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Troubleshooting a security motion light

Outdoor security motion lights are an effective way to increase your home security. In addition to their security benefits, they also provide instant light to the entrance way when installed nearby. The peace of mind of knowing you are illuminated can be very comforting.

For those times when your motion lights aren't working properly, knowing how to troubleshoot the system is helpful. Correcting a malfunction quickly will have the light operating as it should. Most operating problems will be eliminated by small adjustments in the system.

Light Will Not Come On

Check to make sure that the security motion lighting system has power going to it. Sometimes a circuit breaker will trip. Go to the electrical service panel and check the breaker. If it has tripped, it can be reset by flipping it off and then back on.

If the light operates by a wall switch, make sure the switch is on. If it is on, you will need to check the switch to make sure that all the wires are secure. Turn off the power to the switch at the circuit breaker. Remove the screws that hold the switch plate to the wall. Inspect all the wire connections and make sure the wire nuts are secure. Reattach the switch-plate cover and turn the power back on at the circuit breaker.

The sensor may need to be re-aimed. Loosen the locking nut that holds the sensor and reposition it. Tighten the nut back down and test the light.

Light Stays On Continuously

Heat from a flood lamp will set off the sensor. Reposition the flood lamp away from the sensor or anything that may reflect back to the sensor.

The lightning mode may be manual. Make sure it is in auto. Also, if the light was accidentally shut off during a time delay, it will stay locked "on." Wait until dark and trigger the sensor with motion. After the set delay time the lights will return to normal operation.

Lights Come On Without Cause

Traffic and small animals will set the security motion lighting system off if the aim is too high. To adjust your aim, loosen the locknut and lower the sensor. Tighten the nut back down and test your lights. You should also adjust the range. Turn the range toward the minimum setting to avoid having the system set off by small animals.

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About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.