Painting sensors - is it safe?

A recent thread about discrete sensors brought up with me a weakness in the hardware I use. Although all my sensors are exposed and I don't really notice them - they are very obvious.
I explained in that thread that a friend/client embedded sensors inside of an empty flush mount light socket cover and honestly, I think that makes them even more obvious!

Regardless - it then occurred to me that all my own devices were obvious - because they were white. I realized no manufacturer has yet to offer colored shells for their products! Why is that??! I mean even potato chips now come in 100 flavors, why aren't devices offered with colored shrouds?

Obviously its a cost issue in manufacturing and surely it will improve with time. But for now - what if I hit my devices with spray paint or house/wall paint? I mean simply by matching the wall color, devices would 'fade into the woodwork' to coin a phrase.

I get that for some sensors the paint wouldn't bother them - Motion is one. I also am aware the fine holes that allow humidity sensing can't get plugged. Rare earth contact sensors shouldn't be affected - right? Are there any big reasons why not to 'colorize' my devices? Dark wood colored for ones sitting on desks and bookcases, white, offwhite, sandstone for wall mounts... Even some color sticky tape could be used in a pinch. Hmmm. I smell a side industry!

I would have thought that painting the fresnel lens of a motion sensor (i.e. the most visible bit) would be a sure fire way to stop them from working.


I found this article explaining how to do it.


Sensors differ in their capabilities. Paint might interefere with some, but not others.

For a contact sensor that works using a magnet and a magnetic reed switch, painting the switch or magnet should not be an issue.

For a water leak sensor, you are OK as long as no paint gets on the electrodes.

Motion sensors can be painted as long as you do not get any paint on the IR or light sensors.

If the sensor has holes to allow air to get inside the sensor for measurement of humidity and temperature, but sure to avoid plugging those holes with paint.

Many sensors serve multiple purposes, so make sure you account for each of the sensor modes.

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I have done this in the past, the biggest problem is often getting the sensor into pieces to have the shell with no electronic in it, especially temp, humidity, motion, etc. But them again, I have a litle bit of an OCD side when it comes this kind of modifications. If I can't dismantle it, project is over!

One thing to watch for is using metallic paints. Your mileage may vary but many that have actual metal particles can impact signal strength.

I've painted a number of sensors, Ideally taking the guts out and painting the housing is the best approach. I'm about to paint my black hue motion sensor.

For temp/humidity sensors I use (non-metalic) spray paint. Even though I may not get the color match I prefer to know (feel) the spray paint is mostly inert after it cures.

On the motion sensor lenses I always use clear ...... just kidding.

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