ON or OFF the light, the fan, or the heat. The PIRs are of different kinds depending on the lighting loads, location (indoor or outdoor, wall or ceiling), IP rating, usage, etc. Some PIRs are integrated with the fitting: some light fittings come complete with a PIR sensor, and some fans have a PIR integrated for presence or motion detection.

On our website at www.sparksdirect.co.uk we have quite a large range of PIR sensors – the standalone units – to help you save energy and make sure you don’t waste money just because you forgot to turn the light or the fan off.

Ceiling or Wall PIR Detectors from CP Electronics

Ceiling or Wall PIR Detectors from CP Electronics

CP Electronics has quite a wide range of PIRs. One of them is the batten mount PIR, a miniature PIR that has been specifically engineered for mounting directly onto a batten style luminaire (see EBMPIR-MB), while another one is a retrofit PIR that allows previously uncontrolled lighting sources to benefit from presence detection and lux level (see EBMINT); these are both ceiling mounted PIRs.

For ceiling flush mounting CP Electronics has the GEFL PIR movement sensor that provides automatic control of lighting, heating, or ventilation loads, having a low profile and being almost un-noticeable on the ceiling.

If you prefer a wall-mounted PIR, the PDS-PRM no neutral wall mounted presence detector combines the PIR presence detection with a time delay function – it ideally replaces a wall switch so that, when the presence of a person is detected, the light turns on automatically.

PIR Occupancy Switches from Danlers

PIR Occupancy Switches from DanlersThe Danlers range of passive PIR infra-red occupancy switches is designed for the automatic control of lighting, heating, ventilation or air conditioning loads. How it works: the PIR switch will switch on the connected load automatically when an area is occupied, and then switch it off automatically when the area has been vacant for a chosen duration.

This has the benefits of reduced energy bills and automatic control. When being used to control lighting, the built-in photocell can be used to keep the lights off on bright days.

Among the most popular ceiling flush PIRs from Danlers are the CEFL PIR (ideal for false or plasterboard ceilings) and the CEFL Sealed version (ideal for bathrooms and damp areas, sealed bathroom version). They also provide a wide range of batten mounted PIRs with the new “intelligent” photocell and a range of 5-10m detection; they are cost-effective solutions.

Furthermore, they have some ceiling directional PIRs (which can be rotated and lowered, ideal for corridors and aisles), wall PIR detectors, and even some PIR occupancy switch modules (ideal for building into luminaires and for wall/ceiling mounting).

Other PIRs: mini PIR, Outdoor PIRs, and Integrated PIRs

Besides these two main British Manufacturers of PIR detectors and sensors there are many others, such as the outdoor BB2002 black outdoor wall-mounted PIR (up to 2000W, covers approx. 10m range, can be manually operated) and the BB3027 (2000W black PIR for corner-mounting outdoor, 270 degrees, 10m coverage).

For indoor lighting control and with a £1 size is the BEG Luxomat PD9 – circular detection area, ceiling mounted or directly built-in lamps, or the ceiling mounted PD3FC circular mini occupancy detector which can be remotely controlled. For small spaces such as wardrobe lighting you can always use the LEDPC in-line photocell for LED striplights or the PIRSENSO mini PIR motion sensor for switching ON/OFF the lights up to 250W (10 sec – 3 mins PIR cupboard switch).

The choice is yours: where and for what do you need a presence detector? Is it for indoor or outdoor? Is it for LED lamps, fluorescent fittings, or regular halogen or incandescent lamps? Take a look at the PIR solutions we at Sparks can offer you, and let us know if you need more information!

Vintage Lamps for Stylish Lighting vs using Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Vintage Lamps for Stylish Lighting vs using Energy Saving Light BulbsWe were reading the LuxReview article on, “I love candles as much as the next guy, but…” in which the writer was slamming the vintage lamps – as much as he loves vintage things, wasting energy is not a reason to do so.

And you know what, he seems to be right: why waste so much energy, using kWs instead of Ws of electricity, when you can use the LED lamps or other energy saving lamps?

When looking at this one needs to consider a few criterias, such as, How does this light bulb look like? What is the lighting atmosphere and design this lamp creates? What is the energy consumption? What is the lamp life? And, above all, How does this fitting looks like when it’s on and it uses this vintage light bulb?

Let’s explore this a bit further and see what is the solution…

The Return of Vintage Lamps and Vintage Light Bulbs

Nobody knows for sure why but the vintage light bulbs and the vintage light fittings are back in fashion. Just as some people prefer the newer and brighter LED lamps, so there are some who prefer to have a vintage light fitting or they change the light bulb to a vintage one.

Admittedly, the vintage light bulb is not as bright as the cool white or warm white LED light, but it looks so much cooler! So if you’re in a restaurant, a pub, a more traditional eating place, etc, the best way to shed some light around the tables and couches is really to use these vintage lamps.

Some of them may come as a squirrel cage light bulb, others come with a single coil filament or with a twisted filament – all giving some vintage yet cool light. With a wattage between 40W and 100W (if you can still find the 100W), these vintage light bulbs also come in all the popular lamp caps such as GLS ES/E27 (Edison screw) and BC/B22 (bayonet cap).

And if you like pendant lights or outdoor wall / ceiling lights with a vintage light bulb, you can easily change it. Of course, some vintage pendant lights cost more than the regular ones, but the atmosphere it creates is just amazing.

Vintage Lamps vs Using Energy Saving Lamps

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So which is better: using energy saving lamps (such as the LEDs) or using the vintage light bulbs and lamps? It all depends on what you need, what you can afford, and what you want to achieve.

For example, if you are cost conscious, you definitely need to invest into the LED lamps: they insure you have a long life lamp, a bright light beam, and helps you save energy.

But if you care more for the light style, the lighting design, and you want to create a certain atmosphere, you could consider the 40W or 60W twisted filament or squirrel cage light bulbs – the vintage style lamps – or you can check out the Vintage Ceiling Lights and the Outdoor Vintage Wall or Ceiling Lights.

Admittedly, they may “waste energy”, but if you care more for the atmosphere and lighting effect, go for it. We’re looking forward to the time when the vintage lamps are also energy saving, but until then we need to work with and use what we have.

Not all of us are tree-huggers or “save the planet” fans – even though we very much consider the environment and seek not to waste energy and time – and especially the commercial, hospitality, and retail companies and properties look really good with these vintage lamps!

Videos of Rako Wireless and Wired LED Dimming Solutions for Home or Office

Videos of Rako Wireless and Wired LED Dimming Solutions for Home or OfficeWe at Sparks love the people at Rako and their great products, and we’re so glad that they put out quite a few videos to introduce some of their dimming solutions. They offer a flexible and extendable dimming solution “at the click of a button” or at the “touch” of the iPad/iPhone app for both domestic and commercial environments.

In this article we’re introducing three main videos: the Rako whole house dimming and scene control setting system, the wireless LED dimmer controller, and the Rako LED dimming control solutions.

Rako Whole House Dimming and Scene Control Setting System – Video

The Rako whole house dimming and scene control system is great for both residential and commercial applications. Via the programmable scene control panel, you can change the lighting scene setting. For example, in the kitchen you can have scenes like food prep, family dining, entertainment, party, etc. In the living room you can easily use the Rako iPad / iPhone app to set all the lights ON, or have scenes like: watching a movie (home cinema), reading a book, relaxing, etc.

Also, you can control the lights, the blinds, and the curtains in multiple rooms from a single control point, turn all the lights off from a single point, link the Rako lighting to a security system, or schedule timed events.

Rako Introduces the Wireless LED Dimmer Controller

The wireless dimmer controller Rako RMT500 is a single-ended dimmer, a wireless module, ideal for the latest LED lamps, with control over IP by using Rako bridges and wall control panels.

This LED dimmer is silent and it can be addressed by pressing the button on the front of the dimmer. It comes with 16 scenes and has longer fade rates. Follow the slideshow and watch the video below to find out more.

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Rako LED Dimming Control Solutions – Overview

There are so many ways to control the LED lights, and Rako provides quite a wide range of solutions for dimming the LED lights, whether mains dimmable, leading edge, and trailing edge (including the GU10 LED lamps, the LED fittings with a Mains Dimmable driver).

Whether wireless or wired, the Rako dimming LED drivers and dimmers offer a wide range of LED dimming systems for domestic and commercial use.


You can watch more such videos via Rako YouTube channel, and you can order a wide range of Rako Dimming systems and Rako Wireless / Wired systems via sparks at, Wireless Dimming Systems.

It’s Possible to have an “Invisible Light Switch” with a Transparent Plate

The switches and sockets in our home or at the office have to match the general decor of the room; this is why there are so many finishes and types of plates out there.

We at Sparks have a wide range of flat plates, stepped plates, low profile plates, raised plates, and plastic plates, all of which come with different inserts and rockers.

One particular type of plate, however, stands out from among the rest: the “invisible plate”, that is, the transparent plastic plate. This kind of plate allows you to keep the wallpaper or the design of the wall intact while at the same time having a switch, socket, or dimmer installed on it.

There are a few manufacturers that do this kind of plate, such as Forbes and Lomax (the “invisible light switch”), Varilight, and Hamilton Litestat (with their Perception range).

The “Invisible Lightswitch” from Forbes and Lomax

Invisible Switches and Sockets from Forbes and LomaxInspired by the 1930s glass switches and sockets but with all the advantages of the modern technology and finishing, the invisible plate (transparent perspex) from Forbes and Lomax is wide and provides many types of switches, dimmers, sockets, dolly switches, button dimmers, and euro grids.

The switches and dimmers have 3mm beveled transparent acrylic plates which are secured without the use of fixing screws, and the plates are flush to the wall, being supplied with brass, nickel silver, stainless steel, or antique bronze toggle switches, dimmer knobs, or buttons.

The 0.5mm “inner plates” of primed aluminium sit behind the invisible plates which can be decorated in the same way as the walls, giving the illusion that the wallpaper (or paint) finish runs seamlessly behind the switch plate.

You can find the full range via Forbes and Lomax section on our website, read more about it here, and enjoy a selection of such plates below.

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The Hamilton Perception CFX Clear Switches and Sockets

Invisible Switches and Sockets from Hamilton - the Perception CFX clear plate rangeThe Hamilton Perception CFX range of concealed fixing switches and sockets come with snap-on clear front plates and are cleverly designed to allow you insert your wall paper or paint the supplied template, thereby blending discreetly into the interior decor.

This range accommodates your own choice of wall covering, and a cutting template is supplied with each electrical accessory.

The Perception CFX range from Hamilton comes with metal or plastic rocker switches on transparent plates, and offers you a wide range of toggle switches (bright chrome, satin chrome, polished brass, satin brass, antique bronze, and black nickel).

They can be found on our website via, Hamilton Perception CFX transparent switches and sockets. Read more about this range here, and enjoy a collection of pictures of how the Perception CFX transparent range looks like.

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Why Envirovent ECO dMEV Trickle Fans with Continuous Running are the Best

Why Envirovent ECO dMEV Trickle Fans with Continuous Running are the BestHaving a bathroom fan for extracting the steam, smell, or vapors when using the shower, toilet, or bath is one thing, and having a constant volume, continuously running extract fan is another. It is good to install the right eco fan which offers you the lowest power consumption at the lowest noise output and with the lowest life-cycle costs.

This is why we would recommend the Envirovent ECO dMEV extractor fans. They put out a video (see at the bottom of the article – and this link on their site) where their general manager outlines the 10 good reasons to install the ECO dMEV extract fan, and we agree with them completely. Here are the,

Reasons for which the Envirovent ECO dMEV Trickle Fan is the Best Fan on the Market

  • This fan is designed on the same concept as the award-winning filterless fan, which means that the ECO dMEV extractor fans have been designed to outlast the property it will be ventilating.
  • The front cover is very stylish, coming with a color strip that will help you match the fan with the decor or the preference of the occupant. Under the front cover there’s yet another cover, made of high quality plastics and rubber, which create a permanent rubber seal – the IPx4 chamber protecting all the critical components of the fan.
  • Unique micro processor controls providing “sensorless” volume technology. There’s no sensors in this fan; rather, it has the latest technology: sensorless with software and microprocessors controls which are directly linked to the centrifugal fan and alternate the speed of the fan depending on the resistance.
  • The centrifugal motor: innovative centrifugal motor delivering silent running with exceptional performance. Easily removable centrifugal motor, dual inlet, so the air can come in both sides. This means you get a very high performance when compared to an axial fan, and it can overcome quite a high resistance by maintaining the performance and low noise levels.
  • Quick release motor designed for ease of maintenance and low life-cycle costs. It is easy to remove the cover for the motor and clean it, which is excellent from the maintenance point of view. The motor and the cover split apart, and the motor can be wiped clean.
  • Designed with an easily removable impeller offering fuss-free cleaning. In addition, the impeller comes off: should the impeller need cleaning, it comes off and can be washed as needed. The motor is mounted on anti-vibration mounds, which means it can absorb any vibration and thus be the quietest fan in the market.
  • Rear expansion chamber delivering low resistance and quiet running. If you look at the back of the fan, there is a rear expansion chamber allowing the air to expand outwards. The centrifugal fan is at the front, forcing the air to go out at the back into the spigot, where the air is allowed to expand; this means there’s lower resistance in the duct with quieter performance.
  • IPX4 rated electrical compartment. The electrical compartment with the components are done under an IPX4 rated housing, and they are safely protected (you need to unscrew it to come off). 230V electrical components housed away in an IPX4 chamber.
  • Triple protection offering a robust fan suitable for all domestic applications. You can put the IPX4 chamber on top of the motor and front, this means that the electrical components are double protected, and when you put the front cover on top, you could say that the fan is triple protected! The Envirovent ECO dMEV fan is thus not only the most robust fan on the market (with its triple protection), but this fan also does not distort (most axial fans have the problem of distortion) and it is triple protected.

In conclusion, this is why Envirovent ECO dMEV fans are the best for new built applications: they are the easiest to install, the easiest to maintain, and the easiest to commission, and they are probably the safest extract fans on the market!

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