How to Fix the Inside of a Motion Detector Light

Updated February 21, 2017

Motion detector lighting automatically illuminates an area when it senses the infrared heatwaves given off by a moving object. These lights often are used to light up a dark driveway, walkway or area of the backyard and stay on from one to 20 minutes, depending on how you set the timer. The light consists of a sensor and circuitry that powers a floodlight inside the fixture. A cracked or broken ceramic base inside the motion detector light will render it useless. To fix the light, replace the ceramic base.

Trip the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to area in which the motion detector light is connected. Tape the fuse box closed with a strip of duct tape so it will not be disturbed while you are working on the light.

Place a ladder next to the wall or beneath the ceiling where the motion detector light is mounted. Unscrew the floodlight or floodlights from the bulb sockets on the light. Place the floodlight(s) aside.

Remove the screws surrounding the motion detector light with a Phillips head screwdriver. Pull the motion detector light off the wall or ceiling. Twist off the screw-tab connectors from the pairs of wires exiting the hole that the light was covering. Place the connectors in your pocket for later. Separate the wires from each other.

Place the motion detector light on a work surface. Remove the screws from the sides, top and/or bottom with a Phillips screwdriver; the exact placement of the screws will vary, depending on the light. Remove the cover from the motion detector light and place it aside.

Unscrew the nut at the front edge of the motion detector light with an adjustable wrench. Remove the nut and place it aside. Pull the broken ceramic base out from the hole located at the front edge. Loosen the screws on the ceramic base with a Phillips jeweller's screwdriver. Unwind the wires from the screws. Dispose of the ceramic base.

Loosen the screws on the replacement ceramic base with the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver. Wind the two wires around each screw. Tighten the screws.

Insert a replacement ceramic base into the hole that the previous base occupied. Screw the nut back on with your fingers. Tighten the nut with the adjustable wrench. Place the cover back on and reattach the screws.

Wind the wires from inside the hole and on the back of the motion detector light around each other again; use the same configuration as before you detached them. Screw a screw-tab connector on each pair of wires.

Place the motion detector light against the wall, over the hole. Mount the light to the wall with wood screws using a Phillips screwdriver. Screw the floodlight(s) back into the bulb socket(s). Return the electric power to the motion detector light's electrical junction box at the fuse box.

Things You'll Need

  • Duct tape
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Phillips jeweller's screwdriver
  • Replacement ceramic base
  • Wood screws
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About the Author

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."