Why Does My Motion Detector Light Switch Not Work on Automatic?

Written by brandon zavala
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Light motion-sensors are devices that turn on lights when they detect any presence. They are used for both the convenience of not needing to flip a light switch, and the safety of preventing a burglary or vandalism by always detecting for motion.

Sensor Obstruction

Any form of sensor obstruction from dust, dirt, snow, greenery or lawn equipment will inhibit the sensor from properly working. Regularly clean the sensor to clear the motion detector of any potential obstructions.


If the motion detector is powered by batteries, remove the batteries and place new ones in the sensor. If the motion detector is powered by electrical cables, use a cable-wire tester to check for an electrical current. If current is not present, call an electrician to connect the line.

Light Bulbs

Check that the motion sensor's light bulbs are properly functioning by placing them in another light socket with the same voltage. Replace the bulbs if they don't light.


Any form of strenuous damage upon the motion sensor will render it useless. Damage might come from water damage, animals or accidental breakage.

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