How to Reset Outdoor Motion Sensor Light

If you have a motion sensor light outside your house, sometimes it will go off when there is no one around. Sometimes the batteries run out and need to be replaced. How do you reset this type of light so it doesn’t keep going off?

The “motion sensor light doesn’t turn off” is a problem that many people have faced. There are multiple solutions to this issue, the most common being to reset the outdoor motion sensor light.

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I depend on my motion sensor lights outside. It might be aggravating to find out how to repair them when they aren’t operating correctly. Resetting the outside motion sensor light is quite straightforward.

Turning off and on an outdoor motion sensor light is the fastest and simplest method to reset it. 

This is the most straightforward method of resetting a motion light. But that isn’t the only one. Other simple methods to reset outdoor motion sensor lights are shown below.


Contents Table of Contents

  • How to Reset a Motion Sensor Light in the Outdoors
  • At the switch, turn it off.
  • Quickly flip the switch
  • Unplug the light and see what happens.
  • At the breaker box, turn off the light.
  • The Motion Detector and the Outage of Electricity
  • Clean the Lens of the Motion Sensor 
  • The Motion Sensor on the Light Fixture should be re-adjusted.
  • The Outside Temperature Has an Impact
  • Interference from other outside lights is possible. 
  • The light fixture’s bulb had burned out.
  • Make sure the Lamp Mode Control Switch is on.
  • The Outdoor Motion Sensor Light’s Safety

How to Reset a Motion Sensor Light in the Outdoors


A motion detector on an outdoor sensor light may be reset in a few different ways. Here are a few simple steps to follow. If the first doesn’t work, try the next.

  • At the lightswitch, turn off the motion light.
  • Several times swiftly flip the lightswitch
  • Remove the motion sensor light from the circuit. 
  • Turn off the motion sensor light’s breaker.

At the switch, turn it off.



The simplest method is to turn off the motion sensor light at the switch. Turn it off for 30 seconds to 5 minutes before turning it back on. 

The length of time you must wait is determined on the sort of outdoor sensor light you own. If you have an owner’s handbook, you should be able to find out how long it takes to reset the light.


You can generally obtain a handbook online if you don’t have the owner’s manual but know the brand name and style of the light. Otherwise, just turn it off for the whole 5 minutes.

Return the switch to the on position when the stipulated time has passed. The sensor light should now be illuminated.

Wait for the light to turn off before walking in front of it to examine it. It has been reset if the light turns on.

Quickly flip the switch

If turning off the light for 5 minutes didn’t help, try flicking the switch many times in a row.

Start with the light turned off and swiftly switch it on and off four times. Allow 30 seconds to 2 minutes for it to rest in the off position before turning it on.  

Walk in front of the light to see how it reacts. 

Unplug the light and see what happens.

If your motion light is plugged into an outlet, you can Unplug the light and see what happens.. While the light is in the on position,  unplug the cord from the outlet. 

Before plugging it back in, let it rest for at least 10 seconds to five minutes. 

This should bring your outside motion sensor light back to life. It will also switch off the light if it has been left on for an extended period of time. 

At the breaker box, turn off the light.


Not all motion lights are hooked into an outlet or connected to an outlet switch. Some are permanently installed in the wall. If this is the case, the only method to turn the light back on is to go to the breaker panel.

The breaker box is usually located outdoors, in the garage, or in the closet of a bedroom. Inside the breaker box, there are switches. These regulate the flow of electricity to various parts of your house. 

Inside the breaker box, there is usually a representation of your home’s electrical system. For example, next to the first switch, you may see Kitchen 1 written next to it.

If you don’t have a schematic or notes indicating which switches control electricity to which rooms, you may write them in with a sharpie while looking for the one that controls the outside motion sensor light.

By turning off several switches until you discover the proper one, you may identify the correct breaker switch for the sensor light. It might be beneficial to have someone else keep an eye on the sensor light and alert you when it goes out.

Leave the breaker switch in the off position for around 5 minutes after you’ve found it. Replace the breaker in the on position. 

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This should bring your motion sensor light back to life.

Issues and Solutions for a Motion Sensor Light That Isn’t Working Properly

If turning the light on and off didn’t work, what other options did you have? Let’s try if we can find and repair the issue before you give up. 

The performance of outdoor motion sensor lights is affected by a number of factors.

  • Outage of Electricity
  • Temperature Outside, 
  • a filthy lens 
  • Reposition the sensor.
  • A light bulb has to be replaced.
  • Make sure the Lamp Mode Control Switch is on.

The Motion Detector and the Outage of Electricity

When the power goes out, your light may not be able to function correctly. This, along with the spike of energy when the power is restored, may necessitate resetting the motion detector using the procedures described at the start of this article.

Clean the Lens of the Motion Sensor 

First, inspect the light’s sensor. The sensor is a tiny window on the light fixture’s exterior. This sensor detects heat and motion by generating an infrared beam. The sensor transmits a signal to the light when the beam is stopped, and it turns on.

The sensor’s lens may be filthy, causing the detector to become blind. Try carefully cleaning the sensor with a soft cloth and soapy water. After cleaning, put the light to the test.

The Motion Sensor on the Light Fixture should be re-adjusted.

If your motion light does not come on or does not turn off, you may tweak the sensor. This may be accomplished by releasing the screws that keep the motion light’s sensor in place and then reaiming the light. 

As demonstrated in this video, many outdoor motion sensor lights feature a series of knobs and switches behind or beneath the sensor. Manually tweaking the switches might be beneficial.


The Outside Temperature Has an Impact

Because the motion detector detects both movement and temperature, it may become too sensitive in the winter and less sensitive in the summer. This is due to the heat emitted by the passing item in comparison to the ambient temperature. 

The automated sensor will detect the item if it is significantly warmer than the surrounding air. It may not turn on at all if the item is colder than the surrounding air.

Interference from other outside lights is possible. 

The outdoor motion detection light may be affected by light. Is there a nearby light that the sensor is detecting? If that’s the case, the other light might be fooling the sensor into thinking it’s daytime. Move your sensor away from the source of light.

The light fixture’s bulb had burned out.

A burned out bulb is another typical cause for the outdoor motion sensor light to cease operating. These are simple to swap out. 

Check to see whether your sensor light is switched off. Grasp the bulb in the socket with a soft cloth and twist it to the left until it comes out from the fitting. The bulb should be discarded according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pick up the replacement bulb with the same cloth and twist it into the light socket.

Make sure the Lamp Mode Control Switch is on.

While the motion detecting feature is turned off, the lamp mode control switch enables the light to be used as a standard porch light. Simply return the switch to sensor mode if it has been re-adjusted to allow steady light.

The Outdoor Motion Sensor Light’s Safety

It’s crucial to have a light that turns on mysteriously when you need it. You may use motion sensor lights to see where you’re walking or to open a door. They also warn you about potential threats such as huge animals or someone prowling near your property. If you’re interested in installing floodlights, make sure to read our post on how to do it so that your backyard looks bright.

It’s critical to inspect or test your motion detecting light on a regular basis, as well as perform any necessary maintenance. Check out our 8 outdoor rope light ideas and our outdoor wall lighting ideas for more lighting inspiration!


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