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How to Keep a Motion Sensor Light On

Updated: 06/26/2024
outdoor light on

Motion sensor lights are probably one of the most worthy investments in our home improvement. The motion sensor lights turn on when the motion sensor detects people and will automatically turn off to save on your electric bills. A motion sensor light can do everything a regular light can, and it’s also an easy and inexpensive upgrade that everyone can install the motion sensor lights by themselves.

Sometimes we need to keep the motion sensor lights on regardless of whether the motion sensor detects our presence. For example, we might need to keep the outdoor lights on for the entire night for illumination. Or sometimes, the outdoor floodlight can illumination the entire yard but the motion sensor can only detect motion from the doorway, so the motion sensor light will turn off automatically when there are still people in the other areas of the yard, such as when we’re having a home party or a barbeque.

Keep Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights On

In most cases, we are talking about the outdoor motion sensor lights when we say we want to keep them on because they are usually automatic, and once properly set up, we don’t need to worry about it.

Method 1: Switch the Motion Sensor On/Off

If you have direct control of the power supply to the motion sensor light, you can try to quickly switch the motion sensor ON, OFF, ON to keep and remain the motion sensor light ON. For example, if you have a light switch that controls the power supply to the motion sensor light, you can quickly flip the light switch ON, OFF, and ON to keep the motion sensor light always ON.

The reason why this trick will work is that the PIR motion sensor is sensitive to power surges and blinks. The rapid change in voltage may cause the PIR sensor to be jammed at either ON or OFF position, hence keeping the lights stay ON. The quick flipping of the switch produces power surges/blinks that may get the motion sensor stuck at the ON position.

It’s also the same reason that caused a motion sensor light doesn’t or won’t turn off.

To get the motion sensor light back to normal mode, turn off the power for 10 seconds to reset the motion sensor and then turn on the power. The motion sensor light should be back to default motion detection mode.

This trick can work for some motion sensor lights, but it is not a guarantee for all lights. It’s worth a try.

Method 2: Add a Bypass Light Switch

When the quick-switch method doesn’t work, you can add an additional light switch parallel to the motion sensor light that can directly supply power to the light, bypassing the motion sensor.

After installing the motion sensor light, you can add another light switch in between the light and your home’s power source. The load wire from the light switch connects to the light directly, so you can use the light switch to directly power the light, overriding the motion sensor to keep the light on. The installation process is very similar to making a light motion-activated by adding a motion sensor to it.

In this way, when you turn on the light switch, the motion sensor light is powered from the switch and keeps ON. After you flip the light switch off, the motion sensor light is powered by the motion sensor. When the motion sensor does not detect motion, the light is turned off.

Method 3: Replace Your Light With One Has Manual Control

The last method is to replace your existing light with an upgraded motion sensor light which has an always-ON feature. Some outdoor motion sensor lights have a dusk to dawn mode that can keep the light ON for the entire night, which may be a great solution for keeping the lights ON.

Some outdoor motion sensor lights would provide a manual mode feature for keeping the light ON manually with a switch, and you could look for such motion sensor lights for new install or replacement, such as this one.

Keep Indoor Motion Sensor Lights On

Sometimes, we might also need to keep the indoor motion sensor lights ON even when most indoor motion sensor lights are regular lights controlled by a motion sensor light switch instead. For example, we might be having a good time reading in the study, but the motion sensor frequently shuts off the light, so we need to keep the light ON.

The best way to keep the light on indoors is to use a motion sensor light switch with manual ON mode directly. There is no easy bypass or override if you are using a regular occupancy sensor switch.

You can add an extra switch parallel to the light, similar to how you do to the outdoor motion sensor lights, but it’s only making things complicated for having two switches to control one light, especially when you don’t have adequate wall boxes for other electronics.

And it’s effortless to replace and install a motion sensor light switch. Simply upgrade your existing light switch with one with additional manual control, then it’s good to go.


Whether for outdoor or indoor motion sensor lights, the best way is to replace the lights with one that already has a manual mode for keeping the lights ON.

It’s also a good move to add an extra switch to power the motion sensor lights if you have electric skills and want to keep the current outdoor lights.

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