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How to Reset a Motion Sensor Light

Updated: 08/25/2022
man reset a motion sensor light

Motion sensor lights are the ideal solution for lighting up your garage, pathway, or backyard around your property. They can also work as security lights to protect your home that deter crimes by spotting burglars and intruders in the dark.

When the motion sensor lights work correctly, they should automatically turn on when it detects motion and turn off when people leave. When the motion sensor lights don’t work properly, the best way is to reset the motion sensor light to its default setting, which may instantly solve most of the common problems.

In this article, you’ll learn the following:

Why Does a Motion Sensor Light Stop Working

The motion sensors are sensitive to power surges, blinks, and outages. Sometimes after a power surge, blink, or outage, the motion sensor will get stuck on either the ON or OFF position, which will cause the light to malfunction and not turn on or off.

Power surges are brief overvoltage spikes or disturbances of a power waveform that can damage, degrade or destroy electronic equipment within your home or business. They can be caused by internal or external sources, like HVAC systems. Power blinks are also brief service interruptions, but they’re typically caused by a short circuit on a power line or a protective device that’s working in reaction to the fault.

Sometimes the motion sensor light is functioning as expected, but it may seem like the motion sensor is not working without optimal adjustments.

If the sensor sensitivity is set to high, then the motion sensor light can detect motion from far away, such as moving cars or animals, so the light won’t turn off because the motion sensor light is continuously detecting motion that you may not see.

If the timer is set too long, such as 30 minutes, then the motion sensor light will keep ON for another 30 minutes before turning off even when there are no people or moving objects in the detection zone, which seems like the light keeps ON and won’t turn off.

If the sensor sensitivity is set to low or the light is installed improperly without the proper adjustment for the motion sensors, the motion sensor lights might not be able to effectively detect the motion, which may cause the light not to turn on.

Before resetting the motion sensor light, we should first try and test the settings mentioned above for troubleshooting and locate the issue.

If the problem still exists, the motion sensor may be jammed and stuck due to power sugars and blinks. Then the motion sensor light may need a reset.

How to Reset a Motion Sensor Light

There are two ways to reset a motion sensor light, and both methods are easy to operate.

Method 1: Turn Off Power

  1. Turn OFF the power to your motion sensor lights and keep it off for at least one minute to reset the light.
  2. Turn ON the power, and the light should be reset to the default setting.

There are several ways to cut the power: you can turn off the circuit breaker, turn off the light switch to the light or unplug the lights entirely. Some motion sensor lights might require more OFF time to reset, maybe up to one hour. Follow the user manual from the manufacturer for confirmation.

For the battery-operated motion sensor lights, you can take out the battery for 5 minutes and insert the batteries back.

For solar-powered motion sensor lights, take out the built-in battery or follow your user manual for instructions to temporarily cut the power.

Method 2: Flip the Switch

If you have a wall switch that connects to the motion sensor light which is able to control the power supply to the motion sensor light, you can try to flip the switch to reset the light.

  1. Flip the switch ON, OFF, ON, each lasting 2 or 3 seconds. Then the motion sensor light should be already reset.
  2. Flip the switch ON, OFF quickly for 4-5 times. Turn ON the switch, wait for the motion sensor light to come ON, then turn off the switch for 5-10 seconds for the electronics to reset. Turn ON the switch and the light should remain OFF and has been reset.

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