Street Lights monitoring


Thread Starter

Johnson Lukose

I have received an enquiry for status of street lights monitoring - light ON
/ OFF and if the lamp pole has been crashed into? The first is easy enough
but never heard of the second requirement.

Any of you have any ideas?


Eduardo Chaiquin

You may take a photograph (snapsot) of the lamp pole with videocameras,
and send it through a radio network to a Control Center employing Moscad
RTUs, from Motorola. This system is call RIX.
Let me know if you need more info about this.
Put a LED and a receiver in the base of the pole. Run a length of glass fiber-optic cable in a loop from the LED to the top of the pole and back down to the receiver at the base, all attached to the inside of the pole. A sharp
impact on the pole should break the glass fiber and change the light seen by the receiver. You could use the street light bulb for the light source and save the LED but you wouldn't know the difference between burned out bulbs and smashed
poles. Modulate the LED and you should be immune to outside light sources. Ever see those cheap (<$5) receivers for the 38KHz IR remote control systems that are in every TV?

You'll sell this as the Mulligan Light-Sensormatic, right? 8^)


Speaking for me, not for Armstrong. . .


Another suggestion -

Use a modulated LED/Laser Diode TX/RX pair on each pole top looking at one on the next pole top. Provide for a 1-2 decree field of vision for motion due to wind etc., and alarm if one pole can't see the next. In this scenario, two poles would "fail" for one pole impacted, but knowing the order they are pointing you could determine the correct one.

Of course, heavy pollution, fog, or physical obstructions would cause false readings.

-Rob Antonishen

Norbert Koot

Rather than the inside of the pole, how about some kind of sheet material that you wrap around the base of the pole (area most likely to be damaged), with the optical fibre sewn in a zig zag pattern. This would be easy to retrofit and would be more likely to break due to impact.

You'll sell this as the Norbert-Mulligan Light-Sensormatic, right?


On behalf of no-one else.
Is fiber-optics cable really so fragile?

If you hang a bit of brass on a wire inside of mast, it will touch wall if mast is at angle. That should be sufficient to trigger some I/O system. You may get signal even if mast is only hit as pendulum will swing.

You can sell it as Universal Pendulum Hitmatic :))


Petr Baum <[email protected]>
Niksar Pty Ltd
Unit 135/45 Gilby Rd, Mount Waverley, 3149
Phone: +61-3-9558 9924 Fax: +61-3-9558 9927
OK....the brass pendulum sparked this idea (no pun intended)....How about a wet mercury switch like used ina common thermostat. pre-position it so that any degree of tilt in the pole trips it. They are robust, cheap and readily available.

Happy Holidays

Ramer-1, Carl

Maybe I'm a little jaundiced about this, but before making a complex, expensive and elaborate street light pole crash monitoring network, why not verify that it's a real requirement? Far too often I find that someone has added a "feature" like this to a project with no basis in need and little to no authority.

If indeed the requirement is real (I find that difficult to imagine), then generate a cost estimate based on the real requirement and send that information back to the person who wants the system. Assuming the lights are spaced every 50 to 100 meters apart, you're looking at one hell of a lot of discrete points that have to be networked back to some device which identifies which light is out or damaged. The simple business calculation called a "cost benefit analysis" may prove that it's simply not worth the
money to monitor either the lamps or the poles. You may be pleasantly surprised to see the whole thing fade away when they find out there's a
serious cost factor.

btw, don't the police generally respond to automobile accidents where cars
knock down light poles?

Carl Ramer, Engineer
Protective Systems & Controls Design
Space Gateway Support
Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Opinions expressed are personal, not those of my employer or the United
States government.

Geert Vanstraelen

There a several sites that do monitor street lights on motorways. I therefore think it is 'cost effective'.

Putting some intelligent card in each pole has folowing advantages:

- Defect lamps and/or balasts are detected.
- the MTBF of the lamps is monitored
- Third party maintanance only replaces defect lamps, and is only paid for these lamps.
- It allows to put a pole in 1/2 intensity: in function of the traffic.
When a pole has four lamps, only 2 lamps are put on.

Because the card communicates using a modulation power line no extra cabling is required.

Detecting a car knocks down the pole is for me a new requirement. It seems to be a less probable event than a defect lamp. On a traffic light this functionality has perhaps sense: it would detect the case a red light still works with the pole knocked down. (When the red light does not work the traffic lights are set to orange).

Geert Vanstraelen
[email protected]

Macq Electronique
Luchtschipstraat 2
1140 Brussel (Belgium)
To the List member who started this thread:

It is far simpler, and cheaper, to detect lamp loss at the base of the pole (where the electrical feed is) than at the lamp.

That said, I interpret this problem as one in the category of "catching the mice and letting the elephants go free." Say again, what is your
reason for wanting to catch the mice?

Merry Xmas,

Phil Corso, PE
Trip-A-larm Corp.

Albion Zeglin

How to network the sensors may be your largest headache. You could look into something like
the Dallas Semiconductor "1-wire" network (twisted pair actually) with light sensors from There are power line transmitters which might work also, but would require a tap on each power circuit used. Wireless is also an option, but the I expect the cost is going to be too high unless you can tap into an existing network. Check with the local power company what network they are using for their own monitoring, you may be able to piggy back on it.

Albion Zeglin.

Johan Bengtsson

You wanted to detect lamps going out too?
do like this, but pull down one fibre for each lamp and make sure you get a difference in reading when the lamp is expected to be on vs off. If one lamp goes out you get an indication of this, if all lamps go out at (approx) the same
something else have probably happened.

Johan Bengtsson

P&L, the Academy of Automation
Box 252, S-281 23 H{ssleholm SWEDEN
Tel: +46 451 49 460, Fax: +46 451 89 833
E-mail: [email protected]

Johan Bengtsson

When talking about cost effective... would it not be more cost effective to replace the ordinary bulbs found in traffic light with LEDs as they do here in Sweden instead of installing a system for monitoring when they don't work?

Installing a system for knocked down poles is another matter....

Johan Bengtsson

P&L, the Academy of Automation
Box 252, S-281 23 H{ssleholm SWEDEN
Tel: +46 451 49 460, Fax: +46 451 89 833
E-mail: [email protected]