Movement Sensor FAQ: Why won’t my sensor light turn off?

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How to fix a movement sensor light that won’t turn off

Has your movement sensor been working fine, and now it won’t turn off all of a sudden? Don’t worry, there is usually an easy fix.


The Problem

Some movement sensors have a built-in override functionality. If the override function is engaged, the sensor light will stay on until the override function is disengaged. This override function is often engaged accidentally which causes confusion and the mistaken belief that the sensor is faulty!

This function can be engaged when the light switch is turned on and off a few times in quick succession. So if you’ve been flicking the switch on and off trying to figure out which way is‘off’, you may have accidentally triggered the override function.


Alternatively, the override function can also be triggered by power outages (minor fluctuations in the power grid can trick the switch into thinking it’s been turned on and off repetitively). This can be utterly perplexing, but doesn’t necessarily mean that your sensor light is broken.


The Solution

The only way to turn off the override function is to turn the switch off and wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute before you turn it on again. This should reset the sensor so that it works on motion detection again. If this doesn't work, head to your switchboard and turn off all the lighting circuits in the house and wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute before you turn it on again.


If you’ve tried to reset the override function and your sensor light still isn’t working, the sensor itself might be faulty. If this is the case, you’ll need to call an electrician to inspect the sensor.


How to Avoid It

Because of this annoying issue and the confusion it causes, Kenner Electrics never recommends sensors with a built in manual override switch. We also try to avoid integrated sensor lights that have a built-in movement sensor, because these usually have the built in override function and they also limits the flexibility of your lighting as the light can only be operated by the sensor (not by a normal light switch) so they can't be made to stay switched on if you want them too without using the built in override function. While they can be a perfect solution in some situations, these integrated sensor lights also remove the choice of having multiple lights connected to a single movement sensor.

Instead, we prefer to supply and install independent movement sensors (without built in manual override switches). This means we can mix-and-match, with multiple lights connected to a single sensor. The independent sensors are usually also better quality and have a longer detection range.


To achieve the function of a manual override (ability to leave a light switched on that is controlled by a sensor), we can install some additional wiring and configure the switching of the sensor and lights so that the following settings are achieved:

  • If the light switch is ‘on’, the sensor controlled lights are on (and stay on)
  • If the light switch is ‘off’, the sensor controlled lights will be turned on when the movement sensor is triggered.
  • For those that want even more control, we can install 3-position switches which have an additional position that fully turns off the sensor + lights so that the light won't be able to turn on (sometimes used if a sensor light is near a bedroom window).

By installing independent movement sensors without the built in manual override function, Kenner Electrics ensures that our customers have the greatest flexibility, performance and reliability from their sensor lights. We recommend and install high quality Clipsal Infrascan movement sensors, which are reliable and long-range and great as a general purpose movement sensor. We also have other products which we will recommend depending on your unique situation. Our expert electricians will make sure your lights and sensors are positioned correctly to provide maximum coverage

Visit our website to see how we can help.

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Call our friendly team on (03) 9996 0663 or contact us online now.

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