Glade Sense and Spray Teardown

sense and spray in box

Sense and spray before taken apart

In a recent article, I went over how to use the Glade automatic air freshener for your own purposes – triggering a camera in this case.  Per some of the comments on this site and elsewhere, there is some interest in using the Sense and Spray model to do the same thing.  I was interested myself, so I bought one and took it apart.

The main reason suggested for using the Sense and Spray is that it has a sensor that can supposedly pick up movement and actuate based on this.  The other very good argument is that is costs around $5, where the automatic timer version costs around $10.  If you have to use several of them, this cost could add up.

Sense and Spray gears and circuit board

Sense and Spray gears and circuit board

The two models are similar in that they both use 2 AA batteries in series for a 3 volt power supply.  Additionally, they share a very similar motor and gear reduction setup.  The sense and spray version uses standard Phillips head screws throughout so you won’t have to worry about getting a non-standard bit or screw extractor to take it apart.

Remove the screws in blue, not the screws in red

Automatic spray version. Possible mounting screws marked in blue.

From a hacking perspective though, there are some drawbacks to the Sense and Spray model.  The first is that the gearbox is more compact and stays in one piece better on the automatic spray version.  The sense and spray has a “tongue” that is pulled in using the motor, but is not constrained without the housing.  The gearbox on the auto spray is in one package and stays together quite nicely when taken out of the housing (see my teardown of the automatic spray version).  The auto-spray also has some very convenient mounting holes circled in blue to the right.

The second advantage to the automatic version is that it has the circuit board, trigger button, and timing circuit are in separate pieces.  This can definitely be useful depending on your project.

sense and spray vs automatic spray

Automatic Spray components on the left, Sense and Spray components on the right

Finally, I don’t think the “proximity sensor” on the Sense and Spray works as one would expect.  After reading the back of the box, it seems to work on sensing shadows in a room and not by actual proximity (how this is supposed to work in the dark, I don’t know).  Additionally, it will only spray automatically once every 30 minutes.  This could be circumvented by wiring some sort of timer or microcontroller to the button, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of using it.

The Sense and Spray model does have it’s advantages and probably has it’s uses as a hardware source.  However, in my opinion, the automatic spray version is the thing to buy if you want to modify it.  For the other 99.99 percent of people who just want to buy an air freshener, either would be fine – not that those people, if they somehow stumbled upon this blog, have read this far.

Here’s something I did make with it, a more useless machine!

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  1. Justin S. Barrett

    The link to your other article about using the automatic version to trigger a camera is broken. My guess is that it’s due to the hosting switch that you recently made.

    • Thanks Justin! Looks like all the links were broken as I didn’t have the permalinks set correctly. Hopefully I would have caught it eventually, but you really saved me some time!

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  4. This is pretty nifty! Do you think it would feasible to make something kind of like the “Ssscat” motion sensor air canister? I think sticking one of those in some sort of home decor on a fireplace mantle would be pretty funny.. 🙂

    On another note, if your looking for a more area specific motion sensor that product might provide it. From what I hear the glade senors go off if the lights flicker.

    • Thanks for commenting LeAnn – yeah, that’s a good idea. The Glade sensors “lock out” for a while between automatic sprays, so maybe this doesn’t have that issue…

  5. Hello i am trying to take off the relay or the timer of the 20 minutes inbetween motion sensed is this possible?

  6. i have the component taken off i just need to know what one is the part that decideds the time and if i can then just remove it then connect the circuit back together so make it work (hopefully) i can do this without breaking it

  7. how about fitting a pepper spray bottle in there, i have a lot of street cats around my house, i think that would be a really good solution.

  8. Hello Jeremy,
    We are working on a First Lego League project to spray repellent on plants to keep deer away. The Glade automatic sprayer seems like a possible delivery method. Is there a way to adjust the timer for longer periods?

    • Hi Dave,

      I don’t know of a way to easily adjust this based on the timer circuit (perhaps possible, not sure). If I needed to adjust the time, I’d probably insert a microcontroller like an Arduino to trigger the cycles. Certainly overkill, but you could even hook up sensors etc. with it.

  9. So glad(e) I found this blog of yours. how could one bypass the timer? so that everytime the unit detects motion there is a spray?

    • Ha! If I were going to do this, I’d hook up an Arduino or similar to it and make it actuate the motor, likely through a relay. Would give you total control.

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