View Full Version : Pressure pads motion sensor to trigger animations?

01-10-2012, 08:22 PM

What do you prefer to trigger your animations or effects? Do you use motion sensors, pressure pads or push buttons to trigger?



01-11-2012, 01:36 PM
I've only been a home haunter so far. 2012 will be my first real haunted house. I've also done lots of parties. I've never owned / used a pressure pad. I've only used Motion Detectors and only had 1 fail me in all the years of using them. (sometimes buy new ones though)

I've used a triggering button sometimes, when I was using a guide and needed timing to be perfect. Other than that, I'd say I've always used motion detection.

01-11-2012, 02:11 PM
we use pressure pad for all of our triggers in our haunted house and the anamatronics we make also ,they rarely fail if ever and dont require any power at all .we also used beams but they will trigger with smoke machines sometimes

01-11-2012, 02:57 PM
I'd say it depends on what your activating. A pressure pad works great for air cannons or instant scares. Since it'll activate instantly when a patron steps on it. Motion sensors work great for most animations. It all depends on what your trying to activate. A lot of haunts use a mix of both.

01-11-2012, 04:47 PM
We have this table that compares the different trigger types (click here). (http://www.frightprops.com/faq/index.php?action=artikel&cat=4&id=119&artlang=en)

(http://www.frightprops.com/faq/index.php?action=artikel&cat=4&id=119&artlang=en)In case op doesn't know, a trigger needs to activate a controller (or prop that contains a controller) to do something.


01-11-2012, 05:10 PM
I would recommend the Fright Props beam sensor for prop activation. They are so easy to install and set up. Fright Props includes instructions with pictures "yes pictures" showing how to wire them to different controllers. I suggest the beam sensor over a PIR motion sensor or Pressure pad because with the beam sensor you can control your effect or prop activation at the time you want it to. With Motion Sensors it varies and with pads they can completely miss them. I thought pads were the best until Fright Props came out with this Beam Sensor. It's affordable and like I said, extremely easy to use. I am actually planning on replacing all my Pads and Motion Sensors with Beam Sensors.


Brian Mudgett
Scream Apocalypses
Vancouver, WA

Jim Warfield
01-17-2012, 12:28 AM
There were maybe 48 or 24 in a box, they were cheap, didn't activate anything at all, I even bought the heavy duty ones called "MAXI"!
I used motion switches with a hidden manual over ride switch , or two, in various locations... because it's My Show not the customer's! I decide if or when things "happen" for maximum effect, or no effect at all if there is someone too afraid, like a small kid.
Sometimes I let the scared little kid push the button, it makes it a much more memorable and fun experience for them, often turns the corner for them and one smile leads to another and here's my next generation of customers!

01-17-2012, 08:21 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I guess a combination is the way to go....

I know some things an actor can trigger but others guests will, so I have to figure it all out for the design and prop placement.

Thanks again!


01-17-2012, 08:22 AM

Since you sell these what do you think is the most practical to use and most efficient?


01-17-2012, 09:13 AM
Another good thing about pressure pads is that it doesnt pick up actor movement. We had a toxic room where a construction worker was a "puker" that puked into a barrel. We set it up on motion sensor so that when people walked by he would puke. The only problem was that every time the actor in the room would move to get set for his scare or get a drink of water or fix the fog machine etc. he would set the puker off. With the pressure pad the actors can kind of step around them if they need to move around.

01-18-2012, 07:43 PM
To answer your question... I would say the motion sensor would be the best choice in most cases. But beam sensors and mats have their use too!

01-19-2012, 10:42 AM
Deciding what type of trigger depends on several factors.

What kind of effect/prop is being triggered?
Do you want the effect to go off at the front of the group, middle, or end?
Does the effect run on a controller (i.e. Fright Ideas Boo Box or similar)?
Is their an actor nearby?
How reliable do you want it to be?
How much money do you want to spend?

I for one, am completely against cheap pressure mats. Anything people can possible trip over is never a good idea and you have to worry about how to hide them. They are cheap though. And as for PIR sensors, they might as well be called P.O.S. sensors. I've installed several of these from big name companies and have had reliability issues. As for the trick of putting tape over the sensor to limit its field of vision...come on...it's like using bubble gum and shoe string to fix a prop. Yes, it's creative, but not very professional. So the only sensors I use are "beam sensors" in all the professional haunts I've worked on. Now, there are several different kinds of "beam sensors" and they each have their advantages. But if you want reliability and professionalism, they are the way to go.

Here's a tip when using "beam sensors"...Mount them about four inches off the floor. That way, you can train your actors to step over the sensors and they work in foggy conditions because...fog rises.

Good Luck,

Michael Inks
04-04-2012, 08:52 AM
Someone pointed out to me a while back the difference between beams and pressure triggers. It depends on how you want your animation to perform. Beams will nearly always be triggered by the first person in the group. Could be handy depending on what you need. Pressure mats, however, can tend to be more 'random.' In that, by the sheer nature of odds, some folks will step over and miss them. In this method, the animation could be triggered at anytime during the groups passage according to the 'laws of chaos.'

So I suppose it all depends on what you want your animated friend to do to your group!

Allen H
04-04-2012, 06:04 PM
I like push buttons, and a white hash mark on the floor to tell the actor when to push it, no timer or sensor or mat has timing as good as a trained actor.
my $.02
Allen H

Marr Branch
04-04-2012, 06:32 PM
How wide are the walking paths? If the're no more than 3' pressure pads for sure. If there 5 or 6 foot wide use motion sensors. Just let the actors know as long as they stand in front of the pir motion sensor the prop will be triggered.

04-05-2012, 09:28 PM
I like push buttons, and a white hash mark on the floor to tell the actor when to push it, no timer or sensor or mat has timing as good as a trained actor.
my $.02
Allen H

I would prefer my actors scaring or performing rather than having to push buttons, unless the animation is connected to the scare.


04-06-2012, 08:55 AM
We use all 3, most of our props are fired with a push button from the control room we have 30 cameras watching these areas. Also there are some areas that are set off by either the actor or the control room, this is great because if we are short handed it can still be fired from control room and if there is an actor there they know best when to fire it because they are in the atmosphere. We also have pressure mates and motion in some areas.