(804) 353-4928 info@us-electric.com

Security of life and property is fundamental. It isn’t something that anyone would want to compromise. For home and business owners, you must include safety in your building and property maintenance plan.

Homeowners must invest time, effort, and money to make sure their property is safe. One way to improve the safety of your building and its inhabitants is with motion detector lights.

Motion detectors are electrical equipment that use specialized sensors to detect movement. Motion detector lights are light fixtures that sense movement in an area, then turn on.

Motion detection lights have a lot of advantages. They also have a lot of commercial applications. You can find them in public buildings, as part of street security, and in private residences. 

Motion detector lights provide affordable and effective home security, especially at night. They are also energy efficient and easy to install and operate. If you have them on your property, you should know how to troubleshoot motion detector lights. There is often a simple fix.

Types of Motion Sensor Lights

A passive infra-red security light in gravel

Here are different types of lights with motion sensors:

Active Sensors

These sensors are always functioning. They scan the area continuously throughout the night. Active sensors also detect changes in the region by counting how long waves take to bounce back. 

Passive Infrared Sensors (PIR)

Passive Infrared Sensors detect radiation waves. They perceive motion by monitoring infrared radiation or the level of heat. 

Dual-Tech Sensors

These are two-way sensors. They use both active and PIR sensors to detect motions. Dual-Tech sensors are a high technology motion sensor light that covers all bases.

There are also vacancy and occupancy sensors. These improve power efficiency in businesses and other public places.

Motion Detector Lights Troubleshooting

There are common issues you experience when using motion detection lights. Here are ways to troubleshoot these problems:

Adjust the Sensor Aim

A white motion sensor mounted on a wall.

Sometimes you may notice your detector lights come on often without any reason. If your detector lights are lighting up too often, it could mean that the sensor points towards a high-activity area. Any area where there is constant movement may trigger the sensors.

Another issue you might have is if the detector lights are not lighting up at all. It happens when they point towards the ground or a wall.


  • Aim the sensor roughly around the center of the area you want to monitor.
  • Loosen the screws holding it and try rotating it or tilting it up or down.
  • When it is in the preferred position, tighten the screws and re-test your light.

Check Light Duration

Sometimes your lights may stay on longer than ideal. The ideal light duration for most light security fixtures is one to two minutes only. Your light stays on all night if you accidentally set the lights to the maximum time.


  • Change the setting of the light duration to the ideal time and try your lights again.

Cleaning Up the Sensors

Dirt and dust may accumulate in the sensors. The photocell is an integral part of the motion sensor light and will not detect motion if it is dirty.


  • Use a dry rag to gently rub against the sensor and circuit if there is dirt or dust, then re-test your lights.

Power Interruption

Power interactions may affect sensor settings. Accidentally flipping light switches or breakers may affect the lights. Power outages and power surges can cause the lights to stay on or off all the time.


  • Turn off the power supply for at least 30 seconds.
  • During this time, ensure there is no motion in front of the sensor.
  • Switch the light back on and try the sensor.

Replace the Batteries

Some sensor lights work on batteries. Your lights may malfunction due to a damaged or depleted battery.


  • Change all the batteries with new ones and try the lights again

Replace the Bulb

Close-up of a man replacing a halogen bulb.

If you charge your batteries and motion sensor lights still do not turn on, it may be a bulb problem.


  • Try changing it with a brand new one and observe what happens.
  • Think of getting an electrician to take a look if you can’t get it to work.

Sensitivity Issues

Motion lights are sensitive. They respond to the slightest change in the environment. If the setting is too susceptible, even a tiny fly could trigger the sensor.

Also, it can be under-sensitive. If the sensor is not sensitive enough, an intruder could be near before the light turns on.


  • Try to adjust the sensitivity settings and search for your preferred configuration.

Switch It Off and On

One quick way of getting your malfunctioning motion detectors lights in working order is the “first-aid” approach.


  • Manually switching off and on could be the simple fix.
  • The calibration may return to its designed setting and fix the problem.

Motion Detector Light Solutions

LED motion sensor light attached to a white outer wall.

Motion light detectors inform you of a new presence in your surroundings and are an effective crime deterrent. Motion detector lights increase the safety and security outside your home.

Every motion detector light fixture differs from another in many ways. Sometimes you experience some issues setting the sensors. When you encounter an error, check the manual for any troubleshooting guide. It may be a simple fix.

If the problem persists after following the listed troubleshooting steps, contact U.S. Electric for help! We are always ready to provide all the help you need to get your motion detection lights in order.